Internet Critique With Ben Chrisman Part 3


Documentary Wedding Photography: Capturing Reality


Lesson Info

Internet Critique With Ben Chrisman Part 3

Nice little portrait. I know it's a portrait because most people on their wedding days don't stand by window like that. Um that's okay, nothing wrong with that at all, but that's why I'm looking at the portrait so we got to think about again what's hurting us what's helping us the vertical is kind of weird here, but I totally understand why they wanted to do it because of that big, long window, right it's an awesome window and it's an awesome place with awesome light coming in, but in the end, we had to decide, what are we trying to show how we're trying to show the window the dress, both the window in the dress, the bride where we're trying to show and in the end, I want to see her pretty face is what I want to see, right? So what I'm going to do is I'm going to move to the right and I'm going to shoot straight at that wall and I get a little bit of that window, but I want that light to hit her face and make a really nice underexposed kind of I did that yesterday with angela and evan,...

where she was sitting there and she looked over. Remember that it was even a portrait, but same idea you were that with the white wall behind them. Um that's what? I would stop by if you're looking for and you're still going to get all the great parts of the dress. But yes, she's going toe she's she's going to be the cleaner spot with that nice shadow behind her and nothing competing with her, you know, right. Any thoughts? Yeah, I mean to me, this is shot one. You get this photo, you make sure it's safe and it's in focus and then you start exploring what I really appreciate about this photo. Is that her face? That sliver of highlight on her faith is in the black frame totally right there. But what's distracting me is that dumb door on the left. Get rid of that like you could plaster her back up against that wall and had that pretty light falling on her face and move right? Like what you were saying under exposed by three or four five or stops. And then you have a still a very traditional beautiful photo. That's gotta really moved to it. And feeling and that's taking this is a good photo and I think it's we made a few adjustments, it could be a great coat. Totally actually for this bride, I think I think what actually might have happened within the photographer's mind is I think that the photo became more about the window than it did about the bride uh I can see right because in order to get the whole window they had to back up to that position right, which then included that door and then and then and then what happened was that they try to cut the door out guess what happens, they don't get the whole dress right? So then they had to back up even more and then therefore that I'm always trying to get into people's minds and I'm trying to understand the thought process because quite frankly, to me that's, what is photography? Photography is more about the thought process than it is about the actual act of hitting the button that's what impresses me about people was, oh, man, you took a risk you thought through that so try to understand why certain things happen, you know, so right and and also I would encourage you like when you're composing that photo, you're either putting that window all the way in or all the way out? Yeah, and just because you're shooting by a window doesn't mean you have to show the window you can just show the light that's coming from that window and it's just it's pretty yeah, totally right because in the end do we really care about the window that much right it's about the light coming from the window not right it's about the person and the light that that window produces exactly so yeah, totally good job getting a hand in no. Okay. Hey, and head hand yeah. Um uh what's interesting to me is like I love that ben noticed that little see that see that little bit you know? Do you guys see what he's talking about? You guys see how small that is, right? This is what we do in our cameras when we can mind you all the time, right? Looking at those tiny little details and it becomes exhausting, doesn't it? Did you ever get exhausted composing pictures? I get so exhausted looking at my pictures that's funny that's funny. Yeah, me too. Dude, I think yourself okay, erin is so much better. Okay? All right, this is you. Okay, center up, center up. Square up. Square up. Square up. Watch that background, right. Um really cool moment like beautiful backlight on these kids, but those doors air killing you. Um so what? It's okay with fifty, I think fifty is really hard to use, yep, and be interesting with it, it's a very pretty linz it's a very straight board, linds. I know a lot. Photographers use it very well, but for me, I have a hard time with it because it's too literal and something. I like things to be in a little bit more abstract sometimes and that's hard to do with the fifty. Um, but you could I think if you if you got closer to these girls or at least at the very least, when you're photographing kids, I always try to get down on their eye level. So I'm not looking down on them, so I would probably plaster myself on that floor, lie flat on my belly and then see what the composition is, maybe silhouette them against the bright background and put the whole door in and the frame and step back. So I disagree with ben. What? Uh, what do you do? What you gotta do? What you going to show me? Right? So I don't totally a hundred percent of growth, and when it comes about children and give them the level, but in this case, I don't agree with that because of the light in the background, right? So I actually like this dark carpet and how that is helping these highlights on them, right? So my I would've gone maybe I don't disagree. I told you guys were saying yeah, I would have cleaned up the top. Does that make sense? I'm talking about man, you know, like, like, like, like, I would have approached it in a different way because I would have been looking at that light and shoes, huh? Because that highlight the back back light is but the best part about this photo, just those you're never gonna win with those doors, they will never be a great photo because they're dumb doors. So we how do we get them out? Yeah. And even if you went for a silhouette, man it's going to make those doors? Probably even more of a problem, potentially because it's going to be me no more expo's for it, you know? So those doors were open? Yeah, unless those windows or brighter and we could block out the doors with their bodies. Yeah. That's. My only hope. Exactly. Right? And if those doors were open, it might be different animal, right? Because then you got this big, clean little square right here. So you have two choices. You have this white square and yet his black square well, tyler, wouldn't you just go open the doors, of course. I would first ask them to stay there and then I would go find some door stoppers because I need door stoppers and then I would go over the noise that's funny now but I love the moment I think it's a sweet moment and that light is just amazing to me, you know? So I would have wanted to use this I mean, there there could even be a photo here you see the problem if I crop it like this I want it I want to play this real quick I want to play this crap your craft uh okay, let me see so I always cropped aspect ratio because that's just me you know, ask my dre shows how I shot it, you know? So the problem is that bike so much better that feels already right it's a little bit too close though, but I wonder if you could have even gone even further and went for extreme extreme composition and just did something like like that, you know, with all just all black in the background, you know, you never know play with it, but I think it doesn't feel right because it was shot at the distance of the shot at right, so like when I said get farther back, I think exactly what you said it's actually right like either get a lot farther back or get a lot closer but get out of that dead zone of five to ten feet away that you're in right there give me a different perspective because this photo is what uncle bob could do with the iphone you've got to get beyond that what position you're better than that ok, alright, cool. All right, so again great moment, right? Um really sweet but I think the use of flash destroyed the field all right? Yeah, it is flash because how could you get the outside exposed like that? And then on the exposed in the same way, right? Wouldn't you say so been definitely well, it bothers me more. Is that mountain going through there? Exactly. Yeah, mountain going through heads however, I will say that the photographer did get them in this little space here, right? Yeah. That's good that's good. So how do you fix it? Well, first of all that that highlight on the far left I would try to get rid of. I just saw that when I when I looked back at it, I because I don't think the golf course or whatever that is in the street are really contributing I think the interesting part of that photo is the sky and the desert, so if I'm going to say I'm going to use flash it's either you you still let them and don't use flash or you overexpose and blow out the background so say they wanted to use flash and keep both probably get lower, get wide only show the desert and the mountains and make it more of like a desert landscape that and they put these two people like more dominant in the in the top s o that horse horizons not going through their faces you're totally right so this is what one of our from one of our regulars denise no flash, no flash not know flash not posed where's where's the light coming from she'll let us know in the background is it looks like the extra on it. No, those are those are those are blind strong okay wall to wall windows houses windows on their side wall to wall windows. Ok, ok. All right. Well regardless, though quite frankly, if it's flash or not flash I don't think the light really works for the moment. Does that make sense right? The moment feels too like of a great moment and this feels kind of like commercialized does that d understand? I'm trying to save ben? Uh yeah, he'll stake yeah kind of faint because of that light whether there's like that were there or not yeah, go ahead what they're shooting with a forty five year it's probably what I would've done it's backed up and used like eighty five it compress it a little more and then maybe shot at like one point for one point eight two point oh to make the background actually look more like a painting and then the focus is really on that moment and because we keep harping on this background maybe because it's too big of an element in the picture when we really just care about that moment exactly what's knocking down the field with kind of bring arrives yeah it's not actually contributing anything to the moment, right? No it's making me question yeah, exactly right? So it made me question that stuff that made me be like I didn't understand the validity of it I felt like it was like a fabricated moment because if it does that make sense you know, it wasn't it's just interesting how that works, right? And so what I would have done in that situation if that was the light I was given right? I don't think I would have shot from this angle so where's the moment in this picture is denise writing she maybe she could answer you, but but where's the moment in this picture the mom, right? Right? So I probably would have been like maybe I need to roll around to behind the bride and shoot into the mom's face and get the hands and then then what's gonna happen is there's going to be some light some difference in light? Does that make sense? You know? So that's what that's what I would have tried hopefully, but when ben ben, you said getting lower, right? Why did you want to get lower? I don't know, weaver said that because I mean, I like desert group in the desert I appreciate it didn't grow up on a golf course and really like golf courses, so I would've killed that part, you know, it's just personal preference, tio only keep what I'm like visually interested in and visually I'm interested in the people, the blue sky in that desert, so I would just take out everything else. And also the biggest thing he said was this mountain range will not be cutting through their faces if you go low right respond, she felt like the moment was in the mom's face yeah, exactly right the moment isn't mom's face, so maybe we need to just get rid of this don't be blinded by the desert, right, right? And just get the moment and make it and make it powerful so that way cause all I care about when I look at I keep going to mom's face that's when I see mom's face, I don't care what the desert anymore and unlike ben, I don't like the desert I think that this is boring to me and jionni springs up a good point she was having a really hard time with the video guy who was kind of just blocking her out from gang and getting that right angle any advice toe hi how you fight it out with video yeah when they're not looking to tie their shoelaces together that's good yeah right and then they fall down and you know it's great now um fighting you know I mean, I don't know I just I try not to worry about it just the biggest problem is when the video guy and I are on the two different pages trying to get like two different approaches you know, on dso but nine times out of ten on this I bet you the video guy was almost right on the same angle she was, you know, and maybe use that his ammunition and kind of help you find something different that makes sense, you know? So then do you have an advice for that? Yeah, we try to get the videographers is on our side from the very beginning of the day by telling them if we ever get in your shot please tell us and I'll get out just elbow be kicking at me scream at me that way they know that we're on the same team because if they think from the beginning that you're battling them for the shot, you're going to lose because it's almost like a challenge to them at that point you got to break that challenge so it's all again it's all mental it's all people skills just telling them that, you know, I'll get out your shot and almost always they say ok, tell me if I get out it tell me if I get in your shot and in a situation like that I could say, hey, dude, can you step aside just for a second bang bang bang and then you let them get their shot because they're usually gonna copy whatever you do anyway and then everyone's happy? Yeah, good point, right? Yeah. See that that's what? He is much more uh uh political than I am, you know, he's smarter that way, but no it's, right? You know? I mean, yeah, you get more bees with honey, everything I know you've had situations that you told me stories about where that's been an issue and you just have to deal with it, don't you? You just have to kind of work through it and totally like, especially when they have, like, five or six videographers and they just swarm around her in the ceremony, drives me bonkers and at that point I just say screw it I'm going to put them in the picture because this is actually what's happening totally right? I can't take it speed critiquing all right? So first thing that stuck so is the light but the moments to there so we've gotta figure out how to make this work but yet the first thing you gotta do is figure out what doesn't work and get rid of it so you you've got a stained glass window right there, so if you get bad light you're going always expos for the highlights and silhouette him his face or you move around to the front it looks like you've got more staying glass back there oh that's a much better background why are you you've got a bunch of pale, ugly bricks and then you've got a bunch of beautiful stained glass windows like make some decisions and choose which one is the best one on dh so I would go for those things last windows every single time over those bricks make that part of your background and find that composition kit and start moving your feet you know, you know what I'm going to say step one is to turn your flash off you think, oh yeah uh it's total flash dude and you're right I mean five point six sixty second, three, twentieth right and where's, all that light coming from right? So the flash, I think, really was what was was one of the first issues I saw the flash and then secondarily the exit sign, right? So I start fixing all the problems that are are glaring first, right? And so the interesting thing is, is that, you know, I envy photographers that shot in, like, the twenties and thirties because they never had to do with exit signs, alright, thanks like it's like this, like this, like a horrible thing that we have to do with nowadays, but you just gotta look at all those problems that guy's not going anywhere, you know, so just kind of kind of capture the field, but I don't think that those yeah, I think those things last windows were going delia every time that's really no good place to really be, you know? No, no, get right in front of him. Yeah, I'm sorry. I didn't hear you say that. Yeah, I love this thing last windows because you've got color on dh, you've got something you've got, you've got symmetry, you've got something to play with so I wouldn't move right in front of him. And use those stained glass windows that's your frame and then and then get your exposure and then maybe if you wanted to be j b s you could hit him with the off camera flap or you could overexposed even if you expose for the front of his face which is going to be dark you're still going to get some color in the stained glass windows you've got a lot of possibility if you just take out everything that's ugly and only keep the thing that's visually interesting because we're visual storyteller's yeah, exactly and button it words yeah, right? And so I uh I wanted to try him in because you you said like getting front and get your exposure but I'm like, what are we going expose for? You know those those those bright windows because he's not going to you know, but you kind of balance the exposure and you wait for him to do exactly what he's doing and if he turns and looks that lights going off all over his face a little bit you see that, huh? Absolutely you've got so much you've got so much possibility in that room once your once you realize where the light is and where your background is and then you just plop yourself down and you wait wait wait until he gets off that bench and goes to another room yep totally good, okay so the biggest question is what are you looking at? I feel left out in this photo like I just don't know what I don't know whatever he's looking at so there's the key right when you're when you're trying to tell stories you got to make sure that everybody really understands what's going on and I don't I can't figure it out can you? They're probably looking at does or something I don't know some bird superman, superman it look for a man so I think the photographer is in the wrong place personally, I loved the expression on the bride great light hitting her face awesome expression but it just doesn't it doesn't give me any reason I need context to why she's so happy you know and if we can't if it doesn't line up I wish this is this person trying because that'd be awesome to know what I'm just really curious what's going on but if it doesn't line up where you can't show everything at once then at least to show the reaction right so the photographer should have been a one hundred eighty degrees right in front of this guy's got a mike this is ok so where's the groom that's weird that's probably the group right now right here you think? Oh yeah oh yeah they're holding hands okay, so this person should have been right in front of this guy and then maybe focused on the bride or you know, whoever got the expression you focus on them and get that light hitting you know I would even like bump up you bump up the aperture and focus on what's ever in the sky or whatever they're looking at but given enough depth of field so you still see the light falling on the bride's face and maybe on the bridesmaid back there but I would run right up behind the bride and groom and then shoot through them and focus on whatever their yeah totally yep yep like right here man yeah exactly turn around no one will get matty because they're not there look in the wrong direction and it's probably you have to get lower to do that anyway right? And if you're if you're good enough what you know you might be um depends on if you have a good day or not if if you're good enough you can actually like frame whatever is flying in the air like through their faces or something you know but that's that's that's really hard you've gotta be superman to get that done all right you ready? Yes alright cheers okay so first thing all right, so look at your corners looking your edges what doesn't work watch the highlight on the upper upper center and then you've got to think why is that little boy in the background and he doesn't belong there get him out. Um, this is also a horizontal photo where you're standing right next to them. Yeah, I think I love the moment. Oh, yeah, the problem with the verticals there's a lot of times, there's a lot of dead space on the top because it's the bullseye photography, your focus, your used the center point focus and you're not re composing, so the focus is probably on her hair. I would bet. And because that's in the center of the frame and then you got too much negative space that's not contributing to the foreground. Yeah, and this is problem. And you talked about that already? I zoned out for a minute. No, I didn't yeah, see that that's really distracting and so you can fix it very easily. You could do one move, can fix two problems. You move to the right to the right. Okay? They moved to the left and they get put into this clean space that does not go through his head and you block this kid in that chair, see that? Just watching your background and moving that stuff forward, right? Yeah. And can I say something? Of course, these are the moments like with grandpa, where I don't try to be already at all, usually because usually the grandparent's don't dance for very long so I'm just trying to get a clean, safe photo that they will remember for the next fifty years, and you don't even if you don't want to shoot with a thirty five and get close to you could easily shoot with eighty five from ten feet away and just have that composition just be on them from their waist up because that's, what this photo is about, they don't need some shoot through the wine glass voted for this data voice would want something clean and shows that's because he's probably only going to be standing up dancing where there for maybe half a song. And quite frankly, I'm glad you said that men because, you know, I think so many people get so hung up on like, like, you know, I lack of a better word of visual trickery to kind of like me like, look, I did this cool thing where I shot this, and I love it, I mean, ben and they're they're amazing at, like, shooting through things and making really artsy photos, but I think that it's nice to know that, like, you know what, there's moments that just don't deserve that they don't need that, you know, it's, just a simple, clean I think sometimes, if you do too much of that, sometimes it kind of cheapens some certain moments in my opinion and I think that I think that this just needs to stand as itself is like a simple, awesome photo that doesn't need all that stuff, you know? I mean, so right, the only other element that I could think of would be to include maybe the groom or the grandmother or some other person that would add context or a background to it and don't try to do too much with that. Yeah, exactly cool hey, look, that's what the odds that's dad though probably right. Um all right, so guess what I see? Yeah. Background. Yeah, you see that? How many people are crying back there? Man? Uh, four, right? You see that? Do you guys see the background people? Right? And that and that's pretty awesome. And but dad's crying, you know, but who's, the better what's the better story, you think? Yeah, right. I mean, you can tell hey, I knew that dad was crying after I saw the people in the background because quite frankly, that I know that he's crying, but it doesn't look like a really like cry cry, you know, he could be like, man, my foot hurts or something like that, you know, and so I would have shot both this is where you bump focus meaning you focused on the dad make sure you get that picture and then you just bump it back to the people in the background and just go for it you know, awesome moment though awesome moment the part I don't like is this over here? Yep, right that's that's not good. So how do you fix that? Ben? Move to the right or wait for them to move to the left so you've got some separation between the bride and the two ladies on the left and the green and blue so you mean you moved to the left, right? Oh, yeah, yeah, you move to the left or wait till they moved they would be moving left as well. Sorry. See that? Yeah, but what it is is like that's what I want that's what I do I'm like I'm always trying to, like move myself in everyday situations and watch how things line up and that's exactly so that way it could be instinctual and I don't have to go like if I go to the right first I might miss the moment so I know I got to go to the left right away right? And can I say something wrong? Yeah go this is one of the most I know people have been talking about how many photos we all shoot at weddings but this is a perfect example why? Because when you're photographing the people on the left just one person making a bad face will screw your entire photo up so you really need to shoot this thoroughly to make sure you get one frame where everyone's doing the right thing um because otherwise the photo's ruined so you have to shoot shoot shoot until that moment is completely gone just to try to get one picture that works it's a great moment though so how many photos do you shoot at a wedding man um last year aaron and I averaged fourteen thousand wedding fourteen thousand by yourself together together together I generally shoot at least six or seven or eight depending on the dancing the thing is like every wedding half my photos come from dancing or the recession so if the wedding doesn't have a lot of dancing to net number drops dramatically but aaron I cover dance for you know full out for however many hours it takes place so there's a lot going on so that's one reason why our numbers are so high yeah and I don't think a lot of photographers do that there they don't stay till the end and there's nothing wrong with that is just how we work and that's why big reason why our numbers can be higher than normal but it's also I mean like what's interesting is I'm going to actually show this in the next segment I'm going to go through a hole raw now I'm just going to skim through it, but a whole raw wedding like, like, unedited and it's interesting, because you're shooting, like seven thousand images, right? But you're not shooting seven thousand things, you know, it's like you have like, yeah, right, so you have, like, these big trunks of things that are very deliberate, but we're just shooting a lot of images within those deliberate scenes to get get it on the line up, right? And no one pictures ever the same because it's always micro adjustment, you inch down and down, and you're looking in the background and see what's going on and everything's gotta lie enough, and so we're just trying to make it perfect and, you know, honestly, I'm just not good enough to do that photo because he's saying with then, why not just wait, you know, but yeah, same thing, right? You know? Because I don't know if that's going to be the best moment like I need teo, I you know, if I I never tried to edit myself or judge myself when I'm taking the picture? Well, I don't look at the camp back of the camera unless I'm checking my exposure, I wait until I'm sitting behind a computer. To discover how bad I am I don't want to doubt myself when I'm taking picture I just want to experience it for the moment that's happening with my camera and not worry about this. I'm just worried about what's in front of me yeah, totally. How about a question for men on the internet? Ben from the internet, we have a question. All right, we have a question for you. So this was a question, ben, I just want to thank you for joining us today. I know arlene has been dying to get you here on creative lives, though we were so happy you could join us for this segment. We asked this question from the internet from tyler for tyler earlier. And I'd like to ask you when you get criticism on your work, is it hard to hear? And was there something that you learned during a critique that has permanently improved your photography? Oh, absolutely. I grew up in newspapers with with my friend brett butter stein. And we used to just rip our whip ourselves to shreds all the time and honestly, that's how it grew the most because britain I would look it like our favorite photographer's, the ones that magnum james knock away gary night, all these guys, and so we tried to hold ourselves to that level. And we could never get better if we just accepted that we were good enough for where we were because we weren't good enough for where we were so we constantly we need another set of eyes looking at ourselves otherwise, you know, we would have taken the better to picture to begin with. So critiques are incredibly, incredibly important and I got pretty foreign time by my idol james knock away in fifteen minutes with him completely changed how I shoot because he was able to see all my flaws, all the things that I was officially doing wrong and tell me instantly what I was doing wrong and that really helped kind of redefine how I how I worked with a camera. So it's it's insanely vital getting critiqued is the only way you're gonna get better awesome, great! Thank you. Been so much for joining us today. Thanks way really patient let's give a big round of applause place on uh if if anybody doesn't know where to find him, I can't do in iraq. Yeah, but it's christmas studios don't come see h m a n awesome, amazing stuff so quick thought as I was going through these right, I feel really bad that we only got to image number twenty two people submitted so many things, so I was thinking as I was going through this what I want to do is I actually been think about trying to start this in a way I think I want to start it with this if that's okay, sure is I would love these people if they want to and they thing these guys still want to get critiqued by me, I would be happy to see my start like an instagram could cheat type thing and so if they want to, they can they have to like me on instagram, right? And I promise that I will put more photos up, but that would be it's at tyler working and then if they want to take even these photos or, you know, if some people want to submit some photos, I don't know how long I can hear how quick they can get to him, but if they do like a hashtag workshops, then I'll be able to see them. I was thinking about that, you know, I'm getting smarter about this instagram stuff and I thought that might be kind of a nice way for me to kind of at least help these people to dig like like, like get the critique that they were hoping for, you know, because I hate having to, like, not get there, you know? Well, I was great was very thorough and very well received, so thanks, thank you thank you to everybody who submitted. I think it's fantastic and the very brave, you know, to kind of hear these these these thoughts and these two guys, of course, for all that kind of stuff. So that was fun.

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!