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Archive 2012 · Meaningful Content
  
 
canerino
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p.1 #1 · Meaningful Content


I've been doing some critical evaluation of my own coverage these days and keep coming back to the phrase 'meaningful content'. This has spawned another debate in my mind that I thought would make for interesting discussion:

1) What is 'meaningful content'? What role does it play in your own wedding photography?

2) Does it actually matter in wedding photography?

Would love to hear your thoughts.

Chuck




Sep 21, 2012 at 12:48 AM
amonline
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p.1 #2 · Meaningful Content


1. Moments a client will cherish. Filling the frame with as much of that moment as possible. Intimate when it needs to be; busy when it calls for it. It does play a big role in my choice of composition. I just wish I was better at it during the "busy" times.

2. Hell yes. It's something I feel is overlooked by the majority of wedding photographers out there... myself included.

I have to say Chuck, you're one of the names that comes to mind with the term "meaningful content". I do not say that because you are the one that talks about it most; but rather, it's defined by your style.

For that very reason, I have been analyzing your documentary style closer and reading a lot about shooting in black and white. I haven't shot in B&W since 1986. That was, until recently.

Black and white forces us to be more creative and concentrate more on the true substance of our images and compositions. Since I am currently teaching my son photography for high school, I have also forced myself to do something out of my comfort zone during this time. I've actually been shooting B&W in camera for the past month. I've shot very little color in-cam. It's extremely eye-opening and educational.



Sep 21, 2012 at 12:59 AM
tonyhart
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p.1 #3 · Meaningful Content


Interesting question. For me it absolutely matters and it's a question I find myself asking throughout the shooting and editing process, but specifically in my final post-edit cull.

It's definition varies a little bit because of the importance the B&G place on certain elements of the day, but within my own definition it has to meet one or more of the following criteria:

- Tell the story - (Who, what, when, why, how)
- Convey the emotion (joy, sadness, anticipation etc)
- Convey the scene (the location, the atmosphere, the mood)

That last one is particularly important to me. I've always considered myself a PJ at heart and so I have always strived towards that first point, but something that I've been told - by friends, clients, family etc - ever since I begun shooting weddings is that my sets make people feel like they were really there. That's important to me. I want the B&G to feel like their seeing their wedding from their guests POV. As my website cheesily says:

'I try and build a more intimate and relaxed portrait of the day focusing on seeing your wedding through softer, more familiar eyes'

To me, meaningful content is as much about tone as actual content. During editing I focus on individual images, but when it comes to final sequencing and culling, I try and think in terms of a body of work rather than individual images. What helps elevate the 'screenplay'?

Edited on Sep 21, 2012 at 01:09 AM · View previous versions



Sep 21, 2012 at 01:07 AM
TRReichman
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p.1 #4 · Meaningful Content


canerino wrote:
1) What is 'meaningful content'? What role does it play in your own wedding photography?


This comes down to what the client cares about. We know what they care about through an extensive prep process. Meaningful to me means focusing on people and not on photo technique - the client probably cares more about themselves than the flowers in the garden, so none of this foreground flower/background blurry couple stuff. The technique exists to put the emphasis on the people. Thinking about who matters and what are they doing that looks flattering and significant.

canerino wrote:
2) Does it actually matter in wedding photography?


Matters to us getting hired for sure. Clients want to see people and actual weddings, not everything but the wedding. That's for my clients, people who service clients who are more irreverent towards the institution of marriage may experience different things.

- trr



Sep 21, 2012 at 01:08 AM
SloPhoto
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p.1 #5 · Meaningful Content


1) To me meaningful content is real emotions and connections that a viewer can become engrossed in. Having the bride be able to view the photo and experience the emotions she was going through during the day and not just that it happened and so-and-so was there.

2) While it is my biggest challenge and also the single thing that draws me to wedding photography.... I think we often place too much importance on it.

Many brides really do want to just look pretty and have cute photos with their friends and family.*
That may be "meaningful content" to them, and it looks like TRR's definition follows that fairly well, but it is not what I would call meaningful content.


*While I am not a wedding photographer really, my wife and I have helped a long list of friends go through the process (she is good at planning, and I am the "camera guy" who is expected to know photographers).


Edited on Sep 21, 2012 at 01:15 AM · View previous versions



Sep 21, 2012 at 01:10 AM
TomHarmon
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p.1 #6 · Meaningful Content


TRReichman wrote:
This comes down to what the client cares about. We know what they care about through an extensive prep process. Meaningful to me means focusing on people and not on photo technique - the client probably cares more about themselves than the flowers in the garden, so none of this foreground flower/background blurry couple stuff. The technique exists to put the emphasis on the people. Thinking about who matters and what are they doing that looks flattering and significant.

Matters to us getting hired for sure. Clients want to see people and actual weddings, not everything but the wedding. That's
...Show more

I've got to agree. Some of the pictures that my clients have loved the most had some of the worst composition, or just boring technique but because of the content or the person in the photo, it meant so much more to them. I'm trying to extensively work on viewing what means the most to people and try to capture it.



Sep 21, 2012 at 01:12 AM
Inku Yo
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p.1 #7 · Meaningful Content


Yes, I've started referring to this as "moments that matter." My work is continually evolving, but I feel that I put much more emphasis on moments that matter than I used to.

I'm still convinced that we all can capture those moments with interesting composition and lighting, if we are patient and prepared.



Sep 21, 2012 at 01:22 AM
TTLKurtis
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p.1 #8 · Meaningful Content


I care little generally about just taking pretty photos, details, etc... 'Meaningful content' is mostly what matters to me, and I try to make it interesting visually or 'pretty' if I can do so.


Sep 21, 2012 at 01:41 AM
fotojennik
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p.1 #9 · Meaningful Content


I had a really long response typed out but then I scrapped it.

To summarize, I don't particularly care for this thread. Perhaps it is because I am new to wedding photography, but I find this question/thread to be pointless.


OF COURSE meaningful content is important to every wedding photographer. Some capture it better than others (and some terrible ones don't capture it at all). Regardless, I feel that we are all trying to capture it, after all, isn't that what a wedding is - a meaningful event?



Sep 21, 2012 at 01:54 AM
canerino
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p.1 #10 · Meaningful Content


fotojennik wrote:
OF COURSE meaningful content is important to every wedding photographer. Some capture it better than others (and some terrible ones don't capture it at all). Regardless, I feel that we are all trying to capture it, after all, isn't that what a wedding is - a meaningful event?


What is meaningful content? Dont we have to be able to identify that before we set off snapping thousands of frames?



Sep 21, 2012 at 02:06 AM
 

Search in Used Dept. 



Inku Yo
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p.1 #11 · Meaningful Content


fotojennik wrote:
I had a really long response typed out but then I scrapped it.

To summarize, I don't particularly care for this thread. Perhaps it is because I am new to wedding photography, but I find this question/thread to be pointless.

OF COURSE meaningful content is important to every wedding photographer. Some capture it better than others (and some terrible ones don't capture it at all). Regardless, I feel that we are all trying to capture it, after all, isn't that what a wedding is - a meaningful event?


Not sure how to respond other than - yeah, it's probably because you're new to wedding photography. If you see enough of it, you will notice there's a lot of "fluff" out there. Look at all the bridal blogs. Look at all the new photographers trying to emulate that style. Look at all the brides that are putting more importance on the details than their emotions.

My second shooter asked me once, "How come you don't submit your weddings to more blogs and publications?" I thought about it for a second, then said, "Because then I'd have to change the way I shoot." For me, details are secondary.



Sep 21, 2012 at 02:09 AM
TTLKurtis
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p.1 #12 · Meaningful Content


^ ^ ^ ^


Sep 21, 2012 at 02:26 AM
hardlyboring
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p.1 #13 · Meaningful Content


1) What is 'meaningful content'? What role does it play in your own wedding photography?
meaningful content I think is pretty much anything that our couples can look back on to remember their relationship, family, life, places, and events with. it is a broad and far reaching theme. depends entirely on the situation we are shooting. different for engagements, weddings, family shoots, etc.
2) Does it actually matter in wedding photography?
yeah 100%. I think it matters more than anything else. Lately I have been trying to improve the "portraits" that I take because it is just something I felt like doing. At the end of the day the shots that really matter to the couple are the ones that encompass their family, friends, and environment.
My favorite shots are always little moments we can catch that show people interacting, being in love, gathering together, crying, laughing, dancing, etc.



Sep 21, 2012 at 05:43 AM
bthatton
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p.1 #14 · Meaningful Content


For me, meaningful content is anything that which creates a physical memory of a thought, feeling or emotion.

The thing that kills me is that time after time no matter how much effort I out into capturing "meaningful" content which is essentially what my brand is about... The clients choose the cookie cutter shots for prints and albums. So, while I think the content we are speaking of is helpful to get hired its not as helpful to keep from getting sued.



Sep 21, 2012 at 06:02 AM
Ghost
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p.1 #15 · Meaningful Content


It's almost 12am here and I have been non-stop straight-up editing and answering client questions. So I'm a bit drowsy. But this thread reminded me a chat I had with my wife earlier. So I gotta respond. We don't seem to so much shoot portraits these days but visually document relationships. That's what matters to our clients. Frack the trendy rosy dreamy images. It's about relate-able images that my clients and their friends/families can identify with.

Don't fake it. Just shoot with what your guts tell you because it is usually the right thing to do. You will feel like you have been set-free from the shackles of wedding-blogs dictation.

OK off to bed.




Sep 21, 2012 at 06:48 AM
fotojennik
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p.1 #16 · Meaningful Content


Inku Yo wrote:
Not sure how to respond other than - yeah, it's probably because you're new to wedding photography. If you see enough of it, you will notice there's a lot of "fluff" out there. Look at all the bridal blogs. Look at all the new photographers trying to emulate that style. Look at all the brides that are putting more importance on the details than their emotions.

My second shooter asked me once, "How come you don't submit your weddings to more blogs and publications?" I thought about it for a second, then said, "Because then I'd have to change the
...Show more


edit: deleted post.

Will just summarize by saying that "meaningful content" is a relative term. It depends on who you are asking. As a photographer, our idea of meaningful content does not have to be the same as the client, family, or outside viewers.



Sep 21, 2012 at 01:12 PM
Sahid Limon
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p.1 #17 · Meaningful Content


1. Meaningful content to me are photos which evoke a strong feeling from the bride, that I am also proud to have shot. Usually you know it when you shot it right away.
2. Meaningful content is important in wedding photography, but I feel most wedding photographers try to cater their content for other photographers, boards, peers, & contests... and not the client. Having a perfectly composed shot that's really creative or has other "cool" factors might wow a lot of people, but it can easily be trumped by a semi-blurry shot of the bride crying on her father's shoulders during the first dance.



Sep 21, 2012 at 05:49 PM
Wolfe_boy
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p.1 #18 · Meaningful Content


Inku Yo wrote:
My second shooter asked me once, "How come you don't submit your weddings to more blogs and publications?" I thought about it for a second, then said, "Because then I'd have to change the way I shoot." For me, details are secondary.


Oh my goodness, thanks. I always feel like a bit of a loser when I think about submitting something to a blog and realize what I have isn't "detail-oriented" enough.



Sep 21, 2012 at 06:00 PM
Evan Baines
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p.1 #19 · Meaningful Content


Just a thought and counter-point... Chuck, and you and I have both discussed this already I believe:

People who are purchasing want "meaningful" photographs in so much as those images conform to and reinforce their already-existing beliefs and sense of identity. An extremely observant photographer might be able to produce profoundly meaningful documentary regarding a family's relationships, but if these images challenge the idealized preconceptions of the clients, then they will be summarily rejected.

Point being that I think its important to differentiate the meaningful content to which a client is receptive and the meaningful content that will be rejected by the client despite its authenticity and thoughtfulness.



Sep 21, 2012 at 06:30 PM
Inku Yo
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p.1 #20 · Meaningful Content


Evan Baines wrote:
Just a thought and counter-point... Chuck, and you and I have both discussed this already I believe:

People who are purchasing want "meaningful" photographs in so much as those images conform to and reinforce their already-existing beliefs and sense of identity. An extremely observant photographer might be able to produce profoundly meaningful documentary regarding a family's relationships, but if these images challenge the idealized preconceptions of the clients, then they will be summarily rejected.

Point being that I think its important to differentiate the meaningful content to which a client is receptive and the meaningful content that will be rejected by
...Show more

You're touching on something that I wanted to respond to fotojennik with... all the clients think they know what is "meaningful" to them, be it details or candids or looking sexy, etc... and we can and should capture all of that for them. However, as professional wedding photographers, I think it's our job to also try to deliver images that they don't realize will mean so much more.



Sep 21, 2012 at 06:58 PM
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