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Thread: I don't shoot weddings anymore...

  1. #1
    rpcrowe's Avatar
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    I don't shoot weddings anymore...

    I have totally retired from paid photography. However, I have a thought about what used to give me some problems in shooting any wedding and wonder if anyone has had this problem and what they did about solving it. Or perhaps, it was not considered a problem at all...

    Obviously, the wedding photographer's goal is, not so much to document the wedding but, to make the bride look as attractive as possible. Everyone says but, few people really mean it that "every bride is beautiful!" Unfortunately, that just isn't true. Additionally, the less attractive a bride is, the more critical she is regarding how she looks in the images...

    Studio shots are not the greatest problem because the photographer has the most control over lighting and subject positioning. However, the problem I always had, especially when it came to non -sudio shots of the ceremony and the reception, was: how do you shoot a very heavy-set bride who is wearing a bare shoulder dress." This problem is accentuated when you have a very fair skinned bride so her large white shoulder is just about the most prominent object in the room...

    Shooting a 3/4 view will place the nearest bare shoulder in a prominent position and shooting a full frontal view will accentuate the weight of the bride...

    I used to try as much as possible to shoot the couple with the bride in a 3/4 wiew but, with the groom in the foreground screening the bare shoulder of the bride somewhat. I also occasionally tried to shoot from a further distance with a longer lens because shooting from a closer camera-subject distance with a wider lens accentuates portions of a subject closer to the camera. I also asked the bride to lower the shoulder closer to the camera.

    Actually; reciting the Wedding Photographers Prayer could help:
    "Dear Lord,
    Please provide me with a beautiful bride and a handsome groom to shoot today. However, if that is asking too much from you... I would be happy with just a pretty bride!"

  2. #2
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    Re: I don't shoot weddings anymore...

    Quote Originally Posted by rpcrowe View Post
    Actually; reciting the Wedding Photographers Prayer could help:
    "Dear Lord,
    Please provide me with a beautiful bride and a handsome groom to shoot today. However, if that is asking too much from you... I would be happy with just a pretty bride!"
    This post and the above epistle probably represent one of the most valuable lessons that aspiring wedding 'togs could learn.

    Wonderfully humourous, Richard. But what a powerful lesson it contains.

  3. #3

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    Re: I don't shoot weddings anymore...

    Shots like this:

    I don't shoot weddings anymore...


    And this:

    I don't shoot weddings anymore...

    And this:

    I don't shoot weddings anymore...




    help with looking very artistic, and the brides love them. However, if the bride is wearing an off the shoulder dress and is heavier, it is my estimation that she knows how big she is and simply is not bothered by what others may think. From my very limited experience (two unpaid weddings and a gift opening this summer) I just try to be me and hopefully she will like it.
    Last edited by hoffstriker; 2nd September 2011 at 10:53 PM. Reason: Wrong pic, wrong edit..... argh!!!

  4. #4

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    Re: I don't shoot weddings anymore...

    Hi Richard,

    It's a difficult one for sure; some strategies I recommend ...

    - With off-camera lighting (virtually assuming an assistant), try to get lighting that tends towards Rembrant lighting (in terms of fill light anyway) - ANYTHING but flat lighting.

    - In post-processing, reduce the horizontal pixel count by about 5 to 10%

    - Consider using the pucker tool or pinch filter.

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    Re: I don't shoot weddings anymore...

    Hi Chris,

    I appreciate that you weren't posting those images here for any sort of critique, but just wondered if you realise that you've got some very flat midtones in the 2nd one?

    I don't shoot weddings anymore...

  6. #6

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    Re: I don't shoot weddings anymore...

    Actually I did realize it, it was not my final edit of that pic unfortunately and did not realize it until you () decided to embarrass me in front of everyone... lol

    It was also not the pic I intended upon using (already changed) as an example of "hiding" a woman's weight. Obviously Megan is not really a big woman, but the shots I showed were simply ways to change things up and not try to make someone feel worse about themselves. Especially on their wedding day.

    As for the crit, you and everyone else are always welcome to critique my work any and every time you get. At the very least you owe me that Colin...

  7. #7

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    Re: I don't shoot weddings anymore...

    Quote Originally Posted by hoffstriker View Post
    Actually I did realize it, it was not my final edit of that pic unfortunately and did not realize it until you () decided to embarrass me in front of everyone... lol

    It was also not the pic I intended upon using (already changed) as an example of "hiding" a woman's weight. Obviously Megan is not really a big woman, but the shots I showed were simply ways to change things up and not try to make someone feel worse about themselves. Especially on their wedding day.

    As for the crit, you and everyone else are always welcome to critique my work any and every time you get. At the very least you owe me that Colin...
    Ah - OK then

    By the way, did you realise that the new 2nd picture that you posted ...

    ... just kidding

  8. #8
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    Re: I don't shoot weddings anymore...

    Quote Originally Posted by hoffstriker View Post
    Shots like this:

    I don't shoot weddings anymore...


    And this:

    I don't shoot weddings anymore...

    And this:

    I don't shoot weddings anymore...




    help with looking very artistic, and the brides love them. However, if the bride is wearing an off the shoulder dress and is heavier, it is my estimation that she knows how big she is and simply is not bothered by what others may think. From my very limited experience (two unpaid weddings and a gift opening this summer) I just try to be me and hopefully she will like it.
    You could always use photoshop to add thin-ness which is the big "Oh my God it's so obvious" moment in hollywood and the royal wedding.

  9. #9
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    Re: I don't shoot weddings anymore...

    Chris,

    I think those images are good ways to get around the problem. The second image gives me a retro look of the 1930's which I like.

    By the way, you mention, "it is my estimation that she knows how big she is and simply is not bothered by what others may think."

    I don't necessarily agree with that. The reason that I don't is quite personal. I am 71-years old and feel much younger. However, I look at least that old and perhaps even older. I don't really like seeing images of myself because it shows what I look like. When I view myself in a mirror, my perception is filtered through my "what I want to look like filter". However, for some reason I can't view an image that has been shot through that same filter...

    A fellow photographer provided prospective wedding clients with a check list of suggestions which could enhance his imagery. Included was the recommendation that dresses should not be off the shoulder (although, naturally, he doesn't mention weight). I asked him if there were fewer of his brides wearing off the shoulder dresses since he started offering the photo hints. He told me, "Heck, no. Brides are going to wear what they think is attractive, no matter how they actually look."

  10. #10
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    Re: I don't shoot weddings anymore...

    Hi Richard,
    I'm with you all the way. I haven't shot a wedding for 30 years and don't miss one minute of it.
    Like you, I'm at home with monorail cameras, 4x5 film and a darkroom!
    I prefer subjects that can't answer back, then my way is the right way.

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