Wykar-Hadix Wedding…

Initially we started in the Bridal Suite, where there was a large South facing window with white translucent curtains that provided for perfect light diffusion. The room was large and brightly lit, most of the time.

The day, however, was riddled with thunderstorms along with typical, ominous black clouds, which required the use of a flash from time to time, or increasing ISO to 200, 400, and even sometimes 800. I am starting to become more and more amenable to higher ISO, as the other alternatives are too costly to the photo (i.e. underexposed background, etc.).

The bridal suite was bustling with activity most of the time, so there was little absence of photo ops. Of course, during this time, photographs are judiciously taken as moments of privacy are required; nonetheless, I snapped away nearly the entire time 🙂

The Ceremony…

The ceremony was definitely the most challenging of the day, but probably the most rewarding as I was able to overcome many issues with the space available and surfaces surrounding the ceremony itself.

Because of the inclement weather, it was decided to have the ceremony on the balcony overlooking the gardens. This was a beautiful spot and had a unique aesthetic characteristic that made for a very nice ceremony. Because of the dimensions of the balcony however, it was a photographic challenge to encompass the ceremony in a story telling manner as well as get adequate close-ups of the wedding party and their families.

For the shots where I wanted to present context and story, I used my Tokina 12-24mm which provides a very wide angle and allows a slow enough shutter speed to deal with the lack of sunlight (remember it’s raining at this point). It’s also worth mentioning that the wood was a dark stain and reflected very little light, so most light had to come directly from the flash and ambient light shining directly on the subjects. In short, the balcony was just plain dark, so much so that the overhead antique hanging lights were already turned on even though it was only 4:30 in the afternoon.

For the close up shots, I used the Canon 24-105L, mostly near the 24mm end. One thing to note, the groom is very, very tall and the bride is on the petite side, so this differential made for both interesting shots and very challenging ones where I had to squat down or get higher up, in order to capture both of them in a single frame. For some shots I took the “artistic” route and cut one or the other slightly out of the frame. Usually it worked out nicely.

Another challenge, which initially I was bothered by, was the red brick wall that the balcony is attached to. One of the golden rules of photography is if you’re going to use a flash, get the subject away from a wall. Well for this situation that was not feasible. As such, I had to rely on two things: shooting mostly landscape orientation because the flash is above the lens so shadows are back and below the subjects (in general) and when shooting in portrait, use a slow shutter speed so the ambient light eventually fills in the shadow to the right or left of the subject. Next time I will have my flash bracket available so I don’t run into this problem.

As I was developing the proofs, I often use a preset in Adobe Lightroom called Wedding Boost where the saturation, vibrancy, and exposure are all increased. This gave the red brick an awesome pop as a background to the majority of the ceremony shots and wound up adding a very edgy artistic quality to these photos. This was definitely a pleasant surprise.

More to come…

Wedding Shoot Prep

Well the preparations for the Wikar-Hadix wedding are pretty much complete. I have secured a Canon 70-200/f2.8L lens and purchased (finally) the Tokina 12-24/f4 lens that I’ve wanted for quite some time now.

As far as which lens I will use for which part of the wedding, I will most likely use the Canon 70-200 for the ceremony and bride-groom session only. It’s a little too long for the reception area as the tent is large but not quite large enough to warrant that kind of focal range. I will most likely go back down to the Canon 24-105/f4L that I use 90% of the time. The other camera will have the Tokina attached the entire time, as the wide angle is an absolute must for every part of the day.

I am considering purchasing another Canon 430EX because I seem to always need fill flash, or general flash when using the wide angle into the later hours of the evening. I’ve tried the pop-up flash but end up with a shadow because the focal length is so short. The reception tent is pure white, so bounce flash with the wide angle may be necessary and I don’t want to have to pull my 430EX off the main camera at any point. I’ll have to sleep on that one.

There is an abundance of shooting locations at the wedding site, more than I’ve seen at other weddings, so that problem is pretty much solved. Shooting locations include a garden, a mausoleum with long steps to the top, a stream with an Asian style bridge flanked by trees, a French Quarter style porch on the second level of the main building and various other brick/stone walkways with antique lighting fixtures. The number of different shooting locations is definitely going to require more shots than in the past.

I will be adding about 3 new 2GB CF cards to my inventory because I want to make sure I can shoot RAW the entire time. The last wedding, I wound up shooting JPG only with the wide angle camera because I actually started running low, which I never thought would happen with 8GB of CF cards. So this time I will be going in with 12GB and hopefully that will be enough.

More to come…

Maternity Shoot Went Well…

Well, the maternity shoot with Jenny was last week and turned out to be an excellent learning experience. I didn’t have a lot of time last weeknd, or the week prior to prepare, so I had to go into it with what I knew from memory of other maternity shots I’ve seen over the years.

Jenny’s apartment had a couple of nice shooting locations. There was a couch by the front window that still had a 7:00PM setting Sun shining through and the bedroom with a nice white, semi-matte finished bed spread. For the background in the bedroom I used a heavy white sheet that I have in one of my kit containers to cover the wall and give it a more continuous color flow.

For the window shots, I used my Canon 24-105L/F4 USM IS lens because I knew Jenny would keep very still and needed the IS for the low shutter speeds of 1/20s down to 1/6s at ISO 100. This allowed me to expose for the front of Jenny’s face and which gave the window blown out highlights, which is what I was looking for. Here is sample photo…

For the bedroom, it was a little trickier. I wanted to get both side lighting shots, as well as shots that had a lot of ambient light. For the side lighting, I had Jenny’s friend hold my large reflector with the gold covering off to the side about 3-5 feet away. This worked most of the time, but other times, the angle was a bit off so the shot was a throw away. For this, and the above lighting, I used a soft box attached to the 430EX Speedlite. This box creates a larger light source and has a white reflective card on the back of it to throw some fill/catch light onto the subject. Below is a sample of that.

All in all it went very well and I am pleased with the results. Jenny was very happy with how the photos turned out. The only regret is not doing more research on maternity poses before hand, as these are specialized poses designed to minimize the added weight, yet allow for the stomach area to be in an appropriate composition. I had to kind of “wing it” and draw from memory the best I could. I also played it by ear and went with what looked good through the viewfinder and it seemed to pay off.

Maternity shoot today

Well today I will be shooting with Jenny. She wants to do a maternity shoot and this will be my first one. I’m a little limited on my equipment, I only have a 430EX speedlight, reflector and some other light modification items. Also the shoot is in her apartment where she is in the middle of moving, so we will have to get creative on where we will shoot, kind of a play it by ear situation; I’m psyched thought as that can be a good thing as it prepares you on how to think on the spot and in photography, that is an invaluable skill. More to come on this with some photos…

T-Storms in the Northeast

This past weekend was crazy weather. We had near 100 degree temperatures followed by a cold front that pushed in thunder storms with 80 MPH winds. Brian and I had just come out of Panera Bread near Springfield, MA when I spotted this thunder storm cloud right after sunset…

(see if you can spot the skull/head peering out)

Back in Bizz

(left image, F-22 and P-51 Mustang at Jones Beach Airshow)

Well I’ve decided to start the photography business back in full force. I have a few wedding prospects in the works and hopefully those will come into fruition soon. I am also scheduling shoots with various models and clients for portraits.

I’ve been updating the website as I get the time. I have most of the informational pages up to speed, as well as the front page gallery up with a good number of photos as a starting point. I would like to have 100+ on the front page by the end of the summer.

My 1st maternity portrait is on the 16th of June, so I am researching some technical nuances about that kind of shoot — should be interesting and I am looking forward to the challenge. Check back for more updates as they happen.

One final thought for today…I’ve always wondered who actually reads blogs. I know I don’t usually. I guess this kind of thing is for people who you know and actually care about what you’re up to. Who has the time to read 20 blogs a day or even a week; I mean really. So if you’re here for the 1st time and have no intention of coming back, I understand. But if you want to know what’s going on with the business and our photographic endeavors, then by all means check back from time to time for updates.