Dave Johnson's Photography

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Lindsay & Shaun Get Married

After 9 years together my sister married her sweetheart at the weekend. I had been tasked with taking some photographs of her and the bridesmaids getting ready but I ended up doing the lot!

I’ve done a few weddings before but as far as I can recall this is the first where the Groom is actually a photographer! This, coupled with the fact it was my sister added to the pressure of making sure the shots were spot on. Fortunately, both the Bride and Groom were very laid back and took it all in their stride. I hope they like the photographs – I’m quite pleased with them!!

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Evelyn & James Get Married!

Exactly a year a go to the day I was busy shooting, my soon to be sister in-laws, wedding down in Dorset. From this one of her work colleagues asked if I would like to shoot their wedding in April 2013. Of course I said ‘yes’ and so started the planning in preparation for James and Evelyn’s big day.

Evelyn & James were married at the Parish Church of Saint Peter and Saint Andrew in Old Windsor. A beautiful ceremony was followed by a wonderful reception held at the Saxons Barn in Windsor. Given the horrendous weather that has besieged the UK since, well many years a go it would seem, I was thinking about contingency arrangements for photos to be taken indoors. However, waking up on Saturday morning I was greeted by clear blue skies and the thermometer steadily rising. Of course, whilst this kind of weather is perfect for everyone else, it certainly makes the job of a photographer that much harder. Even more so when I considered that the shots taken after the ceremony were going to be in midday sun.

However, the bride and groom were fantastic, and were happy to be moved around and placed into locations to limit direct sun. The end result was some fantastic photos (even if I do say so myself!) and ones that I feel capture the pure essence of their wedding day – love, fun and happiness!

The complete set of photos, approved by the Bride & Groom, can be found on my Flickr site.

Dave Johnson’s Photography on Facebook

Which way to the castle

The Dress!

The Detail

The Shoes

Bride & baby


Nearly ready


Here comes the bride

Together at last


The vows


Proud groom looks on

The love tree

Just a little confetti

We are married!

The couple

Best men!

Mmmm cake


Another happy couple

A right larf!

First dance

Everybody join in

Swing round and round

Take your partner by the hand

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Experimenting with Speedlites

I wouldn’t say I’ve recently become obsessed with speedlites, or strobism, as the cool kids say, but I have been spending quite a bit of time experimenting with different setups. My experiments with flash started when I was preparing myself for the Wedding of The Year, where I knew I would need to be able to control both ambient and flash in order to get balanced exposures that don’t resemble the deer caught between the headlights kind of shot – normally associated with on-camera flash from compact cameras.

I also invested in a couple of books, one from the master of speed lighting, Syl Arena, and the other by an accomplished wedding photographer called Neil van Niekirk. If you are interested in improving your speedlite technique then I would definitely recommend these books. Out of all the information in the book the one piece that has stuck with me and allowed me to get more creative and achieve better results is that ambient light exposure is controlled by shutter speed whilst flash exposure is controlled by aperture. What this basically means is that by choosing a suitable shutter speed for the ambient light conditions you can achieve wonderfully balanced shots that don’t even look like flash has been used!

The other thing that has got me interested in maximising the use of my speedlite is that my pop-up flash on my Canon 7D can act as a wireless master and trigger external flash units. What this means is that I can now set up my speedlite (in slave mode) off-camera and use my camera to trigger the unit – with or without the pop-up flash firing.

I am going to be brave and post a few shots of some of my experiments to show what I have been up to. Some of these include off-camera flash but a couple are also about using flash to fill in harsh shadows or for taking photos against the sun. Finally, With the recent purchase of some coloured gels I can now play around with some funky effects. As I said before, this is all about experimenting but any comments or tips would be greatly appreciated. Dave

The composite image below was taken in the woods earlier today. The shot on the left was with no-flash and due to the sun coming from the right hand side you can see that the light across the image is quite variable. This made it quite tricky to get the correct exposure of Mummy and Mia without the rest of the highlights in the image completely blowing out. By adding some fill-flash it allowed the ambient light to be controlled a lot better resulting in a more balanced shot. The shot with flash was used with the camera in manual but the flash used E-TTL II to determine the flash exposure.

Woods_fill flash

This next composite is with off-camera flash being held behind Ben by my trusty assistant. As I said, this is all experimentation at this point which is why you can see said trusty assistant (and her side kick) in one of the images. It’s pretty obvious where the flash was placed but the idea would be to soften the brightness of this flash to give a nice backlit effect – as can be seen around Ben’s head. The second of the shots Lou held the flash at a 90 degree angle to the children – as can be seen by Mia waving at the flash!!

Off-camera flash

This composite is of M playing in the bath. The speedlite was gelled and placed off-camera with the Canon 7D pop-up flash firing and also triggering the speedlite. I was using my wide angle lens for these shots and Unfortunately, as can be seen in the image on the bottom, there is quite a considerable vignette being caused by the pop-up flash. In an ideal world a second speedlite would be used, again either on or off-camera which would eliminate this problem.

Coloured gels_bathtime

Final composite is again of M in the bath with the external flash being gelled red. What I am trying to achieve with the gelled shots is to get the subject (i.e. M) exposed correctly but without the colour cast from the gel. The gel is to provide some background interest to an otherwise bland white bathroom. In the final shot the speedlite was placed in the bedroom, triggered by the pop-up flash of the Canon 7D.

Coloured gels_fun


The Picture Perfect Wedding of a Wonderful Couple

The week leading up to the wedding was blotted by torrential downpours and gale force winds. Fortunately, just when all the preparations for the big day were reaching a crescendo, the clouds parted and for the rest of the weekend the sun shone brightly. Following a brief, but intimate ceremony at Dorchester Town Hall, the happy couple (eventually!) and their guests made their way back to Symondsbury Manor in Symondsbury for a most wonderful reception full of cocktails, a bake off, and guest DJ appearances! The bride even managed to get a few mixes in before she hit the dance floor. I think I can safely speak for everyone that attended that this wedding was everything that was expected plus more!

I hope you enjoy looking at the photos and reminiscing about that wonderful day in May 2012.

Once the photos have been ‘approved’ you can view the full set in my flickr album. Additionally, the following links include images of the wedding:

A separate post that features photos from the day.
Carla Kirste – Carol’s dressmaker

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The Wedding!

As I’ve mentioned in my previous posts, I recently went to my sister-in-laws wedding and was trusted with the (small) job of doing the photography. Whilst this didn’t overly worry me at the time, or on the day, when I got home I was anxious about the photos, and if I managed to get that ‘perfect’ shot. To cut a long story short I managed to get many great shots – in my humble opinion(!), and as a result Carol’s dressmaker, Carla Kirste, would like to use one of my pictures on her website.

Below are a select few photos which primarily focus on the lovely couple but also highlight Carla’s dressmaking skills! If you are interested in getting a dress made for that special occasion you should check out her website and blog. If you want to see more photos from this stunning wedding then check out my flickr site. At present there aren’t many available but in time more will be uploaded.

Carla Kirste Dressmaking and Alterations
Carla Loves…