Examples of Poor Reaction Time
Sometimes we suck, and sometimes we don't do what we're supposed to do, we touched on it a little bit. Sometimes Daniel jumps in my way, or (Daniel agrees) Daniel ruins things in other ways. Sometimes I make mistakes, too, I guess. (audience and Davina laugh)
And so reacting to a good moment that happens never gives good photos, as you saw when the--
Very rarely gives good photos.
Very rarely gets it.
I won't say never.
Like you saw before, when I turned around, the groom was already wiping his tear. That was too late. I should've turned around like three seconds sooner. Luckily, he cried plenty, so everything was okay in the end. (Davina and audience laugh) So, poor reaction. This photo, this is the first photo of that sequence. It's out of focus, and the peak of the moment is happening right there. It's poorly composed. The framing is horrible.
It's not sharp, I mean it's-- back-focused.
Yeah. Everything is wrong with this photo, and these are the other photos in that s...
equence, so you can see, it's just the moment that dissipates.
Do you see how it's started here? The peak in that curve, yeah.
Same idea. The bride, as you can see, she's already reaching for something in her dress.
She's reaching for a Kleenex to hand to him.
Gives it to the groom.
It's focused on that bar, maybe?
That one's completely back-focused.
That one's completely out of focus. And the moment's over.
And then, it dissipates.
So there it is. (chuckles) There's the curve.
Yeah. This is the curve we do not want. But it does happen, and is just really, really important to be aware of.
It's usually our fault, though. It's usually because we are not prepared, and we are freaking out, we're jumping around, so Max has some really good advice for you. It's been a while since we've seen Max. He is saying "fudge," so no one calls the cops on us, or something, says we're bad parents. He loved doing that one. I have to tell myself this a lot at a wedding. Hopefully, now you can hear Max's little voice saying it. Even more charming. But usually, it's because I'm freakin' out, or I'm just, I'm thinking of too many things and I'm not planning my shot, and waiting for it, and just focusing on one thing at a time. It's because I'm freakin' out, and I need to calm the fudge down.
When things are not going well, it's just so important for us to be aware of it, and kinda hit a reset button, and say, "Okay, instead of reacting to everything that's going on, and feeling like the photos are happening faster than we can keep up with them," so okay, skip this next photo, forget about it. Get ahead of yourself, anticipate the next one that might happen, shoot all the way through the moment. Get back to this curve that starts at the bottom, goes up, builds up, and dissipates, rather than always chasing the curve that you're just late for. And over the years, we've really learned to recognize when things are not going well, and to be in tune with our own mental state, and to have better days in general, because we are anticipating and being patient with our moments.
And honestly, it's not about the wedding. It's not about the setting, or how emotional the couple is, or how beautiful everything is, it's really about us. And I've seen this, some of my poorest performances at weddings, have been most beautiful couples, and the most beautiful locations, because sometimes I got overwhelmed by that, and I wasn't doing what I needed to be doing. And sometimes at simpler weddings, that were not as beautiful in terms of venue and all this stuff, and I actually find myself performing really well, because I'm so focused on what I need to be doing, and I'm seeing my shots through, and it's totally in my own mind. It really is. I saw that recently from a wedding that Daniel shot. I was looking through everything, I'm like, "Man, you nailed it at this wedding." It was such a straightforward, average wedding, but it was really, I could see him working through his shots, it's really all it is.
Quite a few of your photos, I noticed that you weren't actually looking through the lens of the camera. Is the technology allowing you to pull back from that so you can see more, kinda like some headshot photographers do? Are you using the back screen to put the auto-focus a bit?
Davina does more than I do.
It's been like a side effect of the Sony for me, is I often, actually it's really good for my head. I don't have headaches as much, 'cause I'm not looking through there, but yeah, I do find myself often looking at my LCD. So I'm even more like a tourist, you know. I have big lens around my neck, and I'm looking through. (laughs) But what I do like about it, is it does allow me, sometimes, like if I'm trying to get somewhere I can lean over and I see what I'm doing, I can go really low to the ground and pull out my screen, or I can go really high, which I tend to have to do a lot, 'cause of my height, and just pop that screen down. I do find myself using it quite a bit.
I find that it's just harder to analyze the scene, like to perfect it, when you're looking at the back of the screen. I don't know what it is about--
Only because you're used to looking through.
Perhaps. Perhaps. So I like to look through the viewfinder as much as possible, because I'm just more aware of my framing by looking through the viewfinder.
A couple more questions about your process of photographing. This one's from Kathleen, who says, "Before you went mirrorless, and you had the ability to have no sound on the shutter, how did you handle the combination of being close and that shutter noise?" She says, "I tend to undershoot because I'm conscious of the shutter intruding on that moment. When you shot with louder cameras, how did you handle that?"
I, sorry, I really sympathize with that, and I really identify with that, because that was me for sure. I think you hesitated way less, and you were a lot more confident and like "This is where I'm meant to be, and this is what I'm meant to be doing, and I'm gonna do it." But I was very aware of that, and I think it did influence me in terms of shooting a little less in certain moments, and just kinda savings my shots a little bit more, but I think that I was doing myself a disservice when I did that, and my couples a disservice, as well. And it's easy for me to say now, 'cause I have the luxury of the silence. Do you have something else?
No, I was gonna say we did photograph weddings with a loud shutter for--
A loud one.
Ten years. But our process was the same as it is now with a silent shutter. I think you have to just believe in the fact that you're hired to be there, and they want you there, and don't let a clicking sound hold you back, because that's not what they want. They want the best photos. So just get in there, and act as though that noise isn't there.
I will say, though, don't continuously click nonstop, all day long. You're so much more aware of your peak, actually. The curve is very evident when you can hear the shutter, and actually I found that our subjects would kind of react to it a little bit, like they knew that they were doing something good 'cause my shutter was going off a lot. And sometimes that was a good thing, sometimes that was a bad thing. Does that make sense? Like they're having a moment, and they hear your shutter go like "click click click" all of a sudden, so they're like, "Oh, that was great, I did something good." It's like positive feedback. So saving it for really the peaks of the moment, I guess, a little bit more.
And one more. I know that you talked about how you haven't had that many experiences in churches where you aren't allowed to roam freely, but what advice do you have for people who might? That question had come through.
A plan. Knowing that ahead of time is really important. When we do have, especially in the South, or in the US in general, church weddings, we will ask the question. We know that now. "What's the situation with the church?" And it's pretty much every time you have a wedding in a church in the South, there's gonna be church ladies, and they're gonna lay down the law. So what we did, actually, for this one wedding where we had that, we had gone to the rehearsal, which helps a lot, 'cause we got a feel for things, and we had a friend come and photograph the wedding with us, and I think I was pregnant, so that's why he came, right?
To give me breaks. We put him in the one obvious spot that they're like "This is where the photographers go," and it's one place where you have a good vantage point of the ceremony, so we put him there, because that was the obvious spot to be. And then we were the ones being ninja, moving around. I went on the balcony, I went behind the doors, I went next to the groomsmen, just trying to be sneaky. But I think what was important about that was just having a plan. Going into it being like "Okay, I know I'll be limited, but this is how I'm gonna handle it," and then talking to the couple about it.
Just so they know we are limited, but we're gonna deliver awesome photos, and you're gonna get all your moments, but just so you're aware. Setting those expectations.
Totally, that's so important. And also just making sure that we get three or four photos that are the best photos they can be, rather than thinking of how many different angles can we give them. It's not so important in that moment. In that moment, it's we really wanna give them the best version of each photo that we work on, even if we're really limited in our positioning.
It's almost kind of a good thing to be limited in options, 'cause then you just work with what you have. That can kinda be a blessing, too.