Beating up the groom!

I pride myself on my skills of talking too much and photojournalism to use the camera and light to tell a story.  I am far from a skilled expert in Photoshop.  I am also NOT one of those photographers that likes to make dinosaurs chase wedding parties.  I am sure you have all seen those floating around on Facebook.  So, when the groom asked me to make a photo of him getting kicked by his bride (Mortal Kombat style), I was like sure!  Well, not really.  I was like, huh?  You want what?  Hmmm.  Ok.  You see, I am more of a “get it in camera” guy.  I obviously retouch images, but I use Photoshop maybe 5% of the time.  The vast majority of my work is in Adobe Lightroom and sometimes Alien Skin Software’s Exposure 7.

To those of you that are skilled in the art of Photoshop, feel free to exit now as you are probably 10 years ahead of me.  To the rest, read on and enjoy.

So, on their wedding day we found an area near the water that was quiet and away from the rest of the wedding party.  I wanted something simple and clean in the background because I knew I would have to cut them out and I don’t carry around a Hollywood green screen.  Lucky for me there was a beach and downslope towards the water.  This would allow me to use most of the water as a plain canvas.  Oh, and this is the image the groom texted me…


Ok, that image was now my story board and I had to figure out a way to make it work on a bride’s most important day in her life.  Yes, this was the groom’s idea.  Ashley, our bride, did not seem overly enthusiastic.  However, they have a lot of years ahead of them so I guess compromise must begin on day#1.  We decided to proceed.

Chris, our groom, seemed to have that pose memorized a little too well as he was able to do it in 2 takes.  I simply sat back with my Nikon D3s and a 70-200mm f/2.8 lens and fired off 10 frames/second as he leaped into the air.  The result was this…


Well done Chris.  I give that a 9/10 with a 4.1 degree of difficulty.

Our bride had a whole different challenge.  She had to manage to somehow summon the spirits of either Bruce Lee or Neo and perform a shoulder high karate kick on the sand in a wedding gown without falling over.  I had to make sure I delivered the bride to the reception in a clean gown that was not ripped from our insane beach-side Dojo.  Here is Ashley’s final shot, which took a little more than 2 takes…


Not bad.

Ok, so there are the real life images.  The wedding was over and the work needed to be done.  For an expert in Photoshop, this is a quick job.  For me, it took a little dusting off of forgotten skills.  I needed a dark and dangerous alley for Chris to be wandering down before getting the crap kicked out of him by Ashley Lee.  I found a free unlicensed image to use at СupeGraf Wallpapers…




All that was left was to cut them out with believable edges, re-size them, and insert them into this scene in a way that looks sort of real.  Using Photoshop, I was able to get to a decent image.  Then, using lighting effects and film emulation from Alien Skin’s Exposure 7, I was able to make it a little more authentic.  Lastly, I brought the image back into Lightroom and dodged/burned the exposure to make shadows more realistic.  Overall, I think it came out pretty good!  Most importantly, the groom loved it.  😉

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