Thursday, 30 September 2010

Here is my truth

These are two of the four photos that were joined in yesterday's blog. On the left the Eric Gill medallion fills most of the viewfinder as does the view that you see on the right. It is possible to use a wide angle lens but it either means carrying two cameras or two lenses and having the inconvenience of changing the lens. Apart from the inconvenience you also get distortion. With the method of simply joining the two photos then you don't get the distortion.

The changes that I have made are not really distorting the image from the way we see it in real life. What I could have done is turn the medallion around so that it is not upside down. Now that would have been distortion.

Happy snapping

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Joining the Midland photos

I ask brides and grooms if I can use their photos on the blog and on the gallery page of the website. So it is quite unusual to see a photo like that on the right. It is also unusual because you cannot take this photo at the top of the stairs at the Midland Hotel in Morecambe unless you have a really wide lens. However a really wide lens distorts the photo.

I took one photo of one floor and one photo of the next. There is a natural join with these photos and it was fairly easy to join the photo at this point. It certainly gave ne ideas for further photography assignments.

Happy snapping

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Expressions with the garter

There is one aspect to wedding photography that is a record of events. You want photos of what has happened, where it was and who was there. However the big bonus is catching natural smiles. They are often to be found during speeches or with confetti and when the bride (or groom) is lifted off the floor. They forget about what is happening and that's the moment to take the photo.

If you are not sure what I mean then take a look to the left or the right. A photo of the garter is a misnomer. Just look at the facial expressions. Incidentally this was an evening reception. In the background are photos of the actual wedding. They didn't take me to the Mediterranean - still you can't beat Morecambe.

Happy snapping

Monday, 27 September 2010

Here is the enlargement

It is often easy for me to choose the photo that I use as an enlargement to take back to the bride and groom at their evening reception. It is an easy choice for a blog because I have worked on it. The one I chose is on the left and it works better on the blog than it did as a 10"x8" enlargement. The reason for this is that you can easily read the amendment that I made to the sign in the background.

An easy variation is to keep the couple where they are and take a close-up. I have a few set poses for them. Pose number one is (roughly) on the left. Pose number two is on the right apart from the groom's arm across the bouquet to hold the veil down - I told you it was breezy.

Happy snapping

Sunday, 26 September 2010

Photos in church

I am given a variety of instructions when I take photographs at weddings. They range from no photographs at all to taking photos whenever I wish. For this wedding I was told that I could take a photo of the bride walking in, but my next photo would be the signing of the register. That's fine as it is usually not a problem to mimic some poses in the church after the ceremony.

This church has an L-shaped aisle and I was able to get a photo looking down and looking across the church - and here are the two photos. I like this type of photos because it isn't posed. Similarly I like speeches and confetti shots. I like normal conversations and the first dance. I am not scripting these photos, they just happen and I am free to take the photos.

Happy snapping

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Yesterday's wedding

This is a photo from yesterday's wedding. It was a lovely day apart from the breeze. I generally don't mind a breeze because it means that the veil may lift a little and look better on photos. The problem yesterday was that at times it was difficult to walk and just wearing a veil had its difficulties. We had to modify our plans, but at least the bride and groom had some shelter in this photo.

I like this photo because there is nothing to age it. The church is St Peter's in Heysham, an historic church which is quite beautiful. This couple will get a monochrome version as well as one in sepia without the vignette that you see on the right. The image on the right looks like it could have been taken a century ago. I use vignettes to focus attention on the subject of the photo. It serves a second purpose and makes the photo look like it has faded. It could be one hundred years ago because of manipulation and because of subject.

Happy snapping

Friday, 24 September 2010

Posed and "natural"

This two photos are standards for weddings. You simply have to take the register photo even if it is not the genuine book. Well we can't have private and confidential information taken on a photo. We'll leave that sort of photography to the Downing Street type photographers.

In the space of a few second I took the register photo with them both sat down and in this pose too. Add a photo of them looking at the register and then convert to monochrom and sepia and you soon have over a dozen photos. On the right I think the photo is all the better for not being posed. A few moments later I did stop them and they did pose but very often the "natural" photos are preferred.

Happy snapping

Thursday, 23 September 2010

These photos have been manipulated

I don't think you need to be told that these photos have been manipulated. Leaving the flowers in colour with the rest of the photo converted to monochrome is a common technique which is also simple. However, when I get feedback from brides and grooms I often hear that simple techniques are effective.

The photo on the right has also been manipulated in a simple way. There is a simple dividing line where the camera technique would mean that only those parts near to the camera are in focus. In fact everything was in focus but I think this is an improvement.

Happy snapping

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Change of foreground

Following on from yesterday's blog, we moved a few steps to get the back of the wedding car in the foreground. If you missed the ribbon on the front, there is no mistaking the car now.

It is so often the case that I just have to walk around the bride and groom and I find an equally wonderful background. I admit that the background isn't quite as nice as yesterday's but you can't have everything and it did only take a few seconds to get this photo.

Happy snapping

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

The ultimate arbiter

If you get married in the Morecambe area then try to take advantage of the finest view in Europe (as Bill Bryson puts it) across Morecambe Bay. It does help if you have a car like this Ford to enhance the background too.

On the left is the initial image, alright I have tidied the tarmac a little but it didn't take long. On the right is a high contrast monochrome version. I always think that cars come out well with both of these manipulations, People don't come out too badly for that matter but as with all variations the ultimate arbiter is the beholder.

Happy snapping

Monday, 20 September 2010

Landscape and Portrait

The first version of this photo is in focus and the bride and groom will get this version too, but on the left I have blurred the background and the amendment on the right is simply another cropping with the amendment.

I like to use this effect because it is now possible to believe that everyone's attention is on the couple during their first dance. Very often I prefer the monochrome version of this photo (and they'll get this too) but today I thought I would compare the landscape and portrait croppings of the same photo. The obvious difference is to do with the amount of background in the photo but, as with most variations, which you prefer is a matter of personal taste.

Happy snapping

Sunday, 19 September 2010

First photo of bride and groom

This photo is from the evening reception yesterday following the wedding from the previous week in the Mediterranean. Unfortunately the weather was not as kind in Morecambe but we managed plenty of indoor photos. I only ask the bride and groom if I can use their photos on the website and on the blog so you will not see most of the photos that I took, and this was the first that I took of them as a couple.

The big difference on the right is that the flowers become less dominant. On the left the eye is directed towards them simply because of the colour. On the right the eye is drawn more quickly to the faces. Which you prefer is a matter of personal choice but as the flowers haven't been before then I think I prefer the colour version.

Happy snapping

Happy snapping

Saturday, 18 September 2010

A guide to cut the paper

Yesterday's wedding was local and I did manage to get home to take back some fridge magnets. You can see my choice on the left. As usual there are lots of photos to choose from and the one on the right was a contender. It was breezy and I think the movement of the bride's hair and the groom's lapel put me off this choice.

You can see that I chose the photo on the left because I gave it a border. You don't need to give photos borders because they don't show up on commercially printed photographs but when you print from home it is a guide to show me where to cut the paper.

Happy snapping

Friday, 17 September 2010

Choosing High Contrast

As it happens this photo may look very similar to yesterday's photo but it was taken at a different venue. I like to go through a few set poses three or four times and I like to take photos twice. I do this because eyes can close and expressions can change. Even a slight change in camera position can change the exposure and change the way the photo looks.

Earlier in the day I say a high-contrast picture on the wall, and I presume they like this technique, hence the variation on the right. I amended at least one other photo in a similar way and I get any requests... It is a very simple technique but if you don't know how to do it then it is really difficult.

Happy snapping

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Time to choose

This wedding was in east Lancashire and I live in Morecambe. As I usually manage to get home for an hour or two before I go back for the evening reception, I manage to print off an enlargement and some fridge magnets. I didn't get home this time but this is the sort of photo that I look for with the magnets.

As it happens there are quite a few photos in this style and I can take my time choosing photos now. They only need to get the photos when they come back for their photos. If the wedding had been local then I would probably have chosen the photo on the left. I now have options - I'll let you know which photo I choose.

Happy snapping

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Hands in focus

I don't ask brides and grooms to adopt "arty" poses. If they pose then I will take the photo but this is as artistic as I get. The ring hands are in focus but the rest of the photo is blurred.

It is easy to make people look like they have a suntan with sepia version and I actually like this photo in monochrome. As I can only show two photos you will have to use your imagination for this variation.

It helps if you have nice nails for this photo and brides have nice nails. This groom looks after his hands as he is a guitarist so neither will mind me highlighting their hands.

Happy snapping

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

It's not the chauffeur

I'll stay with the Rolls Royce theme today and this photo was taken a few seconds after the photo from yesterday's blog. There are bright colours in the car and in the flowers and the big difference between the colour and monochrome versions is that your eye is not distracted by colour on the right. The vehicle becomes much less dominant. This photo is also a first for me. I have taken photos with the groom in the driving seat, and for that matter the bride, but this is the first time that the groom has borrowed the cap from the chauffeur.

I am often writing how nice people are on wedding days. Everyone wishes the couple well, but I think this driver stands out as being most helpful and friendly. I certainly didn't expect the loan of the cap.

Happy snapping

Monday, 13 September 2010

The celebration continues

You saw this view on the 28th August at the pre-wedding meeting. We were looking for the place for the main group photos and we chose this background. You didn't see the car which is a 1928 Rolls Royce but you did see the markings on the road. I much prefer roads without white paint and it is at least a third of this photo.

As for the amendments, I thought that the bright colours of the car should be put against a monochrome background and I also knew that they liked high contrast photos. They will get the usual colour photo, a totally monochrome version and I also amended it to a sepia version with a white vignette. It would take too many blogs to show you all the variations.

I am posting this blog at just after midnight and I presume the celebrations are still going on. I was there a couple of hours ago taking photos of the first dance and anything else that was happening. I haven't seen all the photos yet and I am looking forward to working on them all.

Happy snapping

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Two of Lancaster Cathedral 's Windows

I took advantage of the heritage open day yesterday (there are more things going on today) and I visited Lancaster Cathedral. I thought that I would be writing about the view from the top of the 240ft tower and I did take plenty of photos, but I chose these photos. On the left you see St Thomas More. There is nothing unusual about this as he is a fairly popular saint. What is much more surprising is to find a window depicting Henry VIII which you see on the right.

I went on the guided tour and heard about the triptych that hides the stained glass windows behind the high altar. It seems that nobody took a photo of these windows when they had the chance. Well it made me wonder if photographic manipulations could allow you to see the windows in all their glory. The windows that you can see here don't actually look like this unless you are 20ft in the air. Henry is partially occluded but from where I took the photos the verticals were definitely not vertical.

Happy snapping

Saturday, 11 September 2010

A Pendle Hill background

This view is the one we used for the group photographs. As I don't ask all the guests if they mind being on the blog I will show you these photos instead. The wall in the background was mostly taken up by people and the view in the top third of the photo which is normall sky was taken up by Pendle Hill.

There is nothing wrong with the wall. It's a lovely wall but the view isn't particularly spoiled by the main group. I did say more than once how nice the background was and one of the guests commented that I had not mentioned the foreground. I did mention the foreground after that comment. it was lovely too.

Happy snapping

Friday, 10 September 2010

Look into my eyes

One of the big advantages of being the main photographer at a wedding is that the bride and groom look at you. It may not sound much but it transforms a photo. However this blog is written to show that you don't have to look at the camera to take a great photo.

Occasionally I ask the couple to look at a guest with a camera. This gives the guest the chance to have a fine memory of the day and it means that I get the chance to take the couple who are both looking at the same place. You can't go wrong if they are looking into each other's eyes because you know they are looking at the right place but on the right I just asked them to look in a similar direction.

Happy snapping

Thursday, 9 September 2010

A first for me.

This was a first for me. It was my first outdoor wedding. There was a wet-weather option but this was the first choice and you can see where they married on the right. I was interested to know what the registrar would say to me because it was a public area and I presume members of the public, not to mention family and friends, could take photos at any time. As is usually the case, the registrar was really nice and let me get on with things in a discreet manner.

The photo on the left is one that I always try to produce for brides and grooms. I know that some have used these photos to make their own thank you cards and I heard one couple recently who were just going to slip a photo in with their card. It is also a nice size of photo for wallets or purses and is easy to produce. Two photos in the proportion of 4:3 (commonly this is an 8" x 6" photo) when added together make a 6" x 4" photo, a cheap option and you get two for the price of one.

Happy snapping

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Wedding Portraits

I like the idea of getting portraits. Not just portraits of the bride and groom but also anyone else who happens to be ready. After all, the guests get dressed up for the wedding too.

I look for a plain wall and direct the flash to the ceiling. If the ceiling is low you will still notice shadows but they will be caused by light reflected off the ceiling where you would expect them from the sun or a ceiling lamp.

The effect is to make an ordinary wall look like it is a photographic studion. Combine this effect with the bride and groom (and the guests) and you end up with great photos whether in colour monochrome or sepia.

Happy snapping

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Sawley and Pendle

Sawley Abbey is quite a distinctive background for wedding photographs. It is popular too. As we were leaving another bride and groom were about to walk around the ruins.

One of the photos at the Abbey was used on the CDRom. There are spaces to write the name of the bride and groom and the number of photos on the CDRom. At times it is useful to have space in photographs.

On the day I said (more than once) that Pendle Hill was a tremedous background. You can just see part of the hill on the horizon on the left. Generally I say that indoor photos may be just as good as outdoors but I am pleased that we had fine weather on this day.

Happy snapping

Monday, 6 September 2010

Comparing fridge magnets

Yesterday I wrote that I would show you the photo on the left in a couple of days. This is because I took photos at two weddings this weekend and I usually alternate the weddings on the blog, but today I want you to compare and contrast (sounds like a GCSE question) the two photos that I chose for the fridge magnets.

Both are close-ups as fridge magnets are small. Both have the bride and groom at almost 90 degrees to each other, but on the left we get the side view of the groom and on the right it is the bride. Both photos work and if it says anything it says there are no rules when it comes to poses. I have heard something about the groom having his sword hand free coming down the aisle but this is definitely not a strict rule. As for where they stand after the ceremony, it really doesn't matter to me. It is one thing less to think about and one more reason to relax. Now that's the important thing with photos.

Happy snapping