horsing around


Had a ton of fun with Glen and Sarah this weekend.  First couple images off the block are two of my favorite from the second location of the day.  We pull in and I get everyone lined up and this horse walks up to see what we are doing.  Fascinated by the wedding party he got all up in their personal space.  Like I said on twitter - this was the first time I have had a horse interrupt a photo shoot.  These two images make me smile because the guys just decided to have fun with the horse and in the second image they were distracting the horse so I could focus on the bride.  A few frames later my assistant took the lastolite tri-grip diffuser and started waving it at the horse and that scared him away.  Ah the memories - check out the fun images.


another brick in the wall

It may not look like much - and that is why I nearly walked past it.  I discovered this location on a pre-walk from the ceremony location to the venue for the reception.  I would be walking with the wedding party a few days later so I wanted to make sure I had locations picked out before I had eyeballs and seconds on the clock pressuring me to come up with results.  I actually walked past this location and then stopped in my tracks and backed up after I had past it.

Color is something I am ALWAYS on the lookout for when I am on location.  Weddings in hotels and more modern buildings often feel bland.  This wall was a great find and I can't wait to try some other poses on it.  The moral of the story is to pre-walk locations whenever possible.  Spontaneity is so prevalent in photography but I believe planning and preparation open the doors for more creativity and improvisation.  I wouldn't have stopped at this location if I was trukkin' it to a reception hall with 12 - 15 people in a wedding party.  I do wish the groom was turned a little more toward the camera - resulting in a better profile, but I captured the moment.  I hope you enjoy it!


a certain point of view

In Return of the Jedi (I know I just established by geekieness by referencing that - but such is life) Obi-Wan-Kanobi has a conversation where he assures Luke that from his point of view Darth Vader was not Anakin Skywalker.

Luke: "Obi-Wan! Why didn't you tell me? You told me Vader betrayed and murdered my father!"
Obi-Wan: "Your father was seduced by the dark side of the Force. He ceased to be Anakin Skywalker and became Darth Vader. When that happened, the good man who was your father was destroyed. So what I told you was true... from a certain point of view."
Luke: "A certain point of view?!"
Obi-Wan: "Luke, you're going to find that many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view."

My goal is not to engage in a philosophical debate - instead I want to emphasize the importance of point of view to great images.  If you want your images to look different than everyone else's you need to take them different.  Sometimes that doesn't mean a different shutterspeed, aperture, light, etc.  Sometimes it simply means taking two steps to the left or crouching a little lower.  Changing the camera's perspective allows a photographer to draw a viewer's eye because the image looks different than every other photo they have seen.  There is something different.  They can't quite put their finger on it - but it IS different.

Take this image as an example.  I am not saying this is the world's best Photo... in reality my assistant happened to get me taking this shot during a ceremony and I thought it illustrated the thought of this article well.  It would be easy to stand at the back of the rooftop and take photos standing up - and I did take those photos.  It took making myself slow down a little to think about getting down on the roof that had just been rained on 30 minutes prior to the ceremony.

How do you see the world?  Do you see something different?  Show it to everyone else - but remember to express YOUR point of view, not just the easy point of view.


what's important

As a wedding photographer I am constantly reminded that my primary job is to know my clients and deliver the images that they want.  I could deliver stacks of great photos and if the photo they were looking for is not in there ... things won't be so great for Rick.  That is why it is SOOOO important to know your clients.  You have to know what they think is funny and what they are interested in.  Understanding their character so HUGE!  This series shows some of the shots from my last wedding - perfect example of clients with a TON of character!



Job #1 as a wedding photographer - you have to be able to nail the character of you clients.  Silly, romantic, serious, formal, relaxed ... or some combination of all the above.  Understanding your client's character gives you the "in" to photogaping them in a way that will capture who they are and truly deliver the best image.  I make sure to talk to clients about what their expectations are very early on.  I show them some of my work and other sample work I have collected from various sources.  I get their feedback on what they like and don't like.  I then use that in combination with conversation to get a grasp on who they are and what they like.

Alot of photographers don't think about that kind of thing - give it a try...


paint for good... not evil

I have been using Lightroom since version 1.x ... actually I have been using it since the early pre 1.x betas.  Initially, my choice to use Lightroom over Aperture was simple.  I used a 12" powerbook and Aperture wouldn't work on the 12"Powerbook because of resolution restriction.  Thus began my journey using Lightroom.  When version 2.x released I was a little unsure about the brush tool because I expected it to work just like the brush tool in Photoshop.  It seemed awkward and un-usable from my perspective.  However, once I surrendered to the fact that it is a different tool to be used for different purposes I started to warm up to the selective editing tools in Lightroom 2.x.  This image below is a great example of using the selective adjustment brush to dodge an area of the photo to give it more pop.

Lightroom not only gives you the tool but using the "o" key allows you to see the mask as you create the selection.  Lightroom's selective brush still doesn't support pressure sensitivity from Wacom tablets but aside from that it is a fantastic tool that keeps me from having to go into Photoshop every time I need to do a little selective adjustment.

This tool can be used to brighten eyes, lighten shadow, etc.  The inverse can be used to darken eye-lashes and eyebrows selectively.  You can paint on clarity and color tint.  So many options that are there for you to use and abuse.  Just remember - use the paint brush for good...not for evil... at least don't let anyone catch you!


monochromatic, fantastic

Every now and then clients ask me, "how do you decide what images will be back and white and what ones will be color?"  Unfortunately, this isn't a simple question.  It has a lot to do with feel of a photo most of the time.  Sometimes when I look at a captured image I just see black and white.  Sometimes I work with an image for some time only to surrender to a lack of color.  The decision to remove the color from an image has more to do with the way I want the image to feel than any technical reason.  Sometimes black and white just feels more like the the story I want to tell with the image and sometimes I think the image just looks crappy in color and looks better in black and white ... ah photography.



Serendipity & Zeroed RAW

Seriously - there are images that I initally look at and think ... ok, it is decent but nothing to write home about.  Then I do a little in Lightroom and BAM! The image becomes one of my favorites.  OK, so there was a little more than just Lightroom.  I am currently reading David duChemin's newest book "Refining Your Vision in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom."  


David's work and writing always encourage me and spur me on towards a better understanding of my vision.  He talks about ZEROing out your RAW file ... HOLY COW.  Stating with a fresh RAW image that hasn't been tweaked in Lightroom makes the final image look so much better - so much faster!  I didn't realize how much I had been fighting the auto-attached settings.  If you are a lightroom user you NEED to try this out!  Anyways - pick up the book, it is fantastic.