Jun 10, 2009

Make your wedding more image friendly #1

Shooting into the Sun doesn't always turn out this nice.

Its All About The Light

The most common photography question I receive from people is "How do I make a good picture?" and I tell them its all about light.

Understanding how light works and where it will be on your wedding day is key to making sure you get a good photos.

Having professional gear, a degree in photography and 15 years experience helps, but that only gets you so far.

When it comes to your wedding day, think about the lighting.

One light that never changes is the sun. From the Druids at Stonehenge to the Aztecs in Central America, people have known where the Sun will be for millennia, so with the internet it shouldn't be to hard for you to knock it out in 10 minutes.

First up, where are you getting married? Church, park, beach, banquet hall, in a cave?
Second, what time are you getting married?

Forget about clouds or rain. If you are outside, think about which direction you will be standing, surroundings that may block light and how that effects your background as that is the one thing you can predict.

Having an October wedding at 5:30 when sunset is at 6:15 may give you that awesome golden light, but if you are in a small valley or depression, trees or hills may mask or block out that light.

Late afternoon can still give you harsh shadows, but the pay off comes in the reds, greens & blue sky.

Midday has it's issues as well.

Harsh sun from directly over head can make nasty shadows, but scheduling after noon may lead to it's own issues. I was married on the Chicago lakefront, on the patio of a beautiful fieldhouse. This put us between the fieldhouse (West) & the lake (East). Besides not wanting to have our wedding too early in the day, photos before 11am would see less true colors in the sky & the lake to the East. But after 1pm the patio area would be covered in shade, meaning to get proper color from my wife & I, the sky and background would have to be over exposed.

We settled on Noon as our start time and our ceremony was covered in bright sun light with a fantastic skyline and lake in the back ground.

Next time you'll see why I also mentioned indoor locations too.

Apr 22, 2009

Make your wedding more image friendly

Even rain won't wreck your photos if the day is well thought out.

Many brides will admit to dreaming about and planning their big day since middle school. Yet with all that thought and prep time rarely do brides put much thought into the production value of how the day will show up in images (still or motion).

With wedding season starting to go into full swing, I'll be posting up ways you can make your wedding more photogenic. While most examples might be based off decisions you make in choosing a location, some will come down to choices you can make the day of the ceremony.

Part #1

Feb 12, 2009

What's more important the photographer or the photographs?

If you think about how your wedding day will unfold, you'll realize that out of all the people you'll be spending time with, almost no one, including your soon to be spouse, will be with you more than the photographer.

Often when I'm contacted by a couple about my services, I often hear about how they like my photos, but later I've been told a big reason why a couple chose me, is that during our face to face meeting I made them feel very comfortable.

This is something that took me a year or two to realize, that it was part of the services I had to offer and not just my ability to dress well & smile.

In the past I've talked about important things to think about when choosing your location, ways to make sure your photographer has a the opportunity to get good photos and ways to get a good photographer if you're on a tight budget, but I've never actually talked about getting a photographer you'd like.

While I can't tell you what you should personally like in a photographer, I can tell you that no matter how good the portfolio, package prices or options offered, you should actually like the photographer you'll be working with as much as you like their products.

A few good examples of when having a likable photographer is nice are;
-when the bride and bridle party are getting dressed & ready
-in the extra small waiting rooms before the ceremony
-those intimate moments when the couple are alone, away from everybody after the ceremony
-and interacting with your guests

Still not quite sure what to look for in a photographer? Here are some good starting points.

1. Do they sound like they enjoy shooting weddings, or is this just a 9-5?
Wedding photography is a job, but while the responsibility of taking photos on one of the greatest days of a couples life is intense, if they're not into it, it will show up in the photos as well as possibly being disruptive the day of.

2. Do they talk about bad weddings & bridezillas more than happy brides & beautiful ceremonies?
I'll admit I've talked at length before about wedding mishaps and bridezillas, but I usually try to focus it on how a future couple can avoid pitfalls, as opposed to just an all out rant. Stories about how to make your wedding better are often a sign a photographer cares about your experience as much as your business.

3. Do you actually get to meet them and are they guaranteed to be your photographer?
Studios often have a sales person you meet with to discus packages, albums & prints. While you might have a choice based on portfolio, meeting the photographer is often a day of the ceremony occasion. Also, be sure to ask up front what your photographer's switching policies are? Even small independent photographers have been know to double book a date and substitute a second photographer or assistant photographer in place of themselves.
Above all, follow your gut and not your wallet. If you get a recommendation for a photographer, ask your friends about their personality as well as their professionalism.

Jan 3, 2009

Just a Suggestion

As a professional in a field that I have worked in for over a decade. I'm fairly confident that when I give someone photo/wedding advice I know a little more than they do. I'm not trying to being arrogant, but I do go to almost two dozen weddings a year and I network with other vendors and get feedback from couples.

You don't always have to follow my, or other vendors advice, but you should at least take it with a grain of salt as you typically only get married once.

On occasion I see internet message boards that have posts from brides-to-be looking for services or having questions about planning their weddings. If I have time I'll send a quick answer or suggestion. I've helped couples from England to California. Often getting very pleasant replies for my advice.

However for whatever reason, when I give advice towards the aspect of photography I often get very rude replies, especially closer to home. Telling me to mind my own business, or how dare you tell me what a bride wants.

These are always set as suggestions like the ones in this blog
-the 3 Most Important Things You'll Choose
-Wedding photographer under $500

The fact of the matter is, it's a suggestion. Just some advice I'm giving you, you don't have to take it, sorry if it was unwanted, but it never hurts to get another opinion, even if you think I'm biased.

All wedding vendors have a wealth of knowledge and many will help you find reliable sources for other vendors, offer you advice outside of their area of service. They may or may not be trying to win your business over, however chances are they know a few things you don't and if it stops you from paying $15 for another bride magazine it just might be worth it for that.