Monday, October 19, 2009

Photo Shoot 6, October 2009

My science teacher friend, Valyssa, married last Friday, October 9, and let me tag along with her hired photographers so I could build my portfolio. Here are some of my favorite shots from that event. The more I look at my work, the more I notice my photojournalistic approach; I like to tell a story. My favorite pictures are ones with artistic flair and available light as well as those where my subjects are most relaxed.

This is my first-ever wedding shot with a digital camera. I took around 1300 photos (I know!) and it took me about 3 days to narrow it down to about 580. I don't have Adobe Photoshop which, in a way, I'm glad for because I must rely on my skill first. I do have iPhoto Mac which helps with a few minor adjustments. I boosted color, blurred edges, and faded color, but for the most part I kept true to the photo and didn't "edit" much (which some photographers tend to abuse because they don't have any skill or talent in the first place, not to name any names...). Overall I was happy with the amount of time it took me to shoot, edit, and narrow down my work.

Here are some things I learned:

*Much like a teacher, I must direct my subjects. Even when they're told, "Get in a line and walk toward the camera," many don't even really know how to walk appropriately. Valyssa's photographers knew how to put together some great shots of the bridal party, but missed the boat in terms of the finer details. I didn't want to step on their toes, so I sort of stood back and just watched. Lesson: If I'm the photographer in charge, tell subjects to walk with chin up, facing upward, smiling, with equal spaces between them.

*Don't photo the bride and bridal party for longer than 1 hour before the ceremony. Everyone will wilt prior to the party even starting. Lesson: Have an agenda in mind. Have 6-8 location "backgrounds" ready to go before the day of the event.

*Look for golden sunset light. Use it. 

*Weddings are visually easy; naturally, colors coordinate, bouquets are abundant, and everyone looks their best. So naturally, photos come out looking visually pleasing, for the most part. So -- does that make a photographer? Absolutely not! A portion of the afternoon was spent doing family portraits; I watched as Valyssa's photographers positioned the family. Some of their artistic choices were completely different from something I would choose; for example, shooting the family from downhill and focusing on the lighthouse in the background, using it as a main focus. I also noticed their team did not have a female, so I appreciated that I was allowed into the bride's bedroom to photo her getting ready with her friends, which actually turned out to be one of my favorite parts of the day.

*I have realized that the bride is largely a wedding's main focus. I never realized the weight of that fact and how the day really is about her. Lesson: Every bride must have her own photographer who stays with her and whose main focus is her -- all day. How can I work that into my own business?

*I began at 1:30 p.m. and started getting tired about 4. Lesson: Hire some help & bring some treats and coffee!

The pictures at the end are just for fun; they hired two charicature artists to draw the guests. Very cool! Thanks for reading and for following my journey... this whole thing is so existential!

                                                     (Click a photo to enlarge it)

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