NJ wedding photographer

how to overpower bright sunlight with on-camera flash

The photograph on the left shows one of the toughest lighting conditions you get to deal with. Your subjects are half in the sun / half in the shade … and there is no way you could interrupt and change things in your favor. There is no way to have the flower-girls move. No way to bring in additional, off-camera lighting. You can’t scrim the sunlight either with large reflectors.

There are these times when your options are limited, but you still have to get the best out of this challenging situation. There is one viable option here, crouched down in the center aisle – use on-camera flash to bring up the shadow detail.

There have a few articles here on how to overpower the sunlight with off-camera flash …

… and they all follow a specific train of thought to get ourselves out of trouble. Even in this article – engagement photo sessions: posing, lighting & context – there is an algorithm in place.

Same with this scenario where we use on-camera flash. In fact, it is even a little easier:

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slideshow: my favorite wedding photos of 2014

2014 was an incredible year with so much happening. I traveled around the north-eastern parts of the USA to photograph weddings – Connecticut, Vermont, New York, Delaware, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. I even had the wonderful opportunity to travel abroad, where I photographed a wedding in Australia! Of course my photography involved the usual mix of portraits, families and headshots, as well as commercial work and corporate photography. For me though, weddings always stand out because they are such emotional experiences.

As a thank you to all my clients and their families and friends – and also to show off a bit – here is a slideshow of some of my favourite images of the year. Thank you to everyone who made me part of a most special day in their lives.

Also watch the other year-end slideshows of my favorite wedding photographs.
(Click on the Vimeo logo to watch a larger version.)

As usual, some of the images from 2014 weddings have been used in articles on Tangents. You might remember some (or perhaps all?) of them:

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using video light for romantic portraits of the bride & groom

One of my favorite photos of the day. Why can’t wedding portraits of the bride and groom be a little bit sexy?

When I went back to the bridal suite during a quieter moment in the wedding reception to fetch some gear I had left there earlier, I had this thought that mmmm, yes! romantic portraits of the bride and groom on the bed in their suite. This might just work! So I called Julia and Louis back to the the bridal suite at the venue, and we did a sequence of images using video light.

I’m a big fan of video light for certain wedding portraits. The harder light and the rapid fall-off in light, lends a certain dramatic quality to images. Also, a video light like the Lowel iD-Light (vendor) that I used here, is neatly balanced for the Incandescent lighting found in most places indoors. The color balance is usually easily matched. An LED video light such as the Litepanels Croma LED video light (vendor), makes it even easier to change the color balance to your own intent.

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wedding photography – make those moments happen!

Anticipation and timing on the photographer’s part is essential to getting those key moments on the wedding day. Certain moments will happen, so we have to be ready for them.

This relies on your keen observation and you ability to recognize important moments. You have to know your cameras and equipment, and you have to know the fundamentals of photography. You have to be ready. And you can only be ready if you know your equipment well, and know the techniques. No excuses.

But there is no need to passively wait for moments – it is also possible to make them happen. And even though the photographer is guiding the process here, what is captured is still very true to the day’s events.

Here is an example of how I nudge things along to make sure I get a wonderful moment.

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best wedding images of 2012 – New Jersey wedding photographer

2012 was another busy year! This slideshow features some of my favorite wedding and engagement session images photographed during 2012. I traveled further than NJ and NYC, photographing weddings across the USA. Please contact me if you’re searching for a wedding photographer for your own wedding.


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:

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wedding photography – looking for those key moments

Wedding photography has become more modern in style over the past decade or so. Instead of overly posed images, the general trend is now more of a story-telling (or photo-journalistic) style. It’s now as important to capture the day’s events as it unfolds, as it is to get beautiful portraits of the couple and families.  As photographers we’re now much more focused on the moments and the gestures that tell the story.

With this intent, I really try and observe the day as closely as I can, capturing what I hope are the key moments. With experience, this anticipation and timing becomes second nature. (And as an aside, you can’t do this if you are constantly checking your camera’s preview.)

What we can’t always foresee, is the specific value that some photographs might hold …

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best wedding images of 2010 – New Jersey wedding photographer

There seems to be a pattern here – 2010 was another crazy-busy year for me. Photographing weddings, portrait sessions, maintaining this website and writing another book … all this added up to a full calendar and not much sleep.

It is always a rewarding experience as a wedding photographer to work with wonderful brides and groom and their families. So, as a wrap-up of the year – and also to show off a bit – here is a slide show of some of my favorite wedding and engagement session images of 2010. (Oh, and you had better like House music. Soundtrack courtesy of TripleScoopMusic. )


using a variety of lighting techniques for wedding photography

I’ve had some questions about specific images posted to the Facebook page of my photography. Since I’d like to keep that page for my clients and potential clients, I don’t want to clutter it too much with photo-geek stuff. I therefore decided to select a few images to discuss here instead.

This recent post on lighting ideas for the romantic wedding portraits, showed that I like to mix it up a bit, and not rely on one specific technique. Not every situation we’re going to encounter can be solved with one specific approach only.  Mixing it up in terms of lighting also helps to provide my clients with more variety in the look of the final selection of images. In addition, it also keeps it interesting and fresh for me.  Constantly adapting to challenges is part of the process of growing to be a better photographer.

With the image at the top, I wanted something with a sense of the dramatic. I only had my assistant there with a softbox on a monopod. Just the one light.  We were freezing, and had to move fast. So no time for more lights. To get this kind of separation between my subjects – the bride and groom – and still get even light on them, I simply made sure that my light was at an equal distance to both of them. This way there is no light fall off and one of them brighter or darker than the other …

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lighting the romantic portraits of the bride & groom

Scouting around the location during dinner time, I peered over the edge of this spiraling staircase and thought it would be a good idea to get some light on the couple, seated on the couch. I posed Melissa so that  she lounged back with her head on Dennis’ lap. There is no way to get light on them from my position with on-camera bounce flash, and definitely not if my intention is to get light only on them. It needed off-camera flash.

To add some variety,  I also thought of a few other things to try with the lighting, using the same set-up and pose.
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