Documentary Wedding Photography: Capturing Reality

Lesson 8 of 36

Favorite Photo - The Client's Perspective

 

Documentary Wedding Photography: Capturing Reality

Lesson 8 of 36

Favorite Photo - The Client's Perspective

 

Lesson Info

Favorite Photo - The Client's Perspective

So this uh this is kelly again are fun are fun bride kelly kelly is this a little video that I want to show that I, um I'm pretty sure she talks about the importance of moments and what her favorite photograph from the wedding was when I have to think about one specific image from the wedding that I feel like captured the event and the day kind of in its fullest but most unique way it was probably the bowling picture I'm obsessed with that photograph I absolutely love it I've never seen anything like it and it was so natural that you can see the motion you can feel the energy that was there at that time and I just think it's a beautiful picture the lighting is incredible on dit was really it was a really big challenge to pick just one because you had told me you're like you're not gonna like the portrait's you're not gonna want the portrait's and of course our family was insistent we have the portrait and guess how many portrait's have been printed or framed or any of that zero those a...

ir not the things that really reflect the memory of the day it's the action shots dancing where aunt pat is sliding through somebody's legs and about to show somebody some business and it's about hours uh the picture of me about to walk down the aisle with my dad where I am so overwhelmed and I feel this energy and this excitement and this adrenaline and it was all encompassing and I I think I have my eyes closed I'm kind of looking up trying to kind of rein everything in and when I see that picture I go right back to that moment I'm like right there I get goose bumps I get it just talking about the goose bumps the feeling you know, I could cry talking about that picture so I think it's interesting to hear it from people's perspectives you know? And so I asked them I said, you know, by the way, I'm not I have a brandon is the film guy that does these things I did not he did not do this one that was me I'd want people thinking that I'm not a video guy that's a horrible ending but he was so you know it's like it's like uh it's like you know that's what I'm you know it's so interesting to hear them and what I just asked a few people what your favorite photo you know and I love that bullying picture I think it's great but you know I'm like I never would have thought that she would have been like that's my that's the picture that sums it up you know they just went bowling they went bowling in between their ceremony reception cause they had an early ceremony and I'm like and I was so my couples I'm like, you know, there's there's really no reason to be driving around town for four hours on a photo scavenger hunt like let's do some quick portrait's and just go fun with your friends and so I set up a little light a little flash and I worked my butt off trying to get that thing and focus and the light to hit right and all that kind of stuff but what I did and that was just me just time a cool picture, but but it's like you know, you know, one of the things I do is at the end of the night often times I'm I'm around the couple when everything and I'll hear them talking about the day what throughout the day and the like like like I I heard that my that my aunt slid through jim's legs, you know? And they're like, are you serious? That happened and I like my checklist and I'm like I kind of get a feel for how I did off of how that goes and I go, I got a photo of that I got a photo of that, you know, and and so there's often times when it happens when I'm like that would have been nice miss that you know, but it's like that's how I kind of judge how good I'm doing and and it's it's funny you know the moments just moments keep me going you know this is this is an amazing moment that um uh it doesn't look amazing to you guys you know it's not if it's not an award winner on dh that's what's interesting about this is that quite frankly you know the style that I shoot I don't I don't win a ton of awards for my pictures because they're not always visually sexy you know? Does that make sense there's not like a whole bunch of awesome photographic techniques that are going on and you guys know about fearless photographers yeah so fearless photographers is is the organization started by we and foundation basically but it's like it's really like they have contest every every month or not not every month but quarterly whatever and it's free it's mind blowing like the amount of images that are being produced and what they look like it's mind blowing I look at some things and like there's no way that I could even get close to that and then I'm like I'm like but you know what? Maybe that's just not me you know I've tried and tried really hard and I just I can't I can't do that kind of photographic I don't want to call it trickery but you don't mean like the photographic techniques that some of these guys do and and so but I had to just be true to myself and I can't let that stuff kind of get into my head too much, and so sometimes it's just a straightforward, simple photo that just really means something to me. And so this is this was ryan, he was that's, his daughter, she's about twelve, maybe. Anyway, the wedding was fine, the wedding was great, it was it was, you know, good moments, whatever, but like, the reception was just kind of average, you know, and and quite honestly, like, like, when that happens, I just get really tired, then you kind of run down, I would ask you guys that that happens to you, but you haven't been doing this long enough to get run down, you know that? But I do, and I'm just like, oh, man, I'm doing this for eight hours, nine hours, and and, you know, there's, just people just regularly dancing, and I'm out there just dying to get people picture, and then all the sudden I look over and I see him ryan holding his daughter and I'm like, and he's got her shoes in his hand, and I'm like, she looks like she's going home and so rush after that moment, and I followed him out to the car and grandma's waiting to take her home, and she is that his daughter is unhappy. She does not want to leave the party she's having a ball, but she's got to go to bed and so he sits down and he talks to her any kisses her hand and she held see how she's? Just like, you know, I love that photo just great, great moments. So it's always important just to be thinking about that as you're shooting, right? I get so caught up in it, like I go back out to the dance floor, you know that's where the action is, right? That's, everybody's dancing that's what that's what's happening? And fortunately on this one, a bride's maid came up to me and she said, oh, have a little saying goodbye to her grandpa and I kid you not. I left one of my camera's on a table and I sprinted right? And my wife was there actually running a photo booth we used to have and she's just like so mad at me, but and I was going through these there day to try and find the photo, and I didn't realize that some guest picked up my camera. They're taking selfies with it if I didn't care like I just I couldn't. I couldn't go fast enough with both cameras like dropped the camera and I ran after it and I got one frame of her saying goodbye to her grandfather and she turns to me and she's crying and she turns to me and because he's got alzheimer's, she turns to me and she's just like he's he's just not the same, you know? And I'm like I'm like, you know, I there's a possibility that I could have made the very last photo of her in her grandpa together I don't think I did, but there's a possibility of that, you know? And so when I when I hear stuff like that all right pay attention, stuff like that, then the wedding stuff is totally bogus to me and I'm going after that kind of stuff, you know, like that's what matters again, simple little moments, that same thousand person wedding this is on their way out, I just love love love that right love that little moment in the back parking lot as they walk around the back of the church, you know, it's just it's just such a such a awesome, awesome thing I know I'm getting tired of these stories, but I'm just going to drive this point home, right uh dad sees his bride for the first time his daughter the bride for the first time in her dress at their house right so I'm waiting for it I'm anticipating it I think mom is in the background watching this is a bridesmaid he cried when he saw her and later on the mom of the year you know his wife and the bride both said to me even his his wife said this I have never in all my years I've never seen him cry right and that's it that's it that's it that's it that's a flawed picture does anybody see the problem? The problem of this picture look the composition like I couldn't back up anymore it's too tight e need to have more room I cut the hands you know cut the arms off whatever you know but it's like I don't know if that picture means anything to them but you know it means something to me so maybe it will mean something to them eventually and so the moment the moment trumps everything um this was I told you I'd tell a story about that and and I think the's the these next few things you know, we got a little bit of a crier over here so hopefully you green light but I'm sorry I didn't know I know I know right I love it I love it a little um and so I think, uh man, I hope this is gonna work I see something that might be tricky so this is a story really? So I shot I shot jennifer's wedding a long time ago on dh she uh she told me in a in a meeting she's like she's like well my dad I think my dad's going to be there and I really hope he's going to be there because he just had, like, a heart attack some sort of heart issue and she says, you know, the nurses told me that that he said to them my entire motivation to get through rehab is to walk my daughter down the aisle on our wedding and I'm like, well, then I have to make that picture don't I I have to make that picture do I care about the ring bear do I care about the bride's means coming on the island if it really blows it down do I care about that? No and I had to break a little bit of church rules you guys haven't been around long enough to deal with that I'm sure you have but I had to break some church rules to get into this position and I did it and I got the image and is it amazing? No no it's not it's not there there's no competition it's just a straightforward seventy two hundred shot the photo and I got it right anyway, a few weeks later I am I was talking to her and um and I was like, pain. I got that photo and she's, like that's great without what do you want from me? You know, I mean, like, god, I mean, that that church leaders about to, like, true, my head off and and this and that all around, you know, and and and I'm like, okay, well, I did my best um, but then this is my first instance of what I'm where I'm at with this and what I'm where I learned that this is going to matter down the road is she my wife and I were at dinner one night on the plaza in kansas city, and they were there with their two year old daughter, I think, on dh she just came up to me and she's just like she's, like, uh uh, I just I just need to tell you that we lost my dad this year and she's, like that photo means the world to me now and it's a simple, simple photograph that has nothing fancy to it at all and she's, like, you know, because now I can show my daughter these photos and they can understand maybe what grand paul and who he wass and to me that's, just like like that's it that's all if that's all there is to it you know it's not about me it's not about how fancy I am with the camera you know it's just about me getting it done you know I like to be fancy I asked so hunter and gloria this is hundred gloria these air more more stories you know, I asked hunter and gloria the same question I said what's your what's your favorite image from the wedding and I wanted to ask them because I think they're just amazing but they literally mean their wedding was like incredible I mean like the production on this wedding was over the top the most amazing I've ever seen right they had they had the ceremony is a jewish ceremony and they had the ceremony upon a stage and behind the stage was like this huge this is in a place it's on a stage like a major theatre production in kansas city so it's just like a big black box and it goes up rafters all the way up it's like huge right? So they had this massive I mean I bet you that the size of that thing was like three times as high as this wall right? This huge piece of cloth behind the ceremony is a backdrop well behind that cloth was the band all right and the band this wedding coordinator in kansas city her name is helen bold on dh she liked does amazing her ideas are incredible so the band was behind this sheer thing right? And so as soon as he stomped the glass you know, in a jewish ceremony that they released that curtain it fell from the ceiling and the band started up and they went right into their first dance but it was amazing absolutely may and, you know again one hundred gloria, they're just amazing people in their and their love is so strong that you know, they were able to keep up with all of that stuff as as themselves and so I asked them what their favorite image from the wedding was and then we're gonna watch hunter talk about it three days after our wedding my sister passed away and so just this photo of her and gloria together um you can't see it out of the frame there holding hands just it's so special meat tohave this moment kind of locked in time uh that I can't go back and look at it and seabrook smile seacrest island and for me to be the cause of that is established were special but really it's not about being that photo what's that man uh and making them happy actually have it up on my fireplace and that's that's definitely my favorite for treatments I don't remember when I was talking about and I think to me that's kind of kind of the beauty of it I mean it could have been something really appropriate and uh you know so I'm trying to think it's maybe like enough not very kosher but this was uh you know, the the uh gets the subject of it it doesn't matter as much to me it's just the feeling that it gives me it's funny way definitely were not the best at making a lot of pictures but we're always trying to to take more photos of each other and family and everybody because it really just has kind of but he a lot in perspective no locking these memories I mean I hate to sound but you really you know especially a sum like that you know, for a novel when the last time you're going to see somebody else and to have that you know locked up in a temp is something that I can look back at c versus just having it in my mind this is human from getting that is his sister passed away three days after the wedding she went home perfectly healthy young gal um she went home and uh she was at home in new york and she passed away from meningitis that quickly and I mean all of us at the wedding had to go get tested because we didn't know you know, we don't know who she talked to how it spread she might have gotten on the plane on the way. To the wedding you know who knows um and that was just mean you know what's what's so interesting about it is I made some really good pictures from that wedding and that photo was horrible like the light was bad basically one of those things are just like walking by and I can guarantee you in my head it was oh his sister there's a picture of his sister I just kind of dicey get people recorded and is like shut up real quick and I moved on you know and that and that and that really makes me angry at myself you know, because I didn't I didn't maybe just you know, pay attention to the fact that maybe I should have worked harder on that you know um maybe I could've made a better photo for him of his sister and uh and it's just it's just it's such an important important thing to always be thinking about now the's air rare cases mind you right but you just never know you never know what's gonna happen here's a question from hatch and mass collective are you okay when some amazing moments are out of focused you still include them in the delivery uh yeah, you know, I I I'm getting better at that I'll talk to them james that's yes, I'm getting better at that I you know, my friend brooks I thought about brooks earlier he has a thing that when he shoots it's called it's blog's sharp starting up for the block it's good enough you know, andi, I used to fight him and I'm like dude, the pictures in focus or it's out of focus there's no in between right? And I and still a stickler like that for me but that's where I'm getting better if the moment is that good enough it literally trumps everything and that's that's that's what I'm trying to get better at has to be like okay, is that a good moment? Yes, it is I'm going to include it even though it's a little out of focus but completely out of focus probably not, but a little out of focus yes because you know what's funny is that like I and were so particularly like ivy sharpe has gotta look perfect think about the photos that our clients are taking in loving and their horrible I went into a client's home one time to deliver her pictures and there's a massive I mean we're talking huge family portrait of them up on the wall one and shot by a professional photographer it's one hundred percent back focused this is a family portrait right one hundred percent back focused the building is sharp as a tack behind them and they're all out of focus and it's it's like sixty inches large on their wall I'm like I'm like well, barely they have no idea you know I mean it's like you're right but it's just it's just and I I had a client one time that like I love that black and white picture I'm like this is back before I you know when I did this I'm like that see pia it's bright how did you know they just they didn't care and I'm like okay I don't do cp anymore it was a long time ago um yeah get cool and one more this one is from amy amy age I think this is a great question how close is too close to the couple during the ceremony and just in general you assume you zoom a lot with your feet isat obtrusive to be clicking away so close to guess when they're trying to capture vows rings all those private moments again this is a big topic we're gonna talk about great right? I hate to keep doing that, you know? But thes people are too smart, man they're just like getting you another chicken and day one yeah, we do that so we say way keep post yeah exactly. You know, I will talk about this a lot, but but I'll answer it really quickly is robert capa once said, if your pictures aren't good enough, you're not close enough so then we'll go with that okay and then well and then I'm going to talk about all that big time down the road so next video is gloria explaining her favorite photo okay, so my favorite photo is actually me course it circles my husband right by new husband were not yet my husband um but in the jewish tradition you circle your fiance your soon to be a has been seven times and it's just very symbolic of your lives together and and moving forward in the past in the future and how you're bound together and, um I just love that photo just think it's beautiful and you see the whole dress and you get to see his hole you know everything that he's wearing us well and um get to see the flowers but also I two older sisters that were hiss uh his sisters are are going to be new to me and they're looking over us and I just think it's a really beautiful picture and I love it and his sister like he said that's to say very shortly after what that that's really small I'm sorry to cry but uh I just love it I just love that picture of him nothing could give me her back but I could always remember her and I just that's priceless it's just amazing that's amazing gift that somebody could give me that shop I'll never have that again and it's not something that I saw it's only him you could see that in the picture and to be able to see that looking smiling honest was just really beautiful, so I love you. I love that picture, obviously. And I'm so happy it's election it's just that's what keeps me going through this stuff is knowing that, you know, eventually, um this stuff scott change its meaning and change with it, you know the matter, like how much they matter. And, you know, I think that's just so important also think about is, you know, it's like it's, like again, why, you know, just whenever you're doing something right, whenever you're whenever even and I don't even care if you want to go in and you want to be like, all right, we're going to control this and we're going to stage it, and we're going to make it look amazing, right? Just ask yourself, why? Why am I doing this? Why am I making this picture? Why did I just ask them to jump in the air, run or whatever, right? And just think about it and really question it because you've got to think about what the end result is, and the end result is not six weeks from now when they see their agers right? The end result is going to be thirty years from now when they see their pictures and so I always tell always tell my clients I'm like my goal I don't want your kids making fun of your wedding photos it's simple as it is right? Because if you do all of these things that are trend driven in that are now I fear that that's gonna happen I fear that it's not going to make sense you know you can think about documentary photographs like historical documentary photographs um the sailor right in times square dipping dipping that you know have we all seen that photo right it's been made into like every I don't like every mug what right? You know so in theory it's no different than the picture I showed you earlier with my fish I dip picture is it right you like? Yes, it is because that's a good photo on your sucks is that what you're thinking? No, but but it's like it's like it is no different it's like it's, somebody dipping somebody in front of a building, right? But the reason that that photo is okay is because it's a real moment right documentary photographs in my opinion can stands at the time right? It doesn't matter what clothes they're wearing, it doesn't matter what cars are in the background right it's a feeling and humans have not changed since the beginning of humans and how and what makes humans tick right so you tap into that and just show that and not get too hung up on the fact that we just got the greatest newest lens that we wanted to something cool with that's where I come from right take that how you want but that's where I'm the way I approach this kind of stuff so we're gonna transition here priest yeah, so susan wants to know if you cry it whether thanks no, no, I don't think I have getting the job done. Yeah, you know, it's like it's, like, uh pretty sure cry at my son's weddings as eyes is evidence that this morning, but no, no, I don't know. I feel it. I feel it, you know, I can feel it in my chest when it's a great moment that I'm that I'm witnessing, you know, but but the issue is is that, you know, I have a job to do write exactly what you said I had. I had a a gal that I was, um she used to work with us and I, uh I, uh I was like, I was looking at some of her work and early on and she was my first assistance um she's a really really really great photographer her name is becca spears and she would she worked with us for a while and now she's doing some stuff on her own but remember ike sitting there talking with her one day and she's like she would come back from a wedding and she's like I got the most amazing moment I was crying behind the camera was incredible I'm like just let me see the photo let me see the photo and she pulled it up and this has happened to me so many times even on my own images and I'm sure some of yours and everybody else out there because you pulled back up two days later and you're like huh doesn't feel the same you know it doesn't feel like it felt to be there and I said and so we're trying to figure out why you know and that's when we started really talking about a discussion about shooting with your head and your heart and how to make the proper balance between the two on dh so she was shooting with her heart early on very heavily and I would sit with my head and I needed to shoot more with my heart and I thought that she needed to shoot more with her head because you need to balance that your heart's feeling the moment but then you got to use all of your tools available to you to make it feel like that so therefore I don't have time to cry e gotta get cranking you know yeah cool another question and this kind of has to do with that the times square photo and the icon ask value of that photograph so gillian gangel wants to know I've noticed that you have a lot of black and white photos do you find black and white is more timeless or is this just a personal preference on dh also dear clients prefer color black and white are we going to talk about that did I just jump on another thing we're going to talk about there is this a good time? I don't know if I am talk oh great let's talk about that might talk about it again yeah do you think in black and white I know a lot of photo journalists you know you know what I mean? I'm not that good I mean quite frankly I might I mean like you know so so here's something that's going to just like blew up the chat rooms I'm sure I just started shooting raw two months ago all right people you know everybody's minds air blowing I still and I shot I shot on thursday shot j peg again I prefer j peg quite frankly for many reasons but I'm an old I'm an old guy I don't like new tricks I guess you know but so therefore black and white saves me a lot that's what I'm trying to say so you know pretty much everything I have showed you has been shot on j peg and and I could get into a big discussion about it I've been having this discussion for ten years everybody I know has been like, dude, you're an idiot blah blah, blah and I finally believed a lot of these guys that are that are good friends of mine and I started shooting wrong, thank god there's a couple moments in the last few months and I'm losing my edge that I would have blown if I didn't have it but but so I do black and white a lot of times when like the quality is not great or when the lighting is horrible and I'm shooting a lot of horrible light so therefore I don't want bottom line is I don't I don't want the color to detract from the moment right? And it's it's really amazing how I could have like two photos I'm sorry one photo up and I could have clients looking at the photo and or even just I recommend you guys trying this and everybody out there trying this take a photo and photoshopped just go teo gray scale where you could just quickly undo it you know it just goes back and forth and black white to color and just look away from the photograph and then look back at the photograph and then change it and see how your eye automatically moves around the picture, right? So in black and white, your eye one hundred percent every time lands on the face every time but in color sometimes it's harder to land on the face because your eyes being drawn to different things, they're color that are pulling it right and what's interesting is, uh, I learned from dave goetzman he's an amazing shoot me he shoots with the christmas is incredible it's really smart guy too, and he did a whole thing one time on on at a at a speech saying how it's proven that human when humans look at other picture, look at pictures, they automatically search for the human in the picture, like immediately like, no matter if it's a landscape picture you're going to your eyes are going to search for the person I mean there's no people there like, oh that's, a cute tree, right? You know? And so it's the same thing with black want to color? I think you're I shift. So basically a lot of times I'm just doing it for for is the color distracting or is is the light just kind of like a crappy color that makes sense and I don't I don't let the clients choose

Class Description


There is a magic and beauty to wedding days that doesn’t have to be posed or fabricated. You can take photographs that are authentic and dynamic by drawing on classic documentary photography techniques. Join Tyler Wirken for a class exploring the practice of documentary-style wedding photography.

This course will teach you how to take unique, distinctive images that break away from standard styled shoots and set-up poses. Tyler will encourage you to think deeply about why we take wedding photos and then help you use those insights to create an actionable roadmap for getting the real moments during weddings. You’ll learn how to get up close and capture the more intimate moments of a couple’s wedding day without feeling like you’re intruding or disrupting. From being more present in the moment to getting through family photographs in twenty minutes to developing your one-of-a-kind perspective as a photographer, you’ll build strategies for ensuring the moments you capture are beautiful and real.

If you want stand out in the sea of wedding photographers and take photographs that more meaningful than meticulously-posed, then this course is for you!

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