Friday, September 25, 2009

IPS Photography Workshops

IPS Photography Workshops

Check out the latest promo video from the Institute of Photographic Studies!



Many thanks to Laura Clawson, David Talbot, and many others who contributed to this project!

IPS has just launched a new website at: http://prizewinningphotography.com

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

How to Photograph a Wedding | Group Portraits

How to Photograph a Wedding | Group Portraits

Let’s talk about the group portraits. You know, those shots that probably no one likes, but we all have to take anyway: his family, her family, all the family, none of the family, the preacher, the flower children, etc., etc… The goal here is to improve your speed without sacrificing quality. A little planning makes all the difference.

Build your shots in such a way that most of the people you photograph don’t have to leave and come back. Here’s an example of how this might work… (For these examples I’m going to use a stage as the area where I’m shooting.) Start with the bride and groom and add the grooms parents; shot. Then add his siblings; shot. Have the parents step just off to the side; shot. Parents come back in and add siblings’ spouses; shot. Siblings kids join too; shot. Groom’s extended family joins; shot. Move the groom’s family all to one side, add the brides whole extended family; shot. The groom’s family could now be done… dismiss them unless they are part of the bridal party.

Now we play the subtraction game… balance out the bride’s extended family; shot. Cut it down to parents, siblings, spouses, and kids; shot. Cut out the kids; shot. Cut out the spouses; shot. You’re now down to just the bride’s parents and siblings; shot. Lose the sibs; shot. You are done.

Every wedding that I have shot is different, and requires a different set of group shots, but this is a sample of what you want to do for efficiency and simplicity’s sake.

Set yourself up for success… take a sample shot or two before they really count and set your camera on manual. You don’t want your exposure to change from image to image. Remember that spacing illustrates relationship. Keep the parents next to the bride and groom, let the aunts and uncles be further away. It’s OK to keep shuffling your group as new people join and the overall relationship dynamic changes.

Practice makes perfect, they say. Group portraits are like a big puzzle and the faster you can do it, the more happy and relaxed your bride and groom will stay.

R


Caryn & Cody's Wedding
A group shot from Caryn and Cody's wedding. Check out the rest of the collection at http://carynandcody.rowangillson.com.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

How to Photograph a Wedding | Part 1

How to Photograph a Wedding | Part 1

It seems as though most of my photography students find themselves asked to photograph a wedding. If you’ve never shot one, and often, even if you have, this can be a rather intimidating venture. After all, you are only dealing with the day the bride has dreamed about her entire life. No big deal. If you find yourself in this position, do not freak out, here’s the best advice I can give you as a wedding photographer: Have fun!

“What? Have fun? That’s not what I was expecting?” Yeah, I know… but here is the simple truth of the matter. Everyone loves pictures. The bride hired you because she wants good pictures. If you are stressed, she knows the pictures are bad. (Simple fact… you could be stressed because you have a hang nail… doesn’t matter. Pictures are still bad.) If she feels that the pictures are bad, she starts to stress out. When the bride stresses out, everyone stresses out. When everyone stresses out, there are no more good pictures. Thus, a stressful photographer is the first step towards wedding disaster.

Have fun! Do not stress about apertures and shutter speeds. Shoot in RAW. Set your white balance to Auto. Let your camera make decisions for you. Focus on the people, and yeah… have fun! If you have the capacity, sure, take control of the f/stop, shutter speed, and ISO. Tweak away, making each image a visual masterpiece, but if you find yourself spending more time on your camera than on your people, you may have already started down the slippery slope.

This is not scientific, or independently verified, but in my personal experience, more people have told me that their wedding photographer was the worst part of their wedding than all other things combined! Not the pictures… the person. Stressful, arrogant, domineering photographers are no one’s friend, and apparently, have tainted far too many weddings. Do yourself, and your bride, and your groom, and everyone else a huge favor by simply deciding to be yourself, to focus on the things you know, and to enjoy photographing that wedding as much as possible! We’ll all be glad you did…

R

Rowan Gillson photographing a wedding
Yup! That's me, stalking the bride and her father from down the aisle at a gorgeous wedding. Many thanks to Joy (Jensen) Phillips for the image!

Check back next week for How to Photograph a Wedding | Group Portraits!

Need more? Check out this post by Digital Photography School: http://digital-photography-school.com/wedding-photography-21-tips-for-for-amateur-wedding-photographers

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Canon EOS 7D arrives!

Canon EOS 7D arrives!

Just about a week after bemoaning the fact that it's a bad time to buy a camera Canon comes through an announces the new Canon EOS 7D. This is an unexpected name, but appears to be a brilliant camera! Here's a few key specs:
  • 18MP APS-C sized CMOS sensor
  • 19 point AF system
  • Built in Speedlight transmitter (About time!!)
  • New Focus Color Luminance metering system
  • 100% 1.0x magnification viewfinder with changeable overlay (who'd have thought?)
  • 8 frames per second
  • Full HD video with adjustable frame rate
It'll be a while before I get my hands one one of these, but the initial specs look pretty impressive. I may have to pick one up as a backup camera.

For more info check out the review at dpreview.com: http://www.dpreview.com/news/0909/09090105canoneos7d.asp


R