I have been fortunate enough to have photographed over 800 weddings, but I still remember the first time someone asked me to capture the events of such a special day. At the time, I wasn't a professional photographer -- I had never even dreamed about being a pro. I really just wanted to get memorable pictures of my 2 year-old.
As a bonus, I figured I might get some good travel photos. This is the type of image I was capturing.
Bellow: Turkish Women in a Bazar -- circa 1970
Today, as I sit at my computer, in Huntington Beach, CA., I am remembering that first wedding and sort of wishing I would have had someone one, or some place, willing to share some tips on getting great wedding photos. Hopefully, the following article will help you.
Friends and family have told you they love the photographs you take. Occasionally, after seeing your work, someone asks if you are a professional photographer. Recently you’ve decided to offer your talent to friends and family members, and you need to learn the special tips and tricks the professionals use. Weddings are not the easiest photo shoot. However, by learning a few tips, you can have a successful experience.
All of this assumes that you are the 'official' photographer, asked by the bride and groom, to capture the images of their big day. It further assumes that they have not hired a professional photographer. In the case where you are just a guest, stay out of the way of the person the couple has selected to be their official photographer. Do not get in the way. Do not jump up, or into the aisle, to get what you think is an important moment, like the first kiss, or when the groom first sees his bride. Remember, it is important to them, too, and they hired someone who is not you to capture those moments. You don't want to ruin your friend's wedding photos by blocking the pro, or having your flash go off at a critical moment, and ruin the exposure on a once-in-a-life-time shot.
OK, so if you are the official photographer, paid or not, how do you prepare to do the bet job that you can?
Being Prepared When shooting a wedding, it is vital to plan ahead. You will have only one opportunity to shoot these special pictures. There is no excuse for running out of batteries or memory cards, having blurry or poorly lit images, or missing an important person in a group shot.
Make a list of the equipment you will need, and be sure it is packed. The following list contains some of the essentials you will need.
Wide angle and zoom lenses
3 step folding ladder for shooting downward
Duct tape (for markers and securing extension cords
Notebook and pen
The Day Before
You don’t want any surprises the day of the wedding. There are no second chances. Visit the wedding location at the time of day the event is taking place. Check out the lighting and angles. Determine if you need any special equipment or props. Locate the electrical outlets. This is important, as you may need to bring several extension cords for extra lights. Ask the bride and groom for a program with the order of the service, and determine where you need to stand for all the ceremony shots. Place small masking tape reminders on the floor where you will stand during shoots.
Inside Locations Spend time observing the natural light coming through windows, and determine how potential “shoot” spots are affected. Pay attention to stained glass windows in churches, and consider how to take advantage of the colors they cast. Look for unique places to pose photos for individual shots of the bride and groom, and their “couple” shots. Bring a second person to pose in practice shots. Evaluate the resulting pictures before the day of the actual shoot.
Outside Locations Weather is always a consideration when shooting an outdoor wedding. Check out the weather forecast for the wedding day. If you are fortunate, the weather will be the same the day before the wedding. Visit the outdoor location, and check lighting with practice shots. Look for unique photo opportunities and write them down. Anyone can forget things that are not written down. Ask about the alternative location in the event of bad weather, and follow the advance preparation suggestions given for inside locations.
Two Assistants The two assistants are an important part of your planning. The first assistant is a person who is good with a camera, and can help by covering extra angles of important shots They will also be responsible to take candid shots of the guests during the wedding and reception. The second assistant is a member of the one of the wedding families. Their job is to be sure everyone who needs to be in the shot is present at the right time. They are also responsible to keep the guests with cameras out of your way until your work is done.
Make A Photo List This should be planned in advance with the wedding couple. The photo list includes every shot the wedding couple wants, plus those you suggest to them. Use your imagination to make some creative shots from the following suggestions.
Wedding rings placed on a Bible (add a rose or ribbons)
Mirror reflection of bride adjusting her veil
Bride with family members before wedding
Veil and bouquet
Bride with maid of honor
Bride holding her dress and looking dreamy-eyed
Bride looking at parent’s wedding album
Bride looking at snapshots of her childhood
Bride in informal setting with siblings
Groom with family members before wedding
Groom with parents
Groom with best man Groom in informal setting with siblings Mirror reflection of groom adjusting his bow tie
The Day of the Wedding Arrive early. Plug in all necessary cords, and tape them down securely. Check your masking tape “shoot” markers, and replace any missing or damaged ones. Go over your photograph “to do” list with your assistant. Confirm which shots your assistant will be taking and the shooting locations. You both need to be shooting during the reception. Eat a full meal before leaving for the wedding location, and pack some snacks in your bag to nibble when time allows. Do not expect to sit down and eat during the reception because this is the wedding of a friend or family member. You are there to work. The reception photos are a very important part of the wedding album.
The Final Product When it’s time to print, don’t use your local discount store or pharmacy. Use a professional photography laboratory for long-lasting prints the bride and groom will love. Professional laboratories offer numerous sizes and options for quality prints, including glossy, matte, soft focus, and canvas.
Using these tips will give you the professional results you want, and your bride and groom will be delighted. Proper planning, the right tools, and a helpful assistant will make your shoot go smoothly.
[Edit:] I mentioned having a snack in your bag -- but what bag? You certainly don't want to carry a large camera bag, full of everything you own, on your shoulder, or hip, all day long. How do you make sure that you'll have the best lenses, for the ever-changing shoot opportunities, available when you need them?
Of course, you could drape two camera bodies over your shoulders, each with a different focal length lens. There are speciality straps designed to help keep the cameras from clanging together, as you move. However, there is another option: Enter the Shootsac. The Shootsac is the original lens bag. It was created by wedding photographers to allow you to carry a couple of lenses, flash, extra storage cards, and other items that you are likely to need over the course of shooting a wedding -- and carry them is a comfortable, convenient way.
Click on the following image, or watch the video, bellow, for more information.
Each speaker gets 5 minutes (they run a clock) and 20 slides -- (which advance automatically) and THEIR JOB is to teach you something. The first year Kevin Kubota's team debuted this concept at WPPI, all the presenters were crazy nervous. BUT, the result was fantastic!
IGNITE is ONE platform where there is no time for BS -- the format keeps the talks, fresh and real and entertaining. Less rah-rah and more AH HA!
I know not everyone gets to go to WPPI -- so having a chance to see Photographer's Ignite FREE from the comfort of your own home -- is a GIFT! That's why we are so excited to be a part of it.
Shootsac is proud to support Kevin Kubutoa's Photographer's Ignite and Creative Live in bringing this event to you.
Hipslip and Shootsac are 2 really hardworking little black bags for those of us who use laptops and lenses almost daily.
They are basic black and so practical that they feel like tools of the trade.
This week at Shootsac, we're giving the idea of basic black a 100% tactile makeover. New covers so amazing you just have to TOUCH them for yourself.
My Hipslip laptop sleeve goes to the office with me daily and I love being able to really LOVE LOVE LOVE the cover that's on it. I use a cover to spice up my basic black neoprene sleeve with a little pop of color.
I'm free to go hip, cool, funky - just plain wild with my laptop sleeve if I want to. It's all about style and expression.
The cover on my Shootsac lensbag however gets held to a different standard when I wear it for events.
I'm a wedding and event photographer so I want to look professional and elegant when I show up to shoot. Long ago, I swore off letting my gear make me look like I was going into combat or the hired help, but I never quiet gave up the old idea that I should wear "blend-in-black" to dressy events.
But again -- who says BLACK has to be boring!
Shootsac's new line of BLACK covers are specifically designed to add a little romance, flair and texture to good-old, practical black. I'm particularly in love with the flirty new DRESS FORMS COVER. Love that one!
All of the new covers (even the new MIDNIGHT COWBOY for men) are ON SALE during their debut week.
Or you can add a new black cover to any HIP SLIP or SHOOTSAC bag purchase for free. (SALE ENDS 10/23)
Which one is your FAVORITE?
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I am a huge Mac fan and have had a Macbook Pro or MacBook Air laptop since day one of my photography business.
To my mind, Apple was the first company to really add "good" design to the notion of personal computing. I love products that look good. I am attracted to things that are sleek and stylish.
I'm pretty sure the very first place I ever even saw a laptop "sleeve" was at the Apple store and I just loved the idea of it. (Women know where I'm headed with this :) Sometimes, the "idea" of something just isn't enough.
Having never really been a briefcase kind of girl -- I thought something simple and sleek that protected my laptop would do the trick and suit my style. And it did... but as sometimes happens -- it just didn't do enough.
It turns out that as much as I love good looks, and as much as I'm a fan of good design, at heart I'm really a pretty practical person. I like REALLY SMART STUFF that WORKS. (Don't get me started on my new Dyson vacuum cleaner. I LOVE LOVE LOVE IT :)
When I set out to design the HIP SLIP I wanted to keep the sleek look of a sleeve (which I still love) but I knew I needed to add the functionality my Incase sleeve was missing.
pockets to protect my laptop from my powercord
pockets for my ipad, folders, or mac book air
pockets for magazines, notepads, airline tickets and other stuff
and how about a comfortable, good-looking, hardworking messenger strap -- that is there when I want it and gone when I don't.
Now -- how to make ALL this FUNCTIONALITY more F.U.N ? (Add a Shootsac Pocket Cover of course!) (ALL Shootsac covers fit the Hip Slip)
CHECK out the "everything-you-ever-wanted-and-oh-so-good-lookin'" HIP SLIP by Shootsac. Our SALE is going on RIGHT NOW but it ENDS tomorrow night!
Sale is effective from now until 11:59 PM PDT (-7 GMT) on Friday September 28, 2012. While supplies last. Copyright (C) 2012 Shootsac, Inc. All rights reserved.
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We are having a BIG sales event -- as in FREE covers. We just introduced our new Ruffle Covers, and we are giving one away FREE when you buy a Shootsac lens bag, or HipSlip laptop sleeve. Beyond the new Ruffle covers, we are also offering the Roses covers that we introduced during our Summer Sale, so if you missed them, now is your chance.
I know that many of you already have a Shootsac lens bag, and a HipSlip laptop sleeve, so we have a deal for you, too. Grab one of the new Ruffle covers or one of the Roses covers -- or a couple of each :-) at a special sales price.
Details were sent in an email to our list members, earlier, today, (so there is your reason to sign up for our list, at the bottom of each page on the website) and has a special link to the FREE cover and Shootsac lens bag or HipSlip laptop sleeve page. You can get to the sale by clicking on the following photos.
For the combo offer, click on the first image, bellow. For the covers only sale, click on the second photo.
Hurry -- Sale ends on August 20th, 2012
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Summer is bright and fun and full of life! So...we decided to launch a line of new Summer Roses covers to match the mood of the season. But we didn’t stop there…we’re also running a HUGE Summer Sales Event. Here’s a taste of how you can SAVE:
Have you been saving up for a Shootsac lens bag? Well, wait no more! For a limited time, you can get one for the lowest price we ever offer…$150!
OR upgrade to a Summer Kit for only $19 more --- not only do you get the Shootsac lens bag, but you get one of our brand spankin’ new covers! Choose one from the Summer Roses line OR grab the long awaited Midnight Cowboy...
All of these deals go away Monday night so Shop Now…Enjoy!
Pssst…are you on our email list? If not, sign up here to make sure you’re the first to know about updates, events, and fun content.
Now for the always fun disclaimer info: While supplies last. Sale ends at 11:59pm PDT Monday, July 16, 2012. Covers included in the Summer Sales Event are: Midnight Cowboy, Pink Roses, Purple Roses, Teal Roses, and Yellow Roses.
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As we celebrate Independence Day in the U.S., we also mark another season --- a season of fun with family, friends, BBQs, and yes, FIREWORKS! These are the moments we want to capture, including those beautiful bursts of color in the sky.
So, the question is...
How to Photograph Fireworks?
Over the last week, the folks at Adorama have put together a few helpful guides that we wanted to share. Take a peek before heading out to the fireworks show!
Are you planning to shoot with a DSLR? Watch this handy video from AdoramaTV. Mark Wallace provides 8 simple steps to shooting awesome fireworks photos with your DSLR:
Grand Finales, in all their glory, are difficult to photograph. Working with Photoshop after the big event, you can create your own image by following these guidelines: Using Photoshop to create a Grand Finale
We hope you enjoyed these tips from Adorama. You're now ready to capture your memories with amazing 4th of July photos! Do you have other tips for shooting fireworks? We'd love to hear them - please share in the comments below. We'd also love to see your fireworks photos - you can email them to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Have a safe and happy holiday!
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Have you been holding off on buying your new Shootsac lens bag, Hip Slip laptop sleeve, or covers? Well, today's the day! We're offering FREE SHIPPING ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD! Don't miss this great offer - it ends at 11:59 PM PDT today.
Click on the image below to start shopping!
Domestic orders receive free ground shipping. International orders receive free air shipping but does not include any tariffs or import duties. Minimum purchase of $100 required for international orders only. Discount reflected at checkout Not combinable with any other discount offers or promotions. Sale is effective until 11:59 PDT (-7 GMT) on 06.22.12. While supplies last. Copyright (C) 2012 Shootsac, Inc. All rights reserved.
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Thank you to all who submitted photos in our call for Spring Bloom pictures! We received some amazing images and loved looking through all of them. But, alas, we had to narrow it down to one.
And the winner is… Alyssa Filkins of Alyssa Filkins Photography (http://alyssafilkins.com/) for her beautiful, light, bright daisy photo! It perfectly captured the feeling and energy we were seeking. Congratulations Alyssa!
Want to see the winning photo? Make sure you are on our email list…it’s coming out this week! Join here: MAILING LIST
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