CONTENTS Editor’s Letter........................................................................ 3 Contributors........................................................................... 4 Client Education: The Key To Maximizing Your Sales............. 6 How To Stand Out In Today’s Wedding Market..................... 10 When Does Direct Marketing Work?.................................... 20 The Anatomy Of A Powerful Image....................................... 24 Never Stop Networking........................................................ 36 The Magic Of Continuous Light............................................ 42 Poses For Every Body.......................................................... 46 Product Of The Month.......................................................... 50
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EDITOR’S LETTER Dear Friends, Is there a season better than spring? I’d argue there isn’t. Blooming flowers and suddenly sunny days provide such a unique, inspirational energy, it’s impossible not to feel a rejuvenated sense of motivation. (It must have something to do with the law of diminishing returns with the amount of warm weather… or something like that.) Of course, if spring is here, then right around the corner is wedding season, a fun and enjoyable time for most, but one of the busiest times of the year for us in the industry. Touring alongside Jerry Ghionis, consistently named one of the world’s best wedding photographers, has me so immersed in brides and grooms these days that I literally have trouble thinking about anything else. Wedding photography presents so many unique and exciting challenges, as there is perhaps no other niche in the industry affected more by the emergence of digital technology. Image sharing, slideshows, videos, social media. There seems to be no limit to where wedding photography might go next. Therefore, staying on top of all the latest trends and techniques is crucial for success. Inside this issue you’ll find all kinds of useful, applicable advice and tips on how to set yourself apart in today’s ultra-competitive wedding market. Highlights of this month’s issue include Jerry’s insight on client communication, situational wedding day tips on continuous light by John D. Williamson, and networking advice from yours truly. And remember, because Ukandu is digital, the magazine is packed full of videos, links, and as always, a free download!
Enough from me. Time for the juicy stuff.
Warm Regards, Sandy Puc` Editor in Chief
ukandu | MAGAZINE STAFF Editor in Chief Sandy Pucâ€™ Commercial Director Shannon Barry Art Director Molly McAdams Associate Art Director/Illustrator Levi Nelson Senior Editor Sean Star
CONTRIBUTORS Sandy Puc’
Sandy Puc’ is an internationally acclaimed photographer, businesswoman, author and speaker. She also created Sandy Puc’ Tours and Sandy Puc’ University. Currently, Sandy serves on the Board of Directors of the Professional Photographers of America and holds prestigious titles of Print Master and Explorer of Light from Canon USA. firstname.lastname@example.org
David Hilton, MBA, M.Ed., Cr.Photog, is president of Strategic Vision Business Development Corp. For more than 10 years David has been a Senior E-Myth Coach; he has taught Dale Carnegie’s Management Program and is currently an Independent Business Advisor with Glazer-Kennedy’s Insider’s Circle. David was also the president of a profitable manufacturing / sales / retail company which he recently successfully sold. email@example.com
John D. Williamson
Jerry Ghionis is the only Australian named as one of the Top Ten Wedding Photographers in the World by American Photo magazine. In February 2009 Jerry won the WPPI (Wedding & Portrait Photographers International) Wedding Album of the Year for a record sixth time to add to his long list of accolades. His educational website “The Ice Society” has set the standard for online learning and his non-profit charitable foundation the Soul Society has inspired photographers from all over the world (www.thesoulsociety.org) firstname.lastname@example.org
John D. Williamson is an award-winning photographer and a Westcott Top Pro. He began shooting professionally in 2000 and founded “Optical Exposure Photography” in 2004. In 2008, John became the Technical Representative for Westcott, where he consults with customers on technical questions and assists with product development. He also teaches lighting seminars at photography events throughout the US and has photographed covers for Photo Basics catalogs. email@example.com
Robert Provencher Robert Provencher MPA recieved his Masters of Photographic Arts in 2000 and has been a full time photographer since 1981. He is accredited with Professional Photographers of Canada in Wedding Photojournalism, Wedding Story and Environmental Wedding. Robert has won several awards and is the official photographer for the Sudbury Theater Center and the Sudbury Symphony. firstname.lastname@example.org
By Jerry Ghionis
expecting to spend even more money. t’s very important that you educate your So just as a doctor, dentist or an attorney clients as to all the financial possibilities and your business practices so they would, I schedule my album plans during the day and let clients know that their can maximize their experience with you. Plant appointment will take several hours. I then a seed that your clients may be spending make their stay as comfortable as possible, more money for a larger album than providing them with beverages and snacks initially invested. Most clients don’t mind spending more money as long as they and sometimes even lunch or dinner! know beforehand. Education is the absolute key to client Education is the absolute satisfaction while giving yourself every chance to make key to client satisfaction more money. The following words have been extracted from parts of wa letter that I send to my clients once they have officially booked my services. Notice how carefully I choose my words. You will also glean some of my procedures from the following document.
One key procedure that I always follow is scheduling my album plans for during the day—not in the evening after my clients have finished working. If you can imagine what you feel like after a full day at work and then dealing with the commute home, the last thing you want to do is spend a couple of hours at an appointment where you’re
Here are parts of a letter I send to every client when they book: If a married couple could only salvage one item while fleeing their burning home, most would choose their wedding album. Photos are priceless; celebrating a time in your life when you’ve never been happier, never looked better and shared the most precious moments of your life with the people you love most. We don’t take this responsibility lightly. … You booked Jerry Ghionis Photography because you wanted images that are timeless and synonymous with style and finesse. A team effort is required to achieve this style. We photograph your wedding with the end result of your album in mind. Although your initial investment includes a certain amount of sides/pages, we don’t take just enough photographs to fill the pages you have booked. We can never add more images later; on the other hand, if we take enough photographs to fill 100 pages and you only want or can only afford 30, then this is one of the best problems you can have. Our challenge is to take the best, most intriguing and evocative photographs on your wedding day. We always rise to this challenge and present you with the wonderful dilemma of having too many gorgeous photographs. Your challenge is to resist buying them all! … Please trust us to create an album that you, your family and friends will enjoy for years. We will design what we believe to be the best album possible with your photographs. The album that we will propose to you is indicative of what our display albums look like. The proposal is offered to you as a guide only. With your taste and budget in mind, the album can be refined as you see fit. Of course, you are not limited to purchasing a specific number of sides. You always have the option of adding additional sides from $XXX per side (or $XXX per spread) in order to customise and complete your perfect wedding album. Each side includes unlimited images, effects and digital design. We certainly can produce a beautiful album to fit your initial investment but we encourage you to keep your options open and budget for some extra sides. Most couples will end up with a 40-60+ sided album. It is important at this stage in our relationship that we educate you as to all the financial possibilities. Once we have agreed on your perfect wedding album, you are required to pay 50% up front for any upgrades. Once this payment is made, we will then begin production. Your album will take up to 12 weeks to complete. The final balance is due on completion.
We ask for creative license when making the finer adjustments to your album. Our digital artist is very experienced and will treat the images with effects that will maximize their full potential… Sometimes designs that have been agreed on can be improved even more so and to do this freely requires your support. Hindsight is a luxury that we would like to take advantage of. So again, just because your clients have a specific amount of money in mind that they want to spend doesn’t mean that’s how much they’re willing to spend. By effectively communicating the possibility of surpassing their intended budget, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to find out just how high your sales can go. As long as they know, and your product is good enough, the sky is the limit. Plant that seed, and watch it grow.
Seven Steps To Success By Robert Provencher
arketing and selling weddings is tougher today than ever. The competition is fierce. But sometimes we are our own worst enemies, and in order to compete against that, and all the external forces like the “shoot and burn $500 wedding photographer,” an effective marketing strategy is necessary to avoid falling into a competitive vacuum.
Target The Right Market
I’ve created a list of seven areas that are timely and important for success in selling wedding packages. It takes time and persistence to build a strong market position, and in my experience, these steps are essential in a market gone wild.
Some photographers think that today’s brides are only after a great deal and so they choose a photographer based on price alone. This is naive and brain-dead,
is virtually non-existent for me nowadays. I guess, in order to state this as simply as I can: Become the person you want to attract. And never let any form of criticism cloud your conscious. Eliminate self-criticism or any criticism from others, real or imaged. Become immune to it.
dumb thinking. The fact is, there is a large market for quality work, and many brides, although they do want good value, they donâ€™t want just anyone. I lacked a load of confidence at one time, was exceptionally shy and had a low selfimage. I overcame, and eventually I became comfortable communicating with everyone and anyone. I rarely get intimidated by other people anymore, when at one time I was easily so.
One proven strategy is to print out a higher version price list and simply look at it. Try it! Double or triple your prices, and print it out for your eyes only. It should make you squirm. See and feel what this is like. Get used to the higher fees. Become one with them. This may seem Zen-like, but it works.
This really cleared the air for me and paved the way to closing deals. Price resistance
Take it further. Go in front of a mirror and practice your fee pitch. You never want to let them see you sweat, flinch or blink when you’re quoting your fees. Success starts inside. And it takes practice.
Telling stories, stories that relate to your clients, and using your own outstanding images to tell these stories is one of the best marketing and selling tactics that few ever use, let alone fully understand.
Start With A Great Product
If you understand this, you will put yourself in a huge marketing advantage.
Awards, designations or kick-butt images will not guarantee you a flood of clients. The fact is, you must go after them, sell to them, and market to them. Marketing is everything.
Add A Winning Personality Yes, people buy you as much as they do your product or service. It’s simple. People buy from people they like. Enthusiasm and passion are the two most powerful personality traits that anyone can have. If you’re scared or shy, then you are holding yourself back. These traits are deciding your destiny for you. Why let that happen to you?
However, if your images resonate with the brides, and you have the marketing and personality to go with them, you will get more work than you can handle. Having a great product is perhaps the biggest piece to the puzzle. It allows you to feel good about your work, gives you huge marketing ammunition and the opportunity to tell stories about the past images you’ve created for other clients, just like them.
Develop strong, exciting personality traits. Never, ever buy into the self-limiting mindset that I often hear.
Never, ever put yourself down. Ever. Selfdeprecation will only cloud your potential and confidence and will creep into your ability to sell yourself, shrouding your life with darkness and negative energy.
one, even if it’s about a baby session or some non-wedding story. A story is a story. One trick I often use, if I feel clients are about ready to close but something is holding them back, is to leave the room. I make something up. I may get up and say I have to go into my office and get something for them. (Maybe an album catalogue that I forgot to pull out earlier.) I take my time, fumble around. Let them chat.
Create Rapport Connect with people. Do this by being sincere, present and curious. Make eye contact and shake hands when you first meet potential clients, say congratulations, and most importantly, ask questions and listen. Really listen. Don’t just pretend to listen so you can get the next words in.
I’m not sure what they say exactly, but can guess it’s something like, from her to him: “I know he’s more than we planned on spending, but I really want this guy for our wedding. And those other photographers we saw today, they’re cheaper, but there’s something about them I don’t trust...” She sells him. This is key. What guy doesn’t want to be the hero to his lady? He’ll listen to her and go along. When I come back into the room, they have a spark in their eyes, so I say something like, “Ok, we’re ready to book you out...” Deal done.
Nothing will help you connect better with clients than being a great listener. They have a lot to say, so let them say it. Ask about the ring, the wedding plans, the hall, the music, how they see their day unfolding, how and when he proposed... on and on. Get it? Easy enough when you learn to master this simple little, oftenignored tip. Listen.
Sell With Stealth When a client comes into the studio, I do loads of stealth selling. What do I mean by that? Simple. I maneuver certain things, like where they sit. Or I may make them wait alone in the reception area for a few minutes so they can take in the mood, sites, sounds, smells, prints and anticipation.
Another sneaky trick of mine, and I love this one, is to preemptively talk tech talk about jpgs and such. I tell them that some couples want to know about file size and what not, (e.g., equipment, raw files, etc.) at which time I remind them it’s not the file size or equipment that counts, but the art, imagery, experience and skills that they are investing in that really matters.
For example, if a couple shows interest in a particular wall sample, I’m sure to tell a story about the image, no matter what it is. Stories help to connect, so I always tell them
Then, I get up, seemingly impromptu, sneak around the corner and grab a stack of 20inch prints. I say something like, “These are actual files from some past weddings, and
look at the quality inherent in each image...” Then, I go into each image and tell the story behind it. They are captivated. Glued and hanging onto each word. Sold. Try it.
attention and learning as much as you can from as many different perspectives as you can. There are two tactics that I use in my studio for showing potential clients that I can offer useful, practical advice for their wedding day. One: The 12-page report I wrote to help brides choose the best photographer. It’s called “The 7 Mistakes Brides Make When Hiring a Photographer for Their Wedding Day and How To Avoid Them.”
Sneaky, yes. But who cares? I sincerely want what is best for my clients, so constantly looking for and using ways to sell them is okay. It’s beyond okay! It’s my civic, moral, and universal duty to sell, sell, sell. Always. I didn’t say, nor do I mean, push, push, push. Getting people to buy something they don’t want or being deceptive is wrong. That’s not selling. It’s lying.
It’s an easy read and was easy to write. It’s nothing more than common sense, and the core message is this: “You get what you pay for.” Simple. Plus, it puts me in a positive light. Hey, I wrote it. Shows I care and am professional.
Become A Trusted Advisor This is something you acquire with time and experience. Speed up your skills by paying
Second, I offer tips and strategies for the couple to consider when planning their schedule, or the photographs, for the day. I may suggest a tentative schedule for their day. Let’s say they’re still shopping and we’re chatting in my reception room. I ask about their locations, times, etc., or they may ask something like: “How much time do you need?” (This is a good sign, by the way).
packages that have a high-perceived value for your clients that are also profitable for you. You can add special bonus items to increase the value. Items such as the digital files, an engagement session and print, or a free family session for the bride and groom’s family. (I tell them this gives me a great opportunity for the families, and myself, to meet one another. This is true, but it also creates more profits for me, and gives me something to include in the wedding package.)
When I create a suggested plan, we are going into the future. I am placing them there, with me. With passion and enthusiasm. They see it unfold and nod their heads. It all makes sense because you helped them see it.
You could also include a free local newspaper engagement announcement. Talk to the paper and arrange a special price. I used to give away a free first baby session too. Hey, why not? Think of ways to bundle and add value to your wedding packages that go above and beyond the core product, which is you, and your work.
Never Market On Price Ever. This is hard for many of us to get away from, but get away from you must. When you sell on price, you are making your product a commodity. You’re just another photographer. The first thing I do is have a long price list nearby. When a couple comes in, I have it ready for them. Right away, it stands out. I go through it with them. It’s loaded with tips and goodies.
All these things stacked on top of one another should be irresistible. The idea is to create great packages that won’t break your bank, and the core product is you and your skills. It’s like comparing apples to oranges. When everyone is marketing on price and the same old content and packages, your sales presentation, your packages, and YOU, all told, make for an irresistible offer they can’t refuse.
The packages make sense. I’ve bundled them so the perceived added value creates a positive impression. I remind them that they aren’t investing in time and prints or files, but they are investing in me. What I bring to the game—although I can’t quantify it for them (things like experience, skill and talent)—is something most understand and believe in.
Do this over and over, and acquire a strong market position, and you will attract a steady flow of brides year after year—brides who value you for what you are, what you stand for and the role you will play in theirw big day.
Your pricing should reflect what your time and talent are worth. Most of us start too low in this area. You want to create
By David Hilton 20
Turn Prospective Customers Into Loyal Clients With Effective Direct Marketing.
irect marketing, defined as promotion delivered directly to individual prospective customers, can become any studio’s most powerful marketing too−as long as it’s done correctly. By clearly identifying your ideal clients and catering the messages contained in your marketing materials directly to them, you can turn prospects into clients in no time. So, take in account the following advice and start getting the most out of your e-blasts, postcards and fliers.
PEOPLE BUY WHAT THEY WANT, NOT WHAT THEY NEED What does your Avatar want? To be unique, unusual, original, free, new, secret, happier, less stressed? Consumers buy what they believe will give them what they want, so you must figure out what this is. PEOPLE BUY STORIES NOT THINGS
He who tells the best story wins. Develop your Avatar’s story of life before describing your product/service and the improved life thereafter. Consistently present this theme in all IT ALL STARTS WITH THE CUSTOMER communications, whether visual or written. And perhaps most importantly, allow customers to Define your Customer Avatar: Create a clear tell the story themselves through testimonials. mental image of your clients, complete with their troubles, hopes, fears, wishes, home life, and daily routine. If you’re lucky enough, a customer immediately comes to mind, one who represents all of the needs that your products or services are designed to meet. Once you do that, you will have established a mental image of your predictive sales model. If you’re having trouble envisioning your Customer Avatar, think of a character on television that might help spark your imagination—Ralph Kramdon, Archie Bunker, Gregory House… the more you can see this person and appreciate their life situation and predict their behavior, the better you can visualize your Customer Avatar.
A PROMOTION BECOMES SPAM WHEN ITâ€™S SENT TO THE WRONG PROSPECT
Key principles to keep in mind when preparing your direct marketing:
There are two issues to consider when dealing with this. First, look at your prospect list before you send out any promotion. Does it really fit your Customer Avatar? If you are not reaching the people who have a legitimate interest in your offering, your promotions will be seen as a nuisance, wasting you money instead.
1. Know who your customer is 2. Get a prospect list that fits your customer
profile (you can purchase one, but a list you build yourself will generally be stronger)
Second, consider the delivery method most likely to be effective for your Customer Avatar. Direct delivery methods include direct mail, telemarketing, email marketing, doorto-door leaflet marketing (or stuck on the car windshield), broadcast faxing, voice mail marketing, coupons, direct response television marketing, and social media offers.
3. Use the delivery method most likely to reach your customer
4. Confused minds do not buy; make your
offer clear, with explicit instructions on how to act
5. People buy what they want, not what you want to sell 6. Stories sell (write your marketing piece as though you were talking to a good friend)
7. Give them a compelling motivation to
respond right away: A time limit or free addons if you buy now
8. Send your promotion out multiple times. People buy when they are ready; Get their attention, remind them
9. Measure your results In short, when done correctly, direct marketing works and will help make this your best year yet!
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The Anatomy Of
hotography is all about light. The word “photography” is derivative of two Greek words that when literally translated means “writing with light” or “painting with light.”
You need to understand light, both natural and ambient. How it shines. How it reflects. Anticipating it. Subtracting it. Sculpting your subjects with it. Lighting should be your first passion when it comes to the study of photography.
A Powerful Image By Jerry Ghionis
Unfortunately most inexperienced photographers will choose the beauty of location first before choosing a scene that is beautifully lit. If you cannot envisage the best light, place your hand in front of you and do a full circle. As you turn around you will notice
that your skin tones change according to the light. When you notice a rich form, look beyond your hand and you will notice a natural glow to your environment. That is what you should be searching for.
Once I have found the right light, I then choose my location or background. I allow the background to help steer me in a direction that I will take for the action in the photograph.
I believe I have nailed the shot and I have satisfied a spread in an album, I move on to the next story.
First, I design the shot in my head. I know what I am going to shoot before I shoot it, even anticipating spontaneous moments. I don’t believe in waiting for the moment, I believe in making it happen. By all means, if magic is happening before my eyes, I will be the first to let it happen. But if it is not, I will make magic happen.
Pose is a dirty word... My style is all about beauty and glamour. It is about capturing the couples looking their best. When I started photography, I was very conscious of photographing in a popular and marketable style. I started to think about what the most important factor in a photograph of oneself was. Many photographers will tell you that it is emotion, expression, storytelling or romance. I believe that all those things are very important, but come second to a person’s appearance. The first thing a person notices when they look at a photograph of themselves is how they look, scrutinizing every flaw they may or may not have. Once a person believes they look good in a photograph, they then take note of the secondary elements.
For example, if I see beautiful light shining on an interesting looking wall, I ask myself, “What could the couple be doing in this shot?” Perhaps the couple is walking past the wall and sharing a laugh. I then simply direct the couple to walk past it and proceed to make them laugh. Once
The same bride who wants to look great, doesn’t like the thought of appearing too posed. “Pose” is a dirty word in a bride’s vocabulary. She wants to look as natural as possible. So therein lies the problem. How do you make a bride look beautiful and natural at the same time? Simply put, I
prompt and direct her in a way that appears natural. I like my viewers to believe that I was in the right place at the right time, all day.
After searching for the best light, finding the best location and creating a concept for the bride and groom, I roughly set them up in a position I want them to be in. If I want my couples to look natural, I give them a reason to be there, such as whispering in each otherâ€™s ear or perhaps sharing a romantic kiss. I also use word association. For example, a red wall might remind me of passion, emotion and celebration, so I picture the bride throwing her hands up in the air in jubilation as she is laughing and
Many would argue that creating spontaneity on a wedding day is contrived and unconvincing. However, I believe in creating pictures, not just taking them. I will wait for opportunities, look for them, anticipate, create and pursue them relentlessly to not just meet my clients and my own expectations, but to exceed them every time. I am a proactive photographer.
peering out to the side of the frame. My next priority is to ascertain my exposure. There is only one exposure and that is the right one.
their groom’s images are overexposed. If you are relying on the “program” or “aperture” mode for your exposure and you were photographing a pale-complexioned bride in a white dress, leaning on a white wall, your exposure will be underexposed and your subject will appear grey. Just as you would overexpose an African-American man in a black suit, leaning on a dark wall, the image will also appear grey. Your camera can’t think for itself.
I believe that the true craft of photography is often lost to lazy digital capture and compensated by overzealous retouching techniques. If you haven’t gathered already, I photograph on the “manual” setting. Many photographers shoot on “aperture priority” or on the “program” mode and wonder why their bridal images are underexposed and
WHEN I AM FACED WITH A DIFFERENT SCENE, I WILL ALWAYS FOLLOW THE SAME ROUTINE TO DETERMINE MY EXPOSURE: I create shade by turning my back to the sun. Correctly exposed images often appear underexposed on the back of the camera. I let the detail in the skin tones and the highlights act as my guide. Trust your instinct. If you think you have over or underexposed an image, you have probably have. Experience will be your best teacher.
I will adjust my ISO to the lowest setting that the lighting condition allows me to use. I will then select my white balance and no, I will not always use the “auto” setting. For example, a church may be tungsten-lit, but if I set the camera to the “tungsten” white balance setting, the light may overcorrect the beautiful warmth of the church. I would instead set the white balance to the “daylight” setting. This would add blue tones to the scene and make the lighting appear less yellow but not enough to kill the ambience of the church.
Now that I have a correct exposure, all I need is an action or reaction. Don’t forget, I have placed my couple in the best light, I have roughly positioned them in the scene, I know what I want from the couple because I have conceptualized the image but at the same time I will also allow for spontaneity.
I then select the depth that I desire so I choose my aperture. I look through the viewfinder and picture my scene in shades of black and white rather than color. I then pretend to mix those tones together and diagnose the result. If the mixed tones appear mid grey, I adjust my shutter speed so that my exposure setting in my viewfinder is set to zero or the middle.
My camera is set. I then communicate to the couple clearly and effectively what I want from them. My prompts and directions add style and finesse and make the image appear believable to the viewer. Photography is 99% personality and 1% technique. If you are not enthusiastic or fun how can you expect your couple to be? I have heard fellow photographers say that their couple over the weekend “didn’t work it.” I agree that some couples can be more of a challenge but that is no excuse for an average result.
Let’s refer back to the example of our pale skinned bride in a white dress, leaning on a white wall. Some photographers would naturally underexpose such a scene because of its brightness. It is quite the opposite. The camera will evaluate the scene and want to underexpose resulting in an ashen bride in a grey dress leaning on a grey wall. There fore you have to overexpose such a scene in order to bring everything back to its true density. Similarly, you would have to underexpose the scene I spoke of earlier, of the African American man in a black suit, leaning on a dark wall.
Don’t lose faith, trust your instincts and extract as much love and emotion out of the couple as possible. I believe that too many photographers overshoot believing that it costs them nothing to do so. Before I even look through the viewfinder, I ask myself, “Is this working?” If it is not and I am not feeling it, I simply don’t shoot.
I use the meter in my camera and deliberately under or overexpose a scene once I have evaluated it. Once I believe I have the correct exposure, I take a quick shot and view the image on the back of the camera. Reading the back of the camera can sometimes prove difficult especially in sunny conditions. In these instances,
Once I have told the story of a particular scene, I move on to a different one. I am an artist, but I need to sell my art during the week so I shoot to sell.
These examples are all taken from the latest installment of Picpockets: “Greatest Clicks Volume 2.” Picpockets is a series of educational and inspirational guides in the form of a deck of cards. I hope you enjoy the images as much as I enjoyed creating them. Remember, you don’t have to be the best; you just have to be better than last week. These images I have taken include a little bit of background on each one and my camera settings. Keep in mind that I used all of the steps outlined for each one of these images. CAMERA: CANON EOS 5D LENS: 70-200MM F/2.8L IS USM FOCAL LENGTH: 140MM ISO: 200 APERTURE: F/4 SHUTTER SPEED: 1/400 WB: CLOUDY LIGHT SOURCE: DAYLIGHT
I had never photographed a military wedding before. And for some reason, the first image that came to my mind was this one. One might expect that photographing a military wedding would mean taking a more rigid, military approach to the formals. But I maintained my fashionable and fun sense of style when I created this image. And the final result is exactly what I had envisioned.
CAMERA: CANON EOS 5D MKII LENS: 70-200MM F/2.8L IS USM FOCAL LENGTH: 73MM ISO: 800 APERTURE: F/2.8 SHUTTER SPEED: 1/100 WB: DAYLIGHT LIGHT SOURCE: AMBIENT/OFF CAMERA FLASH
I wanted to take a portrait of my bride and groom with the ballet dancers they had especially flown in all the way from Paris. Even though it was freezing cold, I begged the dancers to come outside for just a few minutes and I posed them around my bride and groom. I placed an off camera flash behind them and ended up with a beautiful image that I used as the final spread in their album.
CAMERA: CANON EOS 5D MKII LENS: 70-200MM F/2.8L IS USM FOCAL LENGTH: 120MM ISO: 1250 APERTURE: F/2.8 SHUTTER SPEED: 1/80 WB: DAYLIGHT LIGHT SOURCE: OFF CAMERA FLASH
This was one of the last images I took on the wedding day. It was pouring rain outside, but I convinced my couple that if they went outside for one last image it would be worth it. I had my assistant stand behind them with an off camera flash as the only light source and it created a beautiful effect in camera.
CAMERA: CANON EOS 5D MKII LENS: 70-200MM F/2.8L IS USM FOCAL LENGTH: 80MM ISO: 1600 APERTURE: F/2.8 SHUTTER SPEED: 1/8 WB: DAYLIGHT LIGHT SOURCE: OFF CAMERA FLASH
I photographed this wedding in Taree, which is the country in New South Wales. The couple had their reception under a marquee on private property. During the reception, the couple had a real affinity for the saxophone player in the band. I could hear the saxophone player’s music outside the marquee rolling through the hills. There were also a lot of bugs outside and all of these elements together gave me an idea for an image I wanted to create later that evening. Finally at 1:00 in the morning, I brought my couple outside. There was a little bit of ambient light coming from the marquee. I also knew that if I used off camera flash behind my couple, this would highlight all of the bugs outside and the result was even better than I expected - it made the bugs look like stars.
CAMERA: CANON EOS 5D MKII LENS: EF 17-40 F/4L USM FOCAL LENGTH: 37MM ISO: 1000 APERTURE: F/4 SHUTTER SPEED: 1/20 WB: CLOUDY LIGHT SOURCE: OFF CAMERA FLASH
I photographed this couple on a windy beach in Miami very late at night. It was a very magical night and allowed myself to feel the moment. The wind caught the bride’s veil and it gave me the idea for another image paying homage to Michelangelo’s Creating of Adam painting that appears in the Sistine Chapel. The sky was completely dark but I exposed for it first. I then turned my white balance to shade to amply any tones that were in the sky – even if I couldn’t see it with my naked eye. I then used off camera flash to illuminate my bride. Because it was so dark, I needed a flashlight to focus on her first.
CAMERA: CANON EOS 5D MKII LENS: 70-200MM F/2.8L IS USM FOCAL LENGTH: 70MM ISO: 800 APERTURE: F/4 SHUTTER SPEED: 1/100 WB: TUNGSTEN LIGHT SOURCE: AMBIENT â€“ DOWN LIGHTS
This image was taken in a popular Melbourne nightclub. The only light source for this image was the ordinary down lights on the ceiling. I placed my bride against the wall and posed her in a way that would bring out the best in her. Notice how I bent her knee and tilted her face upward, creating a dramatic, sharp jaw line while also amplifying her bust line and the details in her dress. I spread the chairs out along the wall and posed her in between them rather than perfectly center her in the image, as this would have been too obvious.
CAMERA: CANON EOS 5D LENS: 70-200MM F/2.8L IS USM FOCAL LENGTH: 105MM ISO: 400 APERTURE: F/5.0 SHUTTER SPEED: 1/2500 WB: DAYLIGHT LIGHT SOURCE: DAYLIGHT
This bride had such a bubbly and infectious personality. As we were driving down the street, I noticed this lane filled with bright, colourful posters for a theatrical show. I posed my couple in front of the posters and directed my couple in a way that made them laugh in order to mirror the bright scene behind them.
CAMERA: PHASE ONE 645 AF WITH THE P40+ DIGITAL BACK LENS: 150MM F/2.8 FOCAL LENGTH: 150MM ISO: 50 APERTURE: F/4.5 SHUTTER SPEED: 1/800 WB: DAYLIGHT LIGHT SOURCE: DAYLIGHT
I wanted to bring a unique perspective to a location that has been photographed millions of times before. My model had a beautiful parasol as a prop and I wanted to incorporate that in the final image. Because there were so many tourists milling around in the background, I had to lie on the ground and shoot in an upwards direction, eliminating all of the people from the background. I asked my model to throw the umbrella in the air and to look behind her while laughing. I took the image just as the umbrella flipped and pointed towards the model, leading your eye into her. Iâ€™m very proud to say that this image made the cover of the January edition of Rangefinder magazine in the US.
CAMERA: CANON EOS 5D MKII LENS: EF 17-40 F/4L USM FOCAL LENGTH: 22MM ISO: 1600 APERTURE: F/4 SHUTTER SPEED: 1/60 WB: TUNGSTEN LIGHT SOURCE: LAMP
I photographed this couple at a local bar in Melbourne. I needed to think of a pose that would give my couple an excuse to be in that position so that light from the lamp would illuminate the brideâ€™s face. I also then positioned a large mirror in the foreground to capture a dramatic reflection of the bride and groom. And I also positioned myself in a way that would allow the top part of the frame to act as a leading line, leading your eye right into the bride in a beautiful embrace with the groom. CAMERA: CANON EOS 5D LENS: 70-200MM F/2.8L IS USM FOCAL LENGTH: 115MM ISO: 800 APERTURE: F/4 SHUTTER SPEED: 1/200 WB: DAYLIGHT LIGHT SOURCE: WINDOW LIGHT
If you were to try and wait for a moment like this to happen on a wedding day, you would quite possibly be waiting all day, or find that it would never happen at all. Just by providing some simple direction to this family, I was able to evoke a beautiful moment between the bride and her parents. Since our eyes naturally read from top left to bottom right, and because we naturally appreciate triangular compositions, this image is technically sound, but it also pulls at the heartstrings.
By Sandy Puć
With all of that added pressure, it is oftentimes hard to discover a way to break through the barriers to carve out your niche. You may be the most creative photographer in the world, but without understanding the power of relationships, you could really struggle to build your brand. One of the first accounts I ever secured with a wedding vendor happened totally by accident; however, it had a tremendous impact on the rest of my career. One day I had stopped by a flower shop to pick up an arrangement for a friend. As I wandered around the store, I noticed several images of a local photographerâ€™s work. I vividly remember thinking how nice it would be to have my work hanging in a store someday. I was relatively new to Colorado and was once again starting my business all over.
uilding a wedding business in this day and age can be a daunting task. Although digital capture has made our jobs easier and more creative, it has also given our potential customers the ability to capture their own important moments. Just a few short years ago, photographers were only competing with other local photographers to win a brideâ€™s favor. Now it can be an uncle, sister, or even high school friend who might be chosen by the bride to capture her most important day.
As I walked around the shop, the owner asked me if I needed help. We started to discuss the flower options, and I then proceeded to impress her with a little knowledge of the types of flowers she had on display. We continued to talk for a while, and soon her darling daughter came into the store followed by her husband. The little girl was a doll, and I quickly started playing a peek-aboo game with her as I shopped around.
her daughter was and how I would love to photograph her some day. Finally, I mentioned that if she ever needed an additional wedding photographer, I would love to show her samples. She looked at me in surprise and said, â€œThis is amazing. My photographer just mentioned that he is moving out of state, and just this morning I was trying to decide where I could find a new one to work with.â€?
I specifically remember wanting to say something about being a photographer, but I held back for fear of finding out that she already had a photographer who she worked with. I could feel I was getting more and more nervous thinking about saying something to her. I was on the verge of leaving the store without uttering another word. But instead, I took a deep breath, found some inner courage, and finally started to share my story.
She explained that she was very successful working with the photographer in securing bookings for him. In exchange he provided
Soon I was telling her all about a charity project I was working on, how adorable
your charitable endeavors, you played with my daughter and you shared your beautiful work. If your work ethic is anything like your personality, I do not need to look further.”
images of her arrangements after each wedding. I quickly pulled out a stack of wallets that I carried around as a mini portfolio. She sifted through them, commenting on each image. After she was done, she asked me to provide her sample albums to display, price lists, and any other literature that would help her help me get business.
I was numb with joy. I promised her that I would be back the next day with samples and that I would not disappoint her. I will
As it turns out, that single florist was responsible for almost every wedding I would end up booking during my first few years in Colorado. never forget walking out of that flower shop on cloud nine. I’m sure I radiated happiness and shouted for joy when I got into my car.
I literally stood there in shock. I told her that I totally understood if she needed to interview others, and that I was willing to wait. She looked me right in the eyes and said: “Listen dear, you opened your heart to me when you came in the door. You talked about
I have often wondered what would have happened had I not opened my mouth. As it turns out, that single florist was responsible for almost every wedding I would end up booking during my first few years in Colorado. I quickly learned the power of relationships and how sometimes you just have to ask. Soon after this experience, I started to pursue other wedding business opportunities. I contacted bridal shops, tuxedo shops, jewelry stores and event centers. Over time I really refined my approach. I learned to set appointments and to be prepared with samples of my work. And always, I brought a little treat—like a box of cookies or brownies—as a welcoming gift.
Yes, many times I was turned down, but more often than not, I at least made a new friend. Soon those ties grew and some of my best vendors were referring me to others vendors. Together we created a network of businesses that worked together to support each other. Although I have cut back on my wedding business, to this day many of those vendors are clients who I consider dear friends.
stores, sporting events, school functions— there’s no wrong place. You never know whom you might meet, where you might meet them, and whom they might know. Had I walked out of that flower shop without mentioning photography—as I initially wanted to—who knows? I really believe that meeting changed the course of my business and it set the target for my future endeavors.
If you truly love photography, as I’m sure you do, then never shy away from expressing your passion again. Supermarkets, book-
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By John D. Williamson
he Wedding Day—that special moment in time that stays with a couple for a lifetime. In order to help the bride and groom preserve that day forever, we photographers are relied upon to create amazing, unforgettable images.
With just one chance to capture those special moments, we ask ourselves, ‘What really makes or breaks an image?’ As we’ve discovered long ago, more often than not it all comes down to lighting. But with so many options out there, it can be easy to
get overwhelmed with the technical aspects and forget your original objective. However, there is a secret weapon that makes all the difference in the world, continuous lighting. With the use of continuous lighting, or constant lighting, you can focus your complete attention on your subjects instead of worrying about your equipment. Providing yourself with the constant daylight look that is created by continous lighting will take your wedding day photography to another level. So, here are some quick tips and benefits concerning specific wedding day situations for how continuous light can bring magic to your images.
Benefit: By setting up a continuous light source that coincides with the direction of ambient light in the room, you only have to make minor adjustments when the situation changes. This will keep you in the perfect place at all the right times. Instead of messing around with lighting, you can spend all your attention on capturing images that the bride and groom will cherish for the rest of their lives.
What you see is what you get Situation No. 1: Your bride is getting ready, so she’s constantly on the move. When setting up a series of shots, sometimes it isn’t possible to readjust and finetune your lighting between each shot. When this happens, it’s more important that your subject have a defined main light source that provides a directionality of light rather than a specific lighting pattern. The bride will be constantly changing position, so stopping her so you can reposition your lights isn’t practical.
Matching the specularity and color temperature of light Situation No. 2: Photographing the wedding cake. If you are shooting the wedding cake and the available light is a nice, soft light coming from an opening of a doorway, you want to make sure to match the specularity of the light. By mixing hard and soft light, you run the risk of making the image look unnatural. Also, when the color temperatures are mismatched, you get color contamination in your images, which can be incredibly difficult to correct later.
Solution: Set up a large main light source (36×48 softbox) that naturally matches the direction of the ambient light in the room, if there is one. This light source should be large enough to cover the area you are shooting while still providing you with a desirable quality of light.
and groom, it is important to be as invisible as possible. Sometimes this can be extremely difficult, like when shooting the alter shots, but more often than not you want to be able to melt into the background and shoot things as they unfold. (The bride getting ready is another great example of this. The hairstylist and makeup artist have a specific job to do, so it is vital that you do not disturb them.)
Solution: Make sure that your light source still follows the same basic rules of lighting as your portraits. Of course, you are not going to have lighting patterns, but you do want your light source to be higher than your subject. You donâ€™t want to light your subject from the bottom to the top. This would, again, look very unnatural. Try to follow the same angle of light that is naturally there. You want to make sure you are maintaining highlights and shadows. This gives your images depth and dimension.
Solution: Wear dark, unassuming clothes that allow you to blend into the background. Use longer lenses to get those close-up, candid shots instead of having to get so physically close to the subject. This will keep you out of the way and prevent you from disturbing the moment you are trying to capture. Also, because continuous lighting
Benefit: By having the settings in your camera corrected to accommodate for both specularity and color temperature, you are able to save yourself both time and money. For this reason, use daylight-balanced fluorescent bulbs. This means you will have an exact color temperature without any shifts during the shoot.
Become Invisible Situation No. 3: Getting up-close and personal images. These are perhaps the most important images youâ€™ll capture all day. When you are documenting the wedding day for the bride
is similar to the sun, as soon as you turn the light on, it can remain on, appearing as if it is invisible because of it’s natural-light look.
shooting with a speed light just doesn’t offer. Continuous light also matches the natural light much better than an artificial flash. That’s not to say flash doesn’t have it’s place, just that constant light naturally lends itself to shooting with available light.
Benefit: By utilizing a constant light source, you are able to set up additional lighting that helps the stylist and makeup artists do their job as well, as I often get compliments from the stylist that my lights make their work easier. Always a good thing for the bride to hear!
Constant lighting also allows you to stay out of the way and be as unobtrusive as possible. With a constant light, there is no distracting flash of light that may alter your subject’s mannerisms. When someone knows they are getting their picture taken, they tend to act differently than when they are casually interacting with friends.
When shooting with constant light, you have the benefit of seeing exactly what your light is going to look like before you take the picture. You can visually see the lighting pattern and the lighting ratio—something that
By Sandy Puć
efore you get started, talk to your clients about their ideal session. You should have a clear understanding of what they would like to look like and how they envision their final images. Some women may want to be a seductive temptress, while others will want something soft and much less aggressive. When you’re photographing boudoir sessions, understand that not every pose you try will work for every body type. However, that does not mean they are not great poses. It is important that as you shoot, you look at your subject carefully and modify the pose until it works for her body. Sometimes a minor tweak of the hand, altering leg placement or even a tilt of the head can have a dramatic effect on your final image. Be sure your subject is relaxed and excited to participate. It is also helpful to narrow down your favorite poses in advance so you do not exhaust your client.
that not only will the entire body look lean, but good posture will accentuate the chest and highlight the entire silhouette as well. Many of these poses feel awkward but look great. Let your client know that although some poses might not feel natural, your goal as an artist is to create dramatic lines and angles. Often times you will not be shooting the entire body, so what feels most uncomfortable will not even show. Have the subject tighten her muscles to ensure that everything looks toned and fit. This can really reduce retouching time later. Because this seems unnatural for most, throughout the shoot you might need to remind the subject to “tighten it up.” This also helps problem areas like the tummy and bottom.
Once you understand her perspective, discuss these standards: Posture is everything. It’s very important for your subject to keep her back straight. This slims the figure, creates much better lines and ultimately perfects the image. Explain
The mental attitude should be anything but tense, so do what to can to help your
are watching them carefully and that you are not going to shoot anything that doesn’t look right. Share a few sample images from your camera to help build confidence if you find that you have a subject who is insecure. This builds confidence within themselves and in your talents.
SO LET’S RECAP: 1. Posture is everything 2. It feels awkward but looks great 3. Tighten it ALL up 4. Relax, breath and enjoy
client relax and enjoy the process. Tell your subject to take a few deep breaths if they look nervous at any time, and tell a few jokes to break the ice. Let them know it’s okay to laugh and that not every pose will be easy. They should trust that you
5. Practice, Practice, Practice There are literally thousands of ways to modify and change a pose to create new and unique looks for your clients. One of the best ways to really understand how to pose the body is to practice, practice and practice. Find a friend who will model for you and then shoot all kinds of poses of her. Don’t worry about backgrounds, props or clothing. Just keep it simple and shoot. Soon you will begin to see what works and what doesn’t. Once you have mastered these poses, start browsing magazines and add additional poses that you think might work well. Soon you will start to see how different body types react to different angles. It will become easier to recognize what your subject will look best in, and even more new poses will emerge through this process.
Spend more time with your clients and less time changing backdrops A typical session at my studio is usually scheduled to last an hour. However, when you really boil it down, only about 30 minutes of that hour is actually spent shooting, with the first 15 minutes spent preparing my clients for the shoot and the last 15 minutes spent going over with them what to expect next.
outer seams of each backdrop, all I have to do is tear one off like a giant sheet of paper, grab the next one and go. And did I mention they’re also wrinkle free? Talk about a real time-saver.
Therefore, it’s so crucial that I make every second of that 30 minutes really count. Because as we all know, the more images you’re able to capture, the better product you can ultimately offer your clients. In other words, no single moment while my clients are in front of a camera is ever wasted.
Not only are Colorsmacks extremely manageable and easy to handle, but their vibrant, splashy colors and patterns make them truly unique too. I have so much fun going through our studio’s collection with my subjects and picking out which ones will fit best with what they’re wearing that day. It’s a great way to get to know a little bit about my clients’ tastes before the first image is shot.
That’s why I only use products that help me maximize the precious little time I have with my clients. One of the best examples of such a product is Silverlake’s Colorsmacks, extremely versatile, lightweight backdrops that can literally be changed on the fly in a matter of seconds.
Now I have to admit, at first I was actually skeptical when an associate photographer ordered some backdrops with particularly funky color schemes. But I soon found out just how much fun these backdrops can be for subjects of all ages, from newborns to families, and particularly for seniors.
Rather than struggling for minutes to change the traditional heavy and bulky backdrops that I’ve worked with for years, Colorsmacks weigh about as much as a blanket, allowing me to change scenes up to five times in just one session. With Velcro sewed into the
Despite the moniker, all Colorsmacks aren’t flashy either, as Silverlake also offers vintage and subtle designs for more traditional looks. And with an extremely reasonable price point, this product is certainly one worth having in any studio.
Published on Apr 4, 2011
Spring is here and right around the corner is wedding season. Learn how to set your studio apart with advice and insight from wedding photog...