The Society of Wedding and Portrait Photographers invited me to come to England and Ireland to do a series of lectures and classes. The SWPP is fast becoming one of the world's leading groups dedicated to advancing the professionalism of portrait and wedding photographers throughout Europe. As I was reviewing the images recently I thought that there was so much information in some of them I just had to share them with the rest of the society's members.
Not only were the photographers receptive to my instruction, but they were also anxious to be my models. Two photographers in particular, Patricia Fernandez Li and one of her employees, Patrick, added immeasurably to the classes by providing magnificent costumes that they use daily in their business. Patricia's studio, Castle Photography, is located in an historic district, almost adjacent to Windsor Castle. They have an incredible collection of period costumes for dressing up tourists and photographing them either in their studio or on location.
We had the benefit of Patricia and Patrick with their costumes both in England and Ireland. The areas surrounding where I was appearing abounded in locations in which to photograph them. At a nearby old church I posed them underneath a carriage pass-through, covering them from overhead. I kept them closer to one side of the openings, so that I could have a natural main light. Later in Photoshop I burned-in the edges of the picture and opened up the detail in their clothing by using Image/Adjust/Shadow Highlight. [TOP]
At the same location I posed the local Vicar in front of his church. The light was overcast with very little direction of light (as can be seen on the church, itself, in the background. A black and white rendition of the picture looked much better than the original colour. A 16-35mm Canon wide-angle lens allowed me to keep the vicar close to the camera and the most important part of the picture, while keeping his church a secondary interest - far in the background. 
Inside another church in Ireland, Patricia and Patrick posed as our bride and groom. Just within the entrance to the church Patricia kneeled at an altar in a small, side-room. Natural light coming through the window was all that I needed. With the ISO set up to 1000 I was able to handhold the camera. I toned down the window and sides of the picture (focusing attention on the central theme of the picture) by adding an adjustment later in Curves and painting out the centre to create the darkened edges. 
Within the main sanctuary I took advantage of the natural light coming in through a high window, placing the bride and groom strategically so that I could show both of them as well as some of the architecture of the church. I explained to all the photographers how important it is to observe the natural light and use it whenever and wherever possible to maintain the integrity of the church's interior. 
On another day Patricia and Patrick posed in the same costumes ...this time on the front lawn of the hotel where the class was being held in Ireland. I took advantage of the early morning sunlight, using it as the main light. Again, a wide-angle lens allowed me to keep the couple up close to the camera and still show a lot of background detail. The fence happened to catch the light more than I wanted it to. To darken the fence behind them I changed the mode of the picture to Lab Mode, selected the Brightness channel, darkened the fence with the Burn Tool and then converted the photograph back to RGB. 
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