Formals at an American Fork Waterfall

I’m pretty happy about this picture… I hope the rest of you all appreciate it as well. I’ll give you some background and perhaps turn it into a learning experience like I tend to do.

For those in Utah you know all about the wet winter and wet spring we’ve been having. This was a temporary waterfall that was running quite heavy just along side (and under) the road up the alpine loop. Meaning that the waterfall only exists this time of the year.

Allen and Alisa will be getting married Mid-June in DC. These are a small portion from their formals taken that day… which also included lots of different locations and started off with a first look. I’ll post more of those locations and pictures later.

But for now let’s see these awesome pictures.

We saw the waterfall, I hit the brakes and I got out of the car and started setting up. My intern set up a soft box and we got me an umbrella since it was raining pretty hard. I stuck it down the neck of my shirt because my intern had to hold the flash while i took pictures. Anyway, I got the scene all scoped out and set up and I had the groom stand in for a couple test shots.


Once I got the lighting all set I had her get out of the car and we took a couple of pictures. It was hard to communicate because it was so noisy with the waterfall and I was standing pretty far away.

Some Technical

Shutter speeds to get the waterfall moving was around 1/10th and without a tripod that was pretty decent. I had to therefore up the aperture to keep it dark so that we could freeze action with flash. We used flash to capture them but even still you see they did tend to move (In the picture above/left you can see that this actually added to the apeal of the picture.

It was cold it was rainy, I had an umbrella stuck in my shirt and it got in the way, I didn’t have a tripod and the flash needed to pump out more light. But in the end they worked out.

The pictures did need some lightening.

Below you’ll see before and afters of what I did. I upped the exposure and then used a brush to lighten the waterfall and them a bit more. On the one on the far left I added red split tone to the highlights.

I got the amount of flash on them correct but I just couldn’t dare go down to lower shutter speeds and just had to be ok with the darker images until i could get them on the computer

I think perhaps we don’t realize that some of these problematic photos can be our best ones. When we allow chance into our pictures sometimes we might be happily surprised.
The edited pictures were my vision it just took a little work to get them there and there were reasons I had to be OK with them a bit darker on the camera.


  1. Robert says

    Impressive, great that you have such a beautiful scenery to work at! Keep checking your stuff now and again, great shots and relentless effort!

  2. […] 3 pictures from my most recent set of Formals (which this couple has done in addition to a wedding day […]

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