Summer Wedding at Leslie Mansion

August 18, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

Who: Sarah and Josh E

What: Outdoor garden ceremony at Leslie Mansion

Where: Leslie Mansion in Odenton, Md

When: August 11 Sarah and Josh are such a great couple!Sarah and Josh are such a great couple!Sarah and Josh are such a great couple! th

Again I really love outdoor weddings. A nice green space just kind of seems to fit the exchange of promises of love. And Leslie Mansion has some great views and just this wonderful wonderland feel to it. And Sarah and Josh were amazing to work with a lovely couple off to a bright and promising future.

Here are a few of my favorite shots. You can see the rest of their wedding story here.

Sarah and Josh are such a great couple!Sarah and Josh are such a great couple!Sarah and Josh are such a great couple!

What a lovely bride!What a lovely bride!What a lovely bride!

 

 

 


Summer Wedding at Celebration on the Bay

August 11, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

Who: Jordan and Jason M

What: Outdoor garden ceremony at Celebrations on the Bay

Where: Celebrations on the Bay in Pasadena, Md

When: August 4th

I love weddings that are near the water. Especially if they are outdoors. Having that big ole bay as a backdrop can lead to amazing pictures. On a good weather day not only do you get nice cool breezes but a nice water backdrop is lovely and also doesn’t have any distractions like people walking through your shot, which I love. On an overcast day like this one you have to hunt a little more for the great pictures but if you are patient they are still there.

Here are a few of my favorite shots. You can see the rest of their wedding story here.

What a beautiful Bride!What a beautiful Bride!What a beautiful Bride!

he's a lucky man!he's a lucky man!he's a lucky man!

The happy couple!The happy couple!The happy couple!


Site Reports: What They Are and How We Use Them

August 04, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

Hello again, Bryan here.

Yes I know you’d rather it was Helen, and for the record any sane person would prefer speaking to Helen lol. But since I do most of the site reports and by most I mean all of the site reports, it only makes sense for me to write this blog.

A site report is where the lead photographer for your wedding (me) goes to see your wedding and reception sites and writes out a report making recommendations for how to best utilize the site. And we do them for a couple of reasons:

  • It Gives You Peace Of Mind. If I have to be brutally honest after you’ve done 15-20 weddings you have a pretty good idea of what to expect no matter what. And I’ve done over 300 in 26 different states for couples of all different faiths. It would be pretty difficult to shock me. And given the fact that we bring so much equipment it takes a Suburban to haul it there can’t be some need that presents itself on your wedding day that we aren’t prepared for. But it’s your wedding day and you have enough to worry about so we see your venue so you have that peace of mind.
     
  • We Give You Recommendations. You may have ideas for a picture, or a set of pictures that won’t work as well as you are hoping. Or you may not have any ideas. Either way you hired a professional to help you with this so we want you to know we are on the case. And if you really wanted a picture of you and your beloved under that gorgeous elm tree it helps if you know that your best looks or that would be at sunset.

Now in some cases a site report may not be needed. If we’ve been to your venue in the past few months we’ll share the existing site report with you. And we just give our couples access to every site report we have so that you can use them as a resource if you are still settling on a venue. Below is an example site report so you get an idea of what they are like.

Site Report: The Fair at Red Hook (Bristol, Md)

The Farm at Red HookThe Farm at Red HookThe Farm at Red Hook

 

Event Details: Joan and John Smith, August 15th, 2002 

Inspection Date: May 8th, 2001

Inspection Personnel: Bryan K for Eleven 11 Photography and Leslie H for The Farm at Red Hook

Description: Seventy-eight year old 13 acre farm and horse ranch. Features small working vineyard, horse pastures and scenic views of Md mountains. West view is compromised by highway and factories.

Internal weddings limited to parties of 12 or less. External weddings held on rear lawn, offers outside and inside possibilities.

Recommendations: Tented wedding is most appropriate for cooler conditions, the average historic temperature on you proposed date is 98. Views of the house front, large tree and red barn are appropriate for formals, also recommended that bridal pictures and dress pictures are staged inside under natural light for nice romantic classical feel.

 

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Save 50% on our remaining 2017/2018 Dates!

July 31, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

Just a quick plug for our sale, We've still got a smattering of 2017 and 2018 dates available so we are putting them on sale through the end of the month for 50% off. Just mention the sale in your contact and BOOM you save half on excellent photography. Happy Shopping!

Sale ends September 1st.


What Is The Eleven 11 Release Standard?

July 28, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

Hello Bryan here and I want to talk a little bit about our editing process. We get asked a lot about what the Eleven 11 release standard is so I wanted to take you through it exactly. It’s really pretty simple. I think the best way to illustrate this is to use an actual session and talk through the pictures.

I think I should say upfront that I’ve shot for several international designers (Michael Kors and White by Vera Wang to name a few) and have published photos in national magazines including 17 covers. So I can edit a picture to that level but I don't think thats what you want for your wedding pictures. I think what you want is to look at a picture from your wedding with your grandchildren and see your best you looking back, not some stranger who vaguely resembles you. So that, in a nutshell, is what we are going for with an edit.

We will start with my sister Niki. She's Helen’s sister and that makes her my sister. Actually scratch that, because as I sit here writing this I’m waiting for Helen to change for some pictures we are taking so actually I’ll just shoot a portrait of Helen and use that.

I guess while we are waiting I could talk about when we use the Eleven 11 standard. We shoot a lot of pictures at a wedding. Then we go through and do the pick, deleting out-of-focus pictures and lots of duplicates. From there every picture that has the bride or groom in it is edited to the Eleven 11 standard, Other pictures may or may not be edited to that degree, sometimes we get a picture of one of you guests, or the cake, or some of your detail shots that we just love and we go a little overboard.

Still waiting. I take a lot of pictures of Helen so I do a lot of waiting lol.

And now she’s here.

I want to start by thanking Helen for agreeing to this. No one wants to be the target of a before and after study, especially if before is meant to be a bad picture to show you the difference. She didn’t even consider it, she just signed off and away we went. I’m truly lucky to have one of the worlds great beauties who also has a very adventurous soul as my partner.

And this first picture is intentionally bad so that you can see whats possible.

So first let’s look at how a picture gets taken. I’m going to walk you through this from beginning to end but it’s worth noting that in our process some of these things are automatic, there is really nothing to do to apply them as we just do it.The first picture here is taken with only natural light. If you’ve been reading the blog for a bit you probably know that I love natural light but I also say it can be problematic. Here’s why.

Step 1: Base PhotoStep 1: Base PhotoStep 1: Base photo

This picture shows that where Helen has her face exposed to the window there is lots of light and where her face is further away there is a lot more shadow. There are a plethora of other things wrong with this picture, junk in the background, its a little cold feeling, etc, but all of these things are done on purpose so you can see how the problems get handled.

Step 2: Adding a little lightStep 2: Adding a little lightStep 2: Adding a little light

Picture 2 here is the exact same picture except we add a light source. Specifically we add a reflector, not an actual light. I want to take away some of the shadow in Helen’s face but not all of it. The light comes into the window, bounces off the reflector and fills in the darker part of Helen’s face. 

You can see the picture has a little more pop to it but it’s still a little flat and it’s slightly cluttered. Let’s work on flat first. Modern professional grade cameras allow you to change how pictures look by changing the settings in your camera. I can control the temperature of the picture, color depth, contrast and the like. Picture three below shows the picture settings for every picture I shoot. They come out of the camera looking like this.

Step 3: Secret SauceStep 3: Secret SauceStep 3: Secret Sauce

I know when I said earlier that the picture looked cold, you may have gotten confused. But look at this picture and either of the previous ones, doesn’t it just look like the room is warmer to you? The colors are richer, the contrast is deeper. I call it my secret sauce. It’s really how the photographer controls how he/she presents the world to others.

There are two kinds of distractions in a picture. Environmental distractions (events or objects around your subject) and subject related distractions (clothes misbuttoned, hair out of place, etc). The photo above has both so we first deal with the environment. That black pole running through the photo is an eyesore and that doorway in the background with he light shining through it’s shutters naturally draws your eye to it and away from our primary target. In real life I’d just move the objects and/or reframe the photo to exclude them but below I am just cropping the photo tighter so that we remove those distractions. It also has the added benefit of making Helen larger so you can’t help but look at her loveliness.

Step 4: Proper FramingStep 4: Proper FramingStep 4: Proper Framing

Now that we’ve removed the annoying background objects let’s look at our subject. Her brow is a little furrowed (I asked for that in this picture) so we should address that. Also around the neck of the coverup some of the fringe is wearing away, I actually noticed it before she put it on. Normally I’d just cut it away right there but I thought it would be a good study in how to fix some things. And if you look closely behind her ear, and along her hairline you can see flyaway hair has come loose. Again we knew this before we took the picture but we wanted to illustrate this, as a wedding progresses this happens to a bride a lot.

While I’ve walked you through how we address these as an exercise in real life it's easier to fix them before you take the picture. We make sure you don’t have dandruff on you shoulder or lint in you hair or spinach in you teeth. If you are standing in a spot and there is something unsightly behind you we either move you or we rotate around you to change your background. While you can’t always control it we are big believers in the easiest way to get the picture you want being to take the picture you want the first time.

So we are really close to the picture we would actually take. Now that we’ve removed the annoying background objects let’s look at our subject. Her brow is a little furrowed (I asked for that in this picture) so we should address that. Behind her ear on the right and actually all the way around there is some loose hair, we’ll address that as well. And around her neckline this coverup is fringing a little bit so we’ll touch that up as well.

Step 5: Now That's A Picture!Step 5: Now That's A Picture!Step 5: Now That's A Picture!

Now we’ve got a picture.

While I’ve walked you through how we address these things the truth is we simply adjust as we take the picture. We make sure you don’t have dandruff on you shoulder or lint in you hair or spinach in you teeth. If you are standing in a spot and there is something unsightly behind you we either move you or we rotate around you to change your background. While you can’t always control it we are big believers in the easiest way to get the picture you want being to take the picture you want the first time.

And now we are at where we’d actually start if I control everything (like in a boudoir or engagement session). This is the picture we’d start with. But to be her best Helen we still have to touch her skin a little bit, specifically the wrinkle in her brow, under her eyes and the tops of her cheeks, and then perform just a minimal amount of skin smoothing. The trick to good skin smoothing is to even your skin tone and smooth it’s surface while leaving just the right amount and kind of texture.

Step 6; The Finished Goods!Step 6; The Finished Goods!Step 6; The Finished Goods!

I also did some slight last weeks of highlights and coloring, just to even things out. Honestly I’d like it just a touch darker in overall tone and maybe I'd add some light around that right eye, but I try to keep the amount of time I spend on each photo to some reasonable measure. Especially as this is just to give you a sense of what we do.

Now you’ll notice that right in the middle of her forehead Helen has a small and barely noticeable scar. I could easily remove it. But I don’t, its one of the features that makes Helen well Helen. No one who knows Helen will be shocked by this photo.

And there is lots more stuff possible. I can add makeup, or remove it, change your eye color, thin your figure or accentuate certain parts of it. All of those options are avialblee on my computers, but they aren't things that normally happen as part of the Eleven 11 release standard. And below you can see the very first picture and the final picture side by side.

Step 3Step 3Step 1 Base photo Step 1Step 1Step 7

Alright so that’s the end of that, see you next week when we start to publish some sight visits.