Wedding Photographer Jon Mold
ChÃteau de Chantilly
I was very lucky to shoot Helen & Jeremy’s wedding in Paris earlier this year. They were getting married in the most amazing chateaux (ChÃteau de Chantilly) with dungeons and an extensive lawn out the back. One of the highlights was a 5 mins firework finale at the end of the night. Sounds idyllic but it started raining. I’ve done firework shots before and knew I had to drag the shutter to around 0.5-1.5 sec to bring the ambient fireworks into the exposure. But how do I separate the couple from the background and the dark sky? As this was a big part of the celebration I couldn’t not mess this up.
So 15 mins out me and my assistant went out back and got some test shots done. A tripod was a must, also to get the couple separated from the background I placed a flash 20 meters in front of them zoomed in firing back towards the couple.
How did I meter it? Camera set to manual and by chimping the back of the screen, I never use a light meter. My method was dial in what I knew first, my shutter had to be around 1 sec to get the fireworks with some trails. My aperture needed to be around F4 to get detail in the fireworks. So I dialled in shutter to 0.5 sec @ F4, take a shot, too darkâ€¦ so I increase ISO, open aperture slightly, test shot, get it close and then add the flash. With my assistant in place I zoomed the flash to 50mm and set that manually to 1/32 power. Why 1/32 power? why not, got to start somewhere, I think it was too powerful so it ended up around 1/64 power.
When the couple came out for the firework I asked them to stand in the spot were I did the test shots. Then when the fireworks started I was shooting and chimping, slightly adjusting my shutter aperture and ISO to get the correct exposure. I knew I had to shoot from a low position behind them so that they were in line with the display.
What was important is getting prepared. I spoke to the fireworks guys in my pigeon French and worked out the display timeline and roughly how high the fireworks would be going. Using my assistant and help set up the exposure all before the couple came out. It’s all in the planning.
The rain really added to the shot as the flash backlit the droplets and gave this dreamy star field effect, it looks like it’s taken in space.!
I love it.
Post processing was adjusting the exposure by +1, making the WB cooler, adding some contrast and sharpening and that’s it. This is the SOOC shot.
The Select Bride’s Thoughts
Junior has captured a beautiful moment in this shot but not only that he has composed it masterfully, directing all the focus to the single tear falling from the bride’s eyes. Wonderful.
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