Wedding photographer Erika Gerdemark

Wedding photographer Erika Gerdemark

Wedding photographer Erika Gerdemark is mainly shooting in natural light. She is sharing some good examples of best practice. See some more beautiful wedding photos at Erika Gerdemark’s blog

Lighting For Photo: How old are you?

Erika Gerdemark: – I’m 28 years old.

Lighting For Photo: Where are you from?

Erika Gerdemark: – I grew up on the countryside outside a small town called Tierp, about 40 kilometers south of Gävle. Today I live and work in Stockholm.

Lighting For Photo: How long have you been into photography?

Erika Gerdemark: – It’ all started when I was 16 years old. I knew I wanted to study something creative in high school but I didn’t have any photo experience. My two choices were hairdressing or photography. Since all the other girls wanted to work as hairdressers I wanted to be different and choose something else. I started to study photography when I just had a red plastic pocket camera that I got from my aunt when I was 12, but in just a few weeks in my new school it grew to something bigger. It became my dream to work as a professional photographer.

Lighting For Photo: What do you like best about wedding photography?

Erika Gerdemark: – The storytelling part. That I can be able to pose the bridal couple during the portrait session but also work more journalistic during the day. Together it combines a beautiful story when I can be able to express my artistic side.

Lighting For Photo: What is your favorite piece of photo equipment?

Erika Gerdemark: – Absolutely my 50 mm 1.2 lens.

Lighting For Photo: What other photograpers do you like?

Erika Gerdemark: – I find much inspiration in many fashion photographers. But if I have to mention a wedding photographer that I want to shoot my own wedding (if I ever get married) it will be the two Canadian photographers at Red Leaf Studios, Richard and Amy McDowell. There’s a tenderness and uniqueness in their work that they combined with nature, that I havn’t seen in other wedding photographers work.

Lighting For Photo: What are your three best tips for taking better wedding photos?

Erika Gerdemark: – One. Love what you do. If you don’t love to photograph weddings you will never become a good wedding photographer. Two. Use the natural light, because you don’t have the time to set up flashes all the time if you working with weddings in a documentary style. Three. Get well connected with the bridal couple and make sure that they have the same vision of their wedding photographs as you. You want to get hired for your style and to document their day with creative freedom.

Lighting For Photo: What is the most misconception about shooting weddings?

Erika Gerdemark: – That it’s old fashion. Many wedding photographers don’t shoot weddings in front of a mottled background in a studio. Another misconception is that you get easily earned money and that you can get rich on shooting weddings. People who thinks that don’t know how it is to run a business and how much time you have to spend on every single assignment.

Bright and shiny portrait lighting setup

Promo photo for the band Amy's Ashes
Portrait lighting diagram

Magnus Svensson took some great promo photos for the band Amy’s Ashes, and gives you an exciting portrait lighting setup with a bright shiny look n feel. Shooting against the light this way gives you those prominent vivid flares. There are two beauty dishes from the back, and one big softbox a bit to the right from the camera.

Ringlight fashion lighting

Alternative fashion shot with ringlight and two stripboxes
Lighting diagram showing the ringlight and the two softboxes

Magnus Svensson is back with another funky fresh lighting setup. The key light is a ringlight wich gives the very characteristic light and maybe most of all, a characteristic shadow if the model stands close to the background. There is also one stripbox on each side that gives the reflection in the glossy outfit.

Lighting setup for fashion photography

David Bicho is thinking BIG when he shoots fashon photos
A lighting diagram for fashion photography. All you need is basically a plastic wrapped building and a stripbox.

When doing bigger/wider lighting setups, the distances grow and ordinary soft boxes and such doesnt work since they become relatively small and creates harsh shadows. Then its great to use really BIG diffusors.

In this image we wrapped the whole exterior of the building in milky white plastic to get the huge windows like this. To get the correct depth of light from outside the window, the flash needs to be far away, thus demands alot of power. I think we used a twin head and two 2400Ws generators for the outside flash. Inside I had a strip light (without fabric) from the left shooting through a big diffusion screen. To the right there was a silver reflector that bounced back the light from a gridded flash. The reason why I bounced it was because I needed the extra depth of light one get when using long distances.

Jill Greenberg lighting setup and lighting diagram

David Bicho’s tribute to Jill Greenberg, using her characteristic lighting setup.
Lighting diagram explaining the Jill Greenberg lighting setup

This image is a pure tribute to the classic crying-images by Jill Greenberg. This is really showing the crisp and contrasty light of the beloved Profoto Giant (the huge umbrella). From the back, I use two strip lights and a hair light on a boom stand to create a “kicker” all around her silhouette. One gridded light on the black background (turns blue when white balancing to get nice skin tones). Just below the model there is a squared silver reflector (I hate round ones!) to give the classic extra lower clam-shellish-spark to the eye to give some feeling of “wet eyes”… To eliminate all unwanted indirect lightning, I used big black book ends to really push the contrast by lowering the levels in the shadows.

Visit photographer David Bicho for more great inspiration.

Photographer David Bicho

David Bicho in a jungle of light stands

Meet professional photographer David Bicho, who will give you some very inspiring lighting setups. The best way to get to know David and his photographic style is to take a look at his impressive portfolio and of course read the interview.

David, where are you from?

– “Born and raised in Orminge, Stockholm, Sweden.

How old are you?

– “38”

How long have you been into photography?

– “That’s actually a tricky question to answer since I started out making film/TV-productions when I was 15 at a local television station in Orminge. I lived and breathed the studio environment, lightning, productions for many years and moved on to different production companies and have worked for most swedish tv-stations as a photographer/editor/lightning-guy. But I didn’t do any serious still photography back then. Just moving pictures. Not until the digital system cameras was a serious alternative to analogue, in like… 2004?… I jumped on the train and bought one of the first swedish exemplars of Nikon D70 and a 50/1.8. I was totally blown away by how easy it was to get great quality without all the heavy, technical fuzz that comes when you deal with moving images. I started almost immediately to make money on business portraits – not because I was a particulary good photographer, but because I had ALOT of confidence and really thought I knew how to do it . I literally had to threw everything I knew about lighting, and start from square one again. I read everything I could come over and experimented like a maniac to get the light I saw from “the real photographers”.

What is your dream assignment?

– “When I make my editorial fashion and such, I have a very film-production-like workflow and like to work with story boards and some kind of a underlying story that puts the models in an acting position instead of just doing some nifty posing. I have some own really interesting stories all planned and ready to go as soon as I find the perfect locations. It would be my dream assignment to be able to use these stories the way they are intended.”

Who is your favorite photographer?

– “Oh – I have different favorite photographers in different areas of photography. But Erwin Olaf is the single photographer that made most impact on me with his arty project Separation. When it comes to great lightning, there is of course the golden pair of Stevens – Steven Meisel and Steven Klein. And we have a lot of great Swedish photographers with an extremely well developed feeling for esthetics and quality like Peter Gherke, Camilla Åkrans, Jimmy Backius, Denise Grünstein, Andreas Kock… They all inspire me in different ways.”

What is the most common beginners misstakes when it comes to lighting?

– “They pay all attention to the light – not the shadows.”

What is your favorite lighting setup?

– “Hm. I never do a lightning twice, since I always try to “motivate” the light by binding it with the environment/background. So my favorite lightning would only be an applicable term when the background is the same – wich is the case infront of a white studio wall… Then it’s one single light from either the Profoto Giant 180 reflector or Broncolor’s big Para. Both give a crazy-beautyful wide light with tons of 3D-pop and contrast. Fail-proof and very, very beautiful.”

What is your worst photo experience?

– “A couple of years ago I went to shoot some business portraiture on a company quite far away, and I forgot to bring the fabrics for my soft boxes (and the light was strictly set in advance from an ad-company since the images should look the same as some old ones. Very, very softboxish.). I had only minutes to rig everything before I had to shoot when I discovered that I didnt have any soft box fabrics. Panic! I solved it quick by using some huge paper sheets I found to bounce on to get the softness I needed, so everything turn out fine. But the first seconds when I realized my mistake gave me a very, very cold shiver and probably a silent DAMN!-whispering sound throught my teeths.”

Thanks, David!


Product lighting setup for everyone

Impressive product photography using a minimum lighting setup.

As you can see in the lighting diagram, all you need is a flashlight for this lighting setup

This is a clever lighting method for product photography that doesn’t require much lighting equipment. A flashlight and a tripod. So it doesn’t matter if you are a professional photographer or a complete beginner, everyone can try this fantastic lighting setup. Use a 20-30 seconds shutter and then use the flashlight to paint the light on your object. Magnus Svensson definitely  masters this lighting technique as you can see above.

Glamour lighting with Helene Wiklund

Lusciuos glamour model Helene Wiklund from Sweden

Glamour lighting diagram

If you are into glamour photography and have already tried the golden umbrella thing and similar lighting setups, you can find new inspiration from Magnus Svensson here. The keylight is a large octabox, and then you kick some light from the smaller softboxes at both sides in the background. This gives you a glamour lighting with a slight touch of beauty lighting!