Unusual venue plus my failings as a photographer
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jcolman
Registered: Feb 21, 2008
Total Posts: 5814
Country: United States

How often do you post up your mistakes? Never? That is to be expected as most of us simply seek praise for our work and only show our good stuff. But I think that we can learn more from our mistakes than our successes. So in that vein, I present my failings while shooting my last wedding in the hopes that we can all learn something.

This was an unusual venue to say the least. It is typically used for things like horse shows, not weddings. But the brides father was a big time cotton farmer so the theme of the wedding is agriculture related.

I won't bother to post up the typical "getting ready-dress-shoes-etc shots", as we all have them and mine came out just fine. Rather I will post up a few images to show you what the setting was like and what I did with it. First up are some snaps of the reception area. That's a dirt floor by the way. Also, for various reasons, we did not shoot outside.

1.

The guys. Not too bad. I'm ok with this image.

2


The ladies. I did tweak the color a bit to remove some of the "brown" after I uploaded this shot. Still, I'm happy with this.

3.


Here is the alter...rather busy.

4.


Fail boat shot #1. I put the rather large bridal party in front of the "alter" instead of finding a better background.

5.


Now to the B&G shots. I shot thru some cotton to try and give some depth to the image. Not bad but read on.

6.


Look at this shot taken during the ceremony. Notice the lights on the tree? Don't you think a shot of the B&G in front of the tree would have been prettier? Yeah, me too. Fail boat shot #2.

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Fail boat shot #3 (but not my fault) thank you mr. wedding coordinator for standing behind the bride and her dad.

8.


But at least I got this.

9.


I had set my lights for the dance floor and the light was quite pretty during the dancing and toasts

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But when I turned around to shoot the B&G reaction to the toasts, I got this. Shadows coming thru the centerpieces on the table. Fail boat shot #4

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This shows just how large the place was. Bouncing your flash? Forget about it. You would have depleted your batteries in no time.

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But I was able to bounce flash in a smaller part of the venue and capture my first ever, bridesmaid keg stand.

13


Available light shot just to show you how dark it was during the dancing

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The guys going all Gangum style on me. I should have gridded the light in the background.

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But here's the view from the other side so it's all good. Still, by gridding my lights, I could have kept some of the light off the ceiling. Minor fail boat #5.

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The exit. I needed to put fresh batteries in my off camera light on the right. You can barely see it next to the upright pillar in the background. It failed to fire. You can see my other background light firing on the right. Minor fail boat #6

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So, hopefully by showing my failings, it will help others not to make the same mistakes. Now, if you've got the balls, I challenge everyone else to put up your mistakes.



Robin Usagani
Registered: Oct 26, 2010
Total Posts: 2839
Country: United States

what mistakes are you talking about? Solid coverage!



amonline
Registered: Jul 16, 2006
Total Posts: 6650
Country: United States

It is what it was. They'll be pleased.



LivLif
Registered: Jan 31, 2010
Total Posts: 1845
Country: United States

I love that instead of coming in here and bit*hin about how the venue sucked and you couldn't get good shots because of it, you came here and posted how you made the best out of it. Your lighting is always killer. I think you did an amazing job and were positive about what was presented to you. Great coverage and creativity. Thanks again for looking at the glass half full.



jcolman
Registered: Feb 21, 2008
Total Posts: 5814
Country: United States

Thanks guys, I know that they will be happy with the pics, but I'm not happy with all of them. Hindsight being 20-20 and all, I guess I'm just kicking myself over lost opportunity. But by writing all this down and posting it up, it will hopefully help me to remember the next time I have a similar shot.



TTLKurtis
Registered: Jan 31, 2006
Total Posts: 9724
Country: United States

That looks like a pretty tough one indeed. Genius on the thought to grid the speedlight... why the hell have I never thought of doing that for a reception?

Good thread, bro. None of these are bad, but you're right I think there are little nuggets to learn from that a lot of people will find helpful. Good idea.



jofoto photo
Registered: Jun 05, 2006
Total Posts: 877
Country: United Kingdom

Zero mistakes, in fact in context with the Venue excellent coverage



davenfl
Registered: Jun 29, 2008
Total Posts: 4073
Country: United States

You are being your own worst critic, these are amazing based upon the really tough stuff you had to work through. I don't see any failings here, actually quite to the contrary.

Dave



jcolman
Registered: Feb 21, 2008
Total Posts: 5814
Country: United States

TTLKurtis wrote:
That looks like a pretty tough one indeed. Genius on the thought to grid the speedlight... why the hell have I never thought of doing that for a reception?

Good thread, bro. None of these are bad, but you're right I think there are little nuggets to learn from that a lot of people will find helpful. Good idea.



My dance floor lights are mono lights but I do use speed lights when I need a handy light that I can quickly move. The thing is, I normally grid my reception lighting. I guess my thinking on this was that I needed the extra spread, when in fact, I didn't.



LivLif
Registered: Jan 31, 2010
Total Posts: 1845
Country: United States

Do u grid your speed lights as well?



jcolman
Registered: Feb 21, 2008
Total Posts: 5814
Country: United States

LivLif wrote:
Do u grid your speed lights as well?
I have one grid that I will use from time to time (for my mono lights I have four grids) but typically if I need to shape the light on my speedlights, I use black felt. All my lights have velcro on them for attaching felt and/or gels.



Kittyk
Registered: Apr 29, 2009
Total Posts: 4405
Country: Germany

i think you are showing us your okish (as opposed to awesome) photos as pure failure just to make us mad

you want to see what failure is? riding with bridal party in epic limo and not being able to setup light i would be happy with because of mirror ceiling







jcolman
Registered: Feb 21, 2008
Total Posts: 5814
Country: United States

Kittyk wrote:
i think you are showing us your okish (as opposed to awesome) photos as pure failure just to make us mad

you want to see what failure is? riding with bridal party in epic limo and not being able to setup light i would be happy with because of mirror ceiling








Kitty, I doubt that I could ever make you mad. But if I ever do, I will be happy to buy you a beer when I see you in May. Heck, I'll buy you one anyway.

Shooting in a limo is indeed a tough place, especially one with a mirrored ceiling. The only solution I can think of is to bounce your light off of a white shirt or other light object, to the side or behind you.


Kittyk
Registered: Apr 29, 2009
Total Posts: 4405
Country: Germany

it was very colorful background and mirror top, very tight, i was wearing black :-(. had almost nothing with me because i had to leave car at the venue. The shot above i had to go as deep as 6400 ISO to get anything (all those lights were very dim LEDs).

And wine, not beer in May



SloPhoto
Registered: Feb 18, 2008
Total Posts: 2466
Country: N/A

Ok, first off......

You rock.

second....

Thanks for posting things like this, it makes it much easier for those of us just starting out to see how you process things mentally (before and after) and use it to grow.



Jamesbjenkins
Registered: Mar 23, 2012
Total Posts: 786
Country: United States

Great post. Thanks for sharing!

That looks like a brutal venue.



jjaylad
Registered: May 27, 2009
Total Posts: 48
Country: Canada

No failings ...just a few challenges. Really ..most if not all the issues YOU see can be corrected with easy editing.
If some are going into the album it would be worthwhile to do for the self esteem you will gain from having them meet your own expectations.
Nice work ...looks like a great wedding. You let if flow without interfering and captured the day beautifully.
jj



Red 90
Registered: Nov 13, 2008
Total Posts: 156
Country: Canada

I think it's natural for photographers to be their own harshest critic. I would be happy with a lot of those shots especially in a tough venue like that.

I do appreciate you posting these photos as it tells the rest of us that we are all human. I think we could all benefit and learn from the bad shots more than just looking at good photos.

There are many different setups people can choose to use or choose to shoot from. I find it very helpful when I read about how a photographer will see a venue or see specific elements and make setup adjustments based upon what they see. The thought process really helps me learn to improve my shots and avoid pitfalls.



mjgphotoz
Registered: Jan 20, 2010
Total Posts: 69
Country: United States

Jim,

Back in my wilder days, I used to show and train horses. I have spent many hours in this type of venue. Unless someone has been there, they have absolutely no idea just how you rocked this. I realize you might have wanted to change a few things, but I am sure the clients will think this is fantastic. Just be ready to do about 10 more next year off the horsey/aggie set! You can put your hind sight ideas to great use!!!

mjgphotoz



Conradp04
Registered: Jul 12, 2007
Total Posts: 844
Country: United States

i actually think you did a solid job!! I think you knew what you were facing and stepped up to the plate.. It's always never glitz and glamor, butI'd be more than satisfied with these given the circumstances.


Good read!!
//conrad



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