Art and Photography

C&C Please! First engagement shoot.

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  • Jul 25th, 2008 5:40 pm
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[OP]
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Nov 17, 2003
3042 posts
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C&C Please! First engagement shoot.

As promised!

I've shot at weddings as a well-equipped "uncle bob" before, and had some excellent results. I've agreed to shoot my first wedding as the pro for a couple of very good friends. No cost (it'll be my wedding gift) though they'll likely refer me to a number of other paying upcoming weddings if I'm interested (ie, if I don't lose my mind on my first try).

We shot some engagement photos a couple weeks ago. I learned a *lot* about what not to do. Constructive criticism would be much appreciated. I'm pretty good with my equipment most of the time, but shooting people in a non-candid (or sports) type environment is new to me, and I have no idea what I'm doing with posing, instructions, etc.

Shot with a Nikon D80 and Nikon D50, 50/1.8, Sigma 70-200/2.8, SB-800 and way too much sunlight. Post processing beyond any obvious B&W stuff is pretty much just some sharpening, color and spot heal tweaks in lightroom.

The couple are good friends of mine. Please be ruthless with my own work and technique but nice with the subjects.

Here's 5 random images from the batch that the couple flagged as favorites:

[IMG]http://matthyw.googlepages.com/CH-0091.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://matthyw.googlepages.com/CH-0039.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://matthyw.googlepages.com/CH-0818.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://matthyw.googlepages.com/CH-0828.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://matthyw.googlepages.com/CH-0876.jpg[/IMG]



Here's 2 more they didn't want, and I sort of liked. I think they could be better, but I'm a bit stuck on *how* to get there. Ideas?

[IMG]http://matthyw.googlepages.com/MT-0733.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://matthyw.googlepages.com/MT-0820.jpg[/IMG]



Obviously there's a bunch more. I'll post a couple of seated poses, etc, if folks are up for beating on those, too.

The couple didn't want anything too fussy/formal/posed/artsy etc. I'm reasonably happy with the results, but i still think that a good number of the shots feel a bit snapshot-y if you take my meaning. Maybe I've just been looking at them too long.

Things I've learned:

1. Check your camera settings constantly. I nudged the command dial on one camera to S move and didn't catch it right away, trashing a bunch of good opportunities.

1(b). RAW is your friend. Especially when shooting a couple with dramatically different skin tones.

2. Direct sunlight mixed with shadows sucks. I know this is obvious, but damn. Stupid life-giving ball of fire..

3. Relax. When we starting having fun things got easier. Most of the keepers were from later in the shoot.

4. Technical excellence does not mean good pictures. I took a few perfectly exposed, perfectly sharp shots that didn't get flagged as keepers, and at least 3 of the images they want are blurry or otherwise technically not great, but just "work" for them. hrm. Guess that's why it's art?

Anyhow.. have at 'em. Be mean. This will be my first wedding, and I'd rather get killed in C&C and be prepared than get told everything's fine. :cheesygri
9 replies
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Oct 15, 2002
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Markham
I wouldn't call the day a failure, but there is alot to work on.

I'm not sure why #1 is a keeper, it is out of focus, does not have enough background to put the subjects in any context, and they are too centered.

#2 is better. You put them into a more shaded area and didn't have to deal with too much blown highlights. The light that is visible, isn't too distracting.

#3 Prolly the best of the bunch as it's much easier for noobs to shoot inanimate objects rather than capture emotion.

#4 and 5 are more like snap shots to me, but they do show the couple happy and close.

As long as the couple if happy with them, that's all that really matters. What you mentioned about being relaxed goes for both the tog and the subjects. If they feel comfortable around you, they will more likely show more emotion and not be so uptight and feel like they need to pose.

A couple of shots with them looking at each other rather than at you would be a good way to get them into their own world first.

Also, try to compose your pics with them not so centered. That's often a dead giveaway for 'uncle bobs'. Use the rule of thirds and don't be afraid to capture more of the surroundings to create more of a mood.

Keep pluggin away...you just need to keep shooting and shooting!!!
[OP]
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Nov 17, 2003
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SENSEI wrote:
Jul 25th, 2008 12:07 pm
I'm not sure why #1 is a keeper, it is out of focus, does not have enough background to put the subjects in any context, and they are too centered.
Neither am I. I wouldn't have picked it myself. Figured I should post it in case I missed something?
SENSEI wrote:
Jul 25th, 2008 12:07 pm
#2 is better. You put them into a more shaded area and didn't have to deal with too much blown highlights. The light that is visible, isn't too distracting.
This is one of the few that I actually like from the day, along with #4.

SENSEI wrote:
Jul 25th, 2008 12:07 pm
As long as the couple if happy with them, that's all that really matters. What you mentioned about being relaxed goes for both the tog and the subjects. If they feel comfortable around you, they will more likely show more emotion and not be so uptight and feel like they need to pose.

A couple of shots with them looking at each other rather than at you would be a good way to get them into their own world first.

Also, try to compose your pics with them not so centered. That's often a dead giveaway for 'uncle bobs'. Use the rule of thirds and don't be afraid to capture more of the surroundings to create more of a mood.

Keep pluggin away...you just need to keep shooting and shooting!!!
They were really happy with the results, but I'm not so much.

Some of the centered composition is thanks to cropping rather than the initial framing of the shot. Apparently I should be more awake next time. I posted #6 and #7 as example of shots that I think are *almost* acceptable, but not quite right. Will edit the initial post momentarily..

There's some others that aren't too bad that have them looking at each other or at a more telephoto distance. I'll export a couple of those and post them here shortly. Be right back..
[OP]
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Less technically good images, but I don't mind these as much.

The guy is a bit of a goofball, and a good number of the shots where the couple was looking at each other he was fooling around, making it hard to get anything fun AND natural looking.

The first one needs a horizontla crop now that I look at it. I know the last one is out of focus. It was taken at 200mm with the ISO set wrong, but I still like it. No pp other than B&W on any of these, so they're soft atm.

meh..

[IMG]http://matthyw.googlepages.com/MT2-0057.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://matthyw.googlepages.com/MT2-0080.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://matthyw.googlepages.com/MT2-0107.jpg[/IMG]
Deal Addict
Jan 17, 2004
1508 posts
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Toronto
SENSEI wrote:
Jul 25th, 2008 12:07 pm
#2 is better. You put them into a more shaded area and didn't have to deal with too much blown highlights. The light that is visible, isn't too distracting.
The blown-out white thingamajigs in the background that run through his head are very distracting.

I sometimes feel like a salesperson for Fredmiranda lately, but I would seriously consider paying so that you can post there for C&C as well. They have a wedding photography as well as a critique board which get a lot of traffic, and you are likely to get a lot more pros looking at it than you will here.
[OP]
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Nov 17, 2003
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NuggyBuggy wrote:
Jul 25th, 2008 12:50 pm
The blown-out white thingamajigs in the background that run through his head are very distracting.
Good point. Perhaps a light grey path with full sun on it wasn't the best option for background. :|

Keep it coming!
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Jan 3, 2006
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3rd picture in the 2nd post is out of focus and really awkward looking.

Here are a few "ideas" from a friends shoot. I picked pictures without their faces just in case...

[IMG]http://photos-f.ak.facebook.com/photos- ... 7_6214.jpg[/IMG]
[IMG]http://photos-b.ak.facebook.com/photos- ... 73_709.jpg[/IMG]
[IMG]http://photos-g.ak.facebook.com/photos- ... 2_7364.jpg[/IMG]
[IMG]http://photos-344.ll.facebook.com/photo ... 8_9223.jpg[/IMG]
[IMG]http://photos-d.ak.facebook.com/photos- ... 7_8820.jpg[/IMG]
Deal Addict
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Oct 15, 2002
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Markham
NuggyBuggy wrote:
Jul 25th, 2008 12:50 pm
The blown-out white thingamajigs in the background that run through his head are very distracting.

I sometimes feel like a salesperson for Fredmiranda lately, but I would seriously consider paying so that you can post there for C&C as well. They have a wedding photography as well as a critique board which get a lot of traffic, and you are likely to get a lot more pros looking at it than you will here.
I see what you're saying, but remember these haven't been PP at all. That highlighted fence can be easily blended into the background once converted to back and white. As long as the faces aren't blown out.

I think Fred is just getting a bit greedy now to ask for fees to post in BST and for image upload. Makes no sense to me.

If you're serious about weddings, join a forum dedicated to weddings like DWF or at least join WeddingFoto Forum.com. Free, but they check to make sure you have a site and a semi-serious about learning.
Deal Addict
Jan 17, 2004
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Toronto
SENSEI wrote:
Jul 25th, 2008 3:42 pm
I think Fred is just getting a bit greedy now to ask for fees to post in BST and for image upload. Makes no sense to me.
I haven't paid for either image upload nor BST. I probably should, though; I've saved hundreds of dollars on some lenses I bought on the BST, and it's been a lot easier than duking it out on craigslist. I don't know how the economics of his site work - not sure how much money comes in besides subscriptions, nor what his bandwidth costs work out to be. The moment I decide to start unloading some of my stuff, though, I absolutely will pay for a membership there.

As for whether there are perhaps better sites than FM for strictly wedding photography - I'm sure you're right. My point was just that there are a limited number of qualified opinions here that could help the OP out - I just knew he could get more of such opinions on FM than he can here.
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Jul 18, 2003
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Etobicoke
If you plan to go pro (ie. charging for pictures), you need to polish up on several skills that will separate you from the the other photographers (either guests or pros).

I was at a wedding of a fellow camera club member once and several other club members were invited. The balcony at the back of the church looked like what you see at professional sports games - a row of white and massive telephoto lenses. The wedding ceremony was interspersed with machine gun like shutter clicks as motor drives ensured every little significant movement was recored at minimum 4fps by no less than 7 pro-quality cameras. The dude with the Nikon D3 even boasted 9fps!!!

The professional photographer was quite embarrassed as he only had a Canon 5D body, EF 85mm lens with a fancy bracket holding a Quantum Q-Flash.

At the end of the day, each and every one of the guests from camera club had over 1000 pictures for a total of just under 10,000 pictures. The problem is, most of the pictures looked the same.

Morale of the story, in this day & age of cheap digital cameras, you need to learn things that separates your pictures from the rest.

So, here are some suggestions :
  • Selective focus - I see you trying to do it in #3 but it's not balanced
  • Poses - very important - certain looks, dresses goes with certain poses; a slight tilt or angle change makes a big difference. #3 looks posed. You need a pic of them holding hands naturally and placing it on the knee while showing the ring.
  • Natural lighting - stay away from flat lighting created by flashes. Use shadows created by natural window light. Unless, of course, you are really really good with electronic flashes and can make it look like natural light
  • Pick a good background and then insert bride/groom. If the background is no good, then pictures will look like every other picture
  • Get to know your clients - they have to be able to be completely natural in front of a stranger (you) for you to capture their emotions. That means spending time with them to get to know each other.
  • Crowd control - you'll be fighting with other guests for bride/groom's attention as well as trying to get everyone to let you do your work without getting them defensive
  • Post-processing - plan to spend at least twice as many hours on the computer as you did shooting the event. And you need to work with your printing house (unless you have your own printer) to ensure what you see on your computer screen is what their printer prints out. Capturing the image is only 1/2 of the work. Making it look good in print is the other half.
Wedding photography is an easy business to get into. So there are many out there who doesn't really know what they're doing taking pictures for money. This gives wedding photogs a bad name. Please please, perfect your art before charging.

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