Posts Tagged ‘wedding’

5Everywhere I go, no matter what the event, the scene, the purpose, as soon as anything happens, it can be a marching band or a person opening a gift, everyone pulls out a phone and starts recording.

Everyone.

Why the instant reflex, the need to capture everything?

Everything.

Is it a natural reflex to get it all? Take it all back with us?

8Who is ever going to watch those fireworks from last year’s Fourth of July on their phone again? Or that marching band? Or that person opening those socks?

It happens at weddings to the point where people don’t even experience the event without a device–camera or phone–in front of them. And then there’s the mad rush to post their blurry wedding photos before anyone else. Why?

There’s even a trend to post signs at weddings about it being an unplugged wedding ceremony, asking guests to put away their phones and camera and enjoy the event.

My niece was getting married–I would have welcomed the wait to see the hired photographer’s quality work rather than the multitude of bad photos everyone posted in real time. It’s not like there’s no one there hired to photograph it. Why do we do this?

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I think it’s a habit, now it’s a reflex. Something happening=Shoot photos, record!

But at what expense? Do we lose anything by not attending the moment in-person fully.

There’s a beautiful movie called Before Sunrise with Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke, and after they meet and spend a night walking around Vienna together, they wake up the next morning, in love, and have to part.

Watch this scene. He wants to take her photo, but doesn’t take her picture – it happens at the 1:20 minute mark. “I’m going to take your picture, so I never forget you, or all this.”

There’s something to be said for letting the image sear in our mind and heart, the result of fully experiencing it.

Isn’t there?

Or should we schedule some time to get together to watch these videos and see these photos? Because it hasn’t happened once for me, so far.

To me, all wedding photos look alike right now. It feels like advertising for the art director.

Whenever I see wedding photos in magazines or people’s posts, it seems like a lot of the same photographs of the decor and flowers and table settings like still life/product shots, like the bride and groom are more interested in the “look” of the wedding (especially with lotsa bokeh) than the emotional connections, the documenting of them and the people and the special moments shared.

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Yes, there’s the bride and groom kissing photo, but I mean the difficult photos, the other unplanned moments, the joy and expressions that aren’t scheduled, is anyone documenting them?

Unposed? A little messy? (‘Cause they’re real.)

Or is this the trend, pretty pictures of table settings and invitation cards and dresses on display?

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Does anyone care about, you know, real photos, the human stuff? Telling their unique family story?

Has digital photography made wedding photography homogenized? Does anyone else see this?

The greatest record album photo of all time is the Clash’s London Calling cover, and it’s a photo by British photographer Pennie Smith that she didn’t like because it’s a little out of focus, and there’s an overexposed man in the upper right corner of the frame, but it’s perfect because it captures a moment. It’s not technically great, it has a great subject.

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Any wedding photographers getting the bass-smashing photos?

Does it not matter if they’re not–it’s just the current culture?

Being a freelance photographer has given me the opportunity to travel to states throughout the U.S. for photo shoots.

Though I’m based in Denver, I often shoot in Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Chicago and now I’m adding Los Angeles, having now set up a second location to base out of in addition to my Colorado studio/office.

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Some people don’t like to travel for their work.  I know photographers who don’t like to take their gear on the road.  Not me!  I love meeting people in every state and getting to photograph in various cities.  Different places bring new photo projects, assignments and opportunities.

I’ve been bringing a VIP Portrait studio to companies for award ceremonies, events and company head shots and group shots, and a glamorous Hollywood Wedding Photo Studio to wedding couples as an alternative to the silly-style photo booth.

I couldn’t ask for more.  For the corporate clients, it’s photographs worthy of display in their offices.

For the wedding couple, the joy on their faces when they see their grandparents in a formal photo, it’s almost like something out of the early 1900s, what with the studio lights, set pieces and Victorian furniture.

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I can’t make photographs like everyone else.  I really can’t!

I’m not taking the typical photograph everyone else is taking: soft background, pastel feel shallow depth, high-key background. You know the look. It’s the same look every wedding and portrait photographer is doing. And it’s why every photo looks the same.

Have you seen wedding galleries lately?  Same mason jars with soft focus on one tiny edge with the name tag inside, tilted frame, background blown out.  Same farm-to-table wedding with rustic barn wood and fresh wildflowers as the next one.

It’s like they are all created with the same exact art director.  High-key,  over-processed, almost like a commercial for a wedding.  A set up, created event.

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It’s why all portraits look like that.  Same look.

The photographs are all interchangeable because their presets are the same. The photographers’ Lightroom (post-processing software) settings are copied and shared among them.  Their photographs all look like “they’re supposed to look” as fits the current trends, so people will want them.  They’ve adopted the look that sells.

And so, people do want them, and sell they do.  Kind of like the Disney princess wedding, that look that young girls are sold on, the one that says fancy and special.  Glamorized and stylized.  Overpriced and debt-creating.  Fake, but so what?

Unique, not at all.

I don’t want every wedding photograph to look like a catalog shoot.  I don’t want every image to be oozing style–yes you have a great lens, and great editing toning presets–what about content?  Where are the moments, the bits of serendipity, the unexpected shots, like the flower girl fighting with the ring bearer under the church pew?  I don’t see those photographs.

elena-ferrer-199566-unsplashBut the flower arrangements, shot with another jaunty dutch angle, perfectly created with just the tip of the petal in focus with the latest Canon or Nikon behemoth of a camera: “Guess how many megapixels I have?”  They’ve got that photo!

It’s not that I don’t care about sharpness.  I don’t care only about sharpness.  Or that you can print it the size of a billboard.  Where’s the story of the day?  Where are those photographs, the ones with  the emotional punch?

Because cameras are very good now at taking sharp photos.  But making photographs, photographing moments that are fleeting but must be caught, those take photographers.

The best compliment I ever received was from a client who said, “Yours don’t look like that. Yours look like… yours.”

It’s because I don’t use presets–my photographs can’t look like everyone else.  I create an original photograph based on what I see while in the session.  Each one is a unique shoot.  I have no preconceived ideas of what I’ll do, no matter how much I think about it ahead of time.

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Daughter and Mom Portrait on Kodak Tri-X Film

Plus I shoot on film.  Real film.  Which has a look I call “soul”.  It’s a bit removed from reality.

It’s not as sharp as digital, perhaps, or it exhibits some grain, but it has that quality, that feeling of a dream–past tense.  Like a moment captured in time.  And it truly is–the light that was reflecting on that person is what created the negative, that’s what made the image, which will now last for generations.  Something that was there with them–the light–is now stored on the film.

I really have no idea what look I’ll create when I start a shoot–I leave it up to the session and see what works for me for a photograph.  I’m creating as I go, looking for interesting light and good places for setups.

Because for real photographs, just like real life, there are no presets.

Create your own style.  Forget trends.  Make your art.  Create photographs as you see them.

It matters–we all have our own vision, our own view. And it’s important to share our way of seeing.  It’s a view no one else can deliver.  No one else has what we have.

Then it will be a unique view, a special photograph.

I’ll take a slightly soft emotional moment to the razor-sharp technically perfect but vapid photograph every time.