- What a First Time Wedding Photographer Needs to Know
- How to Make Your Own Wood Prints from Your Photos (Video)
- Interesting Photo of the Day: A Bullet Splitting a Water Drop in Half
- Christina Broom: The UK’s First Female Press Photographer (Video)
- Photographers Give Themselves the Royal Treatment for Extravagant Staff Portraits (Video)
Posted: 14 May 2014 06:47 PM PDT
The news that you are photographing your first wedding often leads to emotions ranging from excitement to apprehension, and in some cases, fear. Assuming you have experience with your equipment and have developed the necessary skills to take great photographs, the wedding event has a greater likelihood of being a successful one if you follow some key steps.
This article provides an overview of important steps to follow before, during, and after the event. As with any important job, the keys are preparation, focus, and follow-through.
Before the Wedding
Proper preparation before the event is the best way for a photographer to have a successful outcome. I spent several weeks before my first wedding visiting other photographers’ web sites. I read books on wedding photography, and I researched photography blogs and forums. It is amazing how much information is available for little or no charge. These tips and photographs can inspire you and get you thinking about what you want to accomplish and how you are going to make it happen.
It is important that you have a standard written agreement that is signed by the bride- and groom-to-be and the photographer. There is no excuse for not having this document in place. It should describe the deliverables and the fees associated with the service and products. It should also include a model release so you can use the photos for promotional purposes. It is highly recommended that you contact an attorney and draft a standard agreement that protects you.
At the time of signing the agreement, there are two other opportunities to enhance the process. First, get to know the bride and groom. Spend some time chatting so you will know their story and they will know you. When the wedding day comes, they should feel comfortable with you so their true personalities will shine. If possible, include a no cost or low cost engagement shoot so everyone can gain even more of a comfort level. It is a good opportunity to give them some posing tips that they can use on their wedding day.
It is also imperative to know the schedule. When you are meeting with the bride and groom, go over the agenda for the time you are expected to be at the wedding. Get to know their expectations. Let them know when you expect them to devote time to photographs with you in charge. This is a good time to talk about a wedding coordinator. If they will designate a friend or family member that will help the you identify important family members during the wedding day, it can be a tremendous help.
Another important component of preparation is checking your equipment. Check it thoroughly at least four or five days before a shoot. A check prior to my first wedding revealed a faulty auto-focus mechanism on one of my camera bodies, and I had to borrow a second camera for the shoot, but I was ready.
A proper equipment check also requires making sure you have backups of everything. You need two camera bodies and two flash units at a minimum. If you do not have them, you can rent them. On my first senior photo shoot, the wind blew my tripod and camera to the concrete surface. You never know when something will drop or just fail.
Check your batteries and memory card supplies, and bring more than you think you will need. It is not uncommon to take 2,000 to 3,000 images at a wedding. If you are using flash, you will burn through batteries very fast at that rate. For memory cards, it is better to have several smaller cards than just one or two big ones. If a card fails, you minimize your loss by using multiple cards.
Visit the venue(s) prior to the wedding day in order to scope out lighting and shot locations. Do you need to gel your flash for proper white balance? I often find that if I take a few test shots with and without flash, and perform a custom white balance check with my camera, that there are competing colors from the various light sources. For indoor venues, I often have to gel the flash to match the color of the venue’s lighting. This will save you much time and aggravation later in the process.
To prepare yourself physically for a tiring day, have a light meal before you go. It is a good idea to bring granola, energy or candy bars, or other portable snacks. Bring water, too, just in case.
If you are prone to headaches, have a pain reliever with your in your pocket or bag.
Part of blending into the event is dressing appropriately. Talk to the bride and groom about their expectations before the event. In all cases, wear comfortable shoes.
Be insured. If someone trips over your equipment, are you covered?
When you arrive, begin by taking outdoor venue shots. Here in southeast Michigan, you never know if the weather will turn on you later, and the same is true in many locations. Get some key building and landscape elements without people, just to have them.
Calibrate your camera’s white balance as soon as you walk indoors; do it for all of your cameras. Also, turn camera sounds off; you don’t want your camera to make noise during the ceremony.
Bring a fast lens; the faster the better. Indoor lighting at churches and reception halls is notoriously poor and dim. Be prepared with a fast lens (f /2.8 minimum – f/1.8 preferred). If you don’t have one, rent it.
If you are in a place of worship, have a clear understanding of where you can go and what locations are off-limits. Also, flash is usually not permitted in places of worship, but you can ask.
Consider bringing an assistant. Let them carry equipment, help set up shots, hold off-camera flash, and more. If you are working a 6-8 hour event, be prepared for the physical impact it will have on you. Having an assistant will ease the burden on you and should result in better photographs.
If you have a break from the bride and groom, start shooting the very young and very old early. They can get tired fast, and some may leave early.
If you have a camera bag, lock it down or have your assistant carry it. If you are on your own, consider using a cable lock for your camera bag and hide it out of sight. It serves as a deterrent from theft. You may feel comfortable with the bride and groom, but you never know about their friends and family or the staff at the venue.
Never reformat memory cards at the event. Backup when you can, but do not reformat. Check everything on your computer and complete backups before reformatting.
Take shots of the bride and groom as soon after the ceremony (or before) as possible. After people start drinking and celebrating, it will get harder to assemble people and have them look their best.
Most of the time, the photographer’s role should be to blend in and be discreet. Disappear in the background and try to capture people when they are relaxed, happy, emotional, etc.
If the wedding and reception are indoors, make sure to take shots of the bride and groom outside. Try to get away during the reception and get some outside shots–even if it is nighttime.
Take a group shot of everyone. This is a great way to have everyone in attendance in one photo. It makes for a great enlargement and an opportunity for sales to others in attendance at the wedding.
After the Event
After the event is over, I believe it is important to process the images as fast as possible. There is something to be said capturing taking the energy of the day and carrying forward. Posting images quickly to a web site will make everyone happy.
Keep in contact with the bride and groom and schedule a time to meet with them to go over the images and discuss ordering details. It is as important to provide a high level of customer service after the event and before it. If you establish a relationship with the couple, they will think of you for family portraits and portraits of their children in years to come.
Finally, take notes about what went right and what went wrong. This may help you do an even better job next time around.
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Go to full article: What a First Time Wedding Photographer Needs to Know
Posted: 14 May 2014 05:01 PM PDT
Creating unique prints of your photography is an excellent way to not only display your images, but share them with your friends and family, as well. Steve Ramsey, who runs a site for woodworking called Woodworking for Mere Mortals, may not be a photographer, but he made an informative video on how to make do-it-yourself wood prints out of a photo:
How to Make Your Own Wood Print
Before you start, make sure to pick an image with bright and vibrant colors; the print will lose color when transferred. Because the print will be transferred to the wood as a mirror image, you’ll want to reverse your image in photo editing software, especially if your photo includes any text. Also, choose a light color piece of wood for this project; the color of the wood will be the color of anything white in the image you use.
Here is an overview of the process Ramsey takes in making these prints:
1. Use a sheet of adhesive labels meant for Inkjet Printers. Avery Dennison Inkjet Labels work well. Some people also noted that using wax paper worked just as well.
2. Peel the labels off the sheet. The side that used to have the labels on it is the side that you will print on.
3. Print the image like you normally would from your Inkjet printer. Be careful not to touch the image after printing; it will not dry and the ink will smear easily.
4. Attach a strip of tape to the top edge of your print. Carefully tape it to the top of the piece of the wood and press the image down on to the wood. Be careful not to move the image.
5. Lift the paper up. The image should be printed onto the piece of wood.
6. The image will dry almost instantly, but Ramsey suggests that you use DEFT spray lacquer to protect the image and make the colors more vibrant.
Here’s a close up of the print Ramsey made using this process. The grain of the wood adds an interesting texture effect.
These prints would be a great way to add a personal touch on a craft project or to turn your favorite images into modern wall art!
Go to full article: How to Make Your Own Wood Prints from Your Photos (Video)
Posted: 14 May 2014 02:57 PM PDT
If you wanted to photograph a bullet splitting a drop of water in half, you would probably assume that there would be a super fancy high speed camera involved. You would be surprised to find out that you can actually pull the feat off with a DSLR, two intervalometers, a pair of Nikon SB-900 speedlights, and some very precise timing. That’s, reportedly, what was used to take the picture below:
How to Photograph a Bullet Splitting a Drop of Water
Essentially, the entire setup is based on the use of two intervalometers. When a jolt of electricity triggers the valve to release a drop of water, the timers are also triggered. The first timer tells the gun when it should be fired and the second timer activates the speedlights. Each of the timers works on a preprogrammed delay. The gun timer is programmed to be delayed at the exact time it takes for the water drop to fall, whereas the second timer that activates the flashes is set to delay at the same rate as the drop impact time.
If you’re feeling a little skeptical, you’re not alone. After receiving a lot of inquiries about how the photograph was taken, one photographer broke down the process and was nice enough to share this image of his own setup:
The image was taken on bulb mode in an entirely dark room. The only light available to expose the image onto the camera’s sensor was that from the flash, which was set to 1/128 power–equating to a flash duration and actual exposure time of 1/38,500 of a second.
Go to full article: Interesting Photo of the Day: A Bullet Splitting a Water Drop in Half
Posted: 14 May 2014 12:09 PM PDT
Though she was a pioneering press photographer who documented London life between 1903 and 1939, Christina Broom’s story has not been widely told. Until now. Watch as Anna Sparham, Museum of London Curator of Photographs, speaks adoringly about Broom and her work, from Royal events, society occasions, and WWI soldiers:
Broom began her photography career photographing street views, which she intended to sell as postcards. Her work soon went in another direction. Since she lived close to Chelsea Barracks, Broom began photographing in and around the barracks and taking pictures of WWI soldiers heading to and returning from the Front. (Via PetaPixel)
In her extensive collection, it is clear that she became quite close with the soldiers, their families, and war life.
Sparham describes Broom as a determined woman who was unique, intriguing, skilled, and largely under-appreciated. Rather than focusing on formal images of the soldiers, Broom’s photos are natural and human, much more to the point.
And her bravery and determination paid off. While working so much within the barracks, Broom became well known to the King who soon trusted her and allowed her great privileges. Broom began photographing major Royal events and the Royal Family. She was the only person allowed into Westminster Abbey to photograph King Edward VII after he died and was lying in state.
Christina Broom proved to be a strong woman and highly skilled photographer in a male-dominated world. She worked hard and you can definitely see that in her images, which portray compassion and a human connection with her subjects.
Go to full article: Christina Broom: The UK’s First Female Press Photographer (Video)
Posted: 14 May 2014 10:51 AM PDT
Sometimes when you’re shooting a portrait, you want something different. You’ve got access to costumes, props, big lights, and you’re loaded with big ideas. The result can be whatever you want it to be; why not give yourself the royal treatment? Case in point:
When the folks at Phlearn decided to shoot staff portraits, they wanted something fun and adaptable to everyone’s specific personalities. They wanted to allow themselves to be as expressive as they felt. They found some royal costumes, big white wigs, and a whole whack of props, and the results are pretty amazing:
The initial ideas didn’t look much like the final product. They experimented with a lot of things that didn’t wind up working: namely, toy guns, and judicial white wigs. They’re using guns through most of the shoot, yet noticeably the final shots worked better without them.
Another tip they recommend is having a big, broad lighting set up to encourage movement. This is always a good idea for shooting kinetic subjects, like kids and pets, but it holds true for antsy models or artistic types, also.
Lastly, obviously Photoshop plays a big role in this series. The trick is to think of Photoshop as part of the photo shoot, rather than as a way to solve bad photos. Make it part of the process, and understand beforehand what you want to achieve in post-production and what you want to get right in-camera. It’s easier to shoot everything if you can envision the final product already.
What do you think? Have you ever done a fancifully silly self-portrait? Let us know in the comments below!
Go to full article: Photographers Give Themselves the Royal Treatment for Extravagant Staff Portraits (Video)
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