Eye of the Beholder
In The Eye Of The Beholder
Over the last few blog posts I've talked a lot about equipment. I've given you a list of things you can ask potential photographers about, I've supplied our standard list of equipment that we take to every wedding. That is a lot of focus on tools and I'm doing this blog as a course correction. Because it's not just about equipment., although equipment does make a large difference in what you can do for a client. You also need vision to look for something out of the ordinary and experience to get the picture quickly. Let's stick a pin in that for the moment.
Now to lay out a framework I'd guarantee you that all of the following is true:
A great photographer can take a great picture with a "bad" camera. Great photography comes down to knowing the operating parameters of your equipment and having the passion to make something beautiful.
The best camera in the world will not make you a great photographer. Don't get me wrong, there is a certain level of camera you need to produce professional work if for no other reason than to be able to print and display sharp, clear pictures. However the camera only does what the photographer tells it to do. The photographer has to be able to know that something is available here to make this a beautiful moment or I can add something here to make this a great moment.
I wanted to address some emails I'd gotten about cameras and lenses and lights, whats the best choice, what should my wedding photographer be using. And I've done that. But selecting your wedding photographer should be based on their vision for their art resonating with you.
Before I begin let me show you what we are going for. I feel like I have to do that to capture the readers attention. It seems counterintuitive to have a crappy picture at the top of the post doesn't it?
With that out of the way let's start at the beginning of this saga. This is Hope, our model for today. Take a look at the picture below. Most people are going to place this model here because thats the easy shot.
But notice the water isn't in play at all and all that distraction in the background including the house and our shadows? Also while the picture is warm with that sunlight its also a little hot on her face because of that sunlight. The color and warmth of the shot is beautiful, however we can do better.
So we've moved her a little bit, basically we've moved around her 180 degrees around the camera. We take advantage of this big beautiful lake and put the sun in the picture. We'd celebrate except that quite frankly this picture looks like crap. Why would I include it you wonder? Because this is how most photographers start this picture, due to the limitations of their equipment. You have to turn the shutter speed up quite a bit to cut down the sunlight and you don't have a very good view of her face. In fact it's a little difficult to even see her face. Let's shoot a couple of test pictures manipulating the settings to see what we can get.
Notice these aren't much better are they? To get enough light on her we can change settings but it washes out everything else. Again a lot of photographers are limited here by the settings of their equipment. However what if your typical photographer deploys their trusty flash. Let's see what that looks like:
This is what this picture is going to look like with a normal flash involved. Which I believe is just short of OK . You can make out the details in her face even if her eyes are a little flat. But still not award winning. We can do a lot better. So let me adjust my settings, and bring out my off camera flash which gives you a larger, warmer, softer light and lets you end up with this picture:
So lighting Hope properly gives depth to her face and expression. You can make out her eye color and her eyes have wonderful catchlights in them. It also clarifies the entire picture. Look at her shoulders, see how she pops right off of that background now? Its because using light to give definition to her features also allows the sun to backlight and separate our subject.
Now reading this and studying the pictures probably took a little while. But actually taking these pictures only took 4 minutes, we timed it. And one of those minutes we spent moving to accommodate cars (we were standing in the road after all). Thats a good point to underline experience. Knowing your equipment, what angles to work, etc, so you can get to the best picture faster. Why does fast make a difference? Because it's a wedding. You've got to be able to work live, without a net if you will.
So there is a good set of examples why the vision and experience of you photographer makes a huge difference And when you combine it with equipment you can get a true master artist. And then, then you got something. Whew that was a lot of writing, catch you next week.