New York wedding photographer

adapting your photographic style during a shoot

I had the pleasure of photographing Rebecca and Max’s elopement wedding in New York. They’re both from Denmark. (Actually, Max is from Spain originally.) They both planned to get married in New York while over on a trip here. I met up with them at City Hall on the day, where I was the witness to their wedding ceremony. That’s quite an honor too. Then, after the ceremony, we ventured out into Manhattan for an extended photo session.

And this is where there is a certain balance that I need to maintain. If I have a specific style in photographing on-location portraits, it is one of simplicity.

The straight-forward recipe is to make my subject(s) the center of the image by:
– careful composition,
– minimizing extraneous clutter,
– eliminating distracting backgrounds,
– compressing the perspective with a long lens,
– by using a wide aperture on a tele-zoom for shallow depth-of-field.

Great. This works well when the area that we’re photographing our subject in, is just something to have as an interesting, but non-specific background. The background might even be defocused so you can’t really tell where it was. Now, when the location is very much part of what is happening, then as a photographer we need to definitely include the location as part of a “character” in this story. I recently did it with the father and son portrait in Times Square.

And so it is with a wedding taking place in New York, where New York was very specifically chosen as an exotic destination. The photographs of Rebecca and Max had to show a wide range – from the more specifically portrait-like images, to photos which show the city they are in. But I also wanted to avoid a cookie-cutter touristy thing where we move from landmark to landmark and just have them pose in front of things and buildings.

I still wanted to show how they interact with each other. For me, wedding photography, and photography of couples, should be about how they interact with each other. It should reveal something very much *them* along the way.

So there’s the challenge – to take photographs of the couple in Manhattan, and have the range of photos – from elegantly simple portraits, all the way to showing them against the backdrop of the busy city. And yet, not have that same busy-ness intruding, and distracting attention away from them when their family and friends look at the photos.

Let’s run through some of the images and look at the thought-process behind them …

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wedding photography – tips for detail shots of the wedding rings

In photographing the detail images of the wedding rings, there are a few things to aim for:
– context within which to place the rings,
– a few images with different angles,
– great lighting which is easily achievable.

Then we also have to take care of the depth-of-field and the tricky focusing …

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Sydney & Paul – their wedding day – photo & video fusion clip

This idea of blending photographs and video snippets from a wedding, into a fusion clip, still fascinates me. In a 5 to 6 minute clip you’re able to give a nicely condensed view of the wedding day. Combining the photos and video in a sensible way that visually makes sense, takes time however.  And Jessica and I are still on the learning curve. (Is it even possible to really get to to the top of things these days with the rapidly accelerated pace of digital photography?) Anyway, I love the results so far!

So here it is – the latest fusion clip of a wedding I photographed,
with Jessica shooting & editing the video.
The music track is a royalty-free track provided via Triple Scoop Music.

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wedding photography – a photo-journalistic style … or more posed?

A photographer who attended the recent flash photography workshop here in New York, asked me an interesting question regarding my wedding photography style. His observation was about how I seemed to consistently get such well-timed un-posed and natural looking images with my wedding photography. Since my explanation seemed to surprise him, and even bordered on being a real aha! moment for him, I thought it could serve as an article here which might interest other wedding photographers.

When asked by photographers about my style of wedding photography, I like to reply that I don’t quite subscribe to the purist photojournalism, nor the traditionalist style. I think my approach is more along the lines of get-the-job-done-alism.

Instead of subscribing rigidly to a defined style, I’m there to give the bride and groom the best photographs I can on the day. And for this, my approach has to be flexible …

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Often seen in wedding portfolios, this is always a fun setup to do with groomsmen – the Reservoir Dogs style walk towards the camera. A great group of guys, good light with a nice background, and you have the ingredients for a photograph that the couple will just love.

I fired off a rapid series of shots to make sure I have at least one image where the motion and expression of everyone worked.  I didn’t need flash, and it would’ve been difficult to set up properly with a large group of people walking towards the camera.  So the light depended entirely on the shot being set up like this, with the light from behind them somewhere.  The post-processing? No actions or filter.  Just a few sliders in ACR (hosted in Bridge), to give a faded retro look.  Hopefully the final image has a cinematic look to it that will be a wonderful reminder of the couple’s wedding day.

settings: 1/500 @ f5.6 @ 400 ISO)
Nikon D3;   Nikon 70-200mm f2.8 AF-S II (B&H)

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