Wedding + Portrait


How Salvatore Dimino Crafts Light for Timeless Wedding Photography

June 30, 2017

By Salvatore Dimino

Photos © Salvatore Dimino

Salvatore Dimino is an award-winning wedding photographer and Master of WPPI, based in Sciacca, Italy, whose shooting style encompasses an unmistakably dramatic and romantic aesthetic. Here, he shows us how he set up three portraits that represent his signature lighting style—and for a recreated breakdown of the photos, watch the video he created for us below.

Romancing the Light

I took this image in lovely Venice, Italy, in an old school that the famous Australian photographer Yervant attended when he was a child. This was during Yervant’s Photography Symposium where ten of us speakers and more than 100 students attended.

I took my exposure on the highlights and—as I usually do—I put my settings in the camera and underexposed by ¾ of a stop to make the environment very dark. I set up a strobe outside the building with a softbox at 45 degrees and the light went through the window and illuminated the subject, creating a beautiful and dramatic light as well as some texture. I tried to create an image that emulates what the painters do with the brush—like I love to say, “painting with light.”

Camera: Nikon D4
Lens: 14-24mm
Exposure: f/2.8 at 1/100th
ISO: 1600

All Photos © Salvatore Dimino

Picture Framed

This is the type of image that I love—it’s easy to create a reflection, but a triple reflection is an exciting challenge! This was shot on this bride’s wedding day. I saw the reflection in these small frames—they were old images that were probably the grandmother of the bride. I had my assistant hold an Ice Light 2—he was standing close to the bride, hidden by the curtain. We needed to stay very close to the frames so that the reflections were more powerful. I underexposed by one stop, posed the bride, took my exposure by shooting for the highlights, and then bang!

Camera: Nikon D4s
Lens: 24-70mm
Exposure: f/4 at 1/60th
ISO: 100

All in the Family

This was during a wedding day at the groom’s home around 1:30 p.m. I saw this beautiful table and in one moment, everything was clear! I took my time to set up every component of the family in the best spot and tried to get the cleanest-looking space for each of them. The main subject is the groom, so that’s why he’s in the center. Of course, you usually imagine the mother and father right next to the son, and then I tried to combine male figures with female. I usually try to do my best getting it in one single shot. I don’t waste too much time for one shoot because you will easily lose the concentration of the subjects. In this case, the clients were very happy to pose for me.

I underexposed the environment by one stop so they could pop out. I used a strobe flash with a softbox (Indra500) and I put it just on top of my camera at 45 degrees so I could create a dramatic light. Then in post-production, I added some light on their faces with the selective tool.

Camera: Nikon D4
Lens: 24-70mm
Exposure: f/4 at 1/250th
ISO: 100

Related: How I Light: Marko Marinkovic on Crafting Expressive and Textural Luminance in His Wedding Photography

Shaping Light for Black-and-White Family Shoots