How to Help Couples Relax in Photographs of Their Big Day

How to Help a Couple Relax in Photographs of Their Big Day Once a couple’s wedding day is here, their simply accepting to get married becomes a piece of cake comparing to the ordeal of getting photographed by a stranger. Well, this term is a bit harsh, but you get the picture. Never mind of you’ve known them your whole life or if you’ve just met them, you must be prepared for the worst-case scenario. You are just an outsider meant to mingle with their energy and show it all on camera. But it’s your job to help these couples relax in photographs  of their big day, photographs you are taking. People are different indeed, and so are the couples they form, and it goes without saying that life is better if you have a special someone to share it with, but what can you do, as a photographer witnessing their big day, to make things seem even more perfect than they could ever imagine? Here are some tips and tricks that are meant to keep the most self-aware bride focused on what you really need in order to take the perfect picture. For a more professional tutorial, find out more here.

Give Them Something To Do

How to Help a Couple Relax in Photographs of Their Big Day2 As a general rule, you should never leave your models without a focus point. Professional models are perfectly capable of finding their own concentration points, but as a wedding photographer, chances to work for professional models are quite seldom. So don’t get your hopes up high, but instead develop this simple trick that’s sure to work in every situation. No matter whom you are dealing with, just put your subjects to work. Ask them to tell jokes, to sing, to jump, to surprise each other, to tickle one another, basically any amusing action that crosses your mind. Take advantage of the fact that they can rely on each other. You can also apply this rule when you have to shoot separate frames, with just one member of the couple. Be creative. The explanation is quite simple: once your couple forgets about your being there, instead of struggling to capture natural and genuine beauty, it will just pop out! No one can act natural, they can either be natural or pretend. And we all know how the latter looks like. Not cool.

Make Them Think of Something Nice

How to Help a Couple Relax in Photographs of Their Big Day3 Well, some couples may be too agitated to think of games, or too excited, or too stressed, or too shy… But don’t panic, there’s always a plan B! Here is a softer version of the solution presented above. For introverts, try to delicately guide them into certain states of mind. Instead of bluntly asking them to stare into your lens, with an uptight smile on their faces, try to make them fall into pleasant states of mind.  Get them to tell you the story of how they met, or the day they decided to get married, or the best holiday they’d had so far, or about their honeymoon plans, etc. A nice mental image can always be seen in their eyes as well, and there you go! That’s your Kodak moment! When asked to think happy thoughts, people de-focus from the actual purpose of their being there. Therefore they will stop being uptight, because they will completely forget about you and focus on what made them happy at one time.

Don’t Forget That You Are Also in the Pictures

You’ll just need to click a button, and your work of art is complete. True, but not quite. It goes without saying that genuine human interaction can help you get the best of any situation. And that includes you as well. As a photographer, you are not only an invisible witness, but also an important part of the context. Even though no one seems to care about this, your not appearing in your photos does not mean that you are not there. So in order to help couples relax in photographs, be present, be warm and offer more of your presence in order to get the best from your models.

Use Your Camera’s Depth of Field Better

The manual settings on your camera, if used right, can lead to far more marvelous photos than those done with the auto settings. It’s really quite unfortunate that most DLSR cameras come today with advanced auto settings, because it enables most users to postpone actually learning a thing or two about what the manual settings actually do and how they can be aligned to work together for perfect results. Don’t be one of those lazy would-be photographers who stick to the predefined options, as that will never lead to better than average photos. One of the first things you should learn to use better is the so-called triangle of camera exposure, composed of ISO, shutter speed and aperture. It can truly make the difference between average photos at best and good photos at least. But after learning more about those basics, the next thing which can influence your final photos for the better is your camera’s depth of field variable, a sub-setting within the aperture setting.

What is the Depth of Field?

The depth of field, usually abbreviated with an f-number, is something directly derived from the aperture of your camera. As a reminder, your camera’s aperture is the size of the hole within the lens, through which light travels to the inside of the camera. Considering that cameras are made following the model of the human eye, you could say that the aperture corresponds to the eye’s pupil, since they serve the same purpose of allowing light in. A bigger camera usually has a larger hole, and a smaller camera usually has a smaller hole. A larger hole equals a bigger aperture, while a smaller hole equals a lower aperture. The aperture of a camera is also expressed through an f number, with a higher number signifying a smaller aperture and vice-versa. This might seem counter-intuitive to some of you, but it can be easier sunk in if you look at this chart (pictured below). The white circles in it represent the size of the lens aperture, while the f numbers written below them illustrate the rule: the larger the number, the smaller the aperture signified will be.

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The depth of field is the size of the field that looks sharp in a photograph, and it is directly dependent on the aperture.  A large depth of field number (like f/28) will bring all the foreground and background objects into focus equally, while a smaller number (signifying a larger aperture) will bring only the foreground objects into focus, making the background of the photo appear blurry. A good illustration of this effect can be observed in the picture below. As you might have guessed, this is how those wonderful photos with faded backgrounds are made with, and it is indeed a wonderful effect to use. A skilled manipulation of a camera’s depth of field allows the photographer to emphasize whatever their heart’s desire is within a photo, and to make sure the viewers “see” the same thing the photographer has seen when they look at the image.

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Even though a camera’s aperture sounds like more or less of a hardware property, since it depends on the size of the hole and the lens, the aperture can be somewhat manipulated, within a minimum and maximum limit. Each camera comes with these min and max values stated in the manual or in the specifications of your lens, if you bought yours separately from the camera. The depth of field can be thus adjusted by adjusting the camera’s aperture, and you should play with it as often as possible to obtain better or more creative photos on the long run. Don’t be afraid to experiment, after a while you’ll get the feel of it and you’ll be able to employ the depth of field to create beautiful images seamlessly, just by following your gut. Good luck and have fun.

Rekindle Your Passion for Wedding Photography in 3 Easy Steps

It happens to the best of them: we haven’t asked, but we’re sure that, were you to catch her on an off day, even contemporary glam photography guru Annie Leibovitz sometimes feels like the spark is just gone.

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Bottom line, no matter how passionate you may be about wedding photography, sometimes that passion just vanishes without a trace. Sometimes you feel stuck in a rut and, no matter what you do, you’re just not happy with your work. It happens to us all, which is why we’re here today to show you what you need to do, in order to rekindle your passion for wedding photography in three simple steps.

Ever felt this way? You need to find your passion for wedding photography again!

The danger of feeling stuck and trapped within monotony is that you develop an entire range of very negative, self-deprecating thoughts about your work. And while, at first, it may seem like these ideas will propel you toward creating ever better wedding photos, this rarely ever happens. Rather, you become more prone toward creative blocks, which, in turn, lead to creative frustration and a whole lot of resentment. In fact, what these thoughts are there to tell you is that you need to take better care of yourself, both as a person, as well as a creative individual, who happens to work in wedding photography. Here’s what could have gone wrong and made you feel that your work is subpar, or otherwise inadequate:

-          You keep compromising. Instead of working toward honing your creative vision, you’ve let go one time too many.

-          You don’t value yourself and your work enough. Yes, it’s perfectly fine to turn down a job or two every now and then – especially if you’ve been feeling stressed, overworked, and burned out.

-          You feel underappreciated and, hence, uninspired.

The good part is that all creative individuals, no matter the field they’re working in, feel this way every now and then. If they say they don’t, they’re lying (either to you, or to themselves). The part that’s even better: you can fix these feelings and make them work for you, not against you. Here’s how:

Step #1: Where do you see yourself?

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This may sound like a total cliché, but in order to find your passion for wedding photography all over again, you need to refocus on your vision. Your ‘voice’ as a photographer. Your signature style. This may mean that you’re going to have to start learning to turn down projects that don’t align with that creative vision. It’s all a matter of prioritizing and of asking yourself: ‘does this job make me feel proactive? Am I working to achieve a dream, or simply going with the flow?’ If your answer is geared more toward the ‘going with the flow’ option, perhaps it’s time to step back and assess whether or not you really need to say yes to the umpteenth White Wedding gig this year. Refer the potential clients to someone who can do the job and move on.

Step #2: Step outside your comfort zone

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The paradoxical thing about being a wedding photographer is that you sometimes end up saying yes to engagements that you know won’t help you learn. They are clearly not the type of work that you want to be known for. You would like to change, but simply can’t seem to motivate yourself to try something new, and would much rather stick to the beaten path. But if you genuinely want to find your passion for wedding photography once again, you need to step outside that comfort zone and experiment. What’s the worst that could happen? No, seriously. Consider the best and the worst possible outcomes of doing things differently. Hint: it’s always worth trying out something new, if only for the sake of the experience.

Step #3: Kick back

Take a break from work. Drive off a few hours away. Be with yourself and no one else for a few days. Learn to unwind and enjoy your own company.

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Think you can’t afford that?

That’s a fair issue. If money is standing in your way to relaxation, then work your way through this problem. Price your shoots better and as soon you’ve got some money saved to take a short break away from work, do it. You’ll thank yourself for it.

Practical Applications of High Speed Photography

Guest Post by Amy Cobb

To me at least, high speed photography (HSP) seems like one of those modern contrivances that was hammered out in the mid-to-late 20th century. It seemed cool but not particularly useful- a novelty that’s fun for checking out a rebounding droplet of water in freeze-frame close-up or a hovering orb of water still holding the shape of the water balloon that’s just been popped around it. Little did I know I was very wrong on both counts.

Eadward Muybridge

Eadward Muybridge was a household name back in the day but, surprisingly, not for deciding to spell his first name in an exceedingly strange way or for the premeditated execution of his wife’s lover and subsequent acquittal (despite all that being the case). Muybridge was/is famous for his pioneering work in HSP… in the 1870s. Muybridge was hired to settle a bet on a hotly-debated topic: Are all four of a horse’s feet ever off the ground at the same time during a trot?

Eadward Muybridge

Using a series of cameras, each triggered by a thread across the track, Muybridge captured a horse at trot. Indeed- all four of its feet did leave the ground at once. Slightly more importantly, Muybridge’s photos were a sensation, carried by prestigious publications like the Scientific American and widely celebrated. They are also arguably the first ever “moving picture” and were a big chunk of the base on which film and video recording cameras were built.

Energy Work

Primitive as Muybridge’s work would be by our standards today, his contemporaries benefited from it scientifically for precisely the same reason it benefits us now: HSP allows us the opportunity to capture images that are too fast for the human eye (brain) to register. Since Muybridge’s horse we’ve been using HSP to freeze moments and learn from them.

One of the most important and perhaps infamous uses of HSP for scientific gain was Harold “Doc” Edgerton’s “rapatronic” cameras used for recording nuclear explosions. Before Doc Edgerton’s photos the physics and mechanics of how an atomic weapon rapatronicsexploded was unknown- they just saw a big fireball. The rapatronics changed that and did so with an almost unbelievable shutter speed. The totally top-shelf digital SLR camera in 2013 has a shutter-speed that tops off at 1/8000 (that’s one eight thousandth of a second). The rapatronics snapped a shot one ten millionth of a second after The Bomb detonated, from seven miles away, with an exposure time of around ten nanoseconds. Not too bad for a guy working in the early 1940s.

A less controversial and perhaps more universally applicable advance is Bell Labs’ use of HSP to work out a kink that had been hampering the speed at which electrical switches and relays could be respond to an electrical current. Electrical switches and relays create a conduit that transmits electricity for some purpose by bringing two contacts together- completing a circuit. However, for some analogue and logic circuits there wasn’t a clean, full current being applied consistently, which disrupted data streams.

Their employment of HSP revealed “relay bounce”. The contacts were usually made of dynamic metal with some spring. The momentum of the meeting contacts and the elastic spring in them both caused a bounce apart, breaking the circuit. The discovery allowed for the engineers to sort the problem out, paving the way for the incredibly fast circuit relays our precision electronics enjoy today.

Medical Applications

Medicine has benefited substantially from the emergence of HSP. One of the recent breakthroughs involves the use of HSP to study micro-“Quantities” within a body. Understanding the change of those Quantities- like the increase or decrease of microbes causing or responding to a disease- can play a significant role in any treatment options (like medication dosages, etc.).microbubbles

HSP has likewise been used for ultrasound studies of cells- a capability that will prove beneficial for both diagnosis and treatment. Of particular interest is the use HSP in tracking “medical microbubbles” for their potential drug-delivery applications. These microbubbles can be used as “sonoporation” agents; sonoporation being the introduction of foreign material directly into a cell.

Microbubbles with thin lipid shells act as “microsyringes” capable of delivering a drug in its gas phase directly into a cell. That means drugs could be delivered to a specific region with great precision. Using sonoporation to deliver targeted drug doses to tumors for instance could mean less reliance on broader-spectrum, harsh, destructive, painful treatments like chemo or radiation therapies.

HSP has been instrumental in the development of bioprosthetic heart valves, cutting edge optometric/ophthalmological research and diagnosis and too many other areas of medical interest to list here. Obviously this has been just a very cursory list and HSP continues to expand the canon of human knowledge regarding laser welding, military propulsion and micro-propulsion, gravity and surface tension, paint and pigment mixture, laser printing and microfluids (including those used for development of “DNA chips”), physical movement studies, car crash testing and a great deal more. Exciting as those applications are, what we have yet to discover is even more so.

8 Things Unhappy Photographers Never Ask

8 Things Unhappy Photographers Never Ask

What forms your opinions? What creates the way you approach your business?

Yes, it can be the successes. We all love to celebrate when we hit milestones and major achievements.

But it can also be the negatives as well. Anxiety, fear, failure, worry – they all play an equally important role in our business lives.

The problem isn’t the negatives – it’s the way we approach the negatives. When the unhappiness and stresses start weighing you down, how do approach each new day? Are you asking yourselves the right questions – and approaching the answers in the most successful way?

“Should I look for another path?”

Imagine you’re on a freeway. As you travel down the road mile after mile, you’ll be faced with all kinds of choices. An exit for this place. An exit for that. What if you go too far? What if you get off too early?

Life is filled with choices. Sometimes you take the right path, and sometimes you don’t. If you get off the path at the wrong turn, you may need to take a u-turn and get back on the main trail. You might have to move forward to a new exit. Or evaluate paths you’ve passed up in the past.

An unhappy photographer looks at their current position as a sign of the times. They don’t realize they have an entire map at their disposal. They don’t realize that a simple turn could lead them to better times.

“What makes me happy?”

Does the concept of being happy even cross your mind? Or do you take things as they happen?

Happiness makes you feel alive. It allows you to follow your dreams, be happy with whom you are, and find new ways to share your happiness with others. Your standard of happiness doesn’t have to live up to societies definition. It just has to work for you.

An unhappy photographer focuses on the negative. Why can’t I get ahead? Why is this happening to me? They ask all kinds of questions in the negative tense, without realizing the only thing holding them back is their view of the world. [Read more...]

One Word – Can Changing One Word In Your Question Bring Success?

Are you asking yourself “How do we make people pay for photography” every day?

Maybe you’re asking the wrong question.

Instead, maybe it should be “How do we let people pay for photography”.

Changing “make” to “let” changes everything. It changes the way you think about your business. And it changes the way you approach your ideal clientele.

I found this idea listening to a recent video by a woman, Amanda Palmer,  that asked similar questions about her own industry – music – which in many ways is going through just as much chaotic change as the photography industry.

And what she found by changing her thought process was an amazing transformation.

She doesn’t charge for her music any more – its all for free on her site. Yet she’s active on social, caters to her fans BIG TIME, and simple asks for what she wants. And it works … to the tune of more than $1 million through a crowd funding site.

When is the last time you asked for anything? Or are you nervous about asking for what you truly want?

What if you asked for one thing you need every day? How would that impact your business? How would that impact your life?

Your Action Step:

Watch the video. Then ask for one thing today. And see what road this new idea takes you down.

Why Are You A Photographer?

“Why did you become a photographer,” I asked her?

“I liked playing around with my camera and I needed a little extra cash,” she responded.

Nope. She doesn’t have it. And she will never be a recognized, successful photographer.

I know that because of her 14 word answer.

In order to be truly successful at anything you do – photography or otherwise – you need a whole lot more than “for the money”. Because if the only thing that motivates you about what you do is the money, you are setting yourself up for failure right from the beginning.

Now let me tell you another story.

Growing up, my mother kept one portrait on her shelf that had a whole lot of meaning to it. It was an 8×10 image of her father walking her down the aisle on the day she got married. She told me over and over again about how precious that image was to her because it was one of the few she had of just her and her dad. Her father passed away when he was 59 – I was 4 – and she forever will treasure that memory and the tender look in her dad’s eye.

Fast forward to my wedding. We hired a professional photographer who had been in business for years. One of my highest expectations and the image I wanted the most was my father walking me down the aisle – it was ingrained in my soul the underlying meaning of this image. Unfortunately, she didn’t perform. She “lost” all of the images from the church, minus this one image:

Why Are You A Photographer

Yep, you are seeing it the way it was printed.

Of all the wedding images we received, very few are what I consider to be good. Some were underexposed. Some were overexposed. And others were like this one:

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Taken from one of the worst angles I’ve ever seen. What was she thinking? Why wouldn’t you be front and center, right in front of the bride and groom capturing their every move?

I can’t tell you what she was thinking – I wasn’t a professional photographer at that point.

But I can tell you one thing – she didn’t capture my beloved image of my father walking me down the aisle.

My father died 6 years later at the age of 54.

I don’t have that image sitting on my shelf. I don’t have that memory.

And that’s why we gave 110 percent in every wedding we shot. We made sure everything was perfect. We shot from every angle, with the thought of capturing every memory we could. We didn’t take one image of the bride and her dad – we took several – just to make sure it was perfect.

We wanted every client to have the most beautiful memories possible from the one day in their lives that should truly mean the most.

And that’s why we did what we did.

And we told the client that’s why we did what we did.

And it worked. BIG TIME.

Which all became very clear when I watched this video recently.

Take 20 minutes and watch it. I guarantee you it will be time well spent. Then spend a few minutes thinking about what it means to you. And ask yourself one question.

Why are you a photographer?

8 Inspiring Infographics For The Photography Industry

Photography Careers

This has got to rank up at the top as one of my favorites. People always think photographers live such a glamorous life – this shows you a more accurate view.

Evolution Of Photography

Want to know how the camera and the art of photography transpired through history? This infographic gives you a five minute walk through history.

 

The History of Photo Sharing

Photo sharing has come a long way over the last 20 years. This infographic gives you a quick look at the tools and processes that now shape our lives.

Canon versus Nikon

One of the strongest debates in the photographic industry has always been reduced to one thing: do you use Canon or Nikon? While ultimately it’s the output that matters most to your clients, to us photographers, we love what we shoot with and aren’t afraid to talk about it every chance we get. Here’s an interesting perspective.

Posing Guide

This posing guide shows your 54 different portrait ideas you can try right now, all from the convenience of a simple infographic.

 

Stock Photography and the Web

Want to know the impact the web has made on the stock photography industry? Its easy with this infographic.

Simple Guide To Photography

A simple but effective infographic to help you understand the basics of using your camera.

10 Amazing Life Lessons You Can Learn About Your Photography Business From Van Gogh

Vincent Van Gogh was a post-impressionist painter known for his emotional honesty and bold colors. He lived through periods of painful anxiety and mental illness, and died of a gunshot wound at 37. He did not begin to paint until his late twenties, and in just over a decade produced more than 2,100 works of art. Though few knew of his work while he was alive, he has since gone down in history as one of the most recognized names in the art world.

One of the great things about looking back at Van Gogh’s life is how he truly thought about the world. When you look at his views and how he thought and looked at the world, there are many things you can take into your own life today and use to help propel you forward.

1. Dare To Dream

“I dream my painting and I paint my dream.”

What are your dreams? What have you always wanted to do? Instead of holding them in as dreams, make them a reality.

2. Never Hold Back

“The fishermen know that the sea is dangerous and the storm terrible, but they have never found these dangers sufficient reason for remaining ashore.”

If something is destined to be great, it must be completed. No matter what your dreams and goals are, fear should never hold you back. Move forward no matter what the dangers – it’s the only way you’ll succeed.

3. Our Own Doubts Are Our Greatest Motivators

“If you hear a voice within you say ‘you cannot paint’, then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced.”

Our own internal voices are probably the most detrimental to our future success. There is always an internal voice that doesn’t like change; that wants nothing to do with change. Yet if you silence that voice and do it anyway, you’ll love the end results. [Read more...]

5 Secrets Professional Photographers Will Never Tell You

I remember when we first started out in photography, we would look at the professionals who had “made it” within the industry and somehow think they were different then us. They had a fan base stretched out around the world. They traveled to exotic locations to photograph their clients. They were featured in magazines and talked on stages in front of hundreds of people.

They were real photographers. And deep down we questioned all the time whether we had what it takes to make it to that level.

But as we worked more on our photography, we quickly realized that perception doesn’t always match up with reality. Photographers at all levels have the same struggles as you and me. They just handle it a bit differently. Here are five things every photographer faces at some point every year.

Secret #1 – Photography is Difficult

“I have often thought that if photography were difficult in the true sense of the term — meaning that the creation of a simple photograph would entail as much time and effort as the production of a good watercolor or etching — there would be a vast improvement in total output. The sheer ease with which we can produce a superficial image often leads to creative disaster.” ~Ansel Adams

Anyone can pick up a camera and snap a picture. Even an amateur who shoots occasionally is going to get lucky once in a while and capture a great image. Yet when you get to the professional level, you expect every image to come out perfect every time.

It doesn’t always happen.

As professionals, we’ve trained ourselves to be ready for the unexpected, think ahead to what is going to happen so you can be there when it does, and be patient. Yet its easy to “kick” ourselves when you find the perfect shot – and your camera is at home. Or you see the action and you’re across the room.

And that’s okay – as long as you capture the majority of what is truly important. [Read more...]