Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Yosemite Engagement Shoot: Merced Wedding Photography

Posted by David

Much of business these days is word of mouth. Melody and I have been blessed that so many of the people that our cameras have captured have gone on to say nice things about us. Probably one of the most humbling parts of referrals is that we often get them when doing pro-bono work at Gustine high. Budgets are tight and it's difficult for administrations to give kids the same experiences we enjoyed growing up. Melody will come home and say, “So what do you think about taking some pictures at a dance?” And that weekend we're off taking candids.

It was at a small dance organized by students, a Morp, or Sadie Hawkins for those old timers tuning in, that Adam's dad, said “Hey, do you guys photograph weddings?”

“Boy, do we ever.”

“My son is getting married and he's looking for a photographer.”

He put Adam in touch with Melody, Adam and April made their decision and then we did a one two combo meeting/shoot up in Yosemite because their wedding's right around the corner. Matter of fact, April's shower was the next weekend and it's always nice to have some engagement shots up at the shower.

Now, there are shoots that just come together. Everything falls into place and really the only thing you have to do is point the camera at a person and click. Then there are shoots where you have to prove your worth as a photographer. This was one of those shoots.

You see, everyone behaves differently in front of a camera. We all have our good sides, our not as good as the good side sides, specific light that looks best on us whether it be hard or soft, angles from which it's best to light us and ways in which we open up so that we can be captured on film (or digital) at just the right moment. As a photographer you have to figure out all of that each time you meet with a new client.

For the most part, photographers have a specific style of shooting. It's our default. When you get a subject for whom your default is matched everything goes off without a hitch. When you don't, you either adjust or come away from the day blaming your subject for not being good in front of the camera. Frankly, it's the photographer's job to figure out how to get great shots no matter what. Therefore, to come away with bad shots is not a failure of the person that was photographed, but the one photographing.

This is why the engagement shoot is so important to Melody and me. It's when we figure out all of that crucial information, good sides, lighting, angles, interactions, so that when the big day comes and we've only got 30 minutes to shoot portraits, we can nail it and move on with capturing memories.

I for one came away from this Yosemite shoot with a lot of notes, not because Adam and April have any not as good as the good side sides, but because I have to adjust how I shoot and interact with them. Melody on the other hand, well, she just nailed it. To that I say, “Pft!” But this is also yet another benefit of shooting as a team. Sometimes a shoot favors my default, others it favors hers, but a lot of the time, especially on wedding days when there's so much going on, it teeters back and forth between the two of us.

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