April 4, 2013
when you need extreme bounce flash to photograph the wedding processional
As mentioned in the article on photographing the wedding processional, in my opinion, the wedding processional in the church is likely the most challenging part of the day in terms of our technique. People are moving towards you – admittedly at slow pace, unless the bridesmaids are nervous. Then they can easily just zip right up to the front! The light levels are low, and the light is most likely uneven. Adding flash to this is a reliable way to get clean open light on your subjects, but bounce flash can be a bit of a challenge.
As an example, with this wedding in Temple Israel of Lawrence, in New York, the light was really low. Not just that, the temple itself was cavernously huge. Yet, a few test shots showed that I could get the kind of light that I like, using just on-camera bounce flash.
February 8, 2013
wedding photography – lighting large groups of people / formal portraits
Relating to the article positioning your flash for the wedding formals, where the family portraits and groups where photographed with a single umbrella and two speedlights, the question then inevitably comes up – what do you do when you need to photograph a large group of people.
The obvious answer is – you need a lot more juice! You either need to add more flashguns, or use a more powerful unit.
As a wedding photographer of Indian weddings, I know that I will be dealing with huge groups of people. And that means a small aperture – and that means a really powerful flash.
February 7, 2013
wedding photography: positioning the lighting for the groups & formals
In setting up the lighting for wedding formals in the church, the question often crops up – where do you place the lights. How far from your subjects do you place the lights.
The photograph above shows how and where I place the flash with the umbrella – about 3 pews in, just behind me or to my left (or right). This is approximate though. Two pews in would be fine. Of course, if you’re shooting the wedding formals elsewhere in a different location, just use the same idea.
The closer you bring the light, the more you risk having the light come from too steep an angle, and giving you shadowed eyes.
In positioning my light here, I can be slightly forward of my light – no chance of lens flare - and I have proper perspective for full-length photos. You really do not want to shoot full-length portraits with a wide angle lens. Step back, rather than zoom in!
Placing the light relatively further back like shown here, does bring the light in at a fairly low angle – but it gives open, clean lighting. This is how it looks:
December 28, 2012
With wedding photography, there are 3 main elements to what we should capture – Portraits; the Moments, as well as the wedding day Details. The more traditional approach is portrait-heavy; the photo-journalist approach favors The moments. In-between there somewhere is the better balance … even with modern wedding photography where there is a strong bias towards story-telling. The wedding day portraits will always remain important.
However, what brides tend to scour magazines and Pinterest for, are the wedding day details. Ideas and inspiration for their own weddings. Bridal magazines know this, and the articles featuring specific weddings are usually details-oriented.
I’ve seen some of the more purist photo-journalistic wedding photographers scorn this bias towards photographs of the details. “What will you remember in 20 years’ time about your wedding? The color of your bridesmaids’ bouquets, or the people who were with you?”
Fair point. I’d heartily agree. Yet, it is very solid advice for any wedding photographer that if your client paid for something, you should photograph it. The details of the wedding! With that in mind, I posted a selection of my favorite images of wedding details from 2012. (There are links to the associated weddings.)
I was very honored this year by the number of weddings where my clients were inspired to book me because of my work seen on the Tangents blog. It’s a huge compliment to be trusted with such and important task as making a lasting record of someone’s wedding day.
This year I photographed weddings not only in New Jersey and New York, but also in the cities of Boston and Baltimore, as well as in Maryland and Delaware.
If any followers of the Tangents blog have family and friends that recently became engaged and / or are looking for a wedding photographer, please do contact me. I am still booking for 2013. As I mentioned, I do travel further afield than just NJ, and I also photograph destination weddings. So please feel welcome to recommend me.
December 21, 2012
wedding photography – where to start building portfolio
I do get some interesting emails and Facebook messages. The strange ones run the whole range from trippy & bizarre, all the way to obscure. One of my favorite weird emails was one that had the title, “Nikon D100″ with the body of the email simply asking, “How do you do that?”
This morning, I saw news that Facebook is once again altering things, including the way that messages are delivered. Paid messages from strangers now seem to be on the horizon. So with that, for the first time in forever, I went through the backlog of messages in the “other” folder. And I saw this message that I show here as a screen-capture.
What bemused me was the polite and respectful tone. And yes, he did ask! Unlike others who have simply used images as they please. I’ve even had my my entire website ripped off. A very ballsy move that they denied to the end. It gets even stranger when you realize my bio is the most plagiarized part of my website! I even directly mention this in the one section. Yup, apparently you can just use my bio as a template by changing a few details. So this request now is an odd combination of sincerity and naiveté. That he even asked, is then a surprise in itself.
Obviously, the main problem here is that someone would even (naively) think it is okay to misrepresent his abilities to potential clients. If you can’t shoot in a certain way, or produce a certain quality of work already, then it is fraudulent to say you can. Your potential clients deserve better!
We can’t ignore that this kind of thinking is very prevalent in the photography industry. It is a regular thing for me to see other photographers on Facebook complain that their images and text were ripped off. It is that rife! There is the Stop Stealing Photos Tumblr blog, where photographers are constantly busted for using photos that aren’t their own. The scary thing is, that site mostly just shows theft of wedding & portrait photography! It’s an avalanche that tedious DMCA take-downs can’t effectively stem.
The culprits just don’t realize that they will be caught. One way or another. Sooner or later. And there can be significant consequences when they are busted, as just one example.
What I find most ironic with all this, is that photographers like to think of themselves as creative people. Yet, there is such a vast number of wannabe photographers who happily steal and misappropriate and plagiarize. Where’s the self-respect?
I’ve even heard of photographers using the sample albums from album companies as their own work. Yup, they’ve all been shooting the same fabulous wedding in Italy.
The disconcerting element to all of this is that two photographs from someone else, could qualify one as a wedding photographer. That, sadly, is how low the bar is!
Mulling over this request, my reaction ranged from amusement, all the way to “are you f’n kidding me?”, back to the idea that this guy, like other aspiring photographers, is struggling with ideas of how to start as a wedding photographer …
December 7, 2012
by Neil van Niekerk
2012 was another busy year! This slideshow features some of my favorite wedding and engagement session images of 2012. (Click on the Vimeo logo to watch a larger version.)
November 18, 2012
manual on-camera bounce flash
With the response to the article on bounce flash photography at wedding receptions, I thought it would be good to continue the topic. While I prefer TTL flash when I use bounce flash, there are times when I do use my on-camera flash in manual exposure mode when I bounce it.
Julie & Kenny’s wedding, at the Laurita Winery, NJ, proved to be a bit of a challenge with the reception. The reception area was in the winery which had a beautiful interior … but it wasn’t white. Bounce flash was a touch more difficult than usual here …
November 12, 2012
bounce flash photography / lighting at wedding receptions
This photograph from a recent wedding got a few comments and questions in the album on Facebook. The questions really hinged around “where did all that light come from?” or whether I had used off-camera flash.
The purple and blue light in the back-ground is from the up-lighting from the entertainment / DJ company. The light on the couple entering the reception room … is all one on-camera bounce flash.
Where did the light come from? From behind me, because that is how I get the best light from my on-camera flash …
October 14, 2012
Over the weekend, Ed Verosky did an interview with me for his latest podcast.
The topic is wedding photography tips.
It’s nearly half-an-hour of me motor-mouthing it on various wedding photography related items. Not only does it sound like I am in a rush, I sound serious too!
There is one “typo” that I picked up listening to it now. At one point I mention the “first 30 books” on photography. What I meant to say was, the basics covered in the first 30 pages of any good introductory book on photography. I’m sure there are other moments that I fluffed it. No luxury of back-spacing and changing what was said!
I hope everyone enjoys the podcast. Let’s hear some comments!
I’ve had several people ask which online back-up system I refer to. It is BackBlaze.
More info on back-up systems for your computer:
- photography workflow – back-up plans for your main computer
- photography workflow – back-up plans (update)
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October 8, 2012
wedding photography – improving your shooting workflow
As a companion piece to the previous two articles - tips & advice for second shooters at weddings, and improving your technique - I want to offer some advice on shooting workflow. Not post-production workflow, but rather some things to look out for while shooting. A comment to the previous post, tips for 2nd shooters – improving your technique, mentioned that the tips were just as relevant for any area of photography. And that is true.
The same goes for this article mainly intended to help 2nd photographers improve their shooting workflow. The techniques here are applicable to any field or level of photography. I feel so strongly about the advice here, that I’d go as far to say that the further anyone strays from these, the greater the chances of mishaps or even catastrophic problems.