Engagement Session On Location
So next we're going to talk about Blair and Jeremy, the clients that you met already in their pre wedding planning meeting. I had the wonderful fortune of photographing Blair and Jeremy twice for their engagement session. They hired me to shoot their wedding. They hired me to do their engagement portrait's and we got permission to photograph their engagement session in Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, which is where the Phillies play. And it was really wonderful, to be honest with you guys. That was before the scope of this project really began and they were really gracious enough to allow us to do another engagement session with them, to give them a completely different look to the images that they had and also to allow us to document that for you guys. Toe watch. I wanted to share some images from there very, very first engagement session with me, taking the principles of every single thing that I've talked to about so far. We made some camera aware photographs at a really good lo...
ng focal length for some beautiful compression. I opened up. I did some wider things to show the scene in a completely different way. 35 millimeters and then 70 millimeters immediately changing that foreground background relationship, We were able to go somewhere that was meaningful to them. These air their seats. This is where they sit when they're in the park watching the game together, we did some more camera where photographs in a completely different location, to give a different look to their images so that everything doesn't look exactly the same. And again, I was just able to start getting to know the two of them, getting to know how they were in front of the camera, getting to know what was important to them, getting to know what they were like together as a couple. And then they were very gracious enough in their desire to have another session that gave them another look to their photographs to go to a different place to go into the city instead of just being in a ballpark. They invited us along with them for their second engagement session, and I invite you to watch that with us right now. See in a minute. On a bright fall day, I met Blair and Jeremy at Philadelphia's Four Seasons Hotel for their engagement session. We took a walk over to Logan Circle so that we could start with the late afternoon sun streaming through the fountain. My God, the life so good. Right now, this is why you tell your clients what time you're going to shoot the engagement session. Don't let them tell you in the calm. So just kind of let them do their thing out there. The lights. Beautiful. Got him right. Or Awan? Um, they shoot some back here on a move. A little closer. Oh, yeah. Usually the engagement session is the only chance I have to have any control over timing Own, Like Hodges is pretty. I know a lot of photographers think fountains or cliche, but I really love a good cliche fountain. And they're so cute. Good. That's beautiful. And my angle is wrong. I'm going to wrangle myself. This looks great. I love it when clients say, Oh, no, we're really terrible in front of the camera. Like we're really awkward. And then they show up and they're like, excellent, especially guys. Okay, we're gonna move on, and this is gorgeous. This is insane. Like this. So pretty. Let's let's hit it from the other side. If only there could be a fountain everywhere I go. After we'd finished with the fountain, we took a walk to see what else we could find and ended up at the Barnes Foundation. All rights, we're gonna stop here. So you're really pretty going blind. You kind of temporarily you're gonna stand right where I'm standing, and then you're gonna stand. Don't look at the sun. So you're gonna stand here. If you put a big shadow on her face, you're in the wrong spot. You went. We want her blind. But look at him. Don't look in the sun, OK? So you just come closer. Come where? This way. Okay. Perfect. And then like that, it is your necklace. And they get close together and just okay for him. Turn you a little bit so that the sun hits you in the face. Keep going. That Yes. And then talk to him like that? Yes, exactly. So there's a lot of people by There's always going by, but gonna wait for the cars and then fire and it will look like they're all by themselves here. But I end up shooting a bunch where there are cars in them cause you know what? You dio air, we go. It's gonna be pretty. Whenever I see good light, I turn into like a crazy, manic person. My voice goes up like four octaves. I'm shooting a lot because they're talking amongst themselves a lot, and I don't want to stop them and start posing them cause they're doing a great job. And this is not I would like to clarify spraying and praying because I'm shooting through all of their expressions as they're making them. I'm not just kind of wailing away. There she goes. She moves out of the light sometimes when she was back in it. But I don't want to make her uncomfortable and ask her to move. And he's kind of important. Yes, you are. Sorry. Air we dio. Of course, by doing that, I just grew a tree out of her head. So we move a little over here. After leaving the Barnes Foundation, we took a walk until we ended up at the Rodin Museum, where I encountered a little bit of difficulty. So I actually I actually like it better out here. I thought the light might still be coming in here and it is in their defense. So doesn't really say like a loving their big cookie. We're gonna go over here instead. Stay right there for secondly. Just look at how the lights falling on you over there. This is great. This is exactly what you need to see. Is me completely stumped as to what? To Dio? Because I want to show the Rodin. But I don't like the light. So I was doing this thing where I was trying to make something so cool that I was making it overly complicated. You either sit on the stone or sit on his lap and snuggle with him. Whichever is more comfortable. No. Yeah, it's fine. That's exactly what I didn't know that I wanted perfect. We then took a walk to another nearby fountain, where the fast moving water and the tents in the background proved difficult to work with. It's probably this might not work because there's just so much water. I think there's too much water. I think it's a cool shot, but I don't think the idea is gonna work. Actually, in practice, having a lot of trouble with water. I think we're going to have to say that there is too much water. After I had been defeated by the water, we headed over to finish out our session at Philadelphia's iconic Art Museum. So what I want you guys to do is go toe like this first landing right here in between those sets of cones and settle up however you want. I'll let you know if it looks weird. So usually I just tell people to do what they feel like doing. And then I'll let them know if it looks strange here. Um, look, yeah, you got I was seeing the back of your head, so just look at him. You can stay, turn the other way, just turn into each other, however your comfy. So if you put your back to him, just look back at him that Yes, exactly. Now there's some do drinking water up there above them, and he's not moving. So don't wait for him to go. And now he's gone. Now he's back, so it's come from a slightly different angle to crop that guy out. There we go. It's getting later in the day, so the sun starting to come down so I can shoot into it a little bit more without having to be totally shielded. It looks really beautiful and they're really cute. All the people are running up and down the steps. This looks great. Oh, there we go. And then I put lens flare right on top of their heads, which is really phenomenal technique. I highly suggest you don't do that now. On a wedding day of my assistant were here, I would have her either hold a reflector or stand to help me out. But I has no help today, so I got to do it myself. There we go. Oh, that's really pretty good guys. That's good. Good. They walked out of my life, but we'll see if there's anything we're shooting. There's not. So I'm going to follow them up, like right here, faced each other and get really close to like you love them. Yeah. Oh, it's really nice. So sometimes I'm looking for is really beautiful directional light. When I'm trying to mainly capture this background, this nice soft light is really pretty. I made sure that I ended the session with some good old fashioned, smiling at the camera pictures, no matter how much I want to be artistic with the work that I dio, it's important to make sure that we have some straight forward camera aware portrait. Before finishing the session and heading home, I took a quick look at the back of my camera to make sure that I had everything that I needed. So now that you've seen the video, now that you've seen a little bit what it's like to watch me work on an incredibly sweltering, bizarrely unseasonably warm day in Philadelphia, I wanted to take the time to go back through the images that we photographed and talked to about them a little bit more. Well, I did my best to narrate for you a little bit. There's only so much that you can do to stop and talk about what you're doing while you're working with an actual client. And while they were gracious enough to invite them along while I was there, the focus was on creating the work for them. Would you know I can then recap for you, so to talk to you a little bit about what was going on here when we were documenting the reason why I wanted to start at this particular fountain. It was a great time of day. They had listened to me in terms of what time we needed to be doing the session. They met me at a time that I knew that the light would be really beautiful and based on what they said they were looking for. In their second engagement session, I was able to pick a location for them that I knew would be really beautiful at the time of day that we were going to be outside shooting that session. So we met at Logan Circle in Philadelphia and we walked over to the fountain. I had already checked to make sure that the fountain is going to be on that day, because sometimes it could be cheerfully unpicked in unpredictable like that. And I knew that at the time of day that we were going to be out there. The light was going to be streaming through the fountain in exactly the way that I wanted it to be taking a quick note on positioning off where the clients are, the fact that they're standing where they are, and the fact that I am where I am to photograph this picture is not an accident. I have deliberately put their heads against the darker background. If I had put their heads against the water, I would have been making something a little bit like this talking to you briefly about exposure again. Both of these air shot with a very long lens. They're both shot at f four. But when we're looking at the image on the left, I'm exposing for their faces. The light is coming through from directly behind them. I've placed them between myself and the light of the sun, and I've put them deliberately against the statue coming out of the fountain so that you would really be able to see that rim of light around their faces if they had been against the lighter part of the water. Even if I had exposed correctly, you wouldn't have seen that rim of light around their faces because they would have been against a bright background. In this instance, I deliberately placed them against a darker background so that that rim of light from the sun shining on the sides of their faces is very deliberately juxtaposed against that dark background. But if you look over at the image on the right. We've spoken about silhouettes. We've talked about the exposure needed to create a silhouette. And to recap that for you, you need to have an exposure difference between your subject and your background of enough of a difference that when you adjust your exposure so that your subjects become dark enough to be a silhouette, that your background is still bright enough to juxtapose your subjects off of. If this fountain background had been darker by the time I had adjusted in my exposure down so that Blair and Jeremy became the dark silhouette that they are, the fountain would have been muddy. There wouldn't have been a still bright background to put them against. So if you're working with your silhouettes and you're noticing that by the time you expose correctly for your clients, it's kind of muddy and you can't see the silhouette crisply enough, you might want to consider that your brat ground isn't necessarily bright enough to create the effect that you're looking for. So these are two pictures side by side. I actually have not moved Blair and Jeremy. If you'll notice I've moved myself in the image on the left. I'm shooting so that their faces are against the fountain in the background, in the image on the right, I'm shooting so that their faces are against the bright water behind them on. I'm adjusting my exposures accordingly to create the effect that I want in the final photograph. Here's another view of the exact same thing that we were talking about before where if you look at this image, if you look up in the top right corner here, if I had dropped down so far that their faces were against this top corner over here, by the time I adjusted my exposure so that blaring Jeremy became a silhouette, they would have practically blended into the background because adjusting the exposure in that way would have made the background too dark for them to really stand out against. So I had to make sure that their heads were against the brighter part of the background so that when I did adjust my exposure for the silhouette, it would look the way I wanted it to. Continuing with that example, they're staying in exactly the same location, un creating this image here, where the focus is on their faces, and the fountain in the background is just a lovely indistinct blur. I can also refocus where I'm standing and how I'm standing to completely change the scene there, still juxtaposed correctly against the background. I'm still exposing correctly so that by the time they become a silhouette, they still stand out against the bright background. But I have moved over a little bit with my own positioning so that I have included the ark of the water coming out of the fountain so that I have included the actual sculptural element of the fountain itself and just change the look of the image. As I was talking before about working the scene, look for the different angles that you confined. Look at the different levels that you can shoot from. Look at the different lens is that you can bring to the table and see how many images that you can make in any different given seen before you move on to another one. Then what we've done here, which you saw a little bit in the video, is I move them over to the other side of the fountain. So instead of having the sun coming from behind them and hitting them on the sides of their faces. I brought them over and I put them directly in the path of the sun itself so that the sun is directly hitting them in the face. Now. I couldn't really do this at noon on. I couldn't really do this at one o'clock in the afternoon because the sun would be so strong that it would really blind them. And that's something that I really want to avoid, which is making my clients in any way uncomfortable. It's later in the day the sun is starting to come down it. It's softer. It is more forgiving. Therefore, when I use it as the main light on my client's face, it isn't just this tractor beam of brightness that's going to, you know, cause them to squint or be really uncomfortable or be anything that is unpleasant. It becomes a very nice, flattering light source. And when I expose for their faces in both the image on the left and the image on the right, because the light on their faces is stronger than the light on the background. When I do get a correct exposure on their faces, it automatically brings down the background for me, so if you take a look, you'll note their faces air perfectly exposed. Everything in the background is brought down by a few stops that simply by putting them in the actual path of the sun and exposing for the skin on their faces and in the image on the left, I focused into the fountain. They did not move it all. You can see literally by their body positioning. All I did was step up, move over, Crouchback down. And instead of shooting into the fountain, I came out to 140 millimeters instead of 190 millimeters, and I shot towards City Hall instead. Two completely different looks in the photographs and I'm not just saying because one is color and one is black and white. It's two completely different looks because I have changed the way I am looking at the scene without moving the clients. So from there we took a walk and we ended up over nearer the Barnes Foundation and I worked on the exact same principles of light that I was working on before, when we were at the fountain putting my subject between myself and my light source and in this instance over here on the left at the 200 millimeter mark, I felt like I was including a little bit too much of the scene. You can see the people in the bottom left walking by, kind of coming in. There's a little bit too much distraction you can see in the bottom right of the frame. The cars that were driving by I was having a very hard time, kind of eliminating the distractions in the background. Even at 200 millimeters. Just shooting at 200 millimeters is not enough to eradicate a distracting background at times. So what I chose to Dio was dropped down. Change my angle. I'm still enough for I'm still a 200 millimeters and still it I s 0 200 None of that has changed at all. I've simply dropped down and shot up into them. I'm sitting with a long lens, so I'm not going directly up her nose. I'm not distorting them. This is not unflattering. All this has allowed me to do is minimize the distractions in the bottom part of the image on the left by focusing mainly on the couple in the image on the right. I'm not saying that one is correct, and one is incorrect. It's just a different way of looking at the same scene now when I deliver one and not the other. Of course not. I'm going to deliver both. I like them both. But the image on the right is more about Blair and Jeremy and their faces. And the image on the left is more about the entire scene. So why wouldn't I include both? Why wouldn't I shoot both? And then I simply got up and I moved just a little bit. So instead of the light coming from behind them and hitting the sides of their faces by placing them between myself and my light source, what I have done is turned them so that the light comes directly through striking blur directly on her face. I had to make sure that where Jeremy was positioned was far enough back so that he wasn't blocking the light on her face. And you can see in the video where I tell him, You know, if if you're casting a shadow on her face, you're in the wrong place because I want the light directly on her. So I had to make sure that he stayed back a little bit and she came forward a little bit. So the light came directly through. 200 millimeters were still a F four. The image here on the right, I physically got up. I moved myself back further so that I could stay at 200 millimeters anti, moved myself closer so that I could stay at 200 millimeters, crouched down, shot up. They didn't move at all. And I changed the entire look of the scene in the entire look of the photograph by moving myself instead of my clients moving onwards, you saw my incredible difficulty of shooting at the Rodin Museum, and a point that I really want to make about that is that none of us want our clients to see us not knowing what we're doing. And none of us want to see one our clients to see us in any way being unsure. But I would rather tell a client Hey, guys, hold on just a second. I needed take a minute to take a look at something, then shooting my clients in a way that I know is not going to be flattering to them or just shooting a scene just because just because I'm there that couple of extra seconds that I took to find exactly where I needed to place the two of them meant that I got the photograph that I wanted. And your clients don't care if you tell them. Hey, guys, I need just a second toe. Like look at this scene. I know we all have this fear that if you say that to a client, they're automatically going to say, Whoa, you don't know what you're doing, do you? We all need a second to think sometimes. So if I say Hey, guys, hold on just a second. I want to take a look at something really quick. This kind of gives me an opportunity to suss out the scene, kind of refocuses myself back into a place where I feel a little more confident, and then it let me find exactly what I was looking for in the image on the right. I was really trying to make something really good for them with this fountain because it was really difficult. There had been a walk for breast cancer down in that area of Philadelphia that day, and when we got down close to the art museum, they still had a lot of tents set up from all of the stuff that they had done there. And no matter how I tried, no matter how I angled myself, no matter how I positioned myself, I couldn't get a good shot that didn't have a 10 10 it. If I went far enough over that, I blocked the tent out. Then there was too much of what was going on on the right side and I was losing the statute, which is what I wanted. And after working the scene for a few minutes, I made one image. That's I mean, it's fine, it's OK. I delivered that to them. But I was able to tell really quickly that I wasn't going to be able to turn that scene into what I wanted it to be, so I shot it. I worked with it for a while and then I moved on. By the time we reached this part of the day, it was timed exactly how I wanted. We got to the Art Museum. At the point in time that the sun was really coming down, it was much more forgiving than it had been just a little while ago when we started the session and I was able to open up and let the sun come into my lens a little bit. Now we're trying very, very hard to not have the sun come into your lens at earlier portions of the day because it can create a lot of haze and a lot of ghosting in your final image. But in this instance, because it is lower because the flare is really forgiving at a later time in the day I allowed it, especially in the image on the left, to come in and sort of blow out my limbs just a little bit. We're still working with the exact same principles that we've been talking about for quite a while. My subjects are between myself and my light source. It is very evident by the aura of light that you can see around her head. I'm still working at F four. I'm still working at 200 millimeters, and I'm able to compress them off of these steps in a really beautiful fashion. And then, without moving Blur or Jeremy at all, I was simply able to change my point of approach. We're still at a longer limbs, but not quite that long, because I came out to 116 millimeters. 116 960. Still it f four still in an ice floe. I s O. But I opened up a little bit because I wanted to show a little bit more of the scene. I wanted them to be a little bit more a part of the scene instead of compressing them off of the background in the way that I did with the image on the left. So again it's working the scene. It's understanding your focal length. It's understanding your settings and knowing what the gear that you're bringing to the shoot is going to produce for you. And then, by the time that we reached the very top of the art museum steps, as I knew it would, the sun was almost completely gone there, directly in the path of the sun, so that by the time I've exposed for their faces together, all of Philadelphia, that you can see spread out here in the background has darkened down because the light on their faces is brighter, then the light on the rest of my scene. And when I get that exposure on their faces, just write. It automatically darkens down the rest of my background for me. I'm still shooting at 200 millimeters. I'm shooting at 200 millimeters so that the entire city of Philadelphia comes right up behind my subjects. It's very much a part of the photograph. It looks like a beautiful painting in the background. And again, the misconception that toe have that look in the background of your image. You have to be shooting at 1.8 or 1.2. The look in the background of these images is Lin's compression. It's not because I was at 18 or 12 You can see very clearly here. I'm at F four. It's because I've chosen to shoot it at 200 millimeters that it brings that background right in, and it makes it a very intimate part of the photograph. I've placed them in the frame exactly where I've placed them, so that they are against the foliage in the background. It kind of gives them a place to stand out against instead of putting them against the rest of the scene, which is a very busy city scene. And if I put them anywhere over in the right or even the center of this frame, they would have kind of gotten lost in the shuffle. So this is very deliberately composed so that they stay down there. I'm working my rule of thirds, but I'm also isolating them from the distracting elements in the rest of the image and then closing out the session as I often do. We have a nice, wonderful, lovely camera where photograph where they're looking directly at me. The instruction that I give them for a photograph like this is just very simple. It's guys get really close together, which faces nice and close together and hang onto each other like you're going to prom. And it always makes people laugh because it's kind of an awkward thing, but that's what I'm going for. I want them close together. I want their arms around each other. I want their faces together. A lot of times you will notice when your clients put their faces together. They crush their faces together, and it kind of creates wrinkling around their faces and around their eyes because they're crushed together. I'll go in and I'll instruct them. Hey, guys, just back off a little bit. Just lightly touch your faces together. Drop your chins down, everyone, no matter where you're standing, whether you're below them or level with them or above them. Their automatic reaction to seeing a camera Pote pointed at them is to always raise their chin always. So I always the guys get really close together. Hold onto each other like you're going to prom. I know this feels completely ridiculous. We are almost done. Let's just get a couple great ones where you smile at me. Drop your chins, Stop looking so scared that always makes people laugh, and then I fire. This is all I'm looking for at F five, so that both of their folk, their faces air incredibly in focus at 200 millimeters, so the background is not distracting. They're compressed off of the background. It becomes more of a graphic element in the photograph than a point of focus in the photograph, and also because 200 millimeters is extraordinarily flattering to the face. It's flattering to the body. I'm shooting straight on into them and when we were done with this, we closed the session. So hopefully what you guys have learned from here with me today. How to price your engagement session, how to set the timing of when you're going to shoot these sessions for your clients. How to manage the expectation right away of the dates and times that you are available for engagement sessions. How to handle possible travel if that does come up the gear that you need to bring. Like I said, I bring my 200 millimeter. That is my go to foran engagement session. We've talked about camera where photographs. We've talked about working the scene, and we've also talked about simply making beautiful images for your clients. You got to meet blaring Jeremy again, see a little bit more about what it was like to work with them, and when you come back again tomorrow, we'll delve into their wedding day. Thank you guys so much for being with me so far. I'll see you tomorrow