Behind the Scenes on a Bridal Shoot

We know a lot of you out there have questions about how we do our lighting and set up so we wanted to give you a glimpse into the behind-the-scenes of one of the set-ups of a bridal session that we shot a few weeks ago. The fab bride that you see below is Mallory, and she and her man, Aaron just got married this past weekend, so we are excited we can start putting up some of her bridal images!

We shot this setup with a Westcott 24×32 Softbox, two Photogenic Powerlights (600 watts & 1,000 watts), Pocket Wizards Plus IIs, the Sekonic L-358 light meter, and of course 2 Alien Bee Vagabond II‘s for our power source.

I put the main light about 35 degrees off to the side and as close in as possible to give the “painted on” light look. Putting it off to the side creates a “loop” lighting pattern where the light loops off to one side of the brides face and body and helps create more depth and dimension. Then, to help “pop” her out from the background even more, I set our second light to the side of her, hitting the rocks and her back. We shot this BARE BULB with a small 7 inch reflector so the light was a little more harsh and defining. The front light was metered at F/9 which was about 2 stops brighter than the background (to give us a very flash heavy dramatic look) and the back light was metered at F/11 to make it really obvious.

This is what the set up looked like:

After setting my camera settings to what my meter was telling me, I began to shoot, and the below is one of the images taken.

Here was a second shot that we did by just keeping our same settings and moving the bride over to the rocks. We re-metered to be sure we were at the same settings, removed the background light, and shot.

Hope you enjoyed!

Check back on our blog tomorrow where we will debut Mallory’s full bridal session!!

  • Ryan

    Very nice! Thanks for posting the behind the scenes look. It’s always fun to see how other photographers are doing it. Quick question: What shutter speed were you shooting at? My guess is somewhere around 1/60th, no?

  • Michael Johnson

    Very cool. The sky looks so bright and blown out in the setup. Pretty sweet and contrasty in the final shots. Was the 1000 ws needed due to mid day brightness?

  • Cody Emberton

    THIS IS PERFECT- I literally thought about emailing you guys about this exact subject! I am in love with the images (as usual) THANK YOU SO MUCH!

  • Christy

    Great post!!! Love the details of how you did this. Thanks! Waiting for the fall workshop dates, hope I can make one.

  • Zach


    My shutter was at 1/200th for these. I sped up the shutter after the initial metering to give the background a more dramatic look.

    Yes! The background light was pretty far away, so we needed the extra power to make the light visible. It was at full power for this shot.

    Great questions!!

  • Stan Dunlap

    you da man!!! Awesome!!!

  • s h e r r y

    Siiick. These are RAD. Can’t wait to see them. I need (so so so so so much) help with off camera lighting. Heck, even on camera.

  • Karen Stott

    I am totally lovin these shots… dramatic lighting is my FAV! Great work!

  • Kate Mercer

    Hey Jody and Zach,
    You guys are fantastic! I read it all…. kind of got hooked. You have great tips and tons of information, not to mention that the two of you seem to be having a lot of fun. I know you will have huge success. Thanks for sharing.
    Kate Mercer