For most of my photographic career, I would only take portraits outdoors. I have always loved the idea of environmental portraits and I still do. Even though I had the equipment, I never really embraced the idea of tampering with studio portraits……until about a year ago. Although I am primarily a wedding/event photographer, I have always studied photography from a much broader spectrum. Most of the blogs I read and photographers I follow are not even wedding shooters. I have always felt that this helped me keep my style original instead of unconsciously copying someone else.
As I became more and more curious about studio portraiture, I decided to utilize my basement as a photo studio. I purchased a few different backdrops, set up my studio strobes in position and began to experiment with my favorite subjects, my kids. The thing that intrigued me about it was the total control of the light. When shooting outdoors, I sometimes have to wait for the sun to either come back out or go back behind the clouds for a particular shot. Not here, I choose my background and set my lights up exactly the way I want and shoot. I can shoot with one light or six lights, depending on the type of shot.
I since have shot portraits for families and kids, holiday portraits, communion portraits, sports composite portraits and professional headshots. It’s a nice thing to have in my back pocket. This particular image is a communion portrait for a good friend and beautiful subject. We took some traditional portraits, but some of my favorites were the semi-silhouette images that focus more on her gesture rather then her smile.
The Studio is Open!
I met Ryane and Mike last year when I photographed a wedding for their very good friends. They were both in the wedding party and spent some time with me that day (a good trial run). I have to admit, I do not approach each wedding as if I am attending a job interview, but it’s important to realize that each time you go out to do a job, you are potentially being evaluated.
A few months after their friends wedding, I receive a phone call from Ryane explaining that she enjoyed my stealth shooting style and how I handled documenting the entire wedding. The formals were quick, comical and relaxed and they were amazed at the images I was able to capture while remaining unseen at the ceremony and reception. This was especially important to Ryane as she does not like being in front of the camera, which is very common. This is perfect for me, because this is how I shoot.
To wrap this up, they both visited me this past weekend to see their images for the first time and I was able to witness their true reaction to the images. I was definitely pleased because I knew then that I made them both happy.
Ryane & Michael just left this morning after seeing their wedding for the first time (congratulations post to follow), so I thought it would be appropriate to showcase one of their images as the image of the week. One thing I always do following each wedding I shoot is to have the bride & groom over to view their images with me for the first time. Once we meet and go through all the images, and I mean all of them in a beautiful slideshow with music, then I give them their proofs, disc and access the their exclusive gallery on my site.
Viewing the images with the client is be very rewarding. I get to witness their expressions and reactions to the images as they relive their wedding day. Words can not describe how important this is to me. Instead of sending them a link and possibly never hearing back to confirm if they are truly happy, I am there.
This day, we had a backyard wedding on a beautiful day. As sun began to dip closer to the horizon, I was anticipating a beautiful lightscape background as the sun shined through the forest of bamboo trees. The background is so beautiful, it almost looks fake.
So many good images from this wedding. I am putting together a collection of favorites and will put up a congratulations post later in the week.
Sun glare Rocks!
I was contacted by Rose last November. She had been engaged for under a week and wanted to schedule an engagement shoot. At this point, they have not yet set a date, secured a venue or anything. First things first; let’s get the engagement documented. The girl knows what she wants and I like where here priorities are at.
I was extremely flattered to hear that she found me from researching the internet. She not only found my website and images, but she also dug up some testimonials from previous clients and made it a point to let me know she heard nothing but good things. It’s nice to hear. Most of my business comes from referrals by word of mouth, so it’s nice when people find me from other means.
We scheduled the shoot and it was awesome. We walked around Argyle Lake in Babylon Village for about an hour and a half until the sun set. I got to know them together for a little while and they immediately felt comfortable in front of my camera. We took some candid shots along with a few fun staged pictures and we kept shooting until we used up every bit of available light.
Almost two months later after delivering the engagement pictures, I receive a phone call from Rose asking to book the wedding date. They were happy with the engagement photos and since we had a successful trial run, we stuck together for the wedding. Rose and Vinny were married a little over a month ago and everyone had an awesome time at the De Seversky Mansion to celebrate.
Occasionally the bride and groom will bring their own props to incorporate into a few of the images on their wedding day. I notice this happening more and more lately, probably from a wealth of these images flooding the internet through facebook, pinterest or instagram. This is great because it tells me they care about the message the images express, which is always one of my priorities. It also provides me with an opportunity to come up with fun ways to incorporate the props.
Choosing the right lens for the job is key. Much like post-productions image effects, it’s all based on opinion and over-using any special effect can be a bit much even if the effect is nice. When I am experimenting on the job, it’s important to get the safe pictures first before I attempt to be creative if the end result is not the way you remember seeing it. This effect is done through the lens and can not be corrected in post-production. Knowing your gear is critical when envisioning an image or duh, you wouldn’t know how to create it in camera and will only exist in your mind.
Here I have included two different shots of the same image shot with different lenses. I was backed up against an array of bushes when I shot these and could not go back any further. I chose to shoot this image both with a wide angle lens and a fisheye lens. If I had shot the first image any wider to capture the entire mansion’s width, the couple would be even smaller in the frame and that would not work. The fisheye lens is a much wider angle of view and I was able to move in a bit closer, which made the couple larger in the frame. What also happens is the edges of the image get distorted due to the very wide angle of view combined with the roundness of the glass and that is the effect of the optics.
Both are nice images, I kinda like the fisheye image myself, but it’s all about taste.
Feel free to let me know your thoughts.
One of my favorite post-production techniques is to style the image with a vintage/retro look when the image allows it. I aim for this when I am shooting certain images and I love it when it works. It is a technique that can easily be overused and I take care not to. This particular image was shot in an old mansion with vintage décor. Place the bride in front of an old oversized window right before she is about to walk down the aisle and click. I literally walked out of the room after snapping this shot and ran down to catch the start of the ceremony.
I have been working so much these last 8 weeks, and have looked through 20,000 photographs from recent weddings and portrait sessions. Besides a perfect portrait, the images that stand out most for me are the documentary captures that I position and wait for. Capturing an evocative and timeless moment that isn’t staged is very rewarding. No words necessary to describe what the person is thinking at that very moment. It says it all.
This moment was one that I anticipated, and having spent some time with both the bride and maid of honor before the ceremony, I was certain to capture it. The maid of honor and best man were positioned opposite the bride and groom on the alter, which was a cool setup because they did not have to turn around to see each other. They caught eye contact during the ceremony just as they were about to begin exchanging vows and there it was.
This weeks image of the week is part of a bride & groom shoot taken earlier this year. Once I am finished grabbing all the formal family and wedding party images, I spend time with the bride & groom and we have some fun. This is the first time the couple are together without an entourage and they usually embrace the moment. I had the opportunity to spend some time with them during the engagement shoot last summer, so I am familiar with the couple in front of my camera. This is key.
As a wedding photographer, I need to have the skills to pull off a great portrait and I am constantly studying and trying different types of lighting. The lighting is key and when done right, it appears as if the image was lit naturally. The place sometimes looks like a studio set (portable however, cause we are constantly moving) for a TV show with the lighting and surrounding people waiting to grab their own snaps of what I am creating. Grab all you want. No flash however, while I’m getting mines!
When I am working with the bride & groom, I need to make them feel as if we are alone no matter the case. To me a portrait is not just about posing, but even more important is the expression. This image was directed in that I told them where and how to stand, the groom to put his hands around her waist and for her to place her hand on his chest. All natural and simple posing. If the posing gets complicated, then the images do not look natural and may as well be deleted from the camera. I asked the groom to gently lean in and kiss the side her forehead while the bride looks away. When the groom went in for the move, I called the brides name and she looked at me with the emotion she was feeling just as the groom laid the kiss on her. It can be hit or miss, but this technique can be quite rewarding if all goes well. A nice image to add to their collection and the bride is wearing a beautiful expression.
Preparation coverage can be very interesting because I document all the little details that the bride and groom have chose to include in their special day.