I have been in this industry for a little over a decade. Not a long time, but I certainly remember shooting slide film professionally, and having to ship slides to magazines for publication.
Here is something I have noticed in my short time in the industry. Some photographers have always complained about how changes in the industry have “ruined” their business. Recently the big complaint is how social networking allows anyone with a camera to create an online presence and be a “professional.” 10 years ago, some pros complained that the ease of digital photography was putting them out of business. Before that photographers complained about everything from computer controlled metering to auto focus had allowed inferior photographers to compete with them.
However, none of those things were true. The only way changes in the industry can hurt a professional photographer, is if professionals fail to adapt. I have seen many photographers that have well established businesses go under, and it has almost always been for the same reason:
Instead of adapting to changes in the industry, they griped and moaned about how much better the industry used to be.
Complaining about the changes in the industry, or the price of your competition, does nothing for you. It leaves you feeling bitter, not nostalgic.
I got to thinking the other day, and I asked myself, “Why are we still providing images to clients on disks?” I realized how long it is been since I have personally bought anything on a disk. I buy music straight from iTunes. I can stream movies directly to me TV, and when I want to buy software, I download it straight to my computer. There is certainly an argument that clients prefer something physical in their hands, and I get that. However, all of our wedding photography packages include a custom designed album hand crafted in Italy.
After thinking it over, starting in 2014, we are switching from disks to digital downloads. It means you will get your images even faster, and by eliminating the environmental impact of disks, packaging, and shipping. We really think most of our clients will love this, but it not we are adding a new add-on item to our packages that we think you are going to love. Next year, when you book a wedding with us, you will be able to purchase all of you images preloaded on to a custom engraved Apple iPad starting at $599.
To get the iPad kick off started, if you book a Gold or Platinum Collection wedding between now and November 30th, 2013, the iPad is completely free. [read more...]
I love creating images that allow the subjects’ personality to come through. That was completely the case with this image. Nate and Joy are one of the most fun playful couples I have ever known. In fact they even met “playing” while mountain biking with mutual friends in Moab, Utah.
They told me how they saw this tire swing just outside of town under a giant oak tree, and how it would be worth the 10 minute drive to go photograph it. We snuck through the gate, and took a few photos in the pasture under this tree. I love the photo on so many level. I not only love the lighting, but I love the interaction between Nate and Joy. It is so apparent in this image how much fun they have together.
Recently, I was in San Juan, Puerto Rico for a bridal shoot. While I was there, I came across this man playing an accordion on a door step in Old San Juan. It was just after sunset and the streets were starting to grow dim except for this one bright area where he was sitting and playing.
I loved the combination of subject, light, and background, so I quickly made of few images of him before moving on.
Sparklers are one of those things that are incredibly difficult to photograph well. The problem is finding the right balance of shutter speed. Too fast and the sparkler looks like just a pinpoint of light. Too slow and everything becomes too blurry to be recognizable. On top of that, it requires a fair amount of choreography. You have to consider how the final image is going to look, and then give all the participants tasks to do while you photograph them, and then realize that you will only have a minute or two of burning sparklers to actually get everything to come together.
It wouldn’t be that challenging at a model shoot when people are used to taking direction, and you can bark out instructions on the fly for everyone to follow. But when you are dealing with guests, couples, and time restraints at a real wedding, everything gets much more complicated. The first restraint is time. Wedding guests don’t want to spend 20 minutes prepping for the perfect image, and the couple certainly does not want to be away from their guests for that long. In practice, shots must be designed to be fast. If it takes more than five minutes to make a photo, you are wasting time. Second, expectations need to be reasonable. Originally the idea was to have the bridal party spell out the word, “Love” behind the couple. The problem there, is that you have to get four people (who have probably been partying for an hour) to simultaneously write four different letters and do it backwards so it appears forward in the camera….
Instead, we needed to create something a little more manageable, so I had the idea for the above image. The bridal party was already dancing, so I figured we should go with that. Since it is really hard to get everyone to stand still long enough for a photo like this without blurring, I just went with it. All I really needed was the couple to be sharp. I encouraged everyone else to dance around them with the sparklers, while the two of them posed in a way they could hold for several seconds without moving.
The result was an abstract image that not only looks fun, but the people in it had fun making it. And it only took them away from the party for a couple of minutes.
I love May when the ice on Lake Dillon near my home starts to melt. But before the ice can completely melt, it usually breaks up first. When this happens the ice get’s pushed around the surface of the water and can end up in big piles on the edges of the lake. In this image I used a very long exposure to give the sky and water a soft look that contrasts with the sharp jagged look of the ice.
Perspective is a bit relative when it comes to photography. Our brains have evolved to use our two eyes to render three dimensional images. We are pretty good at interpreting two dimensional images like photographs most of the time without having to think about them much, but when unusual compositions are used, especially when missing visual queues like horizon lines, it forces our brains off of auto mode and requires us to think a bit more about the image.
That is what I attempted to do here. By laying down on the ground and photography up at the bride I eliminated the ground and the horizon from the composition. I took advantage of the “ship’s prow” distortion by shooting the corner of the building at such an extreme angle to add to the disorientation. I placed the bride just to the left of the corner so that the line made by the corner of the building intersected with her face as opposed to the top of her head. I also turned her towards the light which created flattering short light on her face.
My favorite part about this shot is that we just found this building while walking to the venue. I’m glad I noticed it because it ended up being one of my favorite portraits of her from the wedding. Photographers should use these types of photos with discretion because the upward angle tends to make people look bigger then they are. It worked for this bride because she was so thin.
When setting up a portrait type image like this, the two things I am thinking about most are composition and lighting.
From the standpoint of composition, I am usually thinking about how the subject will look relative to the background. I look for ways to use the background for framing and composition. In this image, it was important for me to show the ocean, crashing waves, and the walls of Fort Morro, but I still wanted the image to be about the person. What I did was to visually split the image in half down the middle, and imagined giving half of the image to the person, and half to the location. I even post processed each half of the image separately to emphasize the separation.
I used a pretty simple technique when it comes to lighting. Short lighting is the style of lighting in which the light source illuminates the side of the subject’s face that is turned way from the camera. In simpler terms, the subject’s face is pointed between the light and the camera. It is one of my favorite lighting techniques for female subjects outside because of the slimming effect it has on a person’s face, not that this subject needed it. Creating the lighting effect was simple. I just had her turn her face slightly towards the sun. Luckily it was overcast enough that the shadows were nice and soft and no other lighting modifiers were needed. If it was sunnier out, I may have incorporated a diffuser or reflector.
Book a summer 2014 wedding between now and November 30, 2013, and we will upgrade you from thumb drive to a 16GB iPad WiFi* for your image delivery at no additional cost. All of your digital images will be preloaded onto a custom engraved iPad.
*or current equivalent model. Some restrictions apply. Only Gold and Platinum wedding collections qualify. Cannot be combined with other offers.