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At weddings sometimes time gets out of control. This time the ceremony lasted longer than scheduled and the sunlight disappeared. When I started the photo session with the couple, I only had approximately 15 minutes because the reception was about to begin. This delay meant that I had to react much faster than usual and come up with ideas in a very short time. Without an interesting ambient light and the darkness around, it only remained to leave everything in the hands of a good flash and creativity.

After taking several photos with the couple, I decided to give the bride and her dress a bit of prominence. I quickly explored the location and found a door with the interior illuminated by the light of a lamp. The bride’s dress was very large which made it difficult for her to move, there were two people helping her with her dresses, and thanks to that we were able to get to the point where I could take her picture.

Without much time to try out ideas, I had to come up with something. All we had was a big dress, a flash with a wide softbox, and a few little mood lights that could make a good contrast. The challenge was in front of me, with a clear goal: to achieve an epic image for this bride in a very short time.

The main fear was not achieving what my mind imagined, I had the help of my assistant, but the place was uncomfortable and not easy to work in either. I could not communicate due to the distance between the bride, my assistant and me, giving instructions loudly and shouting, while shooting; the light could not be at the point I wanted and suddenly there was a moment of synchronization of everyone, the girlfriend, the lighting assistant and I as a photographer knew that that shot had been achieved as I wanted.

The lesson that this shot leaves me was the importance of having quick decision-making when time is short. To have more confidence it is necessary to be prepared not only creatively but technically, practicing with the flash and your camera before the wedding helps to solve situations related to the management of light.

It is always possible to improve a photograph, in this case, cropping a bit more would help, greater development of the person being portrayed and paying attention to more details.

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How did you direct your subject(s)?

When I approached the bride to give her instructions, the first thing I did was convey the idea that I had. So I said, “Let’s bring this beautiful dress to life!”. Normally when I share my ideas with my subjects, I am quite calm. But when it comes to shooting, that’s when I really bring out my energy and I try to put emphasis on how awesome the results are. The goal was a lot of movement, but that dress was very heavy, so the easiest thing to move was the veil. The main directions were regarding lighting as I explained to her where the light came from, and that I would try to find her face looking that way. The next thing was to explain about the movement of her hands and body, so I showed her personally how she could move her hands towards her head while she turned to the side of the light, always with smooth movements, like a quiet dance.

What did you say?

Very good Alondra, we start with that movement of the hands, bring your hand to your face and your forehead, and with the other try to give movement to your dress, do not stop doing it, I will keep shooting, it’s great! Remember to feel the moment, I want to see how you express that with your face, excellent !!!!!

How did you compose your image?

In this photo, I based a lot on symmetry; the exterior lamps and the door frame were the main guides in achieving this. I like this composition because it maintains a balance on all sides and allows you to focus on the bride and her movement. The objective being that everything will guide us towards the bride, the light, the symmetry, the movement of her veil, her dress, her hands.

How and what did you focus on?

The focus in this photo is simple. In this frame I moved my focus on the bride’s face, used autofocus, and I chose the point in the center of the face. The auto focus mode allows me to make fewer mistakes when focusing, sometimes our eyesight can fail us and we could spoil a great photo. The main difficulty to focus in this photo was the darkness, but thanks to my flash that has a continuous light I managed to focus easily.


How did you use the light in your image?

The place where I took the photo had 4 decorative lamps, they did not help to illuminate my subject, but they served to illuminate the walls and make note of some details that would serve me in the composition.
It was difficult to light because space was very limited where the bride was. I had several options to light the bride and one of them was to completely hide the flash and as a result a more diffuse light, but I decided to leave the light very close to focus on the bride and achieve more drama and texture. Next time I would like to have some extra light, maybe use it in backlighting.

What was the gear & settings you used?

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Nikon D750


Sigma Art 35mm f/1.4





Shutter Speed






White Balance


How did you edit your image & what did you use?

To edit my photos I use Lightroom, I apply my base preset, which contains my color palette that sometimes has a slight change in tone. Warm colors are part of my personal taste and that is what I look for in my editing.
I would normally help the warmth of the photo by tweaking the blue and green hues in the HSL. With the Brush Tool, I was able to give even more exposure to the interior areas, which was the darkest part of the photograph.
It was necessary to clone part of the background to hide the flash since the octa box appears in the original photo, and I could do this in Photoshop.

Software Used

Adobe Lightroom Classic


MPLVT Personal Preset

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What challenges did you face?

1. Lighting
2. The time to take the photo was very short
3. In post-production, remove the octabox and make the edit not noticeable

How did you solve them?

1. It was solved with my flash and an octabox and my light assistant
2. It was resolved by being prepared for situations like this, I had previously practiced with my team and this helps to think faster and ideas to come.
3. To achieve this, a clone was made of the area where the mirror-type flash was not.

Can you share any last thoughts or advice?

The learning experience through creating this image has been to value the time we have to take photos, which also implies a great risk of not being prepared for complicated lighting situations.
One of the things I tried was using such a big octabox, I usually used direct flash.

I believe that reacting quickly to complex situations of light and time will only be achieved if there is prior preparation, correct learning of the resources you have to work with and that your sources of inspiration motivate you to create something incredible.

Danny Cuevas

Shooting since


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I am a happy photographer, I live every day enjoying every moment. Father, son and good friend. Lover of coffee, mezcal, and exploring nature. Hiking and mountain lover

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