Shot Recipe #14 – Yen Nguyen

Contributor: Yen Nguyen – Freelance Event and Commercial Photographer


Yen is the 2016 winner of the CameraPro Award, presented to a graduating student from the Queensland College of Art, in recognition of excellence in an advertising body of work with a strong conceptual framework. 


What is Yen’s recipe for the shot?


  • Ingredients: 
  • Canon 5D Mark II camera
  • Canon EF 17-40mm F/4 L USM
  • Lexar Professional 16GB CF (1066x)
  • Glanz VA LED 98A Video Light
  • Broncolor Siros Flash Head
  • Broncolor Softbox
  • Measurements:
  • Shutter speed 1/10
  • Aperture f 5.6
  • ISO 400
  • Focal length 17mm



This assignment marks the end of my studies in photography (specialising in creative advertising) at the Queensland of College of Art; therefore, I wanted to capture meaningful images that goes beyond its attractive facade. Drawing upon elements from fine art, fashion and the themes of wedding, I was able to come up with the idea of being ‘left at the altar’, which goes against mainstream representations of wedding events and focuses on the melancholic experience encountered when faced with a jilted lover. Hence, the dark, cold atmosphere evident in the photos that I have taken. The different bridal wear and accessories worn by the different cultures seen are personally made by me. Given the short period of time given and my minimal knowledge and skills in sewing, this approach may not have been very effective and undoubtedly challenging; however, this gave me more control over the clothing and accessories that the models wear.


Besides learning how to thread and sew, I’ve also learnt about architectural and set design. As I progressed through the portfolio, I improved on the set design, making them more complex. The image below is the very first image I created for my portfolio, Jilted Lover, and it became a guide for the other images in the series.


Yen Nguyen


I shot the images in the studios due to accessibility and ease, as my photos required a dark room to yield the desired effect. I was using a continuous light as my main lighting source so I needed a longer shutter speed. The image was set up according to the diagrams below.


Yen Nguyen - Shot set up diagram 1



Yen Nguyen - Shot set up diagram 2


Yen Nguyen - Shot set up diagram 3


My main light was placed in front and above the model. The reason for this was because it produced a softer and natural lighting, while still allowing those shadows to appear. Since the background is mainly lit, to avoid noise to the foam boards in the foreground, I placed a flash head fitted with a softbox in front of the boards just to add a bit of light. With the limited space I had in the studio, using a wide angle lens like the Canon EF 17-40mm F/4 L USM seemed ideal for the situation. I wanted the architecture to tower over the brides, however, the foam boards were only 2m high and about 1m wide so creating this setting was impossible to do in camera. However, extending the walls was achievable in post-production. Inevitably, I had to clean up the image a bit and make the necessary adjustments to elevate the blue/green tone to emphasise the solitude and despair experienced by the brides.


That’s basically all I did for this image.

If you want to see the rest of the images from the series, then please head over to my Behance page.

Also, I am truly honoured to have received such an amazing award, so thank you to the team at CameraPro!





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