From Images to Art: Storytelling in Wedding Photography

Lesson 5 of 36

Picture Taker vs. Story Shooter

 

From Images to Art: Storytelling in Wedding Photography

Lesson 5 of 36

Picture Taker vs. Story Shooter

 

Lesson Info

Picture Taker vs. Story Shooter

The amount of stories something provides seems to get us to emotional place. Let me give example, this is one single image shot um that I've taken there's multiple stories taking place here, this groom is peeking over out of focus in the front of the door opens lighting him down below the broader parties coming up you could see the the child behind the bride's dress at the bottom and something's happening in a completely different section almost looks like a section ofthe area where the spiral staircase there's people walking up on the top. Okay, it's not a you know, a great image, but its story filled there's, there's motion and movement describing these type of images are so incredibly rare they it's like to come across moments like this, and I'm not toting this is my best images ever I'm just saying, this is this is it's so rare I could barely find one of my portfolio. Okay? But album spreads that's a canvas of experience. I call it a canvas to write except create experience. We cou...

ld put multiple images and they don't have to be extraordinary just simple images onto an album campus and have almost the same impact on our viewer, right? And you're thought of that your canvas at a theme at three four images, maybe a syriza filmstrip of images and a strong closer some pre thought how you shot that so that when you turn the page wait oh god they walked right into that beautiful while spread a single image spread that's amazing that is why storytelling is so powerful we can control it we have the control over it it's much easier as well so let's set the groundwork for what we're gonna talk about now expression technical skill client experience and quality of lighting these are the four things that will move us forward way have to have expression the images it doesn't have to be laughter it could be crying it could be you know when I photographed the bride in the beginning of the day I'd like to photograph her without this big smile on her face she's nervous she hadn't seen her groom she's just know what's gonna happen today and so I often when she's looking at me smiling at this big smiler face when I'm capturing her portrait I often say you know what just close your eyes for one second a technique that makes her stop smiling because we want to portray her how she feels right try smiling with your eyes closed I can't do it scene setting by the way they're uh it's a technique we'll talk about so technical skill understand your camera setting so you could throw it away I can understand your camera settings so you could throw that information away and then shoot with your heart so get that right brain stuff the left brain sorry literal brain things like the technical side of taking, you know, pictures of relighting rations all that stuff I kind of know it practice a lot and then let it let it let it go because you're going primarily concern yourself with the client experience remember more fun people are having or mohr that you allow those emotions to take place during the day they're more they're going to see themselves in those photos and they're going to buy this photo's gonna want in a big big art book most important you do not take a picture unless you have good light you do are not allowed you must have light first so light comes from my favorite source in natural light and you'll see tomorrow we we shoot together I used my hand to show me the exact place the face of the bride needs to be okay and then I move them I give them a reason to be in that place okay? So the lighting in storytelling has to be consistent throughout and you know we use if you don't have light we use video light off camera flash never straight on flash okay because you get a blown out look that's not look doesn't look natural we want a story telling everything needs to be candidate appearance and natural and beautiful consistent lighting okay so I don't have to take perfect pictures this is one of things I love I love I explained that I don't have to take perfect pictures if I have expression in them some of those images of the beginning the program of the mom and her daughters and that interaction between it was it wasn't even in focus and nothing to do with being in focus of being perfect, but it had that that interaction between the subject so expression trumps perfection you guys that's liberating thank you very much, it's so true though in retail photography in particular okay, you don't have to take perfect pictures everyday all right? I'm here to tell you and I think many of us agree our clients in the retail world like in, you know, wedding cuts, yeah, they want beautiful, perfect images, but they'll always pick and I know from experience hundreds of weddings behind me that always picked that fun laughter playful, candid moment over the formal perfect lighting ratio, everything sharp type of image, right, especially in storytelling albums. All right, so we get to be liberated from perfection every storytelling it's just one of the fifty benefits from moving down this new path it's so much fun to so we're just after expression all day long and it could again it doesn't have to be it doesn't have to be aah! Laughter playful moment we want to get those tears to this's an example of one techniques will talk about tomorrow calm ocean posing this is called uh the group's energy technique. Okay, I love this image everyone just laughing and playfulness and it all just happened because the wind through that veil over the top and wave called event emphasizing we overemphasize the word over guns click boom! How about this image? I love that moment. If you've seen this before, just laughter and playfulness people was asking, how do you get how to get to crack up like that? We'll be tethered tomorrow it will be interesting I'll be tethered up and showing you the photos and everything you know we see him come on the screen, you know we're gonna shoot the creative lifestyle, but I'll show you exactly how you do it. It's really fun so here's some facts about stories um, simple images in story have mohr impact than individual pictures pictures now there's some beautiful, extraordinary individual pictures that this doesn't work for. But I will tell you this individual simple images put in siri's with pre thought pre consideration, how will be laid out and how will interact with the rest of these stories it has much impact of not more than a single wow moment that most guitar for set out on a the adventure of shooting a wedding day to get their doomed tohave to provide that because that's what they've shown on their website they've shown individual images on their website and their portfolio images are they not there's some of the best image so when they get hired there under the stress and this is me this is totally my experience my understand I was stressed out all day long win I'm gonna win I'm gonna get that big wild moment when am I gonna get that big wow shot that that represents what we do from the client's visually seen that on my website all day long I'm looking for those well shots here's a fact pre play on albums trump over the city single while okay because look at this wow shots are elusive that come when you're not expecting it is not true for me the heart shaped villain is expected to form a heart with a lightning bolt shot that you saw in the beginning ofthe cure the lightning please unbelievable these moments were riel okay they only come when you're not expecting them so I just realized that I could stop looking for him completely stop looking stop working so hard to find these incredible moments I don't need to come naturally if I story shoot and somehow my creative activity went through the roof where does creativity come from? I don't need a search for portfolio images if I story shoot wow what? I hope this makes sense to our audience um because, you know, I hope it makes sense I want to challenge you to stop searching for when challenged you just just allow the story to happen use the techniques that were going to describe tomorrow and you will find your portfolio will explode with new and exciting things because you quit using which worked for you in the past and amped your creativity and you're actually not using your time toe orchestrate events you're allowing the moments to be produced accidentally sometimes with a little help scene setting using motion posey preplanning, et cetera because ultimately it's about the book so let's let's break down the difference in picture taker and archer okay art story sure now so picture taker this's definitely me up until that book that was the trans a chance you know that's the moment I made this pathway change, but boy on that subject, I sure we're down the path without having a a single tool to get through that river and over to the other side there is a mountain range in front of you as well. I'm really glad you're all here today so I can I can help help you avoid that those pitfalls that we we went through but here's where it was picture taker I captured images without design intention you saw that book there's no consideration how there would have been viewed in the book I prompted many images in a short period of time so hey, I got an hour and a half let's go like crazy. Hey, let's, go over here. Okay, can you get to fifty? Campos is remember that angles and camera orientation I wouldn't consider during the shoot so I shoot. I was trying to be photo journalistic should you know long lands, bring it, zoom it in close horizontal vertical in and out head size in the images would become big, small defending our close our shooting, you know, until tilt the camera here until two lines weren't lining up with other images. Things like that lining consistency was not considered at that point in my career, I would use on camera flash I'd bounce flash I do some available light of learning how to use that I was learning how tio tio perhaps use the incandescent lights, the overheads but it was just different. Every shot had different color temperature and I would always fall back on flash straight on okay, which is a washed out in a digital world it's it's slightly cooler image always tell unless you jealous I delivered images on a disk, okay, they were coming for the negatives, which is equivalent to a disk there hire me for that ah, individual prince four by six prints for inch by six inches. You could choose sloppy borders. You could choose white borders or full bleed. Those are three product options I relied upon my can poses and there's about calling my fifty campos is so everything worked in the past at that last wedding. So it's going to work at the next burnout for me? Uh, many if not most image has subject looking at camera there's always one of like click click, click, click. Okay, look at the camera. It's different now. I asked them if they need to look at the camera, which we need to do. Certainly, but I'll say, hey, guys, just play most of the day you just be together on if I need you look at the camera last and after a few minutes they begin to play with the camera they begin to, like, just forget you're there, especially with the style of shooting his stories you grab click, click crab story snap, snap, snap, step back and then you disappear. And how do you find the time to do that? Uh, next section experiential stuff. Picture taking may feel contrived. Yes, it does sometimes to the subject they put every once in a while you growled out or snapped out now I'm not going to do that oh you don't want to do the pose with the twist around and then why don't you dip thing no way don't do a lot of that man I get it okay I get it you'll notice it in the work that you'll see here there's not a lot of glamorous posing and it's on purpose is just walking standing being together maybe sitting uh interactive moments a lot more of those in our in our work now so I was focused primarily on composition okay story shooter I'm gonna switch to this side because it's this path it's this path ago story shooter it captures images with final art in mind okay I shooting quick burst now click click let allow for client interaction because it's not about it's not about the picture anymore it's about their experience with story shooting okay angles and camera orientation absolutely considered it's so liberating and fun I'm going to photograph the groom getting ready I'm going to photograph all his details let's do as details vertical and then then want to photograph him and we'll have them kind of looking back towards the light on and I'll put him in the spread up I'll go detail, detail, detail, detail let's do things to eight since he's got eight things do you tell detail, detail, detail all vertical and then a horizontal closing shot okay and he's going to look towards his stuff so I'm gonna put him against this wall faces feet away from all those look back give me a reason for being there maybe we're laughing or playful maybe his groomsmen is right there and you're giving them he looks back click I get my moment ok I've just told the story the groom getting ready and it took me two seconds by pre thinking it it's so much easier than snipes xxx night conflict waiting for the moment um instead you just you asked for actually in the active asking for it you've sped up the process of being photographed to a millisecond it's better than being completely I'll fly on the wall photo journalistic it took less time it took very little time to be in his face with your camera okay and this is just my style I'm a big fan of good photojournalism really great I've just learned that a combination of photojournalism along with grabbing a quick moment so I could tell a story liberates me liberates the client makes it maur abetter of experience for everybody it's more fun and is sure has led to more refined work that you were now sought after for okay so lighting consistency absolutely concerned everything needs to look like natural light everything must appear to be even if I bring in a video light or off camera five I make it look like it's natural okay but deliver images on a disk I still do that but it's at the end of the process part of the sales portion we give the disc at the end of the process by the way the disc has no photoshopped images on it we educate them that photo shop happens on ly in the art that is that is commissioned do you know how much time that saves me photocopy okay we just remember if they came to us we've or into their minds from the get go to the album and the enlargements that's what they want they don't want our individual pictures that's a huge benefit of being story shooter but they get it at the end of the process because we're adjusting them in light room aren't way we're tweaking him suddenly in our image processing software through the whole process and at the end we provide for them to them a disk of the images raw right out of life as we shot him exactly how it was during the film era photoshopped in art shooting is for the art on ly a huge benefit so I rely upon client experience now to create a real expression and fund I don't trumped poses okay most images have a candid appearance which makes shooting so much fun uh subject looking away from the camera again you get him started and they just go um distortion it feels natural to subjects leads to experience leads to better images that they relate, teo, which leads to referrals, which kicks that big boulder right off the hill that's the inertia that I'm talking about so we focus on feeling and emotion now expression right? Feeling an emotion? So picture takers our composition based and there's some darn good ones out there and kudos to them. I'm not criticizing picture taking at all by giving this program, I'm just showing you different path story shooters, feeling, expression and emotion. It's a totally different picture takers use posing techniques often or maybe not maybe more photo realistic, but posing is required in order to get the shot often, you know if you bring in its external line and do a big wow image, which you you still need to do a story shooting, but it requires a lot more hands on and prompting story shooting is using techniques instead to create the emotion, expression, it's, different techniques, techniques versus poses, okay? And we're gonna this is what small going so far I'm to show you the techniques so the picture taker business model unfortunately, I've learned personally, captain my earning potential what I was delivering katmai earning potential even when I started with my first albums it cap my, um any potential aren't focused story shooting absolutely does not the art focused store shooting business small I've explained to you and I hope to continue to explain it to you um with open honesty and what this potential is about and never in a million years did I ever think I would be photographing twenty five thousand dollar weddings? Oh my gosh and again I don't want to be boastful about it. I just want to be sure you understand that it's doable it's doable, but you've got to be on the right course to do it. So if I properly orient the minds of my clients to art, big stories equals big profit big art way all deserve that. So this type of art were producing now huge images metal, metal images way find one thing that works for us and we move on it check out this is our studio that's why people buy they see it the rule number one in sales if they see it, they're gonna want orient their minds to art and I'm sorry, I don't know yeah love a web was saying, how do you deal with the what they call the pinterest happy clients, which are the ones who come in with their like mood board set up of like I want this pose in this pose in this pose? How do you actually transform them from that focused on that image too? More of your style I actually love that question and those are the type of clients I really want I really enjoy somebody who who knows exactly what they're looking for and interest has been wonderful and beat him to commute that communicate that we used to give tear sheets we rip them out of magazines and and hey here's what I wanna do we create a folder for them and then I make sure I include those poses and those things that excite them in my story but I will tell you right now that that the people that relate to this question are often in the philosophy off of individual image picture taking so how'd we oriented their minds through our website? Perhaps is our first line of defense to the storytelling technique those would come with left was less frequency, I think and they would trust you to produce your story but boy, I always always invite my clients even when they're fully understand that we're going to deliver images in the form of art to share with us some of the things I love about what's being photographed it's so helpful and we can often do just that for them produce those images long answer sorry um and joran asked how much how much do you let your client's guide or influence the creation of the album? You let them have any say or do you kind of guide them through this. I'm so glad that you're asking this question because we are going to cover that so yeah, one of the greatest difficulties and this is actually remember I said the river that we must cross is kind of like, uh, it is the communication component of moving to storybook story books, there's, negative space and what we want. You know, when I first started, um, I noticed that the clients they take that negative space, which is so necessary to heel toe I create a while moment awhile, um, experience you need that, but clients who oriented their minds to picture taking, they want to fill it with individual images, they want to fill it up with pictures, so we didn't have our communication style. We did have documents to sign reminding them why you're hiring us your hires to create the book you just saw on our website and saw in person, and that is a storybook. He has three to five images for spread it has negative space, it has, um, a story beginning middle, and they'll be a theme through the whole book and themes within and that's what we're gonna about to design that for you sign away on that there you go, you will not have the butchery, we also involve them, but to ah, level but then we say, trust us, they're only allowed to give us a handful images they love, and we design around those images we say, trust us, we have something in mind. They fill out the whole form psychologically they feel involved. But then we say, trust us, put it to music, show them that slasher they fall in love with it, they get a revision process that's how it's done. We'll talk about that tomorrow again, this might be something that you're going to cover later. But you you did kind of drop a little bit of a bomb in there when you're like, we give a cd with all of the images that are unedited and people flashback photos, says I'm a firm believer that you should always put your best work out there, which is your photoshopped, edited images. So aren't you afraid that people are going to share your unedited work and people are goingto be shocked about it? Yeah, tell you what says, did you just say that you give a cd with all of your images without any work on them? And then yeah. Can you clarify that? A little bit? Yes, yes, yes. Okay, so I love that question because here's, why, this is why I keep saying it's going to come for the competition? What is jim sela orient? The minds of your clients to the art they're coming to you for not individual pictures, they are goal through this entire process, but time here it step ten you will have communications in place be reminding them of things they'll be so excited about, not your individual pictures they'll be excited about the art that you're going to produce and their if we've done our job properly, they're completely satisfied with that final art and by the way they want images to facebook they want images too email around instead they get a beautiful web version of their album and also for that matter you'll see in the workflow section there's another slideshow hundred hundred twenty images something like that with ten to fifteen of them retouched okay, some of the big wild moments eventually those images were put in the spread they could just send that slide show around as well. Okay, they're satisfied if we don't our job properly and we'll see this at the end of the work flow they understand that that disc is there for archival purposes to put in a safe and have for generations to come why would I send these air images around when I have this to show people to get that also in that process member always making experience of the client first and foremost in the process we satisfy their needs for those individual image images. We call them up we use. This is a huge part of our studio, communication and it's, part of this this tool box that we've made for you guys, understanding how we communicate, how things going, you guys know we're working on her album right now. If there any images that we could touch up for, you're just can we print for you albums coming? Oh, my gosh, carol will call and say, oh, jim just finished this one spread, it's, beautiful, let me get you a version of this that you could share on facebook. Is that okay? I don't want to spoil it. Are you okay with that? You see, we've satisfied them on all these needs along the way, but still emphasize that this is not about individual pictures about this art that were producing for you.

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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