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.)
July 23, 2012
wedding photography: controlling those found, “photo-journalistic” moments
This photograph of Catherine, during the preparation on her wedding day, triggered a question in album of photos I posted on Facebook. The question was about the focal length I used, and also about how did I get this photo?
The answer is that this is a found moment – a candid moment – that I controlled. As I discussed in the article - wedding photography – a photo-journalistic style, or more posed? - I often guide things along on the wedding day. If I see something that I could nudge towards being a better photograph, I have no hesitation.
I think that many newer wedding photographers have a fear of interacting with their clients while taking photos. Perhaps this is due to shyness? (You’re in the wrong business then!). But this could very well be because the photographer is reluctant to do anything that smacks of posing their clients, thinking this won’t be quite the story-telling “photo-journalistic” moment then.
The photo above isn’t complicated at all, but it might serve well as a discussion on this topic.
July 15, 2012
wedding photography: portraits of the bride & bridesmaids
Continuing with the theme of photographing great portraits on a wedding day when there aren’t beautiful surroundings: when I have the time at the bride’s house, I will always try to get individual portraits of the bride with each bridesmaid.
I like doing this early in the day already at the bride’s house, because everyone’s energy levels are still up. Everyone is still excited, and emotions are still high. No one is hungry; with shoes that hurt them. So, with that idea in mind, I like getting as many of these portraits “in my pocket” while I can. We may not have the time again later on in the day when the schedule starts to run tight.
In the recent article where I showed how I use a fast telephoto zoom to eliminate background clutter from the image. The shallow depth-of-field throws the background out of focus, and the long focal length compresses perspective. This compressed perspective you get, by shooting at the longest focal length, makes the background “stuff” appear larger, and hence even more out of focus than with a wider lens. Conversely, you can say that the tighter view allows less of the background to appear.
This time I remembered to take a pull-back shot as well, to show where we were:
July 6, 2012
wedding photography – simplifying composition with a fast telephoto zoom
If you can create a good photograph out of seemingly “nowhere”, then you can bring a variety to your images that is out of the league of photographers who have to rely on picture-perfect scenery. This is especially true with wedding portraits. We’re under pressure for time, and on top of that we can’t always control where we shoot. We have to make it work wherever we are.
One of the basic techniques I rely on heavily with my wedding photography, is to eliminate distracting elements by shooting with a fast telephoto zoom. The shallow depth-of-field works to my advantage. And the longer focal length compresses the image so that the background isn’t a sweeping vista anymore, but a narrower view which YOU can control with your own position. Move around to find that composition.
The photograph above is perhaps an excellent example of this. The groom, also a photographer, left this comment on the Facebook album:
I also had an “ah ha” momemt watching you create images. We went to unfamilar places and you played with the background blur to create cool shots like the one of us sitting on wicker chairs, at a dumpy metal table, outside, facing a pedestrian-filled parking lot.”
There really wasn’t much more than that – the concrete slab outside a restaurant, with a few tables and chairs, with a parking lot in the background, and a few small trees and shrubs. Now, I don’t quite have a pull-back photo to show you where we were, but I do have this test shot with a slightly wider field of view, which shows some of the background. It was a mess.
April 4, 2012
bridal portrait – working with the available light
This striking portrait is of Rachel, a bride whose wedding I photographed yesterday. Yes, a Tuesday wedding! The prep was at a hotel on the Jersey shore, and when Rachel was ready, I wanted to shoot a few straight-forward portraits there in the hotel. There was a lot of light in the hotel room itself, but the decor was white – which helps for high-key portraits. But I wanted some variety.
So I scouted around, and decided to do some photographs in the passage outside her hotel room. Since it was a wedding on the Jersey shore, and we did other portraits later on, on the beach, I thought this bright wallpaper wouldn’t be too inappropriate as a backdrop. Now it was just a question of light …
January 10, 2012
wedding photography – using bounce flash outside
When working with a couple during the romantic portrait session, there’s the need to bring variety to the images – not just in posing and composition, but also in terms of light & lighting. For this reason I use a variety – available light; video light; off-camera flash and on-camera bounce flash. I really like using on-camera bounce flash since it is such an easy light source to use, always at hand. There was a recent article on using bounce flash outdoors, but I’d like to add another example where I used bounce flash outside a wedding venue. Let’s look at the sequence of images …
January 3, 2012
2011 was another busy year for me as a wedding photographer. This slideshow features some of my favorite wedding and engagement session images of 2011.
(Soundtrack courtesy of TripleScoopMusic.)
December 12, 2011
back-lighting with flash for dramatic silhouetted wedding portraits
One of the easiest ways to create dramatic light for a silhouette when photographing the wedding portraits, is to add a flash behind the couple. The beauty of this is that there is a fair amount of leeway as to what would work. We need not be all that exact, but there are some a few things we should check …
December 10, 2011
The domain name I chose for me wedding & portrait photography blog - One Perfect Moment - encapsulates an ideal that I strive for with photography. I want to capture essential and distinctive moments. It derives from the idea of the ‘Decisive Moment’ in photography where everything just falls perfectly into place. Hence … One Perfect Moment.
As a wedding photographer, my style in photography is more of a collaboration between myself and a couple on their wedding day. We’ll discuss what is important to the bride and groom, and adapt accordingly. So the style is a mixture of photo-journalistic story-telling, and beautiful portraits, along with detail images and candids. Ultimately, I want to give a bride and groom the best wedding photographs that they could have.
If you’d like to find out more about my wedding photography packages, please contact me.
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November 14, 2011
wedding photography – when technique, style & choice of equipment converge
With Manhattan as a back-drop, I wanted a cinematic look for the photograph of Nima and Peter. A magnificent view behind them as they snuggle in. While I approach wedding photography with my eye on telling the story of the day, for me, where a photographer really reveals a specific style, is in the portraits of the bride and groom.
I wanted a romantic look to this sequence of images, so there were specific choices to be made in terms of equipment, camera settings and the lighting. So let’s run through the thought-process.