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This Is How: ‘Beards and Beauties’ by Elliot Patching

We absolutely love the ‘This is How‘ series of posts by our TiR members, and today’s piece is no exception, with an incredibly interesting behind-the-scenes look by Elliot Patching of his recent Reportage Award from Collection Five. Not only really practical advice about reflections, light and editing, but also insightful tips about patience, pre-visualisation and more…thanks so much, Elliot!

So as if winning a TiR award wasn’t enough, here I am writing a ‘This is How’ piece – an honour. I’m always checking in on This is Reportage and am constantly inspired by the quality of work being produced by all. Some of it is so good I often think I should just give up! Haha! Anyway, about the image…

Firstly, it was taken at a stately home in Northants called Holdenby House, which is beautiful. In fact, my sister is having her reception there next year! As you’d imagine with a traditional stately home, it’s dripping with art. This picture frame caught my eye initially as I was preparing for the confetti throw. I could see the reflection of the guests in the glass as they were exiting the door, which is on the right as you look at the image. I tried initially to grab some shots of guests in the reflection, but it wasn’t working how I wanted it to so abandoned it, keeping in mind that I would have another go if the opportunity presented itself.

It wasn’t until after the drinks reception that it did present itself again. I feel like sometimes if you will it enough, it will happen. This was one of those occasions, which is fortunate because I personally really struggle to get a potential image out of my mind until I’ve satisfied my curiosity. I’ll just think about it over and over. Anyone else do that or is it just me? I hope I’m not alone…!

So basically, the bride and groom are stood waiting for their guests to be seated and the bride tells the groom to straighten his tie and BOOSH. I grab the shot. Curiosity satisfied, happy me.

If you want to grab an image like this, you’ve got to take a few things into account. First, you’ve got to find a dark enough area of the picture to frame your subject. Second, you need enough light on the subject so that they actually show up strongly in the reflection. Otherwise they just get lost and it’s all a bit of a mess and lets face it, if you can’t see the person or object that’s the main source of interest in your creation then what’s the point? You might as well spend that time stealing the pick and mix or, well, doing your job I suppose! Once you’ve got all that down, as is often the way with reportage photography in my experience, it’s about being patient. Either that or go back to it later like I did. As we all know, it won’t always work out and you’ll be left thinking what if. Boo. But if you’re anything like me, you’ll keep it stored in that brain of yours until you are at that same venue next time and try again then.

Editing for this pic is pretty minimal, I used my usual ‘Elliot’s Special Sauce’ preset as it’s called in my lightroom preset folder, which I created for my colour snappy snaps and use for all my colour edits with the usual minor tweaks to get it looking just how I like it. I lightened up the groom a little and at the same time boosted the highlights a touch with the radial tool and then used the radial tool again to slightly darken down the rest of the image outside of the groom. Other than that it is pretty much how it looked straight out of the camera.

Hope all that is useful to you if you fancy grabbing something like this for yourselves or even if you don’t! Thanks to Alan and TiR for inviting me to jibber jabber on like I have. Hope to see some of you at the meet up later on this year. Until then, Peace out. Elliot.

You can see more of Elliot’s work on his website, or here on his TiR profile.

Enjoy this piece? We have lots more wedding photography tips by our TiR members over here.

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