Tuesday, 10 August 2010

The Ultimate How-to: Wedding Photography

Wedding Photography - two words designed to distill fear into the heart of any photographer. And rightly so - a wedding day is one of the most important days of someone's life and shouldn't be taken lightly. As their photographer, it's your duty to make their day as badass and wonderful as you possibly can, as well as providing the best photography you can provide! :) So no pressure, guys...

Here we go!
with abit of background music! ;)

Step 1, of course is to meet your bride and groom prior to their wedding day, to get a feel for their personalities and squeeze as much juicy information out of them regarding the wedding as you possibly can!

Today's case study is the wedding of Katy and Matt Linley. I went to primary school with Katy, and was drafted in 3months prior to the wedding - though many people will wish to book you up to a year in advance. I met with Katy, her mum (and my former maths teacher!) and her sister/bridesmaid Shauna the week before her wedding. She filled me in on her plans - themes, colours, amount of bridesmaids (nine, yes really, nine) and other details. We arranged my transport, timings and durations all prior to the Big Day - just to save on any questions.

I arrived at 11am, spent 20minutes having a big "oh my god you're getting married" session (which is great, not only because it's super fun but it puts everyone at ease). Then out came the camera....

These pictures were all taken within the first 30minutes. You want to interject photography with conversation, keep it relaxed! Get to know everyone around you. Leanne, one of the bridesmaids, worked in a prison with Katy providing aftercare when the inmates were released. Get to know people so it doesn't feel like they are being photographer by a complete stranger. The best lens to start off with here is a 70-200mm 2.8 (paparazzi lens!) because it let's you keep your distance from everyone and doesn't make them feel their space has been invaded by a camera wielding maniac!

The above shots were taken with the 70-200mm 2.8 and the 85mm 1.2.

Then I headed downstairs to say hello to everyone else...

I think what is really important with wedding photography is to try and photograph atmosphere and capture is as much as you can - I'm still trying to learn how to get the hang of it, but I think atmosphere is one of the four key elements to wedding photography.

Atmosphere, happiness, composition and luck! Photographing a "moment", a split second of awesomeness and getting it in focus, correctly exposed (I shot this entire wedding manually which is a pretty scary thought for a self confessed ex-auto-er) and well composed (and keeping in mind everyone needs to like that particular picture of themselves) is a pretty damn hard thing to do.

I've found that the best way to do it is to a) herd people into the rooms with the prettiest light b) do as much as you can to keep people smiling and encourage moments to happen naturally and c) shoot shoot shoot! When I first go into a room I take a picture of nothing special and just get the settings right on my camera. I like to keep my aperture big and adjust my shutterspeed high and adjust my ISO accordingly - I've found that high ISO's have a lovely habit of making photos look like they were taken using film, which looks lovely. Too high is not so good, but I like a good dose of ISO, even though I guess it's technically frowned upon.

Some examples:

Taking a random photo to get my settings right:

And shooting at a high ISO and getting a "film" look:

Back to the wedding preparations! I then spent the last 45minutes bobbing about upstairs and downstairs taking pictures of anything that caught my attention (which was alot!)....

...and there we go! 144 images (there are a few b&w conversions I did of some of my favorites) of everyone getting ready. One of the reasons you can feel okay with charging alot for wedding photography is that it takes a LONG time. I have been editing each of these photos since 9am this morning, and it's now 11.45pm.

I charged £500 for this wedding, as Katy is an old school friend so I gave her a big fat discount, plus it's only the 6th wedding I have done so far. For the wedding itself I was there for 12hrs, and today's editing has come about to approx 12hrs and I'm about 1/5 of the way through. That's around 72hrs total work with each wedding. At £500, I'm earning around £6p/h, which isn't all that much when you look at it that way. So when it comes to pricing, don't feel bad for charging what sounds like ALOT. I did a wedding the other day for £200, which was my first booking, same amount of exhausting work. Let's just say I'm never charging that low again! ;)

Another thing to remember is that you HAVE to stay enthusiastic and enjoy yourself! Boogey round while you're taking the dancing shots. It makes the world of difference, as Katy very lovely-ly pointed out!!!:

I think one of the reasons I love wedding photography so much is that I get to see people on the happiest days of their lives, and I get to see love everywhere from everyone. I genuinely LOVE doing it, to the point where sometimes I well up a little to myself while editing the photos afterwards (and occasionally during the ceremony!!). Keep smiling, have fun and notice the little things which really make the day what they are.
“When you find yourself beginning to feel a bond between yourself and the people you photograph, when you laugh and cry with their laughter and tears, you will know you are on the right track.”

Stay tuned for part two of this wedding with some more How To commentary! :D

Rosie xx

Sunday, 25 July 2010

Manchester Tester Workshop!

So yesterday we held the first tester Manchester Workshop!! I rented out Red Door Studios on Lever St, courtesy of the very beautiful & lovely Kellianne!

Here are some shots from the day! :D

Jim came equipped with MUFFINS!! Jim, you are fantastic!!!

I had a fantastic day and everyone was so awesome!!! It's always so interesting to me to watch how everyone interprets the props and location provided and makes the shots their own. It was also really good to swap tips and tricks with everyone - even though technically I am teaching the workshop, something I have found consistently is that everyone has really great input and I learn more every time I do one of these.

Here are some of the final images from the day!

Aaaand a team shot! :D Minus Hannah and Steve :(