Raph Nogal: How I Got The Shot

This month on our blog, Spider Ambassador and professional wedding photographer Raph Nogal shows us how he “got the shot” pictured above, and used his Spider gear to turn a dreary “Plan B” into a dramatic “First Look” on this couple’s big day.

I love the challenges that somehow always present themselves on the wedding day. I say, “Bring it!”.

Getting close to this particular wedding, the weather forecast was not looking good. On the wedding day we got a torrential downpour. The couple’s “First Look” or “Reveal” was initially planned for the outdoors in a nearby town,  but that was quickly scrapped for an indoor location. Now, most indoor venues give you variety of options, however the Plan B here was the Groom’s parents’ home. Mind you, it wasn’t a 600 sq ft condo (phew!) and it was a spacious home…but at the end of the day, it was a residential house and not a hotel or a “wedding venue,” so looking for creative and unique spots was going to be a challenge…but, that’s fine…challenge accepted!

I think that fear starts to fade if you have the right tools in the bag, if you embrace spontaneity, and if you have a vision in mind.

I love drama (in photography!) and using the right tools, such as a grid, prevents the light from my speedlight from reaching parts of the scene that I don’t want lit by it. This is especially useful when you are working with existing light elements, such as existing ambient or natural light, chandeliers, wall sconces, etc.…basically anything that you want visible (in terms of light) in your photos that already exists.

In this particular case, I walked into the dining room area of the home and noticed two wall sconces and a light fixture above the dining room table. I asked my assistant Oliver to snoot and grid the speedlight as I wanted to expose for the sconces and the light fixture. We were able to turn an ordinary dining room into an extraordinary scene. We repeated this process and shot into a mirror as well to create some complementary images for their wedding album and to carry the story along. To get there, I had to convey the mood I wanted to my couple. I had to guide them, give them directions and explain what I was envisioning.

This is where Spider Holster Spider Pro really lets me concentrate on interacting with my clients.

Not only is it a great tool to put my camera away when we’re walking, for example, but also when simply talking to clients. The Spider Pro is unlike a camera strap where the camera is always in the way and usually out front and dangling around your chest/torso area. If your clients are still warming up to you and/or the shoot itself, having that camera dangle from your neck is not really helping – I feel it almost takes the focus away from you and puts it back on the camera…I love the fact that I can put the camera on my Spider Pro, to the side of my hip, and talk to my couple like I normally would – sans camera. I can use my hands, point to things and demonstrate what I want them to do, without that camera always in the forefront. What’s really cool about it is also that I don’t have to put my camera down and scramble to find it and pick it up if something spontaneous happens…it’s right there at my hip. The Spider Holster Spider Pro is definitely a tool I bring to every single shoot. Its just as important as my camera.

Raph Nogal is a Spider Ambassador.  Learn more about him here, and visit his website at raphnogal.com.  Raph uses a SpiderPro Dual Camera System with black SpiderPro Hand Strapson each camera, a Water Bottle Holder, and a Spider Monkey.