Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Wedding Photography (The Other Kind)

We've all seen those beautiful shots that make us sigh. Shot with some sunlight in the lens and photoshopped to look like taken straight out of a fairy tale. Well, I think this is the easy part. We need good Photoshop skills and proper framing of the shot that we took in RAW to make all the necessary adjustments later. 
So, why am I really against all this? First of all, it's getting trivial. All these made up poses are getting boring. Photographers are starting to forget the classic poses that we know will always make the woman look pretty and feminine and the man look strong and masculine. Now it's all about taking either funny or over-photoshopped images that look unnatural.
Anyway, there is another wedding photography that we need to keep an eye on. Yes, it's the table shots. Remember the guests need photos too. This is where old school hardcore straight-to-jpeg shots need to be done right and as fast as possible so we can then go back to shooting the young family.

Well, here are my tips and explanations for the table shots:
1. Use manual settings (aperture, ISO, shutter speed, flash) or in other words turn that dial to M and do not change anything from the first to the last photo, unless external conditions change.
Why? Simply because you want all photos to look the same. You need consistency and consistency means same settings for all photos. Consistency is your safety belt - if you mess something up you can create an action for all photos and fix them with 1 click.
My settings:
f5.6/8 (do not use open aperture and go below f5.6 because you want good focus range)
Speed 1/60 - 1/200 (lower is not recommended because of motion blur)
ISO200-400 (you may go even to 640 so your flash won't overheat and you catch some of the restaurant or club's atmosphere without overflashing people)
Flash settings according to the place but make sure you don't overflash. Instead of boosting the flash try working with the ISO. Later camera models will give you very little noise at ISO up to 800. Use a diffuser!
2. Framing the shot
- Make sure people are close together (especially couples)
- No bottles, forks, knives, glasses etc. in the photo
- No hands on the shoulders (ask them to lean shoulder to shoulder)
- Make them smile (tell a quick neutral joke to break the ice - "do you know each other?" or "pretend you like each other")
- 2 people horizontal shot, 3 - horizontal, 4 vertical (2 sitting, 2 standing), 5 - horizontal (2 sitting, 3 standing).
- Leave the table outside the photo
- Watch for the waiter (you don't want him in the shot)
- Check for eyes closed and re-take the photo if necessary
- Say "Thank you!" (Yes, this is also a part of framing the shot. You got yourself into shooting people and now that you're done let them know that you appreciate their assistance)
3. Last but not least, start taking the table shots as soon as people are seated.
Why? No spots from food and beverage spills on their clothes. No waiters running with dishes. Kids (well most of them) will still be at the tables.

One more thing, it's best to carry a second camera with a good vario lens for this type of photos so you don't waste time and risk exposing your sensor to dust while swapping lenses.

Shoot fast and shoot like a pro!

Regards,

Kamen Kunchev