NJ wedding photographer

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 (B&H) 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 (B&H) 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.

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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. )

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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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non-photography goodies in my camera case

Work as a wedding photographer isn’t just about the gear – cameras, lenses and flashguns – and about taking photographs of key moments. Often enough it is up to you as the wedding photographer to help guide the day’s time-line and flow, and also just to help.  For me, wedding photography isn’t just a passively observed event where I take photographs in a photo-journalistic or story-telling motif.  I’m there to record the day’s events, but also to help, if necessary, making it a spectacular day.

In the photo above, I took over from the maid of honor when her fingers weren’t strong enough for that final button and clasp at the back of the bride’s dress. My fingers were stronger, so I finished the last button. So as a photographer I’m often called on to do more than just take photographs. And in my camera roller case, I keep some extra non-photography related goodies …

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photojournalistic wedding photographer – New Jersey / New York

Drawing from a story-telling photojournalistic sensibility; and also from the classic style of wedding photography; with a dash of Fashion flair; and Romance … the intention is to give you images that will forever recall this fantastic day. Click on the thumbnail images to see more.

The images on the wedding photography blog will show you the style and consistency of work that you can expect for your own wedding. As an author of several books on photography, I’m definitely serious about this stuff!

My style as a wedding photographer is flexible. You and I will collaborate with ideas you may have – look at clippings from magazines that you like – drawing from any elements that you’d like to see in the photography of your wedding day. Everything aimed to give you the best possible images of your wedding day.

I want you to remember the photography as a fun part of your wedding, and not a dreaded intrusion. Even the family formals session will be handled efficiently and in a friendly way – you’ll have beautifully crisp portraits of all the important people without the hassle of endless hours posing that one might expect.

I’ve photographed weddings throughout New Jersey, including: Crystal Plaza, NJ,  Il Tulipano, NJ,  Laurita Winery,  Liberty House, NJ,  Madison Hotel, NJ,  Maritime Parc, NJMerrimaker’s at Water’s Edge,  Newark Club, NJ,  Park Savoy, NJ,  Rockleigh CC, NJ,  Shadowbrook, NJ,  Stanton Ridge CC, NJ,  The Grove, NJ,  The Manor, NJ,  The Palace, Somerset, NJ,  The Seasons, NJ,  Valley Regency, NJ,  The Venetian, NJ,  Westmount CC,  Skylands Manor, NJ

I also photograph weddings in New York, Connecticut and Pennsylvania. So whether you’re from Manhattan or Philadelphia or New Haven, I would love to hear from you if you’re looking for a wedding photographer in NJ or NYC. Have a look at my wedding photography galleries, and contact me if you’d like more info on the pricing and what I would offer you as your wedding photographer.

Neil van Niekerk

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