Tricky Low Light Engagement Photography Situations

To be a successful photographer, you have to be resourceful, adaptable, and quick. In this video, SLR Lounge shows you an example of how to embrace limited time and resources. This specific situation includes a personal engagement photo for a couple that involves their car in the shot. With only 15 minutes left, the shot had still not been taken. Ruling out the possibility of a full studio set-up with multiple strobes, the team was pressed to think on their feet and come up with a creative solution. Watch to see how they got the shot:

In this case, light painting and post production were the answers. Since the crew didn’t have time to set up a lot of lights, they simply used several long exposures to “paint” the car with one light and created a composite image later in post-processing. To do this, the team used a Canon 5D Mark III, Canon 24-70mm f/2.8 II, Manfrotto 055XPROB tripod, and a Lowel GL-1 light.

If you find yourself in a similar time crunch, go through this mental checklist:

  • What Gear Do You Have Available? – Rule out the things that you can’t do or would be too time consuming. Look at what you have and use that as a starting point as to what you can accomplish.
  • Where Can You Go? – Do you have a studio? Do you have time to set up in a studio? Would a nearby indoor/outdoor location be better suited for your needs/time constraint?
  • What Is The Most Important? – What shots do you have to have and which ones are just things that you want to do? Prioritize your shot list so that you at least cover the basics. If you’re not sure you’ll have time for the more creative shots, save them til last.
  • What Do You Absolutely Need? – Do you have to have an overhead light of some kind? Perhaps you need a wide angle lens to get the shot you’re looking for. When thinking about gear and location, make sure they at least meet your bare minimums. Sure you may find an amazing background for your shot, but if you don’t have enough working distance to photograph all of your subject, or a place to rig your lights, perhaps it’s not the best place.
egagement photo car light painting

Light painting and multiple exposures were used instead of a multi-light setup

egagement photo car light painting

The final result with all images combined

“Overall the entire shoot, to take the first photograph all the way to the last photograph, it only took us eleven minutes…and while the shot isn’t perfect, I’m really happy with they way it turned out given the overall time, location, and lighting constraints that we had.”

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