Candlelit Styled Shoot in Weiser Classic Candies

When I am shooting a lot of portrait work for other people, that usually means that I don’t work on honing my technical skills. I love what I do, but I know that there is always room for improvement. A few weeks ago, I had really been wanting to practice shooting in lower light situations (where flash isn’t an option), especially with my new Nikon D750 that is praised for having amazing dynamic range and image recoverability in very dark settings. 

I had a week until I was going to Weiser for a different shoot, so I plotted and planned with some of my friends for another shoot that evening. This meant:

  1. I wandered the aisles of Hobby Lobby in Meridian for two hours collecting supplies and scrolling through Pinterest on my phone. (Yay for sales!)
  2. I bribed my sister, boyfriend, and best friend with a combination of coffee, Grandma’s cooking, and candy to assist me that coming Saturday.
  3. We spent the morning of the shoot in an amazing redneck paradise (Rocky Mountain Fur & Fireworks) looking for some sparklers and other nicknacks. 
The spoils of my Hobby Lobby excursion

The spoils of my Hobby Lobby excursion

With this styled shoot, I wasn’t aiming to have beautiful, natural light, (like most of my portrait sessions) because I was trying to imitate a dark, candlelit church, or windowless room with only fluorescent light. The challenge was to get photos without flash that still matched my style on top of being in focus, being sharp, and having a desirable amount of grain.   

After my morning shoot (and bellies full of Grandma’s cooking), we set up in Weiser Classic Candies in Weiser, Idaho (if you haven’t been there, by the way, you’re super missing out). Unlike a lot of styled shoots, I didn’t have a huge team of professionals helping out, which I think made the results even more fun!

(Here’s the Instagram vs. Reality part of these photos):

  • Kendall wore a skirt that I had lying around and a friend’s top, along with hair braided in my bathroom before the shoot,
  • Abbey wore her prom dress from last year, 
  • I made the bouquet in the back of my car on the way to Weiser from flowers that I bought at Albertsons, 
  • And wrote the calligraphy on the table setting a few nights before the shoot.

This day was amazing, and I couldn't have done it without the help of some very special friends. Ryan, Kendall, Abbey, and Keith were so wonderful with helping set up, tear down, lighting 120 candles (and some sparklers), modeling, packing, and allowing me to use their spaces and time. 

I hope you enjoy these photos, as well as some of the behind-the-scenes looks at our day! 

I started off with only candlelight (as seen in these first 3). 

A little behind-the-scenes action in Weiser Classic Candies from my favorite assistants ;) 

We gradually turned on a couple more of the fluorescent lights on the side, though it was still pretty dark. 

Instagram vs. Reality: Making a bouquet in the back seat of my car

Instagram vs. Reality pt. 2

We finished the night off with some nice sparkler shots. (The only available light was from the sparklers).