Tag Archives: business

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Timothy Faust’s Lightroom Presets

My fellow photographers know that when it comes to post production I really focus on two ideas. First I want to keep my post production work to a minimal. I want people to notice the emotion first, the photograph second, and hopefully they don’t notice the post work at all. Second, I want to be able to deliver fast turn around times to my client. I hear horror stories of clients waiting for six months to get their photos from photographers. I try to get every wedding done in a couple of weeks.

One of the reasons I am able to do that is by using Adobe Lightroom, along with a set of my custom presets designed to speed up my workflow. Below is a download link as well as a brief explanation of what the presets do.

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Blue Sky Enhancer

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This preset subtlety darkens and increases the saturation on the blue channel. It is especially useful for clear blue skies. Continue reading »

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Throwback Thursday Wedding Photography

Recently I was thinking back to my first time at the WPPI (Wedding and Portrait Photographers International) in Las Vegas back in 2008. I had only been photographing for a few years, and it was my first time at a conference with thousands of wedding and portrait photographers getting to meet and listen to long time industry pros. Topics covered everything from lighting to business.

a lot of the existing barriers to new photographers in the industry had seemingly disappeared overnight

However, there was a recurring theme throughout the entire conference, especially in the business classes. It was that photographers should stick to their guns and charge what they think they were worth and not compromise artistically or financially. It made sense in the context of the time, when digital cameras were finally able to exceed the quality of film, and a lot of the existing barriers to new photographers in the industry had seemingly disappeared overnight. The result was a market flooded with new competition that were able to work with low overheads on weekends while holding other jobs, and as a result they were able to sell their services for a lot less than what established photographers had been charging. Continue reading »

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Anatomy of an Image #13: Dynamic Imagery

 

Creating Dynamic Images

I am going a slightly different direction with this Anatomy of an Image post, because I am sharing 14 images from seven different weddings. The idea occurred to me when someone in a wedding photography forum noted how all the images photographers post seem to be very different then what you would expect in a typical wedding photograph. She asked if all of our photos look like that, or only certain ones. I thought it was an interesting question to answer, since if you are new to the industry or wedding photography in general, your impression would be that every single image looks like something that belongs in a gallery as opposed to a wedding album.

 

Let me start by answering her question: No, every image does not look like that, nor should they. The issue is that, as a photographer, I am photographing for two different people, myself and the client. It is actually more complicated than that, because I am not only photographing for the clients, I am also photographing for their family, their children, and their grand children that will be looking at their wedding photos one day. As such, it is important to find balance between creating the type of artwork that satisfies my own need to create, and the type of images that will appeal to people beyond just myself and the clients. Striking that balance can be difficult.

 

One of the wedding photographers who most inspires me is David Beckstead, and he has provided the best advice I have ever heard on the matter. Several years ago, he suggested splitting my time between creating safe images for a wider audience and more dynamic images for my own satisfaction. He calls it “creating an image for grandma, and then creating an image for me.”  It is a simple idea, but the freedom is provides is incredible. Once I know I have created that safe image for the “grandma” it leaves me to play and create in ways I have never thought possible. For newer photographers, you might want to devote 90% of your time to mastering the safe shots, but as you become more comfortable in developing your style, and confident that you can create dynamic imagery, you can ease into spending more and more of your time taking risks on dynamic imagery.

 

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Progress in Marriage Equality

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In anticipation of Pridefest happening in Denver this weekend, it got me thinking of how far the fight for marriage equality has progressed in the U.S. since I photographed my first same-sex marriage in California five years ago. When same sex marriage was legalized in California in 2008, my wonderful friends MJ and Pete were excited to begin planning their wedding, only to see the law change again later that year when Proposition 8 was passed, making it illegal again in California. They went ahead and continued their plans and had beautiful beach wedding surrounded by close family and friends.

 

 

Status of marriage equality in the U.S.

In those five short years, we have seen tremendous progress for marriage equality in the country. Five years ago, only five states recognized same-sex marriage; all in New England. As of the time of writing this, 19 states  and the District of Columbia have full recognition of same sex marriage, three more states, including here in Colorado, have limited recognition of civil partnerships, and eight more states have had their bans overturned but are pending appeals.

 

 

In fact, North Dakota is the only state there there is not a pending legal case on the status of same-sex marriage, and many legal scholars are predicting that it could be legal nation-wide as soon as June of 2015, which is only a year away. For an up to date look at the current legal status, check out this page from GayWeddings.com.

 

 

WedWeCan-profile-imageOf course, it really doesn’t effect what we do here. Since our start we have always believed in telling the story of love in all of its different forms. And our goal is to continue to photograph weddings and commitment ceremonies anywhere in the world. Join us in our support by visiting WedWeCan.com, or simply search for other gay-friendly wedding vendors in your area.

 
 
 

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I am not a Rockstar

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Can you name a single photographer, alive or dead other than Ansel Adams?

That is a question I ask my photography students. Often they can name one or two because they are studying photography, but if I posed that question to the general public, I wonder how many could name a photographer. I wonder how many fewer could name a wedding or portrait photographer. My guess is not many.

 

 

The Rockstar Photographer

This marketing idea played right into the mythology of what it means to be a photographer.
The term “Rockstar Photographer” originated about 5 years ago when a photographer, who shall remain nameless, (in fact, this post will reference a lot of photographers that shall remain unnamed,) started marketing an idea to other photographers. His idea was how to become a successful wedding and portrait photographer by focusing not on the photographer, but on your public persona. The photographs were secondary to the types of clothes you wear, the car you drive, and your social network presence. 

 

This marketing idea played right into the mythology of what it means to be a photographer. There is a romanticized view of a photographers life in the public. They picture us sitting in our fancy homes, drinking imported coffee, and the phone ringing off the hook with couples wanting to give us $10,000 to photograph their wedding in some exotic locale, or National Geographic calling sending us off to some far off country for a three week paid vacation. Of course the reality is quite different. I have worked for National Geographic before. One time I was paid $475 for a photograph that required 6 days of white water rafting to capture. I can’t say that it wasn’t fun, but no photographer is going to get rich on $80 per day. And while $5,000 for wedding photographer might seem like “easy money,” it represents the costs of tens of thousands of dollars in equipment, marketing, education, and more than anything else, a decade of experience.  Continue reading »

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When equipment breaks down

 
Imagine you are photographing a wedding ceremony, and right as the bride begins to walk down the aisle, your camera breaks. It becomes completely non functional to the point where you can’t even turn it off. What do you do? Do you panic? Do you ask to stop the ceremony? Do you pull out your cell phone? Or do you simply break down and cry?
 
That is a real dilemma that every wedding photographer will eventually face, and it happened to me last April.

Murphy’s law (as applied to photography) states that if equipment is ever going to fail, it will happen at the most inopportune time.
Did I need to do any of the above things? No, because luckily I was prepared to deal with them. Murphy’s law (as applied to photography) states that if equipment is ever going to fail, it will happen at the most inopportune time. Knowing this, I always have at least two cameras, ready to go, on me at all times. I use a double camera strap from Black Rapid in order to carry two cameras on my shoulders. I normally do this so that I can have two lenses with different focal lengths at the ready without the need to change lenses.  In this case, it was invaluable because in the unlikely event one camera failed, the other one was right there ready to go. 

 

 
Can you tell in these photos when I switched to the other camera? Hopefully not, and neither could the couple. Kristen and Mike just celebrated their one year anniversary as well as the birth of their first child, so I finally feel comfortable sharing this story of what could have been a disaster.

 

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Natural Light Photography

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Natural light is one of best light sources for photography. Most artificial lighting is designed to emulate natural light. So why is it that so many established professionals cringe when hearing the phrase “natural light photographer” like it was nails on a chalkboard?

 
The answer is pretty simple. The problem is that when we see a photographer marketing themselves as a “natural light photographer,” it typically means that they are exclusively natural lighting in that they do not use any type of flash or other equipment.  This in and of itself is not a bad thing. There are certainly valid reasons to use natural lighting. The problem is that the reliance and natural lighting becomes less of an aesthetic choice, and more due to a lack of familiarity with the basic fundamentals of portrait lighting.

 
There are six main types of portrait lighting; short, broad, butterfly, loop, Rembrandt, and split. Which type of lighting to use is dependent on the subject’s face, and the emotional impact the photographer wants to achieve in the portrait. Going into detail on each lighting type is well beyond the scope of a single blog column, but suffice it to say, experienced photographers are well acquainted with the different types of lighting and when to use them.

 
I actually love shooting in natural light, and use it whenever I can, as shown in the photos below. Broad lighting is makes a face look wider and more masculine, and short lighting tends to make a face look narrower and more feminine. When shooting a bride and groom near open windows, I turn them towards each other, and position his back to the window. This simple posing automatically puts his face in broad light and hers in short light.

 
What I learned when studying studio lighting is how to be a better work with natural light. I caution new photographers to really evaluate what they mean when they describe themselves as a “natural light photographer,” because it comes off as so limiting.
 

Each image below is an example of natural light photography describing the thought put into classical portrait lighting techniques.

 

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