jump to

The dress had been kept a secret. The bride had gone dress shopping on her own + found the perfect one and decided to leave the reveal for her bridesmaids until the wedding day. I was aware that this moment was of high importance so finding the perfect spot was on my radar all morning. When I walked out of the room where the bride was getting ready I saw a bridesmaid standing at the bottom of the stairs + knew instantly I had found the spot. The anticipation was building all morning for this moment + the reaction on each of their faces says it all.

Join the newsletter & be notified of new content

How did you direct your subject(s)?

When the bride was ready, I had her bridesmaids gather close together at the bottom of the stairs, directing them to the best spot to stand + asked them to close their eyes. Asking the bridesmaids to close their eyes allowed me to take the time I needed to set myself up to get the best possible outcome. Once the bride had positioned herself at the top of the stairs I told the girls they could open their eyes.

What did you say?

“(Bridesmaids) when you are dressed and ready I’m going to have you gather together at the bottom of the stairs. The (bride) is ready + anxiously waiting to join you! I realize this might sound strange but I need you all to close your eyes + keep them closed until I say it’s time to open them. Hey (bride), are you ready for this?! I’m going to get you to walk to the stairs + stop at the top step. Ok, let’s do this! Open your eyes”

How did you compose your image?

When it was time for the revel I positioned myself behind the bride, keeping her in the foreground, and framing the bridesmaids in the bottom left corner. As we were up on the second floor I was able to shoot down on the subjects bringing a different perspective to the image.

How and what did you focus on?

As the bridesmaid’s reaction was the purpose of the photo, I focused on them using a single shot, auto focus. Having the bride in the frame but out of focus allows for the image to tell the full story. You know exactly what is happening without needing to be told.


How did you use the light in your image?

Part of the reason I chose this spot is knowing that the light would not shift on me. Although the bridesmaids had their backs to the windows, the entire room was quite bright + their faces were still well lit.

What was the gear & settings you used?

*Links may contain affiliate links


Canon 5D Mark IV


Canon EF 35mm f/1.4 L II





Shutter Speed






White Balance


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

Our preset was applied + white balance was tweaked. A radial filter was used on the bridesmaids to brighten them without overexposing the entire image. Anything distracting was removed + grain was added.

Software Used

Adobe Lightroom CC


*Links may contain affiliate links

What challenges did you face?

The biggest challenge was nailing both composition + the reaction. Sometimes it’s a risk being a bit more creative with the framing when the reaction is the most important aspect of the image to capture. But if you can achieve both, you create an image that tells a story + brings impact.

How did you solve them?

Be ready. Test your exposure beforehand + don’t be afraid to re-adjust where you are standing to ensure that you get the shot.

Can you share any last thoughts or advice?

Whether it’s a first look with the couple, with a parent, or the wedding party, try telling the story in one frame by keeping all subjects in the image. We believe that candid images can be beautifully composed too.

Shari & Mike

Shooting since


Current Home




Based out of beautiful Vancouver, bc, we are Shari + Mike, a husband & wife photography team passionate about life, travel + cultures. We choose to live with passion & to see the world with color, depth & creativity. It is our desire to tell your story. To create photos that capture the pure reflections of who you are. Photos that bring a fresh perspective of life… Your life.

Join the newsletter & be notified of new content

Keep on exploring

Gaby Scheer Photo
Paraguassu Fotografia
Conie Suarez Bravo
The Kitcheners

Want to be a part of
How I Shot This?


Login to your account