Monday, September 14, 2009

Nadzuan and Maria. Sometime before Ramadhan

Hello all,

Thanks for waiting for my updates. For those who are my regular followers, here are some new outdoor shots I've taken of Nadzuan and Maria for their outdoor wedding photo session at Muar, Johor sometime before Ramadhan. I must say that there's not much location to shoot or scout in a short period of stay, but somehow, The Blue Mosque of Muar has it's own magic. There's plenty of space for different scenes. The environment is so beautiful and the architecture is so nostalgic. For photographers, a little creativity can land you some awesome photos to bring back home. Not to mention a happy client :)

This assignment was really exciting for me because the weather was not so good.

Why is bad weather a good thing?
In the afternoon it rained. Therefore throughout the evening the rain created an overcast sky. Only towards later in the evening we managed to get some sun, but only for about half-an hour of pure sunlight intensity around 5.00pm-6.00pm. From 6.00pm till 6.30pm, the sun was setting so fast and there wasn't enough contrast from the ambient light. Therefore, it forces me to get creative with my speedlights.

Bad weather gives me great challenge to create stunning shots. When I come out with the money shots out of bad weather, it really gives me great satisfaction that "Hey, I still got the skills to pull through this bad weather". During bad weather, even your clients doesn't expect much. Their morale went low in the beginning. However, the minute you pull out your bag of tricks and showed them how beautiful they are in the shots you created, things started to "light up", so to speak.

I love bad weather in it's own way because it forces me to be creative and get out of my comfort zone. When that happens, usually stunning shots will come out of the gloom.

During this assignment, I was privileged to be assisted with my close friend Chan Leong Hin. I thank him for holding on to my lightstand with the shoot-thru umbrella open and not letting the wind blowing it away into the river.

To Nadzuan and Maria. Congratulations on your wedding, and most of all, thank you for trusting me to photograph your wedding event.

Best wishes from me,

Azhar Ariff

Here's Nadzuan and Maria. Just before heading out to Muar town for their outdoor wedding shoot. I took this shot with Maria's house because it is a classic government quarters, smack in the middle of town. But the thing is, it's so quiet.
Just before heading out for outdoor photoshoot

The sun was setting fast and I was lucky that the sun was low and bright enough to give a nice backlight. With an "invisible" fill-light. Voila! I love to use off-camera lighting and make the scene look as if there was no artificial lighting involved. Gives me great pleasure and satisfaction to see the outcome of these sets. I was thrilled.
Garden area at The Blue Mosque of Muar

I must say that when I saw the setting sun, I knew I wanted the sun right on top of Maria's head. I wanted and "Angel"-look to it. It helps when she's wearing her tiara. All of us were really pleased with this shot. I love this shot. Dang it's good.
Angelic Maria

More backlight shots. I really made use of the setting sun. The sunlight that passed through the folliages really helps create a nice looking environment. All shot wide-open at f1.8.
More backlight shots at the garden

Nadzuan's turn to get a profile shot. The sun was really weak at this moment. I just grabbed whatever I could from the light.
Nadzuan's profile shot

Last few shots before the sun goes down.
Last ones before the sun goes out

We started out photographing at this location, which is by the riverside. I wanted to include the new Muar mosque across the river, which is the exact replica of The Blue Mosque where we are shooting at the moment. I thought that including the architecture of the Mosque would at least signify that "Hey! This is in Muar". It's not easy to tell viewers the context of where these photos were taken without including some architectural landmarks.
By the riverside, overlooking the replica Muar Mosque

More shots by the riverside.

I thought I'd focus on Maria for this shot. I like the light from the setting sun coming from the left. To balance out the shadows, I added a fill light with a shoot-thru umbrella from the right. Doesn't seem like there's any artificial lighting involved isn't it? Love this.
Maria with Nadzuan in the background

Now here's a more dramatic shot, which includes the existing Blue Mosque of Muar. The mosque is a significant piece of architecture, therefore I'd really like to get it in the frame. This scene was lit with a bare speedlight with CTO gel to get the extra blue intensity of the environment. Works like a charm.
The Blue Mosque of Muar

More sets of The Blue Mosque
More images

Finally, when the sun was almost out, I had to dial up the flash to full power to light up this couple. For this shot, I wanted to create a nostalgic feel, in line with the history of The Blue Mosque of Muar. At the same time, the architecture which looks very English made me want to make this shot looked like it was in England, sort of...Nevertheless, I love this shot because it concludes the session in somewhat "nostalgic" way, per se.