A "knockout" bride on the boxing team!

Last night we did something a little different. When you have a recently married bride who is a national team boxer - well, the ideas for photos immediately start to flow! As usual, I have the most fun shooting when I'm working with my creative bro, Benjamin Edwards. This was one of his brides, and he was able to get her boxing coach to set up the official boxing ring out in this amazing spot right in front of the epic cliffs of Smith Rock, OR. This was no small feat as it took their guys and us about 3 hours just to build the thing!

Ben and I took turns setting up shots for Jenah & Matt, the bride & groom. We always have a blast working this way and I highly suggest it to any photographer - find a shooting buddy and help each other out! You can learn so much from just helping another photographer create their shots. If you are open to sharing your ideas, and open to the creative feedback from others, you'll be amazed at what you can achieve! Open the doors and keep the communication flowing like a gentle breeze.

One of the shots I wanted to do involved the bride "knocking out" a groom (or maybe the best man, who's misbehaving at the wedding! :-) I didn't want to subject the real groom to the idea I had, so I asked a friend who is a martial arts expert to do the stunt for us instead. This was an extra shot that was purely for fun–Ben and I did a bunch of other photos of the bride and her actual groom.

The knockout shot required the stunt double to fly backwards through the air as if socked right out of his shoes. In fact, I had him loosen up his shoes so that when he did jump back, they flew off his feet! To add to the energy of the shot, my assistants threw rose petals and sprayed water in the air to help add to the frozen moment feeling. If you watch the short video below that Ben took, you can see how that water was actually sprayed!

We shot this photo using Photoflex Triton flash units, triggered by a PocketWizard TT1/TT5 system. I wanted to test out the new PocketWizard firmware which allows for more automated Hypersync mode. It's really cool. Normally, studio flash units can only synchronize up to your camera's sync speed - like 1/250th second. To use a larger aperture outside in the sun, you would have to use speedlights only, and put them in high-speed sync mode (different than Hypersync)–but that dramatically reduces their output. To use the full power of any other type of light, you need to use a neutral density filter–which I commonly do. However, an ND filter will, by nature, reduce the entire exposure–meaning less light from your flash systems as well (although still more efficient than speedlight high-speed sync). Hypersync in the PocketWizard system allows you to work at faster than normal sync speeds, with any flash, and still get nearly full power from your flash. There is a limit to how much faster you can go, and each flash system requires a little bit of testing to determine that limit.

The image below was shot at 1/400th of a second at f2.8. I used 3 flash heads. The main light was in a Photoflex small Octodome–aimed at the bride, just above her eye level. A large Photoflex scrim was placed behind me, with another flash firing through it, to light the guy. The third light was directly behind them, acting as a rim light. To make it look more like the sun in the photo, I Photoshopped out the light stand holding it up there. This was really easy using the Content Aware Fill tool in PS.

I set my exposure so that the ambient would be under-exposed about 1.5-2 stops, providing dramatic sky and enough fill light for my main flash.

All the images were processed with my latest set of Lightroom presets, currently only available FREE (until Oct. 4th) when you grab my Lighting Notebook!

Here are a few more images from the shoot:


If you wondered how to set up a boxing ring, here's a quick time lapse:

Boxing_ring_setup_time_lapse.mp4 Watch on Posterous

Here are the photo tools we used: