Friday, January 23, 2009

Foto Friday #8- The need to Succeed


Welcome to Friday. I am excited today as I am leaving in a little over an hour to spend a weekend up on the mountain at a Winter Camp with the Junior High Students I work with at my church. I am really hoping that this weekend will be a weekend of change and growth for the students and that we will have a great time.

But on to FOTO FRIDAY! This weeks tip is related to questions that I have received from a few different photographers, and it relates to weddings (I love weddings.)

Weddings are awesome things to photograph. Everyone is looking their best, the details have been planned for month and people are, well, happy. I never get tired of photographing weddings because every one is unique and the interactions between each couple and their family and friends are genuine and special.

However, Weddings are also intense to photograph. There are no-reshoots. Moments only happen once and you can't always control them like you could on a produced shoot.

So, from one photographer who is continually honing his craft to others, here's todays tip- BE SUCCESSFUL AT YOUR WEDDINGS!!!

Just remember your S's (pronounced essssessss) to photograph a wedding successfully.

#1- Settings. There's just no way around it. If you haven't mastered your camera and made it your slave to do your will, weddings will be very difficult. You can't recreate a moment because you were shooting in Aperture mode and didn't get your light reading correctly (Kristin- jk, some are pros at shooting in Aperture mode). When you have your time with the Bride and Groom, you can't be wasting it while they are away from their guests for you to putz around with your settings.

This takes practice. I recommend that any photographers wanting to get into weddings volunteer to second shoot for an established photographer to practice. Nothing like snapping 1500 frames in one day to help your speed and use of your camera improve. Keep shooting.

#2- Scheduling. Weddings run on a schedule, and often run behind it. Giving yourself time to be creative so neither you or the couple or the bridal party are feeling rushed will go a long way to helping you grab the awesome shots you want to get. Work with the Bride and the wedding planner before the wedding to make sure that you have enough time to get great photos. I usually like 45 minutes at least with just the bride and groom and additional time for Bridal party photos/family photos. Try to build in some cushion if you are planning photos beforehand as people (even the guys) tend to be late.

#3- Scouting, of a few different kinds.

First- the location. You need to find areas around your venue that have got great light and pleasing backgrounds to shoot. For the photos in this post, the wedding was held in Pasadena and so I arrived about a half an hour before we started shooting to be able to walk around the neighberhood and we ended up finding some pretty cool places to shoot within a block from the church when the area around the church wasn't the most pleasing to work with. I think we got some great shots!

Second-the people. As a photographer, you must be a student of your couple and their family. Learn to anticipate moments, and you'll be there to capture them. Pay attention to what is happening even around the couple and it will help you to anticipate what will happen next. With the cake cutting, for example, see where the couple is choosing to stand and get yourself in postion at the right angle to take the photos. Anticipate interaction between the couple and be ready for it.

Third- the shots you want to get. Have ideas. Not necessarily of specific poses you want them to use (although it is handy to have a few of those in the bag for each wedding to work from). But scout the interactions you want to photograph, the emotions you want to capture and the feel you want your photography to convey.

That's it for this Foto Friday. I've got to run! Have a great weekend and I'll return e-mails on Monday! Bill






mrsdestroyer said...

My tip - make sure to get THE KISS (you know that really important one in the ceremony). We loved the photos from our photographer, but he missed the kiss!!

kristin said...

Very funny Bill!!!!