Taking wedding pictures that stand out from the pack

I think it goes without saying that a professional photographer produces unique and creative images at a wedding that the ordinary guest can’t hope to duplicate. I’m saying it anyway because more and more I see people doing their best to do my job.

At a typical wedding there are 2,347 cameras. Everyone has a camera and everyone is taking snapshots.   Then, all the snapshots go on Facebook for the world to see … right next to the shots that I have uploaded for my client. Also, the client sometimes uploads a ton of pictures from the CD I provide and they all mingle together in the giant Facebook stew of photography.

It’s easy to tell which pictures are mine.   There aren’t many guests at a wedding using off-camera strobes for the formals or bouncing flash. However, there may be plenty of guests with decent, high-end camera’s taking snapshots. Many times these snapshots are good. So, what can  I do to distinguish  myself from these people? (more…)

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Rules for Good Photography

I think now, more than ever, it’s hard to tell what makes a “good picture.”

Photography, like all art, is subjective. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, etc, etc. And with Photoshop becoming such an integral part of the work process, it’s getting to the point where the old “rules” for good photography are being tossed out the window. I think that’s just fine, and I’ll tell you why. (more…)

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Wedding Photography: Death of the Formal Portrait?

Oh Formal Wedding Portrait, we hardly knew ye.

It seems that lately I am beginning to see more wedding photographers who are “photojournalist only” or “natural light.” I don’t want to get into a debate about the merits of these specialties as I’m a big believer that whatever works for you and your clients is great. Everyone doesn’t have to do it the same way. In fact, it’s a good thing we don’t because then wedding photographers would be like gas stations: Whoever has the lowest price gets the business.

That being said, it still seems like we are starting to move towards a complete elimination of the “formal” wedding portrait. I know for a fact that many photographers hate to shoot them and some flat refuse to. I don’t understand that mentality.   (more…)

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Wedding Photography Lighting – Find the level that’s right for you

I was talking with a friend of my wife’s yesterday and she asked, “Can you help me pick out a new camera?   I want to take better pictures of my kids.”

I get this sort of question all the time and it’s a tough one to answer. Most people don’t understand that good photography comes in levels (like Donkey Kong). Sure, it starts with a decent DSLR but then it moves up through many different levels of skill. The real question you have to ask yourself when you want to take better pictures is:   How much time am I willing to dedicate towards learning to take good photographs? Then I can help you choose your equipment.

The same question applies to wedding photography. Search the web and you will find prices from $500 – $5000 for a wedding photographer. How can that be? Well, it’s all about the levels and like Donkey Kong there are several different ladders you can choose to climb if you want to reach the big gorilla. So, with that in mind, let’s talk about the “Flash” ladder.   (I’m a wedding photographer in Tampa, FL) (more…)

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Wedding Photography and the Zoom Lens

If you get a bunch of wedding photographers together in a room (like AA), talk will eventually come around to lenses. A bunch of photographers talking about lenses makes watching paint dry seem glamorous. Everyone has a favorite lens and everyone has a particular style and it can be tough to decide on what your style and lens choices will be. It’s really just trial and error. Eventually, you will find yourself reaching for the same lens again and again and suddenly, before you know it, you have a style!

So, let’s talk about the almighty zoom lens.


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How to get them to smile at a wedding

I’m going to reveal a little trick that  I use… a super-secret weapon in the constant battle to get people to pay attention to me when shooting formals at a wedding.

Wedding photographers know what I’m talking about but for the rest of you I’ll explain.   After the wedding ceremony, when the photographer is shooting the formal portraits, it’s very common for a lot of people to be loitering around.   You’re shooting a lot of groups plus there’s just general mayhem.   This can make it tricky because you’ll be trying to take a picture and the subjects are constantly being distracted.   It’s important that you take the pictures as quickly as possible and frustrating when every shot is ruined by someone looking away from the camera.

Enter “The Magic Egg.” (more…)

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Photobooths for Fun and Profit

I photograph a lot of events – weddings, tournaments, parties.

One of my least favorite situations is when a photographer comes around to the table where everybody is eating, and wants to take a picture of the people at the table.

I have several problems with this. (more…)

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Stay away from the light!


In my last post I talked about David Zizer’s new seminar. This time around I’d like to talk a little bit about what I took away from the experience and how I plan to use it to make myself a better photographer. (more…)

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Review: David Ziser Digital Wake-up Call Seminar

David Ziser is currently on tour with his Digital Wake Up Call Seminar. Last night he was in Tampa, and I went to see his presentation.

I’ll be honest and tell you that I’ve never actually been to this sort of seminar before. Occasionally, a big-name photographer will pass through Tampa running some sort of seminar and I’ll toss around the idea of going to see it… but usually I pass. I’ve been a fan of David’s work for some time and so I decided to lose my virginity with his seminar. (more…)

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Is it live or is it Photoshop?

Tampa wedding photographyI find myself reading more and more discussions about technical skill vs. Photoshop. There is a certain amount of resentment from photographers who have spent considerable time and effort honing their skills only to see “poor” photographers cutting into their market by fixing their inferior work after-the-fact in Photoshop. (more…)

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