Snapping Dreams

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Book: Wedding Photography Unveiled – Part VI

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VI. The Reception – Fast lenses, High ISOs, and Candid Moments Galore

I always walk a fine line between making pretty images for the client and making images that are personal to me.  ~Melissa Mermin

We all know that throughout all weddings, there are always the few important moments which the couple definitely want photos of. But, of course, we do not want to fall into the average Joe category shooting just ‘normal’ pics of those moments. So, we take a balance here. Shoot the important moments, but through our own eyes (creative angles, interesting compositions etc.). That’s what makes us photographers. We are there not just to shoot, but to create photos.

At the wedding he always makes sure to have an assistant with him who can shoot the traditional images that the client expects.  On Mike Colon

Knowing there’s a safety net, it gives us more space to be creative. Perhaps for brides and grooms, this sounds a bit like cheating. But think of it as a plus point. You get 2 photographers, and you get creative and beautiful shots!

During the couple’s first dance, I had already seen on the back of my camera that I had great close-ups and I had great full lengths. Once I know that, it then gives me the opportunity to say, ‘Hey, I’ve got what they expect to see, now let me step outside of that and try to find something more magical.’ ~Charles Marings

Instead of being stuck in one corner or at a certain angle, move around. Even if the place you are at might be giving you a perfect angle, a perfect lighting, but we don’t need 10 copies of that. Who knows, we might find another angle which gives us a better shot!

Sometimes, we might also fall into the perfectionist self (or is it just me?) and focus too much on getting one tiny detail right in the picture. And by spending too much time on that tiny detail in a wedding where everything happens so fast, we’dbe betting on losing dozens of precious moments. So, don’t dwell (at least not too much)!


Book: Wedding Photography Unveiled – Part V

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V. Portraits And “Formals” – Posed, Unposed, and in Nature

First, I find the spots that interest me, and next I tell the couple where to stand or encourage them to chat with each other and enjoy each other’s company. Whatever happens after that just happens, naturally. ~ Chenin Boutwell

It’s important for me to chat with a couple beforehand… to discover what – as well as where – is important to a couple. ~ Philippe Cheng

Locations aren’t just locations. They play a very big part in photos. Not only in terms of composition but also in terms of helping the couple be at their most natural and helping them pour out all the emotions in front of our big black camera which most of the time doesn’t help much at putting people at ease.

As pointed out by Philippe Cheng in the book, it is important to find out what and where is important to the couple. For example, taking pics of them at a place where they had their first date would bring back many memories which would bring out lots of emotions. And of course, asking them to share with you some memories from the first date would help put them at ease even more.

One thing she never does is scout a location ahead of time. “I find that the light is going to look different at different times of day.” (On Chenin Boutwell)

If she hasn’t photographed at a site before, then she will go ahead of time and check it out – she’ll even try to go at the same time of the day that she is going to photograph the ceremony, couple portraits, and family shots.  (On Suzy Clement)

As you can see, there are different opinions on whether to scout a location ahead of time. I’m with Suzy Clement on this. It’s good to know the location beforehand. Of course a lot of things might be different on the day, e.g. the light, the people, the mood. But being prepared will keep us calm and help open our eyes to opportunities. Scouting a location ahead of time doesn’t mean you must have that particular photo you’ve planned in advance. It simply means you’ll know your way around. It’s never bad to be prepared.

(Quotes are from Wedding Photography Unveiled)

Book: Wedding Photography Unveiled – Part IV

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IV. The Ceremony – Long Lenses & Quiet Shoes

There are certain things that allow me to be a low-key shooter during the ceremony. First, I always check in advance what I can and cannot do. Second, fast films and the greater sensitivity of digital mean I probably won’t need flash. Third, I can always use a tripod if necessary – a tripod with a long lens from the balcony can keep the shots intimate. ~Kathi Littwin

She relies on long lens and her love of the simplicity of pure moments to get her most successful ceremony shots. She tries to stay as invisible as possible, which includes wearing quiet shoes and dark clothing. (on Meg Smith)

Even though at the very traditional Malaysian Chinese wedding, we probably don’t need quiet shoes cos it’s not a quiet event anyway. But staying as invisible as possible is important in a wedding ceremony of any culture not only to show respect to the ceremony but also to enable oneself to capture the raw emotions you can find during the ceremony.

One of the most important things a photographer can do is to see the ceremony from all sides. ~Parker J. Pfister

The bride and groom is definitely the star of the day, but there’s much more to a wedding. Parents, siblings, close friends, every one of them displays different kind of emotion during the ceremony.  Instead of having ten shots of the bride and groom from the same angle, look around and you’ll find some moment worth capturing. And it’d be nice for the bride and groom to know after the event details that they might have missed during their wedding. For example, how their parents or close friends looked like when they exchanged their vows.

You can plan how to get a certain shot; you can anticipate what’s coming and be one step ahead of it. ~ Meg Smith

Of course not everything in a wedding goes accordingly as planned, but we know in general what follows after what. So you can think beforehand, what kind of image you would like to create. Though it doesn’t mean that you can always get what you had in mind but at least you can make sure you are at the right place at the right time and not miss capturing any moments.

(Quotes are from Wedding Photography Unveiled)

Written by SE

January 19, 2010 at 12:16 am

Book: Wedding Photography Unveiled – Part III

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III. Getting Ready – The Day Starts Here

  • “It’s those intimate moments before the ceremony begins that’s so important for me to capture. For the bride or groom to be able to share those moments later on and say, ‘This is what I was doing before I walked down the aisle,’” ~Elizabeth Messina
  • This is the time of day when the photographer connects with everyone, creating bonds that carry over for the rest of the day. It’s especially important for a bride to feel comfortable with her photographer so she’s at ease for the rest of the day.
  • Because there are so many things to do, the pictures have a very unguarded feel – showing people in a natural state of mind, completely unaware of the photographer. ~Amy Deputy
  • You should be able to tell a story through your images, work very fast, work with no or low light, handle stress well, shoot in several different styles of photography and think about the type of images you’d want to have from your own wedding in twenty-five years if it were your wedding day. ~Amy Deputy

Written by SE

January 8, 2010 at 10:05 pm

Book: Wedding Photography Unveiled – Part II

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II. Here, There, And Everywhere – The Role of the Photographer on Wedding Day

  • The photographer is a preserver of memories, especially on the wedding day, when emotions run high and the entire event is a blur for those involved. As the years go by, the memories that last are the ones that are captured in the photographs. It is a huge responsibility, and it is part of the reason capturing the authenticity and emotional substance of each wedding is so important to the wedding photographer.
  • The photographer should try to stay calm and make sure they aren’t adding to the chaos and stress that surrounds most wedding days. ~Liz Banfield
  • They don’t know how I’m composing my images; they don’t know that by talking to them and having the bride look halfway back to me, I’m actually posing them. Technically, I am, but I’m not really expressing that to them while I’m talking to them. That’s what I mean by ‘anti-posing.’ ~Jose Villa
  • She had a beautiful dress, they had a cake … It was wonderful and intimate – up until a torrential downpour began, and the bride was beside me. I looked at her and said, “This will be the memory of your day forever. It’s raining on your wedding day, but it’s not a bad thing – every time it rains it will remind you of this moment – it’s a beautiful thing.” The bride looked at me and said, “Oh, my god, you’re right,” and after that it unfolded beautifully and the mood and energy shifted and we went outside with umbrellas and I took shots in the rain, as well as images of the windowpane with raindrops on it. These were the unique details of their day that they will always remember. ~Elizabeth Messina
  • For me, it’s important to remember to have fun during the celebration while remaining respectful and discreet. I photograph from my heart. Establishing a strong relationship is a key factor. ~Virginie Blachere

Written by SE

December 12, 2009 at 10:54 pm

Book: Wedding Photography Unveiled – Part I

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Wedding Now


I got this book when I was back in Malaysia recently. In it, you would find twenty top wedding photographers across the United States sharing their art, philosophies, strategies, business practices, and techniques in wedding photography. Of course, it also showcases their favourite images.

I’m going to share with you tips and quotes from the book that resonates with me as I go through each chapter. Hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

I. Wedding Photography Today

  • What separates good photographers from mediocre ones is being able to know and foresee our ever-changing surroundings and being able to control the lighting, focus, and composition in a split second. ~Ben Quillinan
  • Wedding photography is all about being in the moment. A good wedding photographer knows how to capture the moment and the essence of the person in those moments. ~Joe Buissink
  • I see with my heart, and it’s with my heart that I photograph weddings. I impact every photograph I shoot. ~Joe Buissink
  • Each photographer deems it a privilege to share the day with the couples they are hired by, and each one is extremely passionate about his or her work.
  • Wedding photography is not just about getting that great in-the-moment shot. It involves long, hard work, with many different components involved: artistic talent in several genres, good people skills, extensive knowledge of current photographic techniques and ever-changing technology, and business savvy.
  • Today’s wedding photographer is, and needs to be, more personally and visually involved. ~Kathi Littwin

Written by SE

November 14, 2009 at 5:27 pm