Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Wedding Photography

I am primarily a nature photographer by choice. I love getting outside, enjoying the landscapes, flowers, and animals. There is not a lot of pressure, because if the photos don't come out good enough, I can always go back and reshoot.

I shot my first wedding back in 1972. It was for the brother of a friend of ours. I was only 20 at the time. Iremember how nervous I was, because you only get one chance - you want the photos have to come out good because you can't "fix" it - you either get them . . . . .or you don't. And you want the bride and groom to have those photo memories of their important day. And that was in the days where all photography was film - so you did not know until you got them developed whether you had gotten the shots you wanted.

My next wedding event was a reception to honor a newly wedded couple. It was held indoors under incandescent light. I did not know to use a blue filter . . . . . . When I got the prints, I was very disappointed, because everything had this yellow cast. Fortunately, a trip back to the developers allowed them to do color correction (using a blue filter in the print process) and the photos were OK. I immediately got the appropriate filter so THAT would NOT happen again.

I think I did a couple more weddings - one that I videotaped.

This was all during the time frame where I was doing photography for fun and for memories of the things my family was doing. I had a few photos enlarged from some of our trips.

Most of you know that for the last three years, I've been much more serious about my photography - trying to get good skills, habits, and higher quality photographs. I'm much more sensitive to the details in a photograph. So wedding photography now has a new set of challenges.

The only weddings I have done have been small, special ceremonies for people that I feel close to. Weddings where I know that my work will be "good enough." Weddings that I try to do my best, but where if they are not "perfect," it will be OK.

The good part, I shoot digital - so I know right then if a shot is exposed properly and if I need to reshoot. But even so, I never feel confident about my work, until I have it up on my computer, where I can examine it for "noise", sharpness, exposures, etc. My current camera does a much better job capturing the images to begin with, but with digital there is still post processing. Once it is on my computer, I can see what worked . . . . and what did not.

Because I enter competitions with my work, I will notice things and wonder how the "professional" photographers deal with them. Both of the weddings and reception I shot recently were done in places that are used for other things. In the wedding in October, there was a bulletin board behind the table with the wedding cake and punch - NOT a "clean" or attractive background for the photograph. For that wedding, I spent a lot of time after the fact cleaning out electrical wiring and wall seams out of the wedding photographs. Things that were part of the scene, but from my current skill level were elements that would pull your eye away from my bridal pair subjects. At the wedding Sunday, I did try to find ways and angles to shoot that removed some of the distractions. But in most weddings the photographer can not control how things are decorated, where they are placed in a room, etc. I saw another photographers wedding shots - it was a daytime wedding and the reception table had a window behind it - so . . . . .not a clean background for the festivities.

And last of all (but very important) - lighting is an issue. You don't want to use big studio lights at a wedding, but to use the low ISO's for less noise, pictures come out blurred. So with my first wedding last fall, I looked at what my shutterspeeds and f/stops were at the lighting levels . . . . . I swallowed hard . . . . and shot at ISO 800. Between the new camera and Noise Ninja, I was pleased with the results. I also used flash . . . . . which introduces another undesirable element - unwanted shadows. I shot at high ISO's on Sunday also. And even so, a couple of shots were motion blurred.

1 comment:

Karen said...

That picture came out very nice. I can't wait to see the rest of them. Thanks so much for doing that. It was great to see you again too.