Embrace the Philosophy

 

From Images to Art: Storytelling in Wedding Photography

 

Lesson Info

Embrace the Philosophy

You evaluate where you're at now we're ready for step two um and that's step I'm gonna put on the slides right now and that is first let's look at where we come from the step two is embrace the art focused philosophy okay take it on notice about the art focus philosophy is the wonderful place that I'm currently running my business from is so enjoyable my work flow all those things you talked about in the last in the last segment now I'm going to convince you to take on this philosophy as well so this step should happen in your first season quarter one okay this is step one and two are definitely part of this first quarter you commit and then you embrace so we're going through the steps right now what the active embracing this philosophy is all about we're gonna talk about the psychology behind why it works we're going to talk about the storytelling philosophy in general so I am ready to dive in after this very nice quote from walt disney a good story can take you on a fantastic journey...

all right a good story can take you on a fantastic journey questions you can a single image do that? Yes actually it can but those images are very very rare storytelling and putting images together to tell a story from one spread all the way through the book there's a much simpler process than you think so here we are at the crossroads again I'm going to keep reminding you to go all the way in don't just take one journey take the road less traveled by by robert frost because that I'm just gonna read the last line I don't want to read the whole poem the last uh paragraph is I should be telling this with a sigh somewhere ages and ages hence two roads diverged in the in a wood and I I took the one less travelled by and that has made all the difference gosh this relates to me I memorize this poem robert frost when I was in middle school and I just love the fact that I get to use it my program today because it makes so much sense you got to go take the path less traveled by okay I love this part so set up a little bit I was a psychology major in college I went to university of washington and I learned about the brain and there's an older theory about the brain that they developed in the eighties were they you know, the people out there they will correct me where they epilepsy um in order to cure epilepsy where there's a signals synapses between our neurological pathways that were leading to the seizures and so they separated the brain the right brain the left um from that they're able to find certain characters certain characteristics in people state of of mind that are linked to one another I cannot wait to get into that because it's really truly relates so what we do as storytellers but early in my career I learned about this we think in unique ways at different times of the day different periods in our life different experiences happening to us but one thing I really learned is that if you connect the head and the heart if you get that emotional impact out ofyour images and what you do as a storyteller amazing things happen amazing things happen okay? And I learned this I learned this from a few things I'm about to show you I can't wait if I see tears I know that I've done my job that's our job as retail photographers too do with with greatest effort used every technique and skill and ability to try to impact our clients in such a way that they're emotionally driven to tears now of course it's not for everything but boy have you done your job right if you have and the results are unknown been so vice he tears I've done my job so I want to bring in an album I mean it's this guys I'm gonna have to put it this is not just an album it's a coffee table it's not a coffee table book it's a coffee table I want to show you let's get uh okay this thing has been in the closet all beat up this is years and years ago okay this is my first attempt check it out this is my first attempt to take on this our focus philosophy all right I knew you know got inspired by my friends in europe I got inspired by my friends in australia and my friend your avant said to me hey if you want this career if you want to do what I do you must deliver the art and I said okay, well I'm gonna make my first album then this was it I knew I had to shoot differently because I saw it how things were kind of section ofthe into times of the day or themes but I don't really know what I was doing I don't know anything about design I don't know anything about presenting images in themes that won't go through now in this in this workshop together I didn't know much and I'm gonna show you that right now so how do we have to have a good introduction and this is two thousand six okay so notice there is storytelling here he's getting ready I show the location and then I show the broad to dip told is a groom and then brought and I know now we didn't we really need to feature the bride more don't we really need to make about the bride first rules of design now um boy look at this very busy spread the theme is this color did we see this theme back here? No we had black okay, so the theme is this great tone and a huge mixture of color black and white sepia etcetera did that take you on an emotional ride? Not so much but it does it is a form of storytelling it's details getting ready okay head size is small big small look she's storytelling she's walking up some stairs where's she going is she going into this room? Okay, so none of these images worked next to each other but I didn't know that I didn't understand I didn't understand the theme like themes are so important um sticking with the spread have each spread having new purpose and staying within the general theme of entire book so let's continue a nice shot of her beautiful uh some issues here blown out highlights it's set up but then mix black and white this my friends is called a picture book this is what ninety percent of us are making when we're commissioned to do that and that's usually after we've taken the pictures we don't think about this being photographed and don't think and spreads if we're picture takers were then we're making a book to see if it could make sense here clear as a picture taker what what I was at the time I didn't have any of you I didn't consider how it would be laid out the book and so we have shots that are close shots that are far I'm basically forced to put images together without themes without purpose okay but then this is the first moment they see each other this couple chose to see each other beforehand and then we do some some nice images with the elements that were given okay there's a big detail shot is that the right place in this album no should have been a lot sooner and did it require a full page no they didn't so here we go mixture of shots okay and then I did a film this is what I'm gonna teach you about doing what's called a calm filmstrips multiple images shot and and and your bride and groom or clients or your subject move within okay kind of fun I learned from doing this that you get expression motion and movement equals expression we're really gonna explore this very fun okay and then we go to a new location we see this red wall turn up where did that come from? We didn't storytelling to it did we we don't know where the red wall came from but then my attempt okay this is something I do a lot of now it's called cross walking okay it could literally be a crosswalk but they're crossing the page and usually I like to do it from left to right it just says we're going someplace new but then I stayed there I should have crossed walked away from there okay so they do a couple things together with his red wall and then there's a moment happened oh my gosh guys is this isn't the next bread ok what the heck is that ah heart formed so there they are playing and then he leaves and she's standing there alone and the veil turns into a heart there's there's no photo shop here guys that is a heart shaped bill that's what I'm talking about scene setting and we'll talk about this later I'm talking to you about a lot tomorrow when we're talking about techniques is shooting how the heck did that form I couldn't like can you imagine trying to commercially shoot someone something like that you know you'd have to have all these fishing lines holding it up and it happened naturally and I freaked out I saw it in my screen I freaked out I didn't know what to do what I should've done shot out of it explain how we got there in the first place that story shooting this particular book changed my way of thinking completely my first attempt at it it changed everything for me and these shots happened because I wasn't using the same techniques I used for years prior and that is using my fifty canned poses that worked at every single wedding okay instead I was attempting to store issue was tempting to find nuclear new locations I was using the technique that I now call scene setting knowing that hey if I tell the bride to walk towards that wall I know the wind is hitting that wall and I know that we'll go straight up or sideways doesn't matter if e I knew that motion of move it's creates expression if a veil moves it's gonna be a moment and sure enough they formed a heart oh my gosh oh my gosh oh my gosh what I do now now I know and I've trained myself to shoot out of it shoot your way into the next story so that's why there's flow now because I didn't shoot away from that moment here we are suddenly we're back in a new location we're starting in a sense this kind of making making sense on and then there's girls this little girl's walking where did they come from but look at this expression I learned from this particular image if I separate people and bring them back in a rapid fashion you get the expression and it's really you know the alternatives say everybody hug each other and laugh at each other is that really is that a real moment where they find value in that when they see that image or how about instead instead of posing them sitting asking for it we just let techniques create those moments for us so tomorrow, especially, we're going to talk about these techniques and we call it image we call it energy ratcheting were always considering the amount of energy that we put into our couples are subjects. It'll come right back at you in the form of beautiful photos. So it's really fun. So went, oh, look across walking the first attempt at it you giggling people notice the light is green honking cars? This is it obviously is in a long time ago. I don't do a lot of this technique anymore, but I learned what made that expression and playfulness really fun. So anyways it goes on and on like we're back to the red wall, but it had doesn't have chronological order. Another major important thing when story shooting ok here, the family portrait ce that some are close somewhere far away, and then how do we get back to her sitting again? Didn't we see that in the beginning? So this is great to critique? I really want to see what the style starts with and by end of this workshop, I hope that you guys have developed a really clean, tight formula for doing the design type of formula that takes people in that emotional ride that we require in order to to have them find. Value in the work that we do the type of value that I'm talking about from the hawaiian wedding it's just a baby step towards that direction set your goal I would like to do twenty five thousand dollar weddings how would you get there backward engineer within five years I must shoot destination weddings with double volume books perhaps okay and you you just work your way towards it so you see where I've come from a lot of these techniques are not timeless lane images over the top of images not necessarily timeless you'll see in our design we have eliminated a lot of things like that we've got to really clean two three five images at the most on a spread well there's some with twenty spreads on it but we use negative space to heal your eye we have a rules like in a spread everyone no no mixed treatments anymore because that kills the emotion head sizes must be the same and less intentionally different okay, you have to have a theme from beginning to end so every page has the same theme that theme ultimately should be like an ideal world should be from the bride and groom they should have provided that either with the theme they chose for their wedding or perhaps you've taken the theme from their invitation their menu etcetera let's do a lot of that you're making a custom piece of art for them so it was this book that I first saw tears. It was this a book that changed my entire. I knew I was onto something I knew I needed to refine it. I knew I needed to make it better. Okay? I want to compare that with the bride that picked up her her foot photos the same day. Okay, literally there's this mom and daughter that came okay, and they saw this album and they're reduced to tears. And we're doing the wrong sales technique card, hard sales. Ah, hard sales technique. And I'm going to go over what? The three types of sales this afternoon, but they left and they spent quite a lot of money on this beautiful piece of art and they cried while watching the slideshow about it. Okay, later we printed in italy with our wonderful partners graphics studio. It arrived, we saw tears again. It was beautiful. I'm on to something. That same afternoon we had another bride pick up the work. She did not subscribe to this album. She didn't choose to have an album built for her. She had friends that had us, and we delivered individual images in a box and that's what she wanted, of course, because we orient oriented her to that orients into her mind to those individual pictures, so remember it being a real game changer for us. So our house is on a hill and we're overlooking the sidewalk and the ride showed up to pick up her box of negatives and individual pictures, and she picked him up hugs. We talked about the wedding day a little bit. It was wonderful to see her, and we explain how it works. And off she went, she was even with a grimm. Um, I remember an hour later looking out our bedroom window with over that looks over the top of the street to summer afternoon. There's the bride still in her car sunroof is open. I can see right in there and she's going like this with your box of four by six prints. I remember they had borders on him. She chose the border option thin white borders and she's like this she's tossing them into the seat next door, which should have been occupied with her husband, right, one after the next, my heart sank. That was her experience seeing her wedding day photo, not even with her husband and and and it was that experience. When I talk about the experience that we provide with our clients often show you my audience is a compare a beautiful album, like the one I originally just showed you. A few minutes ago put two story put to music and I wanted to gauge your heart where you are emotionally in your heart when you see something like that so often it's a oh my gosh if you designed it right with a crescendo in the middle and it drops you off in the end big wild spreads here and there and we'll talk about exactly what our formula is that we know works if you do write oh my gosh and then right after that I play individual slide show a slide show of yeah some really great images some average images to all put together and then now gauge where you are in your emotional experience you will no question about it being a very neutral place in comparison very neutral place so let's talk about that okay, I'm going to give you this thing is so heavy uh but I'm so grateful for that lesson I'm so grateful for where I was there and just start taking a stab into story shooting just given in the world and you know I'm pretty proud of that work to this day but boy, have we refined it with the baby steps I was talking about last segment baby steps of refinement so that was my first album now I'm a talk about the brain, what I've learned psychology now this is an old theory well, we know now that the right brain left brain is a great way to talking about the literal side of the brain and the emotional side of the brain there's not really sides it was gnarly sides there's actually the understanding we got probably people in audience that really do understand this but according t my research they're just they're stronger uh pathways in the brain that are excited during specific moments everyone's day one life etcetera and we can influence the pathways okay, so specific characteristics I mean, just to make it simple we're going to go right brain left right or emotional brain we're going to call it emotional brain or the literal brain okay? Because we could can't honestly with all honestly group these characteristics together fair okay, so let's call the left side of the brain the literal brain and the right side of the brain the emotional range the theory is still pretty much works except we know it's a little different just bear with me so the left brain is the logical side. Okay detail oriented facts related words and language come from the literal brand from these this enough these pathways com pathways comprehension order pattern perception reality base it's math and scientists, math and science okay knowing versus believing and I really want to point out this last components safe versus risk taking because this is going to show up in our our sales portion okay, so those are pathways that that work together those are the type of characteristics that you get when someone's in that state of mind will call a state of mind the right brain right brain is everything to us in this field okay? It uses feeling okay big picture oriented okay imagination symbols and images to get it feeling comes from this state of mind ok? It also used spatial perception perception it's fantasy based what is a wedding life's greatest fantasy right philosophy and religion it's believing versus knowing and it's risk taking the risk taking side our emotional state that is interesting risk taking is that why sales are so different when you get people emotional place? Well that album my first album I ever made was an eight thousand dollar profit I would like I come from humble means and that would be very difficult for me to ever fathom that but somehow they found incredible value in that piece of art now I hard sold them I hard sold them on that and I do not do this now and I'm gonna explain that later but oh my gosh it worked it's somehow we're onto something big here so if I want to be an artist everything everything, every decision I make and I know there's questions in the audience they're coming in the chat room right now a question any question could possibly ask I would first ask well where does that place your viewer? Your audience your your client's state of mind is it a left or right state of wine is an emotional state of mind or literal state of mine okay, how it affects the emotional brain huge. So ask yourself this how do you advertise you throw you in price on your advertisements numbers numbers which are numbers literal okay, how do you answer your phone? You realize you could be in a state of emotion that will be the energy over right into who's asking and what's the first thing we all know that the clients ask when they call the first thing they they they ask for hi, I'm getting married what's your price you answering that question exactly that's putting them in a little replace their hire you on a literal level aren't they it's a literal brain question so how you answer the phone how you meet with your couples. Okay, how you meet with your couples? Is it a coffee shop? Is it in a busy environment? Is there are you satisfying the tactile senses? Are you getting them emotional place or is it more literal place you've got to think about this stuff how do you communicate with their clients? We're going to do a whole section on communication okay, very important stuff how do we set up our pricing? Pricing numbers, numbers, numbers all numbers right no we're gonna learn pricing and they were going to throw away pricing okay because we're going to teach you about custom proposals okay how we start shooting day this's big you've got to be an emotional place if you want to create emotional imagery you've got to be attached to those clients they can't just be another number for you another wedding you got to get done you need to be part of their inner circle you gotta be part of their like valued as a family member and it's your job and its sales sales happens and I'm gonna prove this from the first moment they come across your name all the way through the process in two years beyond their wedding that's gonna be a revolution for many people who think sales is a face to feast hey let's talk price okay you do this and I'll do that it's different in this field because it's emotional best so how do we start shooting day okay how do we shoot we get to do this tomorrow I love how do we share our images guys? Very important how do we do it? You know I like personally sharing images with foreign language music I love or instrumentals I don't like necessarily the lyrics to interfere with them emotionally believing those words are being sung about them so how do we set up a website? I can't wait to make this transition my good my goodness we make a major mistake in all of us to almost all of us individual images it's just like that slide show that I'm not going I don't have time to show you today but individual images itjust keeps your emotional state in one line okay that's what our website represents so that's why my website shows entire stories one slide shit one section to music the other section as a clique thursday q really study each spread for two unique quality so tell you stuff your website continue to relationship the continue relationship it goes on and on and on it should happen you guys should be friends with these people and photograph their babies okay first maternity you know then there there there young children that infant photography and then work into their family that heart of yours my absolutely favorite I love it it's so fun so pictures are very different from art very different and the individual pictures only have so much impact but every once in a while a big one comes along that does now I've had experience grateful to have been asked to be a judge w p p I and other events as well which is wedding in portrait photographers international on both the individual pictures the bride you know individual image categories and the album categories and I learned a lot I learned this I learned the grand award winning image usually is a storytelling images, but there's, not just one story in it. There might be two stores to things going on. Too little micro stories. The grand award winner often has three unique stories taking place within one image. It's like awesome. How do you capture that? Something going over here, something on over here you're like, oh, wow, what a beautiful and you'll get there on that emotional place.

Class Description


What techniques turn a single wedding photograph into a powerful, multi-dimensional storytelling tool? In this captivating course, professional wedding photographer Jim Garner will teach you how to transform your photography business by thinking like an artist.

Jim will share hard-won industry secrets — learned from decades at the helm of one of the nation’s leading wedding photography studios — guiding you through the creative journey from picture-taker to storytelling. You’ll explore tools and strategies that will make your workflow more streamlined and your studio more profitable. During live action photo shoots, you will watch Jim’s “story shooting” philosophy in action — as he demonstrates how posing, shooting, and lighting contribute to the strength of the visual story.

By the end of this course, you have a full grasp of the art of storytelling and be able to apply this new way of thinking to every aspect of your business.

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