Documentary Wedding Photography: Capturing Reality

Lesson 32 of 36

Internet Critique With Ben Chrisman Part 2

 

Documentary Wedding Photography: Capturing Reality

Lesson 32 of 36

Internet Critique With Ben Chrisman Part 2

 

Lesson Info

Internet Critique With Ben Chrisman Part 2

A great moment great moment great moment. Um see seventy five six okay, so first thing I noticed that shutter speeds really slow so the depth of field though is nice though because if you shot this at one point to the people behind the girl on the left would just be blobby but they're the photographer's thinking and given us more depth of field and that's actually better storytelling in this case I would have loved to see the lady in the middle fill that frame a little bit more so there's not that negative space right here hide her right here and on top how do you fix that with a little bit to the right and then that'll give you a little bits of space between the lady in the middle and the lady in the background it's awesome they're doing the same thing amazing amazing so you can't move left because of why? Because her face is well people start covering people up. This finger is going right into her eye, isn't it right now the biggest problem with this photo is its it they missed focus...

it in place their focus in the right place right in my opinion the focus, huh? First I focus is right they're right but look at the tear oh yeah you can't even see that yeah right this is where the moment is for me I would have put my focus right on that center person because ben even said I want her bigger so your eyes right on her right you're ai wants to see this person right and guess what happened remember how I told you that jim doesn't wanna walk around with those glasses on right when you look at the photo guess what your eye tells you that's not what I'm supposed to see because it's out of focus, right? So then it starts hunting for focus and then it goes off of the actual moment, which is the tear in my opinion, right? You know, so you gotta be careful with that, but again, killer moment and, you know, quite honestly, I would have probably screwed this picture up because I would have been in not at five point six, right? I would have been at, you know, to two point eight I still would have gotten him, but I wouldn't have gotten it is good, you know, right, but again, why is s o solo right? There isn't a flash, obviously, are they? Yeah, doesn't it look like a flash? I don't think so because the light's coming off camera you mean it looks like they're bouncing it inside look at the catch light in her eye right here, maybe yeah, who knows anyway interesting but that's a good point though I mean it because not all the time your focus needs to be on your foreground sometimes it could be on the middle port or the background and it's just it's good uh when you do that though, you've got to remember to give it a lot of depth of field like this is so the foreground just doesn't look like a bluff this yeah, yeah, I kind of struggle with that I gotta work on that. I do a lot of bla business but this is where back button focus really comes into play right? Hit that hit that on that face in the middle and then you can kind of work and move and kind of make everything lined up right? Coolio all right, this is me, right? Okay. Um so yes so you know, again, um I say it's a good moment and it is but quite frankly it's unexpected moment from a wedding which is okay, but we still need to shoot it, right? So if we're going to shoot something like this it's like a moment that like a lot of people are expecting to see then let's really go for it and make it as good as it possibly can, right? So the first glaring problem to me is the fact that all this stuff is cut off all these shapes appear are cut off so you have all this distance down here, which is pointless, right? We don't need the steps, right? So I had this photographer just really quickly bump the camera straight up in the bottom of the frame right here would be right underneath here and then you would take that exact same space which is down here and you would cut and paste it basically up above, and maybe you'll get some of these shapes, right? And then the next problem is, is this light right here, which you could very easily just clone out in photoshopped, right? But I'm going to try and do it in the camera, so if I just go lower that might, I might get them up on block that block that that light fixture now there might be other images here that are actually a better moment than this moment to look for two as well, right, so then you got any thoughts or you? Yeah, I need to me this is a horizontal photo. This is like a movie poster moment you where you don't need to actually zero will you either need to be really tight on these people on the bride and groom or you need to step back and really show the whole scene and get all the people that are part of it and then it could be like a movie poster they would feel epic and you using that composition using the building as far the composition the people is part of the composition like everything in that photo needs to be there for a reason and be deliberate and you got hands cut off lowers get off people's heads cut off feet cut off the bricks cut off everything's a mess the moments good but we need a better composition yeah no, I agree I think I think I think you're spot on man what's interesting when I could check with other people is, you know, nine times out of ten they're like two steps ahead of me I thought you said horizontal microglia you know who did it got in there but I'm always trying to look at like the image that they're that they're always get hung up on that but you know he's right it's not a vertical but if you want to make it a vertical, you need those shapes but he's totally right you want to get all those people, you know, just going nuts for these guys, you know, and there's there's so many ways to shoot this you could like, be right up on top of them and like showing that little girls in the little pink too, to get a moment maybe there's just tons of ways to do this, you know, but well this is like if you've gotta second shooter or you you worked with somebody this is the time where before they come out you say one of us one of us shoots tight and one of the chutes wide so the type person goes vertical and just gets the kiss and the horizontal person a white person gets the whole scene with all the guests and then you've got two photos there are really good at the exact same scene that exact same moment and it's and you're and you nailed it but if you're by yourself you got to make that decision and take the risk yeah or I mean I mean if they kiss for more than it's what second you take a couple of photos with your thirty five in a couple of your eighty five and you get both totally very fast alright this's yours go for it okay okay all right so this photo is totally back focused on the tree so that's a problem one but I like the idea of the photographer framing the bride and groom with their guests which is awesome we just need to get rid of the people on the left and right get closer make sure the focus is actually on people and not trees and then you've got a lot better picture so I don't I don't know if this was ever going to really come together um mainly because of that background right that that really bright tree back there is really going to kind of hurt the photographer the whole time right? And the really white fence our offensive content anyway, so so then you got to really think about how how you're going to do this right? I love I mean ben's right? I love the fact that like the layering potential here is really cool you see on staying with the guys dancing the four grand on them in the background but it's gonna be really hard to make this a really clean photo because of the background you're dealing with and again we don't know what aperture they're at it looks pretty big dunnit like five, six at least yeah, no, it definitely looks like way too much because it's focused on that tree and then these people are still at least kind of focus so there's so if you bump that aperture down and get a really shallow depth of field shallow heard at the field on dh, you get closer to them to these people here and potentially, like frame these guys writing these hands or even shoot through these guys then what's gonna happen is when you get closer than all of this stuff that's distracting is going to go away right because you get closer and then you just have that tree in the background and then maybe we can get the aperture to be a place where they were kind of blurs out does that make sense? Yeah can I say something tyler course dude okay this is a really when those situations where I think he picking your background first is going to be your best step up and you got like a a big white tent is like a perfect canvas so you just move so where you want them tio go and so you've got a clean white background and then you can really play with your exposure you can expose their for their skin you could under expose it so they're silhouetted against that big bright background there's a lot of possibility but you've got to make sure your background works before you khun count on getting a good shot totally it's no different than we're ben chose to sit for this skype interview right like in front of a white wall can't go wrong with that right and so yeah it's basically like shooting in the studio with the seamless background you know so totally andy and I and I think you still could have had you like put that just moved to the left right and put them the bridegroom up against that that white tent and then you just sit there and just wait for everybody dance in the places where you want him and just keep shooting till they all line up right cool all right all right so I think this is a portrait um just because I know very few people that actually stand like that on their wedding day but that doesn't matter totally fun do a portrait right um I try and you know so the first the first problem is the tilt right I don't I'm not a big fan of tilting the camera because if you you know I actually did this you know, to kind of see the photo right? And so we got to watch that again the settings are kind of in a bit of a a bit of a dangerous place like this there's no reason in my opinion is shoot one hundred s o I hardly ever shoot it how do you know what I shoot it? I may be seated when I want to go for blur right to kind of get my shutter speed down lower but one hundred eyes so it doesn't really make any difference there because you are you're at one twenty fifth of a second outside how many stops do you have available to you all the way to eight thousand right? She had plenty of leeway so you get a bumped and then taking that appetite five point six is a little bit too high as well because the background is too it's too messy because because they kept the field is too much right and that tree is splitting right through them so the good thing about it, though, is that they look fairly natural dish, which is good, but I like this almost kiss does that make sense? Like I love that like that little like almost there, I think it feels better than the actual kiss, you know, so I would have moved to the left or to the right a little bit, put them over there, kind of straighten it up, um, and then you can go further and further further, I'm going to actually let ben come in here on this one because of his portrait, his portrait shenanigans would really work out well here, but what do you think, man? What would you have done? I have a couple questions, one like his jacket's kind of, I don't know, I have I'm trying to figure out the jacket like is this civil war jacket, which I think it's cool or trying to figure out his clothing and two like why's, the car in there, if the car's important, really put it all the way in and use it as a as a dominant element in your photo, otherwise get it out or use it in some abstract way like you's, a real premiere side view mirror, something like that, but what's important about that car's at their cars that are dad's car I mean otherwise, get it out of there, because it doesn't it's not doing any good. And is that is that house in the background important? If not, get it out of there? It's not contributing and, like and, like you said, that tilt is is definitely frustrating and there's a lot more to this photo than just standing five feet away with fifty millimeter. Yeah, yeah, there's it's just it just needs to be cleaned up, and if indeed it is a portrait which I think it is, um then then, like I told you earlier with the ring shot, you know, in essence, there's really, you have time in theory, and you can clean up all that stuff and fix it. So so, yeah, that's just kind of kind of thinking about those things and and paying attention to what? To what, all the little elements and how they're working or helping or hurting you because bank kept saying, is it helping? Do I need to have it? If not, get it out? All right, tyler can stay one more thing about the groom the groom is going to make or break your portrait, so you've really got to get him to come to life and not look like he's about to kill her and the the easiest way to do that is the making always do something with two hands like grab around their waist like touch your face do something so he doesn't look like a stiff mannequin just staring at her and that then it's gonna be about a connection between them and not just about stand here for a portrait totally net net true debt okay this year's yeah, I'm kind of flipping back and forth it's kind of fun to be ableto let you go first, amigo for so go for it okay on this one yeah well this isn't really like it I mean the one that you've got dramatic lighting with school you got some color in the balloons which is cool let any time that you put words or letters in a photo your eyes going to go straight to them want to read them so if you want conference centre in their first I put put it all the way otherwise it's conference in order to get rid of them completely then also what your background? Your highlights are you putting those highlights in for a reason? Because they're not a doorway it's not that doorway is not that interesting so you really got it look at the entire frame and think about why is it in there and it's in that doesn't have a reasoning get it out of there and also center up and for other doorway so you're not off kilter there yeah, the hard part about this is that you know he's right about the words you know and the hard part about it is like the conference center actually is not like you know that's the one problem with like modern architecture's everything's like asymmetrical sometimes it doesn't it's not actually centered over the doorway the whole words right? So then you got to make a decision do you just cut it off it conference but then it's kind of like that's weird, right? You know, so I think I think I think in the end I like the idea of the portrait it's you know, I think the location that was chosen is not as good and I think if they found a better place to do this with the same balloons everything like let's just say up against a like killer dusk sky right? Like a really clean, kind dramatic and light it the same way I think that would be much better and then because because because ben's rides like it's a little confusing it's kind like why are they in front of the you know why they in front of the conference centre um and then also the posing I think I mean they're not going to take your lead on this one because you really work on stuff like this a lot but the posing feels um little to force to me yes to camera where? Yeah, even though even though they're not camera where right or they're looking at the flesh, right? Yeah, well flash aware how bout that write but about photographer aware, right? Yeah, um because way just want a moment there, right? Yeah, and like, I definitely like it when aaron I use flash for using it for one of two different reasons one is, like a very stylized effect that's obvious that we're using flash or we're trying to replicate ambient light and make it look natural. And so in this case, I would really try tio dim that flash down a lot to make it look like a natural like moment or like it could be a street light instead of this big overpowering, like hit you right in the face with a flash. It could be a lot more subtle, dennis yeah, but in the end I don't care if it's a portrait or documentary shoot in my opinion moment is what matters right. And so when you're doing a portrait you just want to make that feels much like them as possible and get as much interaction in a moment that you could that you could possibly muster but kudos to the photographer for forgetting that camera, you know I mean the flash away try and do some different stuff and get some you know kind of a funkier kind of at night portrait I think that's kind of cool so all right you ready? Yes. All right, so the first thing I thought when I looked at this was it's okay that the cooler is out of beer is what I thought that they were consoling themselves about right? I'm poking fun, you know, because it's just kind sometimes we make fun of ourselves, but again the first thing I saw was a couple hugging and then my eye went immediately to a big red cooler in the background, right? And then I and then my brain I said to myself, well, I don't understand so then I had to kind of justify it so I'm like, well, there had a beer and they're unhappy, you know, but it's so we gotta watch that stuff always watch your backgrounds like that's my first thing the good thing is that it's a really great moment, right? It's a quiet moment I love love love, love, love quiet moments like those are the moments that, like, I live for once, like, like, you know, in the background, you know, out behind closed doors, everything so black and white would probably help this a lot because you can't get rid of that cooler right, unless you pay somebody to take it out digitally, but it's so much easier. Just move yourself right. So I would have probably wanted this picture. I would have been writes directly in front of the couple, like, down here with, like my thirty five. This feels like somebody who was walking like to the bathroom or something just like saw and just took and took a picture, right? I wanted to be a little bit more deliberate, but again, awesome recognition of a moment. Any thoughts? Yeah. Yeah. The first thing I thought was a great moment. Horrible room on my friend steven young in new york just had me read a book called steel liken artist, which is great it's really short, you could read about thirty minutes, but one of the parts of the book is said that good art is about subtraction and it's very true. You've got to take away all the crap that's not needed to get to the good stuff. And this is a beautiful moment you need. This is about a moment that's like with his hand, his face, her face and that's about it. Yeah, and everything else needs to disappear instantly. And that means, but that means the photographer's gotta get over being scared of being right in front of this couple and get close tight and show what that feeling's like yeah, and you know, the reason that ben and I both picked up on the fact that it feels like the photographer is scared, right is because we can tell from where people take photos from and how they shoot photos that it gives us a little bit of an insight as to what's going on in their head, right? So, you know, there's this there's just kind of this common thing that people do is the target most, most new photographers, not even new photographer people that are conscious of themselves, they don't shoot, they don't like to shoot directly in front of somebody's vision in their eyesight, right? Ben, you know, you once said something about this that I learned from you that I want to talk about but about high have people having a conversation remember that, yeah, totally it's like talking to someone like I wouldn't talk to someone kind of passively off to the stride because it be weird, it be like I'm scared of that person. I always talk to someone like straight straight ahead, because right that way there is a connection and I try to shoot the same way. The only time I'm not directly in front of something is if I'm deliberately off to the side for a reason, because the composition needs it otherwise I'm usually right in front, so you feel it it it's a photography is about a connection from the photographer to the thing that you're photographing and you can't do that off to the side playing scaredy cat. Yeah, and so what happens is a lot of people, a lot of people do this when they have seen this, when they shoot right there, like, like, here's here's, the person that you should be shooting, people will shoot from here, and then they will pass the sweet spot, and they will shoot from over here, right? And it's that it's that and were, in essence, you need to be, like, right here, you know, so so yeah, totally, I mean, I think I think but again, I mean, I think black and white and I think, uh, I think I think just just, you know, you can crop it tighter on dh, and it will help a lot like I would I would actually crop it in like this. Oh, yeah, even tighter. So it's hardly even see the couch, it's just a couple and directly in front. Yeah, and then you've got, like, a perfect closer, like when we of finish a wedding, we're always thinking about the story of the arc of a story and so at the end of the night, that's usually when we turn our flashes off in, like you that you've talked about this a lot, which is great because the in photo is just as important as all the other photos because it didn't it sends you off with this feeling and that feeling is what's going to, like, get other brides to hire you if they have at the end of the wedding there's like, oh, I feel like I was there, and this is a photo that can give you that way we gotta question, well, quick from the u s so I know you guys were talking about skin shooting, like directly in front of them, like, sometimes it's, so hard, like when you are pointing the camera in front them, they kind of go into, like, like, cheesy style more, you know, like, you don't get their natural, like, really, scott moment. So how do you guys deal with that? Like, how do how do you think? I think I talked about it earlier, where I just kind of like, you know, but I want to get ben's ben's yeah, take on that. Well, I think you've got to break the ice early, so, like, whenever area and I go into a room with a bride getting ready we instantly go straight tour we usually like to give her a tap on the shoulder ask her how she's doing break that physical barrier and so like it's like a rope is tied around your waist and her waist and if she moves, you moves too you move to from the very beginning and usually at the beginning of the day those aren't that important moment so she can really get used to you and by the time the important moments it happened, you're out she's already so used to you being right there that she's not even going to notice you but if you like or a fly on the wall the whole time and then all of a sudden a great moment happened you start running over like an idiot with your camera clicking she's going to freak out because you're not she she doesn't accept you yet, so you've got to get her trust and then those moments are super easy because you're already standing right there trusted access. We talked about it yesterday, right? Like I totally agree with the bride and groom but like it's like other people, other people yeah that's the same thing with like bridesmaids and groomsmen and stuff like that like that's why I get there early at a wedding and work like that because I'm I'm untrained ing people and I say untrained ng because I need to I need to untrained what how they feel a photo is right you know so so I'm like getting in there close and then that way I'm trying to set myself up for that later right but a lot of times when when there's a moment happening like that you have to now approach it very stealthily you know vory like ben said you can't run over their guns a blazin you know and be like I got this you know it's like a feeling what the hell is your problem you know so you just kind like gently move there and then just kind of like you know and then but don't like take down and think don't don't do stuff like that just kind of slowly shoot and just eat those stay in that moment right go absolutely d'oh okay so the first time you needed entry point to a picture and right now I'm not seeing a good entry point because I don't know if I need to look through the door where I need to look at the lady on the left with the phone in her lap um do you see something I'm not staying here is there a moment happening that I can't see on my screen no matter what's happening through that doorway yeah that's what I wondered too and I think really address dude they're getting there getting the dress ready okay, so this just need for patients it needs it needs the background foreground mesh like the makeup artist actually doing something with the bride and then the mom and the sister in the background doing being a little bit more obvious with the dress and then and then you've got a photo because actually I like the idea totally position of applying the background in the foreground together. Yeah, so? So you know, quite frankly it was a really it was a problem that ben and I had to take that long to figure out what was going on, right? It needs to be a quicker read than that. And so where is the moment you guys that's not a probably it is right because right now that's just a girl sitting on a chair with her phone and her left right that's all it is right? So what? What were what I'm seeing now that I know this address? I I love the light on the dress like look how awesome that is, right? So if you expose for those highlights a little bit and you and you and you and you move to the left and you've got this doorway is perfect shape of a doorway, guess what happens when you with the left, the girl getting her makeup on moves right over here into this clean space and now you can make an awesome photograph where you focus on them, get the dress ready because that's more storytelling then you get and then like ben, is this what you're seeing a man and then you get like, you know, and then you get the people in the foreground doing the doing the makeup that's that's a fantastic photo, right? So it's, good scene, I mean, I mean, I love the fact that that this photographer saw that, but it just needed to be kind of fine tuned and, like, and that kind of see it mohr right? Thank you know, who does this guy think? Rainer one of apertura do this really well, they've always impressed me by how they can shoot one picture in two different rooms all the time. I think that's all that's needed here is just a little bit more patients and determination that sit this one out and wait for that moment happen, yeah, what I love I love how you always say that you just got to be stubborn, right? Right? You gotta be more stubborn than the people you're photographing or more severine than life almost, you know, it's like, you know, I don't know no, no, I'm gonna wait, I know there's a hurricane coming through, but I've got to get this picture you know you but you've got to believe that it's gonna happen if you don't have belief that it's going to happen, then you don't have the patience to stick it out so you gotta really that it has to start with you first willing that happen and being patient enough to say I'm going to sit here until it does and when you have that tenacity then good things usually happen yeah, exactly and then the key is to know when to cut bait that's what's gonna make or break your photographer that at that point where you say okay, I need to move on I've done everything I can here and that those little decisions like you were talking about earlier it's the little bitty things that take it from good to great it's those a little bit decisions it's going to make who you are as a photographer wind it, win teo cut run and it's and that's the hardest thing wait, it never gets easier like a, uh never really casino it doesn't die there's no simple answer for how many times have you waited like twenty minutes for a photo and then you cut bait that happens? Absolutely, and it will happen the rest of my life you just have to accept that you're going to miss photos, but you've got but without that determination that actually stick it out for the ones who really love then you'll never really be the photographer that you want to be because you don't because you don't care enough, teo make it happen? Yep, and you can't win them all, you know? But and then I think I think you learn that their experience, quite frankly, I think you learn to kind of feel it in your bones a little bit. You're like, this is good, right? I always tell my students even one of the one of the biggest problems is is a lot of photographers don't know when they have it. Good, right? You know what I mean? Man, you know, it's like like, like like like they don't know that this is all going to come together eventually had they haven't recognized that yet. And so when you recognize that all those elements air working, it's, all going to come together, then that's when you can make that decision, okay, this is this is this is worth it, you know? And so it helps with experience. Yeah, you gotta learn to lose and be okay with that.

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!

Reviews

a Creativelive Student
 

Tyler calls 'em like he sees'em. He gets it: capture the emotion, the expression, the feelings of a wedding without preoccupation with perfect posing, perfect lighting, perfect camera settings. An image of a father's expression seeing is daughter in her dress for the first time is far more important than trying to get it framed just right. Anticipate. Watch. Don't interrupt a moment. This is a great series to refocus on the true meaning of why we shoot weddings.

CardinalGary
 

Tyler Wirken clearly has a lot to say, a point of view worth hearing, and a photographic talent worthy of our admiration. He is not a classroom instructor. His whole three day presentation could have been done in a day, maybe a day and a half, with spectacular results by a talented instructor . In a course about visual results he uses mostly redundant words, missing repeated opportunities to get his good points across by visual example. His video showing him shooting the couple and family in a reconfirmation ceremony was excellent and the points well reinforced by an interview with the couple while reviewing their pictures. The three sessions in which he was joined by Ben Chrisman to critique submitted photos was also informative and valuable as Chrisman added a crispness to the presentation that Wirken most often lacks. Even in these thirty minutes sessions, they could have included more photos. It may well have helped, if they'd prepared rather than ad-libbed those sections. Prior to the joint sessions, Wirken critiques the work of selected members of the live CL audience in 30 minute segments. His comments while valid, instructive and worthwhile became too harsh and even a bit petty as he spent too much time on a very small sample of the work. That section would have been more valuable had he been more selective in his critique so we students would walk away with one or maybe two memorable items from each photo. As a CL fan and owner of many of their courses, I have to say this is one of the more poorly presented. To the interested student, watch the free example and what you see is what you will get for three days. Yes, the subject is a valuable one and the results of the photojournalistic approach are wonderful, but you'll fast forward the last day and miss all the salient points.

Jivefree
 

For anyone interested in shooting a wedding from a true documentary style approach, this class is for you. Tyler's style may not be for everyone, but I seriously loved this class so much and found it so inspiring. I've attended many in person wedding workshops that were heavily focused on shooting editorial style and capturing the details more so than real moments, because thats what seems to get you published in the wedding industry these days, but I find so much of that lacking heart. Tyler's approach on the other hand is all about capturing the real moments that unfold during the day. His images are so full of heart, emotional and tell a beautiful story.