Bring it on, El Niño!

By, January 26, 2016

If you’ve been anywhere near San Diego these last few weeks, chances are you’ve felt the wrath El Niño has had on our sunny shores. But a little rain never stopped us before :) By booking talented photographers who know their craft, and how to handle the elements, you’ll see how rain can easily be turned into a dynamic and creative photo opportunity.

Here are a few fun ways to embrace the rain, and to show the weather who is boss.

1. Jump Into It

We add drama and emotion to your photos by taking control of the weather, and by using light in creative ways. As the clouds draw in, and the sprinkles come down, we’re ready use the rain to your advantage.
Couple kissing in rain holding umbrellaCouple Kiss in Rain

Couples Holding Umbrellas in Rain

2. Reflections

Another innovative way to add edge to your wedding memories is to transform an ordinary puddle into a sea of reflection. This technique adds a cool, modern twist to your images.
Couple hold hands by rain puddle

Couple kiss by puddle on rainy day

3. Rainy Day Props

When facing stormy weather, don’t forget to include some fun! Rainy day props such as umbrellas or rainbows introduce a splash of color and youthful energy into your images.
Bridesmaids with UmbrellasGroomsmen holding blue umbrellaCouple kiss in rain under umbrella

4. Capture the Clouds

When skies turn gray, and clouds begin to roll in, don’t forget to look up! The muted blues of the sky add drama and intensity to the scene, which turns the landscape from dull to epic.
Bride and Groom kissing in front of Unique TreeBride and Groom standing together with red umbrella and lightning
A true classic (above). During a lightning storm, we photographed a couple hanging on to a metal umbrella, while holding a metal camera at 5,500 feet elevation. Was this the smartest idea? Probably not… But if it was going to be the last photo we ever took, we made sure to make it amazing! No, this isn’t a Photoshopped lighting bolt, as many often think ;)


Behind the Scenes with Aaron Feldman #1: Getting Great Night Shots

By, January 29, 2013

We strongly believe that everything is an opportunity if you choose to make it one. With photography, having the technical knowledge to support your creativity can bring an image to the next level.

During a wedding, we are often faced with nighttime photography. Although the night can bring technical challenges, we see it as an opportunity to get amazing shots, like this one of Amanda during her wedding at the Shady Canyon Golf Club.


If you take a snapshot at night using a point and shoot camera, and keep the flash on, something interesting happens. Even though subject is lit up, the background is very dark. What gets lost is the full range of detail – the darkest darks and the brightest whites – that really make an image stand out. The trick to shooting night photography at a wedding is to know how to handle the lighting scenario very quickly. For example, this photo of our bride, Linda, was taken while it was pitch black outside at The Grand Del Mar.


Rather than testing everything on the wedding day, we test out every possible scenario beforehand. That way, we are extremely prepared when we encounter tricky lighting, like during this wedding reception at The Darlington House. The more experienced a photographer is, the better they should know how to handle any lighting situation.


To properly achieve a good nighttime shot, a few steps need to take place.

Step 1: Try to bring out as much natural light as possible, either by using a longer exposure or a higher ISO. Being successful at night shots starts night starts with a camera that can photograph at a high ISO (your camera’s level of sensitivity to available light). The top of the line cameras can shoot at 10,000 ISO and still look nice, as compared to a point and shoot that may go up to 1600 ISO before the quality is greatly diminished. By shooting with a longer exposure and higher ISO, we are able to take a nearly black sky and pull out the remaining blue that is invisible to the eye.


Step 2: Balance the flash (if needed) with the natural light. This takes away the “flashy look”. When the flash and natural light are balanced, the image will have a nice range of detail, like you see in these images below.


Step 3: Decide if you want to add a lighting style to help enhance the image creatively. Sometimes a side light or back light can add an extra edge. For example, in the image below, the cigar smoke stands out against the light source coming from behind it.


To produce this next image, we added a backlight behind the bride and groom at Boettcher Mansion, to make the photo more dramatic.


Step 4 (a): If we’re going for a posed shot, we want to make sure that the subjects are arranged in a cool, flattering way. This makes all the elements more interesting, including the subjects, lighting, and composition.


Step 5 (b): For candid night images that are not posed, we follow a similar practice. We try to pull in as much of the natural light as possible, so that you can feel the ambiance of the moment. In these photos from bride and grooms’ grand exits, we utilized the headlights and the sparklers to light the scene.


For the images below, we used a tripod and timed exposure to capture the mood and atmosphere of the moment. By looking at the images, you can feel the emotions of a warm summer night reception under the lights at Rancho Valencia, or the energy of the US Grant in the Gaslamp. If these photos were taken with a quick snap and  flash, or a low-ISO camera, the images would not contain the same level of detail and emotion. By controlling the lighting, we took advantage of the ambient light to enhance the “feel” of the images.


By using longer exposures during night photos, like this one from Jessica and Dan’s destination wedding, you can be creative, showing motion and blur in a positive way.


Letting light into a photo allows you to grab the detail in the scene. If you fight the natural light that is available, an image can appear sterile and flat, like a snapshot. Instead, we take the light that exists and use it to our advantage. For example, if used in the right way, a little bit of grain created by light sources can give the image texture and feeling.


Night photography is a slower way of shooting versus daytime photography. It’s not about getting a thousand shots. Instead, it’s about getting a handful of portofolio-worthy images, like these from Estancia and Park Hyatt Aviara!


That’s it for this “behind the scenes” look at our process. Until next time, keep practicing those night shots :) Aaron


10 Amazing Moments Captured By Our SD Wedding Photographers!

By, March 08, 2012

As wedding photographers, our job is to be imaginative and confident in the moment.  To get the highest quality images, we need to be spontaneous, but within a plan. Long before we shoot, we put a lot of thought and preparation into what we want to achieve. That way, our goals are defined, and we know we’ll achieve what we set out to do. Since there is limited time to set up the perfect shot, we’re always thinking on our feet too. This allows us to be spontaneous, and to capture the real emotion of the moment. Even in the most challenging scenarios, we’re looking for ways to be creative and push the envelope, which makes our clients super happy! 

We are always poised and ready for unexpected photographic moments and opportunities. We work hard to capture photographs that make people say, “Did that really happen?” A lot of people have seen these images, below, and have thought that they were simply Photoshopped. The reality is that Photoshop won’t create an amazing image.  In some cases, we make use of techniques we’ve perfected over the years, such as back-lighting and motion blur. At other times, we find non-traditional ways to use the setting we’re in. 

Our process starts with a strong concept, executing the idea in-camera, and finally using Photoshop to accentuate the details and colors already present in the image. Photoshop should be used as a tool to enhance, not to compensate for a poorly executed image. Saying that you know Photoshop isn’t enough, it’s what you do with Photoshop, and knowing how far to take it that determines the True artist.

We have pulled together 10 real images that our clients consistently ask about!  These images could never have been done with Photoshop alone. Take a look below to see the photos, along with explanations of how we captured each shot.  We would love to hear your personal favorite!

Is the horse actually in the background, or is it Photoshopped in?

It’s real! This photo was taken during a photo shoot in the Glamis San Dunes of Southern California. The horse was not a planned prop – we happened across a trainer with his roaming horse, which made for a beautiful image. We even got the horse to look towards the camera!

How did he jump so high?

Though True Photography’s own Aaron Feldman has hops, we made it even easier for him to jump a foot above April’s head! With just the right framing behind the camera, Aaron leaped off of a short wall and struck a pose. If you look very closely on the right of the image, you’ll see the edge of the brick wall that we left in! You also can’t tell from the image, but it’s a very steep downward slope. By angling the camera up, and shooting low, the perspective made the road look flat. April’s casual stance and lack of expression made the photo even more awesome.

This background looks like a movie set. Is the sky real?

We captured this night shot during a wedding at Balboa Park. We wanted to give a rich, cinematic feel to the image. It started with a long exposure, to bring in the natural existing light. The glow occurred because the moon was behind the clouds at just the right time. We incorporated a backlight to mimic the direction of the moon, and to cast strong shadows for a dramatic effect on the ground. We had the bridal couple freeze for half a second to pull the shot off! 

Were the people in swimsuits posed on either side of the bride and groom?

Sometimes amazing things just happen. At a wedding in the Carribean, two barely-clothed bystanders had no problem intruding on this bride and groom’s special day. Instead of cutting them out of the frame, we maneuvered to take full advantage of the comedic situation, and pulled off a priceless photo! Even though we also captured more traditional images of the ceremony, this one remains a favorite of everyone, including our bridal couple.

Wow, that tree is amazing! Was it really lit up that bright?

During a wedding at the Inn at Rancho Santa Fe, we knew we had to make the most of this extraordinary tree!  By using the right lighting technique, we were able to create this result by controling the amount of light in the image.  To emphasize the glow of the tree, we used a long exposure to let tons of light in, while our couple stayed perfectly still to ensure that they would remain sharp in the photo.

She looks like she is actually floating away! How did you do that?

What a great engagement shoot prop! This bridal couple wanted a fun beach picture, so we asked them to buy the biggest balloon they could find. We planned the shoot for after the sunset so that the colors of the sky would compliment the vibrant color of the balloon. The key to pulling off the floating illusion was to make sure that there was no bend in the string of the balloon. We wanted our bride to look up before looking down for her landing to show that she was about to fly away. To achieve this effect, we had our bride jump off of a short cliff to the right of the frame. We played up the drama in this photograph by capturing her above her fiancés’s head. You can see that he was having fun with the moment, and played along with the purposeful over-dramatization of the moment. Is the shot a little cheesier than our norm? Yeah… a little. But is it super fun to look at? Definitely! Sometimes, it’s cool to go a little over the top, as long as it’s executed to perfection. In this case, with all the fun lighting and movement, it’s worth suspending disbelief to enjoy the finished image. The heavy clouds and vibrant sunset made a perfect backdrop for this eye-catching photo.

How did you get the fountains and buildings to be lit up if it’s still light outside?

Believe it or not, this image was taken while it was nearly pitch black outside! We wanted to showcase the beauty of The Grand Del Mar’s exterior, even though it was completely dark by the time the wedding ceremony had finished. By using a long exposure, and applying two of our own light sources, we were able to make a fusion of both a daytime / nighttime feel in one image.

How were you able to capture the ring of sand?

This is a fun photo of Michael, one of our very own photographers, on his wedding day!  Because he is a funny, energetic and creative guy, we thought we’d capture him in his element. Instead of lighting the image from the front, we went for a more stylized look by creating a silhouette. To bring in the ambient light, we shot at a slow shutter speed, and used a strobe to freeze the action of the sand. Because there was more light shining from the background than the foreground, this enabled the sand the catch the light and glow!

Is he really doing that kick in mid air, or did you alter the photo?

This Paradise Point wedding photo is the real deal! We always want to highlight our clients’ personalities in their wedding photos. It helps when our clients are up for anything and ready to play along. It only took a few kicks to the face to get the timing right, but the bride insisted on perfecting this photo (we’re just kidding, of course). In our initial interviewing process, we asked what the bride and groom like to do, and they shared their special skills. For a shot like this, it’s essential that the bride be a yoga expert, and the groom be a martial arts pro. To capture the groom in a full blown flying kick, we used a fast shutter speed to freeze the scene and photographed at 8 frames per second to get him at the height of his kick. The result was an action image that remained sharp and in focus.

Are they really standing in the middle of the street? That looks dangerous!

Sometimes, an element of danger can add excitement to the photo. But of course, we didn’t want to put our bridal couple in any actual danger. In this case, we wanted to highlight the couple lost in a kiss, focused on each other, and completely unaware of their surroundings. We thought that a busy downtown intersection would be the perfect background. By adjusting our angle, selecting a long shutter speed, and timing the shot perfectly, we captured the motion blur of the cars whizzing by, while keeping the focus on the primary subject – our couple!