Posing and Lighting

Lesson 6/21 - Q&A

 

Posing and Lighting

 

Lesson Info

Q&A

Let's, move on. I think we're going to go to some question and answers now, right? Yes, I first I'm just shocked that jerry's the all those pictures on his web site or j pay. Oh, yeah, he said, just make sure he's a brilliant talk on now really taught him everything I know, I get that awesome. We have so many questions for you and me, we could probably go for, like, four hours, but we won't do that. Ok, first of all kind to say thank you to all people who sent images in for yeah, because we don't learn from the things that we do, right, we've learned from our mistakes and man alive it's so much better to make a bunch of mistakes and then nowhere to go because you've got a point from the point now where you can go to the future. I mean, the people who just sit back and were too shy about, you know, they don't want to critique is they're afraid some you'll say something bad about their picture. Holy cow last year, debbie pp, I gotta seventy two on one of my parents. I am so, you know, it...

's, okay, those things happen, and just because they had no taste doesn't mean that people in the chat room are have there have had their photos critique and they're excited about what I've said and they've learned something from it right? And I do also want to give you a comment from bob dole that said, I love that she is drawing distinctions between the contest, conventional wisdom and real world examples that that was very helpful for good on but yeah, and then then my first question for you is from ben where does bambi get her energy she's been going for hours and it's still, I believe you know, I have always had too much energy, which is why I was called jelly fingers in school and by my parents and I was always in trouble because I have always had so much energy that I was always doing something I wasn't supposed to be doing on a moist, pushing the envelope, but I do I've always had lots and lots of energy, and I'm very grateful to that and I believe that it's important for me to have energy because I don't have energy, I certainly am not going to get that from my subjects, and when you're a photographer of people, you have to sometimes suck it up and pretend that you have tons of energy when inside your heart, your crashing and burning but you just go to your happy place and you say when I I always make deals with myself I would say ok, if I can get through this right now then I'll go home and have my never sprayed down in october so you know, I think you just make deals with yourself and you will be just fine and it's all natural no drugs question earlier from b alan stewart you had said that you wanted to try something but you didn't know if it would work and he'd like to know if that's something you tell a client or model so they don't expect to see this shot later oh no, I never tell them I'll take the shot this is for my benefit only there are quite often when I'm take I'll do an experiment try something they will never see that picture if it's not a good one, I'll take the picture and then I'll move right on okay great looking we tried that and then I'll go back to my you know what I'm looking at the images that my studio ago that's so didn't work what did not like about it and then if the client says something, what where is that picture at then? I just say, well, you know, if it's not here, then you either blinked or, you know, it wasn't an image that you know, there was some sort of reason why you're not seeing it, so I just don't I do not ever let a client see every picture I take I'm not going to do that because on dh whenever anybody wants to see if there's anything I don't want to do learn this now here's your quote for tomorrow people this is it I wish I could that's my answer to everything I don't want to do if I don't want to do it I'm going to shake my head like this I must say I wish I could I wish I could show you that picture I wish I could give you a discount I wish I could shoot your wedding for free so yeah exactly and you have to shake your head like this if you don't want to do it and you just shake your head and say I wish I could because you're telling them no but saying I wish I could sounds a heck of a lot nicer than saying no it's if I wish I could you know I'll remember that when I ask you of course so there you go that's your answer ok, I had a question earlier in the day that was if you could specifically talk to the subject matter of wedding journalism photography so that kind of area okay I love wedding photojournalism that's actually my personal favorite style of photography for weddings I love it love it love it about seventy percent of my weddings the wedding day itself is actually very photo journalistic in other words it's imagery that I'm capturing that is um unprompted in nature but I'm not afraid of formal pictures at all I think family photographs are extremely important and so I embrace the family images in the family portraiture I just don't take all day to do it you know my son got married four years ago and it was really interesting how that experience affected my thought process on photography I've never allowed myself to be pigeonholed that I'm a photojournalist or a traditional photographer I'm a wedding photographer and I'm a people photographer so to me it's about the unique experience some weddings that I photograph you know they want they want every pose known to man and they don't mind going all over san francisco and doing all kinds of crazy stuff many of my clients are very minimal when it comes to the formal pictures but I don't know anybody who does not want some photographs of them and their loved ones together and when my son got married five years or four years ago this became extremely important me I paid for their wedding and it was my only have one child and so this was that we were going to have a big wedding and we had to have this really nice I really wanted a special wedding for for him and my daughter in law they planned the whole thing and I did not take a single picture that entire day I was a mom, I had a ball, I had so much fun, but it was really interesting the kinds of pictures that are important to me as a mother. Let me tell you, when you put on a wedding when you have people that are coming to your wedding or your child's wedding, every single person's name that is on that guest list, let me tell you folks there really important when you pay two hundred dollars a plate for two hundred people, let me tell you you're not just inviting anyone, you're inviting people who are on the a list there really special, so I know that I want to see pictures of those people my girlfriends that I've known since I was twelve years old were at my son's wedding people that were like extremely close to me and so many times it just bugs me to death, and I find it really offensive when I see photographers and all their albums and the books that that all the pictures that they take there's ten thousand pictures of the bride and groom running down the street, jumping in the air in every cafe in frickin san francisco and there are no pictures of their grand parents people don't like doing the portrait's many photographers don't, and I have a real problem with that because weddings are not about just the bride and groom there about mothers and dads and grandma's and grandpa's and all of those wonderful family connections and but you don't need it to compromise and just take ten thousand hours worth of family pictures if you learn how to communicate effectively, you can take beautiful pictures and the family groups in ten minutes you don't need to take thousands of hours to do it but make sure you get those people photographed and at cameron's wedding I remember going up to your bond who shot my son's wedding human my associate photographer michael and I said you're not look, I want you to do table shots and any of you have ever known your bond he's a brilliant photographer from australia and he was unknown no bambi, I don't do a double shot well, I want my table shots I'm sorry and it really was funny to me that I mean I hate doing table shots but it made me realize because I knew every person that was there but was in that chair it made me realize how important that is to those people that are putting on that event and so I have my table shots and while it's not any fun and I don't like doing I personally don't do them anymore because I make my assistance do them but I still think they're an important part of the event that we cover and photographed all the human experiences of people that are there because, you know, at the end of the day it is about family connections and so forth so make a long story short I started getting my will soapbox about that, but it just bugs me to death when I see albums that are nothing more than pictures of the bride and groom and there was nobody else there um so when it comes to doing families and so forth, I believe in being well organized so we can get those pictures done really quickly but doing in a well organized fashion so that people don't feel like they've been monopolized by you all day long so usually I met the bride's home or wherever she's getting ready about three hours before the wedding I do not ask for her permission to come I tell them what time I'm going to be there and my reason for going to that wedding early is for a number of recent number one when I walk in that door, I'm checking to see how things are moving along if those bridesmaids you're still sitting there in their street clothes and they're just sitting around chewing the fat, this is exactly what I do I walk up to me oh girls, I'm so excited to be such a great day, you know it would be really a great thing if you could get your get your gowns on so when the bride slips into her dress that you got your dresses on, wouldn't it be great on I tell him so basically what have I just told them I said get your butts moving and get dressed right? But I didn't bark in order I just said wouldn't it be fun and so they go ok, well this is their first wedding they would know what to do they're just sitting around him they don't know what to do so I've been a nice, polite way told him get your butts moving let's get things going then I walk into where the bride is getting ready and I just start checking things you know where you know how things were going and then if I've tried to find a portrait within the pj world so in other words, a portrait to me is a beautiful picture maybe of of a bride space maybe it support maybe she's maybe she's putting her veil on the hairdresser standing straight in front of her here sit towards me dead maybe they're putting maybe the hairdresser's putting her veil on right here? Well, where could I be doing a portrait at the same time? Maybe I'm standing here using two, eighty five millimeter, one point two lens and I'm focusing and just on this area right here on that face and I can't even tell that there's a hairdresser in the room she learned to take portrait's even in times when people are just sitting around like I could do a portrait of every one of you right now and it's not about you don't need to be even looking at me the two of you kids could be sitting elinda you could be talking to michael and you could be flirting your guts out of him, but I could do a portrait of you right here as you look at him it's of your beautiful face but you don't have to turn on for me in front of a camera and others on that saying hi, linda smile you're smiling naturally because you're looking at the man you love or your mother or something like that so you try to find beautiful portrait moments that are happening naturally and you move yourself around the subject and around the scene so that you can find where the pretty light is so that as you're capturing it no, you're not just snapping pictures just because of the experience, but that when you're going to take that picture, you're getting the right camera position in relation to the light source to still get that photograph so for instance, if I were photographing from this area, I can promise you I would be absolutely photographing terry from here she could be sitting here talking all day long with people and enjoying their company and laughing and I could get a beautiful portrait look at my background neutral environment, right neutral environment, nothing fancy, but I could minimize and get rid of everything else but just her face right here if you go like this quite often go like that, you can start seeing how you could isolate your subject and you can create beautiful portrait even without having without having people be turning on and engaging in front of camera. Let me do you ever, like interrupt them just tow, change it up just a little bit, improve your you know, the lighting and still kind of, you know, the whole pj style like maybe because there's so away from the window, maybe the lightest, more flattering I can't say it might in my years, I've never done that as a general rule, I don't, but I do stack the deck in my behalf. So in other words, when I walk into a room, I can promise you the first thing I'm doing is open the windows flipping on the lights and I'm looking at the light naturally, I wouldn't interrupt them. What I might do is I might tell the videographer I wouldn't be standing around I have used a videographer so many times is my light source I would just say could you just go over here and turn your light to the wall over here and just kind of like turn your light onto the wall because it's not aimed at the subject if it's not aimed at your face you don't think that's being you're being videotaped right but I could bounce that light using my video light off the wall and give you a fabulous glow on your face and kind of in a sneaky way and you don't even know that it's happening so I prefer to do that but I can't tell you that I've never ever said hey could you do that over here by the window when people are getting dressed sometimes if I'm working with the groom I may occasion to say to him hey can I get you if you're gonna put your tie on it such could you come over here by the window and do it that you know could do that over here in this spot you know what if you miss a moment and it's it's it's a very important moment like you know like dad's putting his son's tie on and you miss it and would you ask them hey could you just kind of do it again are just to get it um I can't I have never done that I mean I can't say I've never missed a moment but I would find another way to capture that I don't I can't tell you that I wouldn't do that, but I probably wouldn't one of the reasons that I wouldn't do that is because I would not want to draw attention to the fact that I'm in perfect, you know, to me you know I mean, I know there are certain things that you know you and I'm not saying that don't ever do that but to me every time you draw attention to something that you've missed, I think that's another reason to tell that you're telling somebody basically that you know that you're not good enough to get it and so I would find another way to get around that without having to draw attention to my screw up does that make sense or can you just say I like how you did that? Can you just do it here you go that may be another way to do it so you know, so you know, I just I just had another idea could you do this or this? So I can't say I would never do that I'm not such a hardcore p j shooter that that it's like, oh my gosh, you know you're not going to hell for it, okay? You know you're so not going to hell for that, so you know, you have to you have to do what feels good to you on dino a number of very, very successful photographers who do more contrived imagery in other words, where they get pictures of the bride getting ready and the groom is getting ready but every piece of that is orchestrated that's not photojournalism, that's editorial and that's fine too that's just a matter of what you know, whatever your client likes, maybe people are loving all of this advice. Oh, good. I think we have a question of audience. Oh, yeah, well, just what you were talking about before you were saying that and I agree with you that it's important when you have a wedding to get at least a shot of everyone who's in attendance at the wedding. If you're not let's say you have a wedding with two hundred people and it's, not a sit down dinner. Okay, what's your do you have a particular method for making sure that you've gotten as close to everyone at the wedding? Is it just a milling around? I feel like as a photographer, sometimes I'm drawn to certain people and I end up shooting even just guests not just the bride and groom, but I'll end up shooting them more and then afterwards they say, oh, great uncle bill, where is he? Right? You know, I really make it that is my mission, I mean, when I'm in a wedding, I really try to just find creative ways to make sure everybody's photograph first of all anybody who's out on that dance floor absolutely it's photographed I make a special point of I'm asking myself every time I'm photographing with people out of the dancer did I photographed them yet and they've been out here didn't get something move I miss if they're not not everybody dances so I will go up two clusters of people you know senator that are sitting around their tables and say you know hey could you guys just get in little cozier together I might I might if I were four people were just sitting there and you were just sitting there I'd say hey girls can you come stand behind these kids right here and just get nice and cozy with your friends and I would get groups of small clusters of people together on dh that's the way that I kind of methodically work a room my my assistant especially it's a big wedding that is absolutely job of my assistant to help into fulfilling that making sure we get everybody covered because I really do feel that it's important one of the other things that I d'oh is because I break up the photography when I started the home when when the brides getting ready this is the real key is when you break it up for instance I'll start at the home where she's getting ready these are the people that I want there I want her, her parents and her brothers and sisters if possible and her bridesmaids I tell them to lie to those bridesmaids and tell them that they have to be there four hours before the wedding. Now I don't need them but maybe two hours beforehand maybe just maybe a half hour before I leave but I know that there's going to be one of those girls that's going to be piddling around and that's going to show up two hours late because she's, that kind of girl it's all about her right? So I always say stacked the deck in your behalf and then you're home free and you have to apologize, okay? And anything here's mother's advice okay, I'll tell you right now anything at all that I want anyone to do, I make it in your best interest to do what I want. So in other words, if I want you to do something, if I want those brides maids to show up a certain time, I make sure that I tell the bride not because I need them it's because honey, you know it's not fair to you to have to worry about them being on time it's in your best interest, anything I want done I make sure that the reasons for doing that it's for the benefit of my client and in reality it is for her benefit but it's also for mine. But when I communicate anything, I want it's always what's in it for them, because if you do not make whatever it is that you want for that client to do, if you do not give them a reason a benefit and feature to themselves, then they think it's only because of what you want done, and they may not be inclined to produce and pursue it your way. However, if it's, because it's something beneficial to them, then they're much more inclined to want to do what you've asked them to do. And so that's, you know, that is really one of most important piece of advice anyone ever gave me was to make it in their best interest to do it. So whenever I the reason I show up early is this that I don't ask for permission. I call the bride to say, hey, by the way, your weddings that too I'm gonna beat your home at eleven. I know that sounds early, but let me tell you why you know it's it's so wonderful if you are tohave a wonderful hour before your ceremony to have intimacy and just wonderful private time with you and your family without being intruded upon by a photographer. So what if I just said I'm going to start three hours ahead of time so that I can leave from her home to go to the church an hour ahead of time, which isn't her benefit? Because it's gonna get for a whole hour of intimate time with your family, something to go to church and her genes if she wants to just to relax, but to have emitted intimate time with her family and friends. So I've made what I want to do in her best interest, and so I do the pictures of the bride with her mom and dad before the wedding. I do her in her bridesmaids at her home in a really fun way, but with her and her girls, um photograph her and her family if need be, and then my goal is to be over at that church an hour ahead of time so that I can work with the groom and the groomsmen and get some real fun shots of the guys. It takes a lot longer to work with a bride than it does a groom because there's dresses to fluff unveils toe screw around with and and make up that doesn't go right in here that can go wrong things like that there's a lot more work involved, so the guys I know he's going to just show up and this isn't unreasonable amount of time for him so I'll work with the groom for about thirty minutes at the church or wherever they're having this ceremony, and then most of my clients choose not to see each other before the wedding, they just choose not to, and I'm fine with that. I think that's, you know, whatever they want to do is just fine with me. So after the ceremony, this is how we do it, we start first of all by doing the big groups first, and then we work our way down to the small groups first group of people that I'm going to photograph after that wedding is the bride and the groom with the bride's family, her full family, immediate family, grandparent's, mom and dad brothers and sisters and they're of course, any children or spouses and such while I am getting initiating that group together, my assistant over my shoulder, I'm saying ok could have the groom's family come stand right down here. You're absolutely next because I want to get those two big groups done quickly because the bride's family has to go to the reception to greet guest, so I want them in and out of there quickly now. The other benefit to that is that I don't have twenty five people standing behind me, you know, trying to take pictures over my shoulder and getting in my space now I will tell you I have no problem at all with everybody there brother standing behind me and taking pictures I don't care in fact I'll walk upto uncle friend also honey give me that camera please let me take it for you okay? And I'll just walked back to my camera you're all walk back, take a picture quickly and I'm done with it now you might think that seems ridiculous but you know what I'm the big picture is or the little picture is is that he's going to get his old camera he's going to take a picture of my set up and he's going to get a decent shot and he's not going to buy a five by seven photograph for me like he would buy anything from b if I piss him off if I make him mad and I say you can't take this picture, you know, because this is my set up I mean, who we think we our I just I just find that so speechless because he said I mean, can you imagine oh, I'm gonna hire that for talking for a shoot my daughters what law? I wouldn't I would rather just charge a reasonable amount to show up and then that day if that uncle fred wants to stand right behind you and shoot his guts out, go for a baby just don't get in my personal space and this is exactly what I say to them if they get too close to me and they get in my way I welcome to say, honey, would you do me a huge favor? I am the world's biggest klutz could I get you to back up just a little bit? Would that be okay? Thank you that's so sweet of you know, during the reception I'd love to take a picture of you and your family would you like that? I told you anything I want people to do anything I want you to do I'm going to shake my head like this so you'll dio but the idea is that I'm telling him in a very polite way to back off jack, right? I'm saying move back! But I'm doing it in such a way that he thinks that that I'm doing him a favor I'm not I'm not offending him because you know is this and why did my son when I had my son's wedding? Can you imagine somebody telling my sister in law who diapered my son camera and was just like his second mother? If I died? She was told to step into my chooses as his stepmom cause she's just she's wonderful accept that my husband, your brother but that's another story but we were from georgia thiss time today I'm just getting completely he's seen it only goes downhill from here. Okay, what do we have here, this's without anything? I mean, just imagine if I ever was yeah, it gets worse with liquor, so s so the moral of the story is, is that I'm gonna do the big groups first. As soon as I do the two big family groups, I'm going to do the full bridal party right at the big rip, the whole bridal party, and that way, I have the biggest chunk of people done on their about their because people are a lot like herding cats. I'm not can you if you do not get them at that church or wherever you are it's over, you are turned around them people up again. You're gonna be herding cats all day long, so I tried to get him like chickens right then and they're getting really quickly get it done and get him out of there wherever that ceremony is and then on dh, then move on to the bride and groom last and that way we have a bit of intimate time, some private time, and if we want to go off and do some pictures somewhere else, then we're home free, but I try to do my big groups and try to break it up. It's been my experience that we have about windows of about ten to fifteen minutes before people start getting bored and I would much rather give them a break and then come back and see them later on and do a different and to a series of photographs somewhere else then spend too much time with them and have them hate me for it um I have I know a number of photographers that I've had the opportunity to work with on their events and on one occasion the bride was hissing at the groom I mean not the groom at the photographer hissing at them because they were spending thirty minutes to take a single picture and I don't care how perfect that photograph is if you take too long to do it it's over and your client will if they hate the experience they're going to hate you and you know it'll ruin the entire experience for you so you know there has to be a fine line in perfection that's why I say perfection is you know I'd rather have expression and perfection I want good another didn't want sloppy photography but there is a fine line in absolute perfection is absolutely overrated especially it's going to take you forever to you so I'm sorry for that long lecture but did you just say absolute perfection is absolutely overrated? Yeah she did I did gosh that's a new one a good wow so we have so many questions for you okay? This one is from I b nathan and we've seen you obviously interacting with the models all day long and this question is how important are verbal compliments when shooting with a model and he says I'm not sure I have that kind of energy is that a big minus verbal the verbal compliments and said you know like oh that looks great that's better scoot it's good you know I have to tell you I think that enthusiasm is contagious it is absolutely contagious and this is one area that I think that if you are enthusiastic that you can get you can get so much more from any subject however I would say that people migrate to people that are kind of like themselves I tend to migrate towards people migrate towards me that are a bit like me and they see a little crazy and they like things that are kind of spunky and they like, you know, people that are a bit more animated and then there are some people who are very quiet and private and there's not a lot of communication and maybe that is part of their style so I have to say that I personally think you know that you have to have some sort of enthusiasm but you know, maybe it's whatever you're going to be photographing and how you handle that situation, that situation um, I would probably say if it were me, I'd say fake it I would I'd say fake enthusiasm, it just goes a long way and who does not like to know that they've done it right? And there are if you're if you're a real pj shooter, if you're only going to photograph in the photo journalistic style and you're not going to do any photographs of people where they're interacting with you, then you do not need to ever say a word you just need to be that person it's fly on the wall if, however, you're going to do any pictures of people where you are going to have to engage with them one way or the other, then you need to learn to have a personality because you can't buy one. Yeah, sorry you can you learn? I think you can I mean, as you know, what I think about it, a lot of actors in real life are very shy people, right there's a lot of them that are extremely painfully shy. And yet when they get in front of the camera there, like out of this were like, you know where that person come from, and so I believe that we all have the ability, you know, as I said, this is my profession it's my professional job and so I do what I need to do as a professional to particular to be able to produce a product that is going to be a really powerful product for a client I don't always want to be like completely buzzing around like a top but and so I tried to become who I need to for that client some people would consider that being phony I don't at all I think it's called showing respect for who that person is that's the way I feel about it I'm not trying to be fake or phony I just have respect for that person who that individual is and I want to be able to mirror to make them comfortable because I really care I really care about whether they enjoy the experience and so if they're really quiet and private and shy I'm very quiet and private and shy and if they're jumping with a lamp shade on their head I'm going with him you know I'm just absolute going to be with him on that okay? You cracking up question from sebastian you say that they shoot with a seven, eighty two hundred usually wide open and have one subject well focused while others air soft so if you had a group shot or would you shoot at two point or do you I would not shoot at two point eight especially if I'm using the seventy two two hundred millimeter lens for groups in that kind of scenario I'm going to want to use a lens like maybe the seventh the the twenty four to seventy millimeter lens andi I'm going to want tio use about four or five six would be my preferred stop because any time you have somebody that's you know behind another person they're going to be especially to wait they're not going to be in focus so but there are some thing if you are small groups you can absolutely use that seventy to two hundred millimeters lense and here's how you do it um for instance, if I were with my two children here your q t turn your feet towards your wife right here turn your feet, george because okay, now if I'm back here, I can promise you that if somebody's photographing me this way I can promise you I'm going to be a little bit soft but now would I be soft open? Very right. So right here. Come right over here, kids. Come on. Both of you stand up because and what you're gonna do q t you're gonna turn your feet this because you're a giant you know, I'm only this unlike your little many me she says she's going to get me would you stand up? Oh, you are you know you put this put right up here and you're gonna leave right over your daughter right here this is your daughter right okay princess you come in real close right on this side over here I've been writing about you and you're gonna just getting over his shoulder right here love it see now we have a group of five one two one two three four five right so right here now you see all of us right now there's five of us and yet our faces are almost on the same plane so we could do a nice portrait of us close by sorry precious and it's more it's more it's more emotional right it's absolutely out of your hands they're both in your better fit exactly in fact we're going to be doing some group photographs during this weekend and I'm going to demonstrate to you guys how I would do groups of people here with such you are so not either try giant there's a difference between giant in huge you're tall you don't I wish I were trust me so when you engage the model and even even these guys just now use pet names like ut or sport about it but for a guy to do that with a girl model, a female model or even a male model I wouldn't work so well have you worked with any other photographers and you caught some of the kind of pet names or what they used to engage their subjects um because I wouldn't well so well but you see, I see I that's where I disagree with you I mean, I worked with your vote many times and he is calling every woman darling and sugar and and maybe you know and and I think that you know, I'm not saying you can but again I think it's something that you have to be you know, you have to feel I'm from the south we call it everybody baby and sugar and honey I mean, just what we d'oh and in fact it's so funny in california one time I was at a bridal fair and this young woman came to my trade show booth and I go I go will baby, we're gonna do this this and this is she looked she says I am not your baby and I went okay, honey, and I'm not your honey and I was like, ok, you know, just like I really didn't know what to say to her but that's part of just the nature of who I am if you don't use those pet names I call everybody by pet names but that's part of my southern roots and people kind of understand that when I'm photographing them, however I would use them by first name I remember people's names I mean, I know their names I mean I really make it a habit to get to know who my clients are so that on the wedding day I know everybody in that bridal party in every person's name not their last name I only need to know the first names but I'm by the end of the day I'm saying you know mary, would you come over here you know, except for duty romney over here on a may right? I had told you honor me do to romney auto me whatever, so but I'm getting better, okay? I just think what whatever name you call him that you're comfortable calling them that because you're not comfortable thank you can tell that you're I just felt like if I was saying qd all the time I'd be, you know, just one step short of the finger guns, you know, I think you know what probably would be, you know, so again that that's where you just want to use their new and you know they get show them dignity and there's you find that the longer you've been a photographer to their certain you find out that there are some people that you can get away with things, there are many clients, and I don't call everybody honey and sugar many of my corporate clients I say mr so and so you know, mr prescott, would you do this or this mr valentine you know, I the lauder family, the estee lauder families, one of my clients and I can promise you I'm not having, you know, saying, you know, call them cute, your sugar, I'm going to be saying, you know, mr lauder, you know, would you do this or that? You know, so there are clients that I would that I'll use by their surname, so just depending on what the client who the client isn't such so ok, so we have no question a question from eclectic was how do you explain to studio clients when they need to come back for viewing without making them too aware of the editing process? She's saying she you said earlier about people seeing her is amazing photographer, not a photo shopper, so I guess how much information do you tell them about you're editing process? I don't discuss editing with them, I really don't I don't, I don't think that's any of their business, I just say I love to schedule your appointment by then we'll have your film developed, you know, I'll use your files will be yours, your files will be developed or your film will be developed will have your finished images for viewing period, I don't go into elaborate discussions on what I'm going to do, and I think that's really sometimes as photographers we feel like we owe it to people to give them too much information when in reality we don't need to tell them the history of the universe you know, sometimes we just need to keep it short and sweet and say, you know, I'd love to schedule your appointment to come in for viewing your beautiful pictures period and leave it at that and if they say if they say well, how come I can't look at them right now then I would say I wish I wish I understand it but I would say that might say no I wish I could because and I don't want them even though I could I have the ability to show them their images right then and there I don't do that I wouldn't do it if I could because I believe that you know sometimes that quick many market kind of mentality it cheapens what we dio and you see I want them to I want them to realize that their takes a great deal of skill in what I produce and with skill takes time you know you can't have a wedding gown, you can't walk into a store and just go okay, I want you to design my wedding gown right now and then an hour later have that that guy or that person and say ok, well here's your dress we designed it in an hour and there it is you know it's going to take six months you have come back for your fitting because those specialized products anything that's that's a fine art piece you know takes collaboration it takes you know it takes time for that to be to be processed and handled properly so that's the way I handle that and do you talk about that a fine art piece then I used terms like fine art piece yes ideo my images I don't call them pictures I call them you know are beautiful fine art pieces that's what we call them I mean that you don't show the clients the pictures in camera as you you know just not show them on camera no, I don't believe that I always tell them if they want to see it in camera I go I wish I could know I actually I tell him I go I go I said I would love to but you'll turn into a pumpkin if I do you know, I just I just I go I go no way I just joked with him I mean you'll find that you can get you get people to really understand your point of view quite often if you joke with them and you just make it funny you know what if they ask you some video oh yeah right and you know, I just roll my eyebrows in my eyes that course I will say there there is something be seven being an older woman cause I could get away with a lot of stuff that maybe some folks can't went for instance, during the ceremony, when the bride is walking down the aisle and such, this is exactly what I do right before she's ready to walk down the aisle. I go to the second row like if this is that this the aisle seat. This is the center aisle right here. This is exactly what I do. I walk up to that road, I go excuse me. The bride and groom have requested that I sit in this seat. Would you do me a huge favor and save it for me? You know, what am I telling her? Move your butt down, right? I'm saying, move your butt over and this is my seat, but who is the bad guy? I'm saying, hey, big, I'm sorry riding room not my fault those guys, those crazy kids and so what do they do? Oh, yeah and I go you know, I feel so terrible about asking to do this. You know what? During the reception I'd love to do a picture of you and your family that'd be ok, so the whole idea being is that is the perfect seat because then the priest is never, ever going to say, hey, that person on the second roseanne barr that they're never stayed her, she can't take pictures, but I've had so many wedding nazis tell me that I can't take pictures and they'll come haul your butt out of there if you're just a photographer. So it's perfect seat, I can keep a low profile iq and sit down like everybody else and keep a low profile and go from there. Okay? Question from d g, how do you deal with clients who feel that they need to see more photos than the final edit? Actually, I just don't have that problem. Um, I you know, as I said, for portrait sessions like given look to in sixteen, eighty prints, here's the thing, if the images that you're showing them our beautiful pictures, then they're going to have a hard enough choice, they're gonna have a hard enough time making that decision if they're saying to you that you haven't given me enough pictures, what is that telling you? You didn't do your job, it's telling me that you dropped the ball in some way, and so I would say that there's that may be what you would want to do is you need to think about what did you not do to cover t handle your responsibility I just don't have that problem my problem is absolutely they look at me and go bambi there's too many that I like, so keep a variety as I said don't get hung up on one location and break it up and think about yourself how many combinations of interesting photographs that are meaningful can you produce for someone? I make sure that all my photo shoots even when I have a mom and a dad that bring their kids and they say, oh no, no, no we don't want to be in the pictures I make a point of taking at least one photograph of the dad with his kids and the mom with her children and we'll do a family I know you don't have to buy this, but I want one picture because and I hate to back up the hearse on this but one of my dearest clients a number of years ago we did their photo shoot and we did this man and the mom said in the debt so no, no way didn't come to get our pictures and just thought about the kids well, in the course of the afternoon I just made habit and I photographed the kids with their dad well, I'm like six months later we were going to do another family session the day before we did our session the dad was accidentally killed in an accident and that was the last picture that was taken of him of his children were the ones that took and they didn't want to be in a picture, so I just to make it make it a force of habit. I do the dad with his children, the mom with our kids, the family is together mom and dad together if if they would like to have a portrait, you know, we always you know, do can't we don't ask them we just tell them they will lose a couple pictures of you and then that way at least, you know, if they don't choose that picture, so what at least it's taken, you know, at least it's something that they have, and then lots and lots of pictures of the children's together as a group and then his individual kids of such and also the more combinations of things like that should you take the more variety can have in producing like an album of images that I said on my goal list has really do mohr books of a family's life year after year, I have a number of clients that I photographed every single year with their children ideo this one family, I've been photographing their little boy since the day he was born he's five years old now and every year we go in, we do pictures of them of him and it's so wonderful to see this wonderful family connections so we do a book every year so can you imagine when this kid is a grown adult he's going to have an album from every single year of his birth? You know, from his birth to his adulthood what a wonderful treasure that you're giving your children you know you're giving those your children as a legacy because pictures are very important when we look at what's going on in japan and new zealand and the many other places where we've had, you know, disasters of any kind, you know, what is the one thing people constantly cry about missing it is not their mercedes or the fact that they lost their lexus man alive they do cry when they miss their pictures or they that's the one thing and infect in japan I was noticing in the news we're talking this one family so they have left are their family pictures and I go, you know, that's what we're here for is to jury is to is to connect with families and to record family history and I just think there's no greater gift in the world in that um I have a question from jake colin photography and the question is I knew I know that you are a judge for a photography contest how do you critique yourself or are you hard on yourself I've never taken a good picture of my whole life. I'm not kidding you, I haven't I really am extremely critical. I am really a horrible judge of my own work because I'm the susan lucci of print competition just so you know, I totally this is legit break up, and if you don't know who she is, she was a soap opera movie star. I don't watch soap operas, but and she, like, was a runner up. I mean, for eighteen years, she was like she was going to be like the winner and she never one like it. Finally, if you're eighteen, she did so I always send the susan lucci of print competition because I don't photograph for competition I photograph for clients a mike absolute goal every time I press that shutter, it is for the what's interesting to my client and it's, important to a client, and what isn't the kind of pictures that are that that win and competition are not always opera singers, too, and they don't always make it in the realm of what is perfect to a client, you give a mother a beautiful portrait of her little child, it may be as in perfect as all get out, but that baby, that little child has the most amazing smile on their face, and in competition, it may not be the most perfect scenario may not be the most beautiful environmental location, but to that mom it's a one hundred and so you know, I always say, you know, if you're going to produce images for competition, competition is a really good thing I love competition I compete every year and it's my way of gauging where I want to go kind of gives me sets me goals for the year I do well and then it sometimes I don't do well, but just because you don't do well in competition doesn't mean that you're not doing well it just means that with that set of judges on that particular day that maybe you did not impress them there are many times I have known some of the world's, most brilliant photographers that their work was ahead of their time and that you know, years later people looked at those images as absolute masterpieces and oh my god that's the most beautiful picture I've ever seen in global block and yet at the time people like her you know, because sometimes new things are hard for us to wrap our brought our minds around and we may not really get it but then later on we look at that we got and that's just really interesting and it pulls you back, so sometimes there are photographs that were taken that that haunt you and they are you know, right now they may be controversial maybe a judge absolutely hates it and maybe there's some judges that absolutely love it so you know, if that's the case, then you kind of put it in the washer and you just kind of let it wash out and then did the client like it okay that's the best ribbon I want to look my client do you keep every image do you ever do it? Do I ever delete wouldn't know I delete a lot yeah, I delete a lot I'm extremely critical of my own work and as I said, I've never taken a photograph that I'm happy with but I actually to be honest with you I hope I don't see I hope I don't, um it's not it's not that I'm not that I'm not striving for perfection but you see to me when you get to the top there's nowhere else for you to go but down the other side and I'm on the way up I'm not where I want to be at I'm not who I want to be yet as a photographer I'm just getting started and so I really am every time I take a picture I think to myself what could I have done different that's why I look at mistakes and I look I embraced them I love love love screwing up I love it I really do and I know that sounds like a bunch of b s but it's absolutely way I feel because you you absolutely have no growth if there is no room for improvement if there's nothing you can do to tweak it then there's no room for improvement and there's nowhere to go and and not only that but photography is a living breathing entity and it and it changes its just those things that are that with the way that the world views black and white you know, in the nineties was like, oh my gosh, everything had to be in black and white and then in the now lots of pictures it's more important that you of color pictures so times change and what what is important at one period of time we'll go a little bit passe and then and then other styles will come back up again so it's kind of like like it back in the eighties when we're big shoulder pads in the seventies you know here split right down the middle and bell bottoms well guess what's back right now so you can't say never I'm never going to do that, you just have to say well, at this point I'm not doing that, but who knows? But I'm never doing this I'm never ever going to photograph the bride in the kentucky derby shot do you know what that is okay. That's, the bride and the bride with all the bouquets around her head bambi is never doing the kentucky derby shot. Okay? Ever ever. Nor am I ever gonna do bo case on the train it's not gonna happen. Okay, that I do have my standards so you want to keep taking questions or do we want to wrap up for the day or how are you feeling? Um, I mean, well, I could go for probably share a long time, but I'd love to save some of those questions for tomorrow when I'm running out of gas because there won't be any shortage question what time is it? Almost five. Thirty. Okay, we'll wait. Don't go. Wait till five. Thirty. Okay. Um, christie had asked how much? Well, actually, let me go to a different question. A lot of photographers have talked about the fact that brides only one cds you know, everyone kind of tech savvy these days, and I'm like, how do you how do you deal with that? How do you, though, is that not your clientele? Well, it's, not my client till the one that wants just the shooting burn kind of thing. However, I don't hold those hostage anyway, I give them all of my clients, I give them their disk of high risk files I wanted to have him, I told you don't want to do this stupid christmas cards, but I believe it's that's not really. The problem is whether they're getting the dis that's, not the problem. The problem is this that photography is becoming it's becoming so cheap because the people who are doing the shooting burn kind of thing are so inexpensive that they could afford to hire themselves, so they have no appreciation for the value that they're producing a good product and because of that, because they're not charging anything to begin with. That's really why we hate shooting, burn it's really not because of the shooting burn part it's, because because all this cheap, you know, these photographers, you're willing to photograph a wedding for two hundred bucks, the problem with that is that that wedding photography is a hell of a lot of work, it is extremely hard, it is very, very stressful and you have to go to plan a b, c, d, e f g, and I think that when photographers are are when I think they cheapen what they do and they have no respect for the amount of work that they're going to have to produce to do that job, they think, oh, well, fifty cent cd while I'm making a good living, no, I'm afraid you're not if you're not and and my philosophy is that um um gosh what is it is that it's not how much you charge to photograph an event that matters it really doesn't matter how much you charge it's what do you get to keep that's really what matters because I know a number of photographers who charge a lot of money to photograph a wedding but they give so much product away and they get they are there for so many days that that they're really working for twenty dollars an hour and then I know a number of photographers who charged a relatively small amount you know, maybe three or four thousand dollars to shoot an event but they're only there for three or four hours and they're not giving their house away their their cost of goods is very, very minimal so in that case they're actually making a very good living so I would say it's not how much you charge it's what you get to keep and then I would say that that this is the most important lesson I ever learned I learned it from denis reggie and I learned it almost twenty years ago and this you can absolutely take to the bank if you can afford to hire yourself you are too inexpensive and the other thing that I have learned is that anything at all that you and I value we pay for we're willing to pay more for and that may be instead of charging so little, we should think about the fact that, you know, if we charge more than maybe our products would be viewed as worthy of more, you know, there are two times in our lives are very few times in our lives when we give ourselves permission to spend money, think about it, how many of you have ever waited till christmas eve to buy your wife, your husband gift? And you think on christmas eve, you're going to run over that mall five minutes to six? You're going well, I want to think about this let know your butt in the sling if you don't bring home something, and at that point, you don't even care. You just won, you know that you're gonna be in big trouble if you don't write, so you're not buying a carton of eggs. People, you're not buying eggs when they hire your services is the photographer they're hiring a skilled person that understands how to communicate with people who understand emotional experiences? A and yes knows an f stop from a bus stop and knows how to make somebody not just to press the shutter, but knows how to flatter their subject, make them look beautiful, and so I believe that that quite often that the photographers who are willing to charge more for their services because they are worth it and that people will willing are willing to spend more on them because it makes them feel secure to do it you know it's kind of like this and this is going to sound completely ridiculous but you tell me this isn't true okay in northern california plastic surgery is a big deal. Okay, so imagine in your mind that you are that you decide you go go get get facelift ok? So the first guy you go see that you go to this guy he's he works out of his home he's only twenty five hundred dollars to give you a full facelift ok, so you get to his house and here's this some his mother comes to the door to greet you his mother comes to do what she's gotta syria hanging out of her mouth right here she blows smoke in your face and she says, hey, honey, come on in if you come in you gotta shoot the cat's off the couch okay but you come down and then the doctor comes in and he's he's a little disheveled looking he probably had took a nap in the afternoon or something you know, his hair's a little messy is wearing just a little jeans and stuff he said, well, come on, I'll say he says we do you know we do plastic surgery in my garage okay, so takes you out to the garage in its clean looking but you know it is after all his garage in his mother still stand there smoking like a chimney and on top of that she's only sixty five years old but she looks like she's about one hundred five so but it's only twenty five hundred bucks and if you book today you can come in this weekend and get your face lift done how many of you in this room would do that none of us would write would be scared to death you know, he's not a real doctor, right? He probably got ordered his his his doctor's certificate online, you know? And then you know, he's he's so not a real doctor. Now the other scenario you have to this other doctor that you're going to see that and I mean you go and you had to first of all pay fifty dollars to get an appointment to go see this guy you walk in and there's this beautiful woman and she's perfectly coughed and everything and she makes a point of telling you that she's sixty five years and you're going holy cow she reflection about forty years old she looks really put together very attractive and very well mannered then they take into this other little room and the doctor comes in these little doctor hat on and everything and a little bit because he just came out of surgery and he's wearing, you know, his perfect little doctor outfit he looks like a real doctor, right? He comes in and he looks perfect too he said he just has everything nipped and tucked in the right places and looks really good and so he sits down there he talks to you personally and he's sitting a little bit lower than you so that you feel like you're in command and then he started telling you about security and about this wonderful experience and how you're going to feel when you're done and he he really paints this picture and because the entire the entire experience validates that when he tells you it's twenty five thousand dollars, you would readily pay it because it makes you feel secure you go there there's no way I don't care because there's some things money can't buy and I'm sorry, but if my eyeballs down on my cheek when I'm done, I'm gonna be in trouble and I don't care if it's twenty five dollars you're not gonna want that so the moral of the story is that there are occasions in our life when it's appropriate for us to spend more money and it makes us feel good it makes it makes it feel more secure to do so and when a man buys his girlfriend that three carat diamond ring, by the way, michael, that is at least three it's a three month salary. Right? What would you say if he brought you home? A cubic zirconia? Okay, I'm sorry. Go be happening because there's times their allies when it's appropriate to spend money. And so I really I think this is absolutely where I come from. I came from an extremely poor family when I was a child. A toast was a luxury. I go to my girlfriend's house is we have toast for breakfast. I have died and gone to heaven. But, you know, what's really funny in my little neighborhood in columbus, georgia. I lived in a shotgun house and a shotgun houses when you can walk to the front door and you could shoot a shotgun and it would go out the back door. That's what a shotgun house is ok, but I lived in one of those. Well, when you think about that and then you think about the fact that, um, some of my neighbors drove cadillacs. They do have really nice cars who told them they could buy that cadillac did they buy that you think that that car dealer gave them a deal and said well, you know you live in that neighborhood you know you couldn't afford to spend forty thousand dollars on that car fifty thousand don't know we're going to give you a deal you think they did that no they say that car is fifty thousand dollars and if you like it you're going to buy it and some of my neighbors lived in cars that were way nicer than their homes were and it's because it was important to them and so that's my philosophies I believe that if it's important to you that you will spend money on things that are valuable my goal as a photographer and as an instructor is to teach photographers how to value their craft and that that we want to hold our heads up high and we want to be able to send our children to college and have a wonderful life style just as you do I do not ever let a client dictate my price and I will end it on that you're here sorry this's absolute my big soapbox that bugs me the devil I mean I just because it's it's really a shame because we're the wedding industry especially when we fooling ourselves because we're working our butts off is the hardest kind of photography out there and yet, many of us are just starving to death and that's. Why we're you know, becoming. We're becoming a way of the dinosaur anymore. Well, everyone online, and I think everyone in this room appreciates what you're saying. So thank you very much. Your men, of course, and I think that's, a great place. Okay, kid, a city tomorrow morning.

Class Description

In Bambi Cantrell's first creativeLIVE workshop, she led an powerful three-day course focused on posing and lighting techniques with a focus on wedding, boudoir, and portrait photography. This workshop was one of the most popular subjects we've hosted.

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