Jan 2012 26
With this Spotlight – we wanted to feature the photographers who shoot in it all, sun, rain, wind .. and SNOW. I couldn’t think of a better person to put the spotlight on than on Kim Bednarski Anderson of KB Image Photo of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. So grab your cup of coffee, wrap up  in a warm blanket and have seat ..  as Kim gives the best tips on how to photograph weddings in the cold and snow.
Here in Wisconsin the bulk of our weddings are seasonal, happening in the somewhat temperate climate of May-October.  However, each year a handful of hearty souls eschew the flowering trees of May and opt for a winter wedding hoping for snowflakes and mounds of pure white snow  banks to take their wedding photos in.    These are likely the same hearty souls you see sporting a tank top in February at a Green Bay Packers game; the brave, the few…the winter wedding client.
While admittedly there are more challenges to photographing in the snow, the opportunity to do so always delights me.  In the summer, we have hours of golden light to work with on a clear day.  With the late winter sun, the window  of photography time is short but the light produces a beautiful pastel quality you just cannot mimic any other time of year.  Here are ideas to prepare yourself and your clients for a fantastic outdoor photo experience in the colder months:
Things to relay to the bride and groom:
1. They Must be Practical.  While any  photographer wants to  magical pictures if the weather is right, extreme conditions can make it impossible to photograph outdoors.   I make it clear in my consults that I will photograph in any conditions as long as my photographic gear is not compromised. Consider adding in a clause to your contract about the possibility of doing a portrait session of the couple in their wedding finery  on another more temperate day if conditions are not amenable on the wedding day.  They should understand that this may mean  them having to rent a tux again for a day or cleaning the dress for this portrait session but often clients are happy to do so.  I find this simple gesture takes all the worry out of “will we be able to have great outdoor photos “.   In 15 years of photographing weddings, I’ve only had one client take me up on it.
2. Prepare.  Prepare your client with ideas about what to wear.   Fun boots, furs, capes, muffs and other photographically interesting outerwear make great photos.  Many area bridal salons will rent these if they don’t want to purchase them. Have them prepare the bridal party; if you plan on taking them out in the cold for photos, let the bride and groom it’s important for them to relay that to the bridal party prior to the wedding so they  know so they can bring along appropriate footwear. Suggest providing Pashmina shawls for the bridesmaids or  fedoras or other smart looking hats for the groomsmen.  Suggest things like having  warmers and warm beverages available on the transportation used for the bridal party as well so they can get out of the cold and warm up when their photos are done.
3.  Be the Pro and the Wedding Planner too:  Clients often have unrealistic ideas of a timeline and will sometimes insist that their 3PM ceremony will leave “plenty of time for outdoor photos 30 minutes away because our ceremony is only 15 minutes” when you remind them that the sun sets at 4:15PM in January. Take control and let them know that it’s just not possible to make good photographs at that time of day with that tight of a schedule.  They can have the option of doing their ceremony earlier, seeing each other before the ceremony and doing photos then or scheduling a session after the wedding day.  Part of your job is telling clients “it just won’t work photographically” so you do not disappoint them.
For  you the Photographer:
1. Don’t be Foggy.  Remember that  acclimatization of equipment is important when you take cameras out into the cold.  Just like glasses fog up when you go from a cold outdoor location to indoor, so do the elements of your lenses and the inside of your camera causing fogging.  Condensation in your camera can lead to nasty things like fungus growth inside your lenses and electrical shorts.   To combat this, I keep the camera and lenses I shoot outdoors with in my car in a separate camera bag well hidden so they are the same temperature or close to it as the outside temperature.  When driving to a location outdoors to photograph, I don’t turn on the heat in my car…yes, I am that hard core.   Batteries are also a concern as cold weather zaps them quickly, so keep them in a inner coat pocket and insert them just before you begin to shoot.  Have a few on hand and as they wear down, replace them with a fully charged set. Fingerless gloves and hand warmers will save your life.
2.  Take Cover.  If it’s snowing an assistant can hold an umbrella over your head and follow you, or you can use a Ziploc bag wrapped around your camera in a pinch.  My favorite photo accessory for this is the best man.  I hand him an umbrella and tell him to follow me around to keep my gear dry telling him “Well, you’re the BEST MAN for this, right?”
3.  Expose Yourself the Right Way.   Bright skies and snow can fool your cameras meter  and underexpose your images.  Check your histogram often and consider using  a custom white balance as the  light skews blue during the day, switching to ambers and reds towards sunset.   The light falls quickly this time of year often leaving mere minutes in between light and dark and the color balance shifts quickly.
4.  Smile.  Even though you are freezing , smile.  Your clients will sing your praises if you can create images for them that other photographers would shy away from.   Your portfolio will thank you, and so will your checkbook when you are booking weddings during the cold and bleak months.

Kimberley Bednarski Anderson is a wedding  photographer located in Milwaukee Wisconsin.  She is an proud award winning member of  The International Society of Professional Wedding Photographers and The Wedding Photojournalists Association and is the President of the Milwaukee chapter of The National Association of Wedding Professionals.  When she is not photographing weddings she likes to spend time with her two boys, two dogs, two bunny rabbits and one cat and  also likes to make irreverent posts on Facebook.  If you want to be her friend or maybe just tell her how cute her bunnies are you can find her at www.kbimagephoto.com

Feb 2012 28

We are hitting the warm states this month since it’s cold here in NYC in February. This week we want to introduce you to Guillermo Quijano-Duque of  Natural Touch Photography. Guillermo has been a full time photographer for six years now and calls Albuquerque, New Mexico home.  Although six years doesn’t sound like a long time, he has been a photographer for 34 years. Guillermo is a native of Colombia, South America and came to the US as an exchange student in 1977.  During his 20 years in the wireless industry he photographed part time after making a sales call to a wedding photography studio one day. He hit it off with the owner who trained him and showed him the business.  He had the fortitude to be patient for 10 years until he was sure he could provide his customers with beautiful images and a great photographic experience.

I asked Guillermo what he loves to photograph the most. He replied, “ I love to photograph striking life moments – I prefer photos without people in them but life is ironic and made me a pretty darn good wedding photographer.  I get my inspiration from my pursuit to remain a true photographer that does not rely on digital tools but strives to understand the science and art of photography more each day.”

He photographs around 60 weddings a year (that’s not a typo) and says he loves every minute of it.  Guillermo said if he could give his younger self some advice when he was first starting out it would be to just go for it and start now!

So I asked Guillermo what’s in his camera bag. He said, ” Two 7d bodies and one 10d body (nostalgia), Canon 28-70 L 2.8, Canon 70-200 ISIIL 2.8, a Canon Fisheye and two  580 EXII flashes.”

With doing roughly 60 weddings a year, I had to ask him what his favorite image is that he captured.  He replied, “ Of all time – I haven’t taken it yet – I have never rated one of my photos a five.  But out of my wedding photos I would have to say the first photo I took of a bride and her bride’s maids during my first wedding in 2006.”

Thank you Guillermo, your work is lovely and inspiring. If you would like to see more of his work you can visit his site HERE.

May 2013 21

May and June are typically the months when wedding photographers start to get busy as the season starts. I truly believe, wedding photography is one of the hardest specialities. The reason : You need to be a photojournalist, stock photographer, architectural photographer, portrait photographer, food photographer, a commercial photographer and the list goes on. You need to have knowledge in all these areas to be truly great at your craft.  Aside from the technicalities of wedding photography, there are a few things you should keep in mind when photographing the couple on the way to the altar.

 

1. Preparation

I can’t say this one enough. Preparation is key. Have a questionnaire for your couple. In the questionnaire,you should ask the basics : start time, venue location etc. Also ask, about relations and the names of family and wedding party. It’s hard to remember everyone’s name in the wedding party, but learning the names of the parents, grandparents and siblings will take you far.  Also, ask if there are any family situations to be made aware of, such as divorces or deaths. It’s important to set expectations with your couple ahead of time instead of having a surprise or problem on the day of the wedding.  Remember there is no such thing as too much information when it comes to wedding photography. As far as preparing equipment, check and charge everything the night before if not earlier.

2. Scout your Location

I have always scouted my locations a week before the event. The reason being, I needed to know where the sun set in the sky during the time I would be taking wedding pictures. I may have been at this venue before, but generally the time of day and seasons may have been different.  Also, I check to see if there are any races or street fairs I should know about on the wedding date as this might affect traffic to and from the ceremony or the reception. You also want a back up plan. If it rains on the wedding day, you should be prepared with a  plan “b”.  A plan to execute in case it rains, you don’t want to be left high and dry without a back up plan.

3. The Power of Light

Know your light. Everything from natural to flash to strobe. When working with natural light, do you want a sihlouette or do you want to work with the sun? This will make a difference in your settings.  For flash, there are a number of ways to diffuse your flash to make it softer on your subjects. If you don’t know how to use your flash manually, try using a diffuser . You can also bounce it off walls, ceilings, even off reflectors. If you are using strobe, make sure you have tested your triggers or you have plenty of extension chord if it’s a plug in.  The key is to have the most flattering light possible on your subjects.

 

4. Details

Your couple has spent a lot of time picking out the right shoes, the right tie, the right rings, the right dress , the right suit. Spend some time getting images of these various articles as well as all the little details at the reception. You would be amazed how these detail shots help in setting up a wedding album. They often make the perfect filler or background.

5. Social Media Savvy

I can’t think of a better event to be social savvy at  than a wedding. Your opportunities to market are endless. From your questionnaire on step 1, ask for the bride and groom’s soial media handles on facebook ,twitter, instagram and such. Go over your plans with the couple on how you will present their images on your website, facebook and other channels. Some people are still very private, so it’s important to know this ahead of time.  Make it fun and get everyone involved. Sometimes coming up with a fun hashtag on Instagram can get the wedding party and guests involved. For example, #MikeandSallyTieTheKnot. Or when loading photos to Facebook, have your couple invite their friends to “tag” themselves in the photo.  At the reception, print out little cards with the website and password to the images for the wedding. Marketing is a different world now days with the internet and it’s important to not only discuss this with your couple but to also stay one step ahead of the technology curve.

There are so many more tips and tricks to wedding photography, but these are definite starting points. I have been a wedding photographer for 13 years and I can honestly say, it is one of the most difficult and demanding photography specialties. I admire those who have been in the business for years and I admire those just starting out and pushing the boundaries. Documenting a couple on one of their most cherished days is an honor and more importantly, giving them beautiful images documenting their wedding day is the best marketing you can do for yourself as they show them to their friends and family.

 

 


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