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This Is How: ‘Champagne Shower’ by Rahul Khona

In the twenty-third of our regular series of documentary wedding photography guides it’s an honour to have the brilliant Rahul Khona on the site, telling us all about this brilliant champagne shower capture of his. Brilliant tips and insights such as staying until the end, shooting not only for the couple but for future generations, an in-depth discussion of his flash setup, and much more. He also shows us his RAW images from the series of shots he captured here, along with the final, edited image. Thanks so much Rahul!

At every wedding, I want to create authentic and timeless images. I love creating portraits, however, 95% of my wedding day, I take a documentary approach and focus on people, the relationships and the emotions on the day. I want my photos to remind not only my couples how amazing their wedding day was, and how they felt, but also for future generations to see how two families came together.

I always stay ’til the end of every wedding, for a couple of reasons, firstly you never know what can happen, case in point with this image, this is the main reason. And secondly, if something epic did happen, and I saw it on social media the next day, I would feel I haven’t provided my clients a good enough service because I should’ve been there capturing that moment for them and that makes me feel super bad, I learnt this lesson early on in my career, and never make the mistake again.

About the image:

I always use off camera flash to light my receptions, as it adds that extra dimension to my images and provides a depth that I love. I light my receptions with 4 off camera flashes, and knock the ones I need on and off with my on-camera trigger depending on where I’m standing and the position of my subject.

When I first walk into a reception room, I place my flashes depending on the layout of the room, whilst trying to make sure they’re not in the way of any guests. I then balance the power and colour of the flashes to the ambience of the room, making sure I try to stay as true as possible to capture the real mood and feel of the reception, and then generally I won’t touch my flashes for the rest of the night. Now, I have total control of the light, I’m free to pretty much move around anywhere around the room, capturing journalistic photos.

This image was taken around 12.45am, right towards the end of the night. The minute I saw the groom bring a bottle of champagne onto the dance floor, shaking it, I kinda knew what was going to happen. My flashes were already set, so I was ready for this photo, I just had to make sure I moved into a position, where I thought would give me the best results and capture the scene. Of course, once I was in place, I was praying that the groom didn’t move anywhere else, because I was shooting him whilst he was talking to his friends, who were coaxing him to spray the bottle and the light on him was great, so I kept on shooting, then after around 5 minutes he sprayed the champagne, with his wife by his side and I fired a burst a photos as shown below.

I love creating images like this for my couples, because in 30 years time, when maybe their epic partying days are over, they can show their kids how they should really party!

Photo details:

Canon 5d mkiv
Canon 35mm L
ISO 1600 / 3.2 / 1/200
Flash power: 1/16 with Magmod CTO Gel.

Below are the four other images I took, these are my RAW files, and the final edited delivered image.

RAW image by Rahul Khona

RAW image by Rahul Khona

RAW image by Rahul Khona

RAW image by Rahul Khona

champagne shower by Rahul Khona


Link to the wedding;

You can see more of Rahul’s work via those links above, or over on his This is Reportage profile.

If you enjoyed this post, we have lots of other ‘This Is How…’ posts by our TiR members over here.

Aga Tomaszek

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