Mariana Penilla Bridal Editorial 2020

Shooting a Bridal Editorial with Mariana Penilla

How did I shoot that? It’s a bridal editorial with Mariana Penilla, Keep reading to learn how.

A few months ago, before the quarantine started I shot a bridal editorial campaign for my friend, fashion designer Mariana Penilla. We did a similar campaign last year, so let me explain the whole process behind it.


Mariana approached me for this shoot with a few, clear requirements:

  • She wanted to shoot in a studio, with a seamless background, so the viewer only saw the bridal gowns, without any distractions
  • Since the gowns are white, we needed a slightly darker seamless background, and we agreed that a light grey would be fine
  • She also asked to emphasize the texture and embroidery work on the gowns
  • We needed two tall, thin models with features that helped make a contrast with the background and gowns


I don’t have a studio, and some places were already restricting access to their facilities because of the COVID-19, so we decided to use a portable studio. After considering a few options, we realized we could simply shoot at Mariana’s store/shop.

Portable Background Support
Portable Background Support

The models were two friends of mine, Gaby and Esme, who are experienced models and are great to work with.

After a few tests, I decided to go with a one light setup, using a Godox TT685 inside my trusty 90 cm octabox, on top of my new boom arm lightstand. I strongly recommend you to use a lightstand like this! It’s amazing!

Softbox on Boom Arm Lightstand
Softbox on Boom Arm Lightstand


On the day of the shoot the models went to do their hair and makeup, while Mery (Mariana’s sister) and I installed the studio. We set the background support, lights, tripod, video camera and we were ready.

I started using just one light as mentioned before, in a setup similar to butterfly lighting, but the models didn’t always turn towards the light. The angle of the light provided texture on the dresses, so we could see the embroidery texture.

Mariana Penilla QueTal 2020 - 01
Mariana Penilla QueTal 2020 – 01

I also decided to shoot with a knee high angle, so the models and gowns would look more regal and important. In order to keep a low angle without breaking my back, my camera was on a monopod and I was sitting on the ground.

The first portion of the shoot was done with my XF35mmF1.4 lens, but then I moved farther away and switched to the XF56mmF1.2 in order to compress the image a bit and gain sharpness.

Mariana Penilla QueTal 2020 - 04
Mariana Penilla QueTal 2020 – 04

For the second gown I tried a different lighting setup, with the main light pointing downwards, so we got some reflection from the white floor, but still feathering light towards the dress. With this lighting the model’s face was a bit dark, so I added a second TT685 with a small softbox to camera left, lighting the model’s face.

Mariana Penilla QueTal 2020 - 05
Mariana Penilla QueTal 2020 – 05

We also needed a few images with both models together, so I went back to the 35mm lens, and the light at a 45 degree angle towards the models.

Mariana Penilla QueTal 2020 - 09
Mariana Penilla QueTal 2020 – 09

After I already had all the needed shots, I decided to run a little experiment with my camera shooting video at 120 fps, to start experimenting with slow motion video, as you can see in the video. I really liked the end result, but this is still a test.


Most of the post-processing was pretty simple, because we shot in a studio and the lighting conditions didńt change much. The adjustments were mostly in standardizing the image Profile and White Balance, increasing Contrast and Shadows, and decreasing Highlights.

As you can see, my process is not super complex but it makes my results predictable and repeatable. I make sure to define Requirements, have a clear and thorough Pre-Production, so the Production and Post stages run smoothly.

In this case, one of the main factors to create repeatable images was shooting in a studio, where we could control the lighting, camera and model location, and we had a clear timetable.

I really hope you find this article interesting, informative but also entertaining. If that is the case, please share it with your friends! But most of all, please remember to Stay Safe, Keep Learning and Keep Creating.

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