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My First Wedding Shoot, Part 1

Over the last few years I have learned one very important lesson in photography and that is always to be open to everything that comes your way. A while back I wrote about having to become a general photographer and taking advantage of all opportunities that come your way even if those are outside your comfortable area or don’t fall within your passion. Well if your passion is photography then any photo opp is a good one. I’ve spent a lot of time photographing critters, landscapes and planes but never much time photographing people, so this past project has been quite a challenge for me. Thanks to the mysteries that life bring some friends of mine asked me a while back if I would be interested in photographing their wedding. Well I can honestly say that up till that point I had no interest to do so and even told them that I had never done something like that before. Brad and Sarah were fine with my lack of experience in that field because they knew I would work hard. And boy did I!

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Everything was started way back in Winter and the wedding was just a few weeks ago in July. I had a lot of prep work to do before then. Photography is still photography and light is everything, and that’s truly the most important lesson in all this. Getting prepped was more about learning techniques, coming up with creative shooting angles and figuring out the best timing to accomplish every shot. Without an assistant it was all me so I was very glad when they didn’t ask for video with their stills. As I have discovered in the past and for anyone out there that has tried to do both before, it’s really tough!

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The technical aspect was the hard part at first. When you spend a lot of time working in one particular field you get used to doing everything that way and nothing else. With my planes I use the 200-400 VRII and 70-200 VRII a lot to isolate backgrounds and focus on one subject. Often times trying to capture as much information as possible in both the subject and the background. That seemed to be so inverted in this field as having shallow depth of field was such a key factor in so much of the shooting, something that I am NOT used to doing at all. Using the 24-70 AF-S f2.8and 50 f1.4 were a big help in achieving some of those shots. Black and White is also a key tool which made a lot more sense afterward as the light kind of sucked a lot of the time, being that everything I shot was during the middle of the day.

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The last part of the prep was the inspirational side. The best was to do that I found was to research what other people had done and see what they had created. How they placed their subjects, their relationship to the background and the direction of the light that they choose all provided the answers to those questions in my mind. At Photoshop World this past Spring I spent a lot of time attending classes on wedding photography, like Cliff Mautner’s. All of this research material helped. Of course the only way to get the answers to those questions was to put them into practice.

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