Barnet Workshops » Sharing Experience, Information, Inspiration

Ceremony Magazine Table Shoot at Rancho Las Lomas

The 2012 Ceremony Magazines are out, so we can post some of the images we created for the current issues.  These are some of the tables we photographed showcasing the incredible talent of the florists and linen suppliers we have the pleasure to work with.  We advertise in the LA and Orange County editions of Ceremony Magazine.  They’re a great organization and always supportive of their advertisers.  In addition to our ads and published weddings, we try to photograph as much editorial work as possible to increase our exposure in the magazines.

Rancho Las Lomas is probably our favorite all around venue.  This is why we’re very proud to hold our annual Memorial Day “Recharge at Rancho” Workshop there. An all day catered workshop with great models in couture gowns, lots of great instruction and much more.  Registrations for Recharge at Rancho 2012 will open in a few days and it will sell fast, please contact us if you’re interested in joining us this year!

Since these table shoots are not real events, the location for each table is decided by the florist and us.  Sometimes they win, and we have to make a difficult location work.  As you can see, this table is under a pergola that creates a zebra shadowing effect, shows that we did not win this one.  The easiest way to fix that is with translucent panels as shown a few images down.

As you can see in the upper left of the image above, you have to be careful when cropping in camera. I left this image in to show how easy it is to miss something when you’re shooting, and having to crop, clone, etc in PS later.

This is the set up.  We used a smaller reflector (behind me) to open up the shadow areas in some of the close ups, but for the most part the light was nice and even, thanks to the panels above the table.

Here we’re in partial shadow from the large trees around as you can see on the white cushion.  With this subject matter it’s not a problem.  Still, in order to allow the background to go a little darker we added a little warm reflected light.   A shallow depth of field and a long focal length help separate the subject from the background.

Close ups are as important as overall views. Readers want to see detail. You probably wouldn’t see tables so elaborately decorated at a real wedding, but these “concept” tables, like concept cars at a car show, help the bride see all that’s possible, and the florist’s imagination, so they can chose the elements that they would like for their wedding. 

There’s the set up. You can throw a lot of light with these reflectors.  You’d never be able to use them like this with people.

Here we had a more difficult situation.  The table is in the shade, and the background is too bright and too close for my taste. So we had to bring out the big guns as you’ll see below.  The challenge was to shoot shallow enough to render the background at least a little out of focus, but not blow it out, while showing detail on the flowers, linens, etc.  The chair covers were a big deal, so we did some close ups of those, as well as the place settings.

Mirta shot the the two images above.  She’s the detail queen, both at shoots like this and at our weddings.

Here we have the set up. The large Chimera box (6’x4′) on the right was powered by a 2000 watt Dyna-lite pack and the medium box on the left by a 1000 watt pack. Both AC of course.  Nice even light.

The images below were done for last year’s Ceremony Magazine, same location.  The second image down was used on a cover, so be sure to shoot verticals and horizontals, you never know when you’ll get lucky. 

With jewelry, there are always reflection problems, so we built a set and used translucent panels to block as many reflections as possible and to reflect light from the medium Chimera box to the front.  These were shot with a 105 Macro and a pretty small f. stop.  When shooting close ups, you’ll loose depth of field much more rapidly than if your subject is further away, so stoping down is important.  I wouldn’t have been able to do this without plenty of light from the Dyna-lite flash and soft box.

Not very comfortable… I like the 105 macro because you don’t have to be right on top of your subject. Especially with a full frame camera.  By the way, we use Nikon gear, and every image here was shot with the 70-200 2.8 VR, the 24-70 2.8 or the 105 2.8 VR Macro.  The cameras were D3 and D3s bodies.

The cakes above were photographed for the baker, the person that manufactures and sells the cake stands the florist and the linen supplier. We’ve worked with all of them many times before and this was a great opportunity to make images for all of them that were later used in their ads as well as the editorial section.  All with our name on them of course.  The more exposure you get in a magazine the better.

This was open shade with some warm and white fill from the reflectors. And yes, the cakes are fake, so we didn’t get to eat them after the shoot  🙁

Another table at yet another great Rancho location.  I love the steps in the background!  For the first image of this table above I used the 70-200 on a tripod from pretty far back (you can see it in the background)  It was getting a little dark and I didn’t want camera shake, the VR helps, but why not use the sticks if you have them.

This kind of work is usually an all day shoot.  Lots of set ups, physical labor, post production and no pay.  We do it for the exposure and to help our fellow vendors, plus the images look great on the website, especially in such a great location, the home of our upcoming “Recharge at Rancho Workshop”.  Relationships in our business are very important.  You know your work is appreciated when you can get the owner of the magazine to hold your reflector for you 🙂

I hope you enjoyed this post. Please feel free to leave comments and any questions you may have.


  • May 4, 2012 - 8:42 am

    Marvin - Joe and Mirta – Excellence is always the right word to describe your work.ReplyCancel

    • May 4, 2012 - 9:29 am

      admin - Thank you Marvin, you’re very kind. As you know, we love our job!!ReplyCancel

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