In this video and article, we’ll show you how you can use a bridal veil to create interesting flares and light leaks in-camera. It can be hard to get the right amount of flare in an image, especially when the sun is overpowering the frame. Here is a simple trick we like to use to block just enough sun to get the perfect shot.
Step 1: Set Up Camera On Tripod
This step is advised, but not necessary. When working with a moving object like a veil. it can be tricky to get the shot with flare by holding both the veil and the camera, so setting it up on a tripod makes it easy to maneuver.
Step 2: Position Camera and Composition
We don’t necessarily want the light directly behind the couple, otherwise, it’s going to limit our flare. For this shot, the sun is camera right and coming in just at the top of the right side of the frame.
Step 3: Dial In Your Camera Settings
Our settings for this shot are ISO 100, 1/800th of a second, at f/1.4. I’m shooting wide open on this 24mm lens because that shallow depth of field is really going to exaggerate the light leaks and the softness of the veil and all those elements in the foreground. One tip regarding focus: since your subjects are going to be remaining pretty still throughout this shot, what I like to do is dial in and get my critical focus right on their eyes and then switch over to Manual Focus or locked focus, that way it stays there for the rest of the scene.
Step 4: Pull The Veil Up And Over
We do this in order to incorporate the veil into the shot and use it as a foreground element or a way to lead the viewer’s eye into the subject.
Step 5: Control Flare With Object
Use your fingers or an object to block the sunlight in order to control the amount of flare that enters the frame. You can see with the image on the left that there is an overwhelming amount of light over the faces of the couple, making it hard to distinguish who they are. By blocking some of the light, there is a clean line which makes them easily visible while still maintaining some flare characteristics in the frame.
About the author: Pye Jirsa is a wedding photographer based in Southern California and the co-founder of SLR Lounge. The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author. You can find more of Jirsa’s work here. This article was also published here.