Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Wedding Photography
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Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Wedding Photography

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A comprehensive overview of everything the aspiring wedding photographer needs to know.

A comprehensive overview of everything the aspiring wedding photographer needs to know.

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  • 1. Everything you always wanted to know about wedding photography* * But were afraid to ask
  • 2. Wedding Photography
    • The whole puzzle is made up of many pieces
    Traditional Black & White Attitude Film Digital Photo Journalism Equipment Sales Business
  • 3. What we’ll cover
    • The Structure of a Wedding
      • Regional & faith-specific phase chronology
    • Photographic styles
      • Traditional, Photojournalistic, Hybrid
    • The equipment used
      • Film / Digital
    • Required mental attitude
      • Competence vs. personality
    • The business aspects
      • Shoot your own / shoot for others
    • Digital vs. Film (Workflow)
    • What do you want to know? (Q&A)
  • 4. The Structure of a Wedding
    • The New York area approach to wedding coverage is different than many other parts of the country.
    • Different faiths structure their wedding celebrations differently
      • Christian (four phases at four locations)
      • Jewish (four and more phases at one location)
      • Other faiths are often a hybrid of Jewish and Christian approaches but most tend to follow the Christian system
  • 5. Photographic Styles
    • Traditional
      • Classic Multiple light portraiture in the style of Monte Zucker who is considered one of the Masters of this style
    • Photojournalistic
      • Currently very popular with Brides because they don’t want to be “bothered” at their wedding and the idea of this appeals to them. The reality, however, is that most of them purchase the traditional photographs every time.
      • Primarily candid coverage with very little, if any formally posed photographs
      • Gives an excuse to “sloppy” photographers who don’t have formal training in traditional portraiture. A true photojournalistic photographer is hard to find.
    • Hybrid
      • A mixture of the Traditional and Photojournalistic styles. Usually the formals of the Bride & Groom, the Bridal Party and the immediate family are photographed using the Traditional style and the reception and party are photographed in a more candid, photojournalistic way.
  • 6. The Equipment Used (Film)
    • 2 - medium format camera bodies (1 for back-up).
    • 3 - 220 film backs or inserts.
    • 3 - lenses (wide angle, normal, telephoto.
    • Prism finder.
    • Camera bracket for over-camera flash.
      • Flash over lens accomplishes two things
      • “ Red-eye” elimination
      • Prevents cast shadows from being visible.
    • Tripod with ball or pistol-grip head.
    • Quick-release camera mounting system.
    • Radio and flash activated flash/camera slave triggering system.
    • 2-3 step portable folding ladder for photographing from a high vantage point.
  • 7. The Equipment Used (Film)
    • Light stands (Redwing & standard).
    • High-powered portable flash system.
    • 2-3 heads
    • 3-4 battery/power packs
    • modeling light reflector
    • umbrella stand adapter
    • AC cords and lots of extra sync cords.
    • Umbrellas.
    • Hand-held incident ambient/flash meter (VITAL).
    • Tool kit (pliers, flash tip conditioner [for PC cords], jewelers screwdrivers, rubber bands, spare batteries, lens cleaning cloth, Sharpie ™, pencil with eraser [for cleaning battery contacts], gaffer/duct tape, stain remover, allen keys, Swiss army knife or Leatherman.
  • 8. The Equipment Used (Film)
    • Room Lighting
        • Monolight or Power Pack
    • Monolight
    • Top-heavy when placed high on a light stand.
    • Power Pack
      • Heads are light and well suited to be placed on top of a tall stand but requires a power pack at each light location (more expensive).
  • 9. The Equipment Used (Digital)
    • 35mm style camera with interchangeable lenses or a fixed zoom lens that covers a range of focal lengths from wide angle to telephoto.
    • Ability to shoot Raw, JPEG and TIFF files.
    • Ability to display a histogram on back of camera as photos are taken.
    • PC contact and/or hot shoe for connection to external flash systems.
    • Minimum of 4 megapixel resolution.
    • Compatibility with existing lens inventory where appropriate.
    • Adjustable white balance (Preset/Custom).
  • 10. The Equipment Used (Digital)
    • Collection of media cards (CF, SM, Memory Stick).
    • Laptop PC or MAC.
    • Media card reader for laptop that is compatible with camera media.
    • Digital wallet type device (a battery-operated portable hard drive) for storing and recycling the contents of media cards.
    • CDROM/DVDROM burner to burn copies for delivery/back-up.
    • Recordable media – CDR/RW and DVDR ±. Media type must be compatible with burner.
  • 11. The Equipment Used (Digital)
    • A back-up camera body of same type.
    • If using an interchangeable lens type camera, zoom lenses MUST be constant aperture.
    • In a pinch and if budget dictates, a film camera can be used as a back-up. (Film can be scanned later to create digital files although many say the “look” is different).
    • Digital test target or, a gray or white card for checking setting white balance and exposure.
    • NOTE:
    • With any interchangeable lens digital camera that uses a CCD (“charge” coupled device) as the sensor, YOU MUST TURN THE CAMERA OFF BEFORE CHANGING LENSES!!
  • 12. The Equipment Used (Digital)
    • Lighting equipment as per film. The same equipment can be used but not quite the same way.
    • Tripod with ball or pistol-grip head.
    • Cords. (AC, sync, radio)
    • Radio and photo sync system.
    • Camera flash bracket with flip/rotate feature.
    • 2-3 step portable folding ladder for photographing from a high vantage point.
    • Hand-held incident ambient/flash meter (VITAL).
    • Tool kit as per film.
  • 13. Mental Attitude
    • Some photographers can’t stand shooting weddings.
    • Others love it.
    • Why?
    • Challenging.
    • Exasperating.
    • Thrilling.
    • Rewarding.
  • 14. Mental Attitude Reality Check: The day of the wedding the Bride and Groom don’t want to be bothered with photos. The day after, it’s very important to them. Tell them: “It’s always better to have the photo and decide you don’t want it then not have it in the first place”. Whatever they respond, honor it.
  • 15. Mental Attitude
    • A thorough knowledge of photography is a must. You can’t wing it with equipment that you don’t know inside out.
    • Service is the name of the game.
    • Respect the wishes of the Bride & Groom.
    • Get the job done.
    • Professional appearance and demeanor.
    • Be flexible (know what you want, take what you get).
    • Create beautiful memories they will treasure.
    • Enjoy yourself and your interaction with the Bride and Groom and their families.
  • 16. Mental Attitude
    • If you have a great personality and get along well with people, you don’t have to be an excellent photographer. You just have to cover all the bases and turn in a “solid” job.
    • If you are an excellent photographer and are also good with people and they like you, then you have it made.
    • ESP
    • ( E xpressions S ell P hotographs)
  • 17. The Business
    • Shoot your own jobs
    • Develop a clientele.
      • Advertise, promote, capture referral business from past clients, friends and family, become the “house” photographer for caterers, temples, DJs, Bands and other wedding service providers. This sometimes requires fronting money against future jobs.
    • Establish the necessary fulfillment supplies and resources.
    • Acquire the equipment you’ll need. (computers, cameras, lighting, etc.
    • Book the jobs and collect retainers (non-refundable).
    • Photograph the jobs.
    • Present the results.
    • Collect the balance and sell up.
    • Produce the job. (computer work, labs, albums, enlargements, etc.
    • Deliver the finished product(s) and collect final payment.
  • 18. The Business
    • Shoot for other studios
    • Pick up the film and job sheet.
    • Shoot the job.
    • Drop the film off.
    • GET PAID.
  • 19. Film vs. Digital
    • Film Pros
    • Most photographers feel that film has a better, richer, fuller “look” than digital. The tonality, appearance and “feel” of film-based images is still considered by many to be better.
    • Extended exposure latitude.
    • Unlimited enlargement size.
    • Large variety of standard and specialty film types available (color, black & white, infrared, chromogenic, high contrast, low contrast, negative and transparency[slide]).
    • Larger images on film than most digital cameras.
    • More control of selective focus at large apertures.
    • With negative film there is more room for error as corrections can be made (within limits) at the lab.
    • Consistent results (depending on lab) and the production work can be left to the lab and not the photographer.
  • 20. Film vs. Digital
    • Film Cons
    • Expense.
    • (usually passed on to the client – which raises the price of services offered)
    • Film cost and processing cost (develop and proof).
    • Can’t check results as you shoot (“chimping” is useless).
    • Need to observe expiration dates, storage considerations and emulsion batch consistency within the job.
    • Sometimes difficult or time-consuming to load…. requiring purchase of additional film holders and/or inserts. This enables the photographer to change film quickly.
  • 21. Film vs. Digital
    • Digital Pros
    • No material expense other than initial outlay for storage media (CF or SM cards, laptop with Burner, CDR/RW disks, digital wallet).
    • Images can be reviewed, edited and deleted on site.
    • Images can be presented and delivered on site.
    • Images can be adjusted, modified, manipulated, filed, sorted, organized and archived much more quickly.
    • Digital provides a much wider gamut of possible revenue streams enabling photographers to capture revenue that was previously unavailable.
    • Web/Internet options open up.
  • 22. Film vs. Digital
    • Digital Pros (continued)
    • Fulfillment labs become easier to work with.
    • Client confidence can be enhanced when they see results on the spot.
    • Workflow management software like ProShots, Image Quix, Pictage, Printroom, UREvent, StudioMaster Pro, EventPix, Digital Album Creator, and many more can help you to develop workflow systems that enhance your offerings to customers and increase your sales. Sometimes this can be as much as a two to three times what film-based systems offered.
    • Due to the immediate feedback that digital imaging offers you strike “while the iron’s hot” and capture the impulse buy that was usually lost with film-based turn-around times.
  • 23. Raw vs. JPEG?
    • RAW Files are like shooting negative film because they capture a wider range of values and exposure information than JPEGs. If your exposure is off by as much as 2 stops either way you can usually bring it back at the computer.
    • JPEGs are like shooting reversal, transparency or slide film because the exposure accuracy is much more critical. Typically, exposures can’t be off by more than ½ to ¾ of a stop either way. If you exceed this, kiss the image goodbye.
  • 24. Raw vs. JPEG?
    • RAW files are much larger than JPEG files and require much more storage and disk space.
    • RAW files give you a “back door” to salvage images that would have been lost if shot as JPEGs.
    • RAW files are specific to the camera that shot them. A Nikon RAW file is NOT the same as a Canon RAW file or a Fuji RAW file for example.
    • RAW files must be opened in the correct camera manufacturer’s software or in PhotoShop which has a RAW file reader built in that will read Canon and Nikon RAW files.
  • 25. Raw vs. JPEG?
    • JPEGs are like shooting reversal, transparency or slide film because the exposure accuracy is much more critical. Typically, exposures can’t be off by more than ½ to ¾ of a stop either way. If you exceed this, kiss the image goodbye.
    • JPEGs can be shot at a variety of resolutions and compression ratios.
    • JPEGs require less storage and disk space and this can be adjusted by selection of different resolutions and/or compression ratios.
    • If you’re careful about exposure and color balance, JPEGs are fine. If you’re working quickly (as you often are at a wedding) RAW files are probably a better bet.
  • 26. Workflow – film and digital
    • There are many, many ways to complete a wedding photography assignment. The following are, by no means the only way.
  • 27. Workflow – film and digital
    • Film workflow
    • Purchase film.
    • Shoot film.
    • Process film and have numbered proofs made.
    • Store processed negatives.
    • Pass proofs with client.
    • Pull ordered negatives and “card” them.
    • Send order to lab.
    • Order albums for you to assemble or use an album company to assemble/bind the album.
    • Receive finished prints from lab.
    • Send to album to binder or assemble yourself.
    • Deliver to client.
  • 28. Workflow – film and digital
    • Film to digital workflow
    • Purchase film.
    • Shoot film.
    • Send to specialty lab that will process film, scan and upload digital files to you. Have lab send you two copies of the high resolution files on CD/DVD.
    • Download the files.
    • Edit any files that require your creativity or correction using image editing software like PhotoShop ™, PhotoPaint, Professor Franklin, or Digital Album Designer.
    • Upload final files to a fulfillment lab for purchase by guests who can log on and order on-line.
    • Import final files into digital workflow management software like ProShots, UREvent, Pictage, Studio Master Pro, etc.
    • Using this software make a presentation to the client. It is strongly advised that you use a digital projector for this step as seeing the images bigger is most definitely better.
    • Design album on the screen with client and upload print and album order to lab and album company for printing and assembly.
    • Receive finished prints/albums from lab/album company.
    • Deliver to client and receive final payment (if necessary).
  • 29. Workflow – film and d igital
    • Digital workflow
    • At event, distribute “We’d like to thank you…” cards.
    • Shoot with a digital camera.
    • While at the event store/upload camera media to laptop, digital wallet and (time permitting) CD/DVD.
    • Burn two copies of the un-edited job to CDs/DVDs. (One for studio, one for archives)
    • Edit any files that require your creativity or correction using image editing software like PhotoShop ™, PhotoPaint™, Professor Franklin™, or Digital Album Creator™.
    • Upload final files to a fulfillment lab for purchase by guests who can log on and order on-line.
    • Import final files into digital workflow management software like ProShots, UREvent, Pictage, Studio Master Pro, etc.
    • Using this software make a presentation to the client. It is strongly advised that you use a digital projector for this step as seeing the images bigger is most definitely better.
    • Design album on the screen with client and upload print and album order to lab and album company for printing and assembly.
    • Receive finished prints/albums from lab/album company.
    • Deliver to client and receive final payment (if necessary).
  • 30. Summary
    • In this overview, we have covered most of the key elements you will need to know in order to complete a wedding photography assignment successfully.
    • Books are great and will give you important, useful information but the best way to proceed is to learn by watching an accomplished pro apply the above principles on an actual assignment.
    • Offer your services as an assistant/light person and you will see and learn first-hand how it’s done… but, be prepared to carry some heavy equipment!
  • 31. Where to Get More Information
    • Attend professional meetings where seminars, workshops and print judging (and sometimes meals) are offered. (PPofA, PPSNY, PPGNY, WPPA, WPPI)
    • Books, magazines, trade publications, conventions, trade shows.
    • Find a working event photographer and pick his/her brains (if they’ll let you).
  • 32. Q & A
  • 33.  
  • 34. What causes “red-eye” When the flash is mounted very close to the optical axis of the camera lens, the light from the flash illuminates the blood vessels in the back of the eye. This blood colored light then bounces back through the lens of the subject’s eyes which magnifies it as it goes directly into the camera lens and onto the film. By physically raising the flash unit off the camera (or removing it entirely) the angle of incidence to the eye and the angle of reflection to the camera lens do not match up. This effectively eliminates the “red-eye” effect.
  • 35. Wrong position for on-camera flash When the flash is positioned above and to the side of the lens, the light from the flash will cast a shadow below and to the side of the subject. If there is a wall or other surface close behind the subject, these shadows can be very distracting. 5.6 Auto iso 100
  • 36. Side view showing shadow position when flash is elevated directly over lens
  • 37. Correct position for on-camera flash With the flash positioned over the lens, cast shadows are positioned down, behind the subject. With rectangular formats, a means of flipping the flash or rotating the camera body is utilized to keep the above flash-to-lens relationship in play. 5.6 Auto iso 100 5.6 Auto iso 100
  • 38. Basic lighting with a stick and on-camera flash Fill light (on-camera) Main Light (On radio trigger on stick) B G If the Bride is shorter than the Groom then the main light should come from her side. By lighting from the Bride’s side, she won’t cast a shadow obscuring the Groom’s face. The Bride would be “Broad Lit” in the example below because the broad side of her face is being hit by the mail light. Also, the side lighting of the Bride will pick up texture and detail in her gown.
  • 39. Presented by Christopher Moore Photography Tel/Fax: (347) 326-5154 [email_address]
  • 40.