Unusual venue plus my failings as a photographer
/forum/topic/1166138/1

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joelconner
Registered: Jan 23, 2009
Total Posts: 3769
Country: United States

As a midwest photographer who does more receptions in less-than-ideal country halls than he does in nice, city locations, I see part of my job as making people's wedding days look better than they really were. I think you definitely pulled that off here. Obviously, there are the things you mentioned that you can improve upon, but they should be thrilled with the set. I will say...your drive to always improve is inspiring. So much much for all older photographers being stuffy and stuck in a rut.



jcolman
Registered: Feb 21, 2008
Total Posts: 5838
Country: United States

Thanks guys for all the nice comments but I really was not looking for praise. I wanted to show you what I did with the venue and how I thought I might do better next time.

Here's a few more shots for you from the same wedding.

Minor fail here. I flashed them twice instead of once so I got a bit of movement during this 10 second exposure.

A.

The ring shot on a cotton bole. Totally un-inspired. I probably could have come up with something more interesting.
B.

The cake cutting. Yep, that's my light and light stand in the background.

C.


So I changed my angle

D.


The bride and her dad. Nothing really wrong with the shot, except for the shadow on her face. I was just out of position
E.

This is where I wanted to be. I had pre determined that this was my "golden spot" for dancing.

F.


Family formals. My key light could have been a bit closer to the camera so that it didn't throw shadows on people. Minor fail.

G.


Cake shot. Nothing wrong with this. Just though I would throw in a shot I was proud of.

H.


Finally, a really unusual group shot. Props to anyone who can tell me how I lit it.

G.



TTLKurtis
Registered: Jan 31, 2006
Total Posts: 9820
Country: United States

Did you bounce it off your own shirt?



jcolman
Registered: Feb 21, 2008
Total Posts: 5838
Country: United States

TTLKurtis wrote:
Did you bounce it off your own shirt?


No. I wear all black.



paparazzinick
Registered: Jan 08, 2005
Total Posts: 7391
Country: United States

nice job. you did good. some of the best work you will do as a photographer you will end up hating. I did a wedding 2 years ago that to this day I hate every single image I took. Just a craptastic day for me. I give the bride the images thinking I was gonna have to give her something free or refund her some money. She calls me crying with tears of joy and to this day is one of my biggest post wedding sales ever.

So you may not be 100% with the images but I bet your bride will be 200%

cheers



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

saving the group shot to inspiration folder



fabiano
Registered: Jul 26, 2005
Total Posts: 265
Country: Brazil

Bouncing off the floor?



Sergio Mottola
Registered: Sep 20, 2006
Total Posts: 3910
Country: United States

the photos are great considering the venue. i would still suggest working harder before the event to plan for better portraits outdoors.



jcolman
Registered: Feb 21, 2008
Total Posts: 5838
Country: United States

Sergio Mottola wrote:
the photos are great considering the venue. i would still suggest working harder before the event to plan for better portraits outdoors.



Trust me, we did plan on shooting outdoors, but as I mentioned, it did not work out for several reasons, none of which had anything to do with me. Besides, I hate to have "shootings outside" as an excuse for not being able to produce good photos.



jcolman
Registered: Feb 21, 2008
Total Posts: 5838
Country: United States

fabiano wrote:
Bouncing off the floor?


I placed a single speed light on the floor, facing up and shooting thru an umbrella. I also fired some lights behind some of the group.



Jon-Mark
Registered: Dec 12, 2011
Total Posts: 347
Country: Canada

I like this



mineymole
Registered: Oct 30, 2008
Total Posts: 3844
Country: United States

Awesome post Jim.



Sergio Mottola
Registered: Sep 20, 2006
Total Posts: 3910
Country: United States

jcolman wrote:
Sergio Mottola wrote:
the photos are great considering the venue. i would still suggest working harder before the event to plan for better portraits outdoors.



Trust me, we did plan on shooting outdoors, but as I mentioned, it did not work out for several reasons, none of which had anything to do with me. Besides, I hate to have "shootings outside" as an excuse for not being able to produce good photos.


jim, i think its important to understand that photography has a lot to do with what happens without the camera. planning, production, etc.

i understand about changes of plans and not being able to shoot outdoors, that is a major bummer. but i think its a fallacy that a great photographer should be able to make a good photo out of nothing, because content trumps all.



jcolman
Registered: Feb 21, 2008
Total Posts: 5838
Country: United States

Sergio Mottola wrote:
jcolman wrote:
Sergio Mottola wrote:
the photos are great considering the venue. i would still suggest working harder before the event to plan for better portraits outdoors.



Trust me, we did plan on shooting outdoors, but as I mentioned, it did not work out for several reasons, none of which had anything to do with me. Besides, I hate to have "shootings outside" as an excuse for not being able to produce good photos.


jim, i think its important to understand that photography has a lot to do with what happens without the camera. planning, production, etc.

i understand about changes of plans and not being able to shoot outdoors, that is a major bummer. but i think its a fallacy that a great photographer should be able to make a good photo out of nothing, because content trumps all.


Serg, I spent nearly 30 years as a tv producer/director. I know how important planning is to any shoot, be it a wedding or documentary. But sometimes things happen beyond our control. I agree that content trumps all, but I also think that a great photographer should be able to take any location and turn out excellent work. I'm simply disappointed in myself that I didn't do a better job with some of the images. I was hired to create an artistic interpretation, not simply follow them around and snap the shutter.



jcolman
Registered: Feb 21, 2008
Total Posts: 5838
Country: United States

I know you guys are probably wondering why we could not shoot outside. Here is what happened. First, the venue is in a town two hours from me. That means that I did not see the venue until the day of the wedding. I exchanged several emails with the bride, discussing plans to shoot the bridal party shots in a cotton field. Her dad use to be a big time cotton farmer, hence the theme of the wedding. We talked about how much time we would need and what time everyone would need to be ready.

The day before the wedding, I get an email from the bride saying that the "cotton field they had chosen had just been harvested". The groom drove around and found another field about 25 minutes away. We discussed how we could still shoot in this new field, but the bridal party would have to be ready to go at a certain time.

The day of the wedding, I show up at the hotel, I shoot the bride and her girls getting ready, dress and shoe shots, etc. I then shoot the guys getting ready before I head over the venue to set my lights and meet the guys for their shots at the venue. The guys show up on time, we get their shots done and wait for the girls to show up. An hour and half later, the girls are still a no-show. The bride had hired one girl to do all the hair and makeup. It took them nearly two hours longer than expected. By the time the girls arrived, it was too late to drive to the new field and shoot. We had to do all the shots at the venue. No big deal. I can deal with changes. But why did we not shoot outside the venue you ask? Just outside the venue there is nothing but a massive parking lot, other buildings, power lines, bleachers, etc. There was not a single exterior location that would work. Plus it was a bit chilly and the girls really did not want to go outside. Additionally, some guests were starting to show up and the start of the ceremony was only about 20 minutes away. We all agreed that shooting inside was the best option.

One of the reasons I get hired is that I can usually make the couple / venue look their best with my lighting and staging. That's what I do. My failing in this instance was that, in hindsight, I should have done more to make the wedding party shots really stand out. I know now what I would have done differently. But the time pressure to get the shots done prior to the wedding led me to take some shortcuts with my staging of the bridal party. I'm sure that the couple will be quite happy with their photos, but I see room for improvement. I'm using this "pouring out my failure" as a way to keep me from making the same mistake in the future and hopefully to encourage others to push themselves farther as well.



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