barn lighting workshop | brandy hill farm | virginia wedding photographer

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If there's one thing that I knew I wanted to work on this year, it was off camera flash (OCF) and lighting. Natural light is totally my jam (as it is for most photographers!)... and so the technical nature of flash, lighting gear and understanding all of what goes into effectively lighting large spaces, small details and moving people is a lot to become confident in without having a dark yet gorgeous place to practice and an experienced professional sharing their tried and true methods!

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So, when I learned that Michelle of Lieb Photographic was offering small group coaching on a gorgeous Friday afternoon in March, I literally cleared my calendar, signed-up and booked my spot in a matter of minutes!! You may remember I took Michelle's Summer's End Workshop back in August at Rixey Manor and had the opportunity to photograph in a dark steakhouse restaurant as well as at a southern blooms inspired shoot.

This one day workshop focused on all types of off-camera flash scenarios (using a softbox, shoot-through umbrellas, multiple speedlight setups and more) and provided so many real-life challenges within a dark space that had high ceilings and a variety of ambient light: cafe twinkle lights, bright windows and up-lighting against the walls.

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I love this shot below because it shows what really went on behind the scenes! Isn't it funny how you'd have no idea in the shot above, that multiple lights and stands were just out of the frame and helped in achieving the balanced lighting in that gorgeous backlit table setup?

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We spent lots of time with the cake and the bouquet in very differently lit setups. It was so hard to stare at these beauties for so long! ;)

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Next, it was time to shoot all of the typical wedding day details (paper goods, jewelry, flowers...), in the DARK... er, I mean, the barn. If you would have asked me to do that previously, I would have grabbed the details and ran outside (remember that natural light obsession?!). Now? It was time for a challenge...

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And then there was our model, Ana. ...hello gorgeous!!!

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We learned best practices for placement of OCF in relation to where we were and where our subject was; and I have to say, I'm such a fan of the way the artifical light highlights her natural features and washes her in a soft, creamy light with so much depth and shadow. If I'm being honest, this used to intimidate me like you wouldn't believe!

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At the end of the day we went outside in Culpeper, VA near St. Stephen's Episcopal Church to indulge all of our need for some vitamin D. :)

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As soon as I found these brick arched walls, my life was complete.

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I don't know what I love more: the quiet and contemplative, reflective moments or the motion-filled, windy laughing moments. Good thing on a wedding day, we usually have both of those and then some!

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I hope those of you who are in need of a off-camera lighting refresher, reach out to Michelle - she's an amazing teacher, mentor and friend!

stay bright, Naomi