Continuing with a deep dive into individual photos from the unedited raw file to the contextual images around this image, and finally to the edit in Lightroom! The video at the bottom also covers these and other topics in great detail.

A couple, holding hands and dressed formally, walk through a well-lit, futuristic tunnel with curved, reflective walls, perfect for capturing stunning wedding portraits with a Canon EOS R.

This image is certainly a favorite of mine, but I don’t think it’s one that I would put in my top 10 favorites of all time, but social media would have you think otherwise.Every time I post this photo it does pretty well, and though I’m always happy when that happens… I’ve always felt a certain amount of internal pushback against it. I can’t remember exactly what he said, but Ryan Muirhead has a section in some of his talks about the loop social media can create between you and your work.

You make a thing – you post that thing – it does poorly – you make a new thing

or

You make a thing – you post that thing – it does well – you make a thing very similar to that thing

…and so the loop begins.

Of course, adjusting what you create based on social feedback isn’t necessarily a bad thing, and not everyone would even be susceptible to falling into this loop where your work starts to become a parody of itself. It’s still important to be aware of the impact social feedback might be having on you, or your work. Ever wonder why a *lot* of people across reddit write with a very similar style and tone? It’s largely because of the feedback loop of what gets upvoted.

For me, I want control. Even if I do make a decision based on social feedback, I want to be actively aware that I’m deciding to do that. As soon as I find myself tempted to do what someone else is doing, or I think about using a technique that I’ve used before because I knew it worked before, or even when I think about shooting in a location I’ve shot at before, I try to ask myself “but why am I doing this?”…”Does this feel right for this couple, this environment, and this place in time?”

Back to this wedding, these are my actual two favorite photos from walking around downtown Detroit in the dark rain on new years eve:

What can help mitigate these tradeoffs is practice. Implement a new technique so often that it becomes part of your intuitive process. Even if the photo completely fails, which will happen often in the beginning, keep going through the motions of using that technique. Again, this can be anything – not just using a prism for reflections. What will start to happen is pattern recognition of what scenarios are likely to work well, or not.

Whenever I think about using a reflection it’s usually because of two reasons:

1) There’s a significant amount of dark shadow/blackness in the scene (like in a silhouette)

2) Everything about the scene is perfect, except for a distracting element like a car, or otherwise immovable object.

Scenario 1 is my most common reason for trying out a reflection. Whenever you realize you have a lot of dark shadow in a significant amount of your frame – think about adding a reflection over it. Whatever is being reflected will really “pop” overtop of it, and generally start to reveal a new composition you can mold into place.

Scenario 2 is less common simply because I try really hard to see past photo ideas where there’s a physical constraint that I can’t deal with or compose around to begin with. But, sometimes perfect light is only happening in one direction (why is there always a car in those directions?!), and I’ll prioritize good light, and work on composition, pose, and everything else from there.

Pivoting to my approach w/ editing – I used a lot of black and white through this session. I consider black and white my “get out of jail free card” when it comes to shooting in mixed light, which is a common issue when shooting on city streets at night. It also helps high ISO noise feel more like grain. This is one reason I deliver the final images to my clients in color or black and white – if it’s black and white then it’s for *a reason* either technical, or emotional.

But for images that I wanted to remain in color, I did the rare move of using the color mixer to selective desaturate the aqua, green, and yellow colors thanks to the florescent lighting.

This is the unedited file:and this is (roughly) the final edit. Hopefully, you can see that yellow/green in the background is gone. Don’t be afraid of massively desaturating the yellow slider – it will touch the skin tones, but not nearly as much as orange and red.All this along with a copious amount of gradient sliders to create a natural blob shape to the vignette instead of something too perfectly spherical: I’m curious what tradeoffs any of you find yourselves making throughout a wedding day.

Is it moment based, where you emphasis photos of the couple more than photos of someone reacting to the couple? Is it technical where you find yourself taking images in natural light because your reaction time is faster? Have you ever found yourself caught in the social media feedback loop with your work?

Camera: Canon EOS R

Lens: Canon 24mm F/1.4

Location: Detroit