The Money Shots: Part 1
When I first started shooting weddings I was like a tasmanian devil I was like all over the place I'm so glad when I first started that I was shooting film because that like every time I pushed down my shot I was thinking that's a dollar that's a dollar that's a dollar right? You think differently when you're having to shoot that way but even at that I didn't know what to shoot I was just going crazy with everything and then as I progressed in my career I realized you know what? The reception on lee needs this shot and that shot then I could go upstairs and kick it and just relax and then I instead of being so you know just crazy during that day it would start to get become easier for me because I knew was shots that I wanted and so once I defined the shots that I knew earned me money which I call my money shots right then I could go in and be more relaxed about things and I khun create a consistent body of work regardless and then the tools of knowing the lighting and knowing the posi...
ng and all that kind of stuff that guaranteed me that I could create my quality of my work in whatever situation that I was given if I was given twenty minutes or is giving five minutes I still could get what I needed to get but the one thing that you got to remember is that really all you really need to tell story of the day is about fifty images. I remember first starting in this business and my first albums were on ly twenty images I would give my clients, um, of a book which just twenty images of it and they were happy. And so now even to this point, my albums starts at fifty images that's the one I recommend fifty images it's actually really hard to produce one hundred quality images out of wedding day it's really hard. So that's why? I say the less the better because that means more of your stronger images are going to shine. You know, what do you want to deliver to your client? A high school yearbook where you want to get them a well crafted book with just page after page is ooh ah ooh aw, that's what you're really going for and so that's, what I'm going to kind of give you right now is the shots. What are my mood? Uh, I mean, just make sure that you get this and it's going to give you a place to start, you know, have, like, copy exactly what I do, but this could give you a framework on where to begin, yes, it is one hundred fifteen slides but you've seen a lot of these shots before and I've discussed these concepts a lot before so I could give it kind of quickly run through a lot of these things. Okay six stress success strategies for the digital for talking and that's what it is it's guaranteeing success so money shots these air my must have shots that not only create my signature style but also efficiently organized my shot selection so it helps me just focus in I just need this shot in this shot and I'm good. This is the one, uh, shot you first. You entering that room? The bride's not ready. Of course everything runs late. Oh, ah, you got your rings. Uh, because you're killing time, uh, starts shooting details. So the one detail shot that I must have is the ring shot. Okay? And so this is, um, how I shoot it. So a lot of times, if you don't have anything, the ring usually comes with a jewelry box and you can put it on that and you put it in some good light. You get some back like going on dh it creates a little stand for it. You can shoot it there this picture on the bottom I actually used the lens baby to shoot that one just to give it a little bit different flair use a macro lens that's why I said you have to have a macro lens because you've got to do these detail shots you have to have the macro lens find good light use video light if you don't have it works really well with a ring and I'll get into that little bit better put your f stop at five point six or higher because when you use a a mackerel lands you want everything in detail, right? So your f stop actually has to be quite high five six is right at the edge, you know, if you could go f ate that's even better, but if it's going to require twice a cz much light to so you have to make that a consideration yes, so I just want to say that as a counter intuitive to what I would naturally think that I was supposed to do and go in at a one point four oh yeah, no, so we're going to get like one little point on the diamond in focus, right? Right? So using the right choice of sort of lens and distance and all of that yes, that appetite that's a great tip thank you so if you're on the cheap actually the physics of it all is you can use a point and shoot camera and you can take a really close pictures why is that why does that work? Does anybody know anybody a geek to know yeah optical zoom uh no yes sensor size is really small so there well she's nailing it yes on a point and shoot camera the sensor size is a really small therefore the physics of it is even though it's shooting that says the camera says it's shooting at two point eight light is actually f ten eleven f eight it's usually five times the f stop of a normal camera because of the sensor size is so small so that's why? If you ever notice on your little point shoot camera you could take really good macro shots with it and that's the reason why so if you're on the chief or if you just like don familiar of macro lens breaks or something you can always kind of bring your pocket camera in there and use that um what I try to do is you can also put it on objects that are interesting or especially objects then means something to them then it ties in to things together and it's just not the rings there but it's also something that ties and this one here were we just thought it was interesting we had this idea of putting the king and the queen together and using the I think this was during christmas time so those are actually christmas tree lights in the background uh using macro lens um this here we did it like on her shoes you know, um it's a lot of brides love their shoes. They take a long time to pick out their shoes and they're so excited that they get to buy some cool shoes and so you can incorporate it with that too he's digital zoom on my seventy eighty ninety nine I set it up too so it's not just like put it there see that little depth background back there? I put champagne glasses back there glass is really great for background stuff, especially if you put light through it. So how this was set up? I put the rings there I have back light with my video light but I also set up champagne glasses back there shined the light through it to give me that background texture just to make it interesting. S o that comes from, you know, being a graphic designer and designing elements and things like that so you know, just don't shoot it but try to be creative with the two yes ignorance of this your digital zoom on your sony a ninety nine is that I like it internal zoom in that camera it's like it has a built in macro lens in whatever lens you put on there it's like a built in macro uh it creates a billet does a digital zoom so you can get in close like this and do these types of shots so this was actually shot with a twenty four millimeter lens but I put it on digital zoom and I got in on dh took that shot there and because you don't need to blow it up like life size or whatever, you don't have to have it at a super high resolution and she should be fine but I don't know if a lot of cameras I sony is the only one that I think has that on their dslr sze I don't know but I think that there is only one okay here's another one where they had I don't know what it wass but their name was on there and the date so I go oh that's cool because you know the groom needs helping out once in a while e get married okay video like this is why a video light is great for doing detail shots didn't didn't I tell you that the larger the source the better the quality of the light now let's imagine this ring was the size of a human being because that's what we're shooting right? How large with that video like be if that ring was, you know, say six feet or whatever that that video light is actively that is, if this video light is four times the size of the ring and let's say that ring was six feet that's this using like a soft box as twenty four feet long right it's going to create beautiful light and that's why you can get some amazing light just using a video light because in proportion to how big the subject is that you're shooting it's huge and so that's why you use that and so I used my better light there okay um and also if you don't have anywhere else to put the the ring you could just stick it on top of the video light and shoot it and it gives you some uh gives you a nice little tabletop there for you okay I am about to eliminate this lens from the face of the earth because I'm going to tell you how did you make a macro lens on the cheek okay ugh this is how to do it okay, I know all these old school tricks because I've been like shooting for a while okay now look att that the key to making a macro lands is is that you should use the lands if you're going to use an old school lands you need it lands there that you convey vary your f stop okay. See this here? See those those numbers look familiar one point eight two point eight four five c in the old days we were constantly looking at these numbers so we know those f stop numbers so old days you didn't control your f stop on the camera you controlled it on your lens okay, so you get an old lands where you can control now what's cool about nikon because a lot of nikon lenses you can control your f stop on even on the newer stuff I think I believe that hundred dollars uh fifty millimeter lands by nikon what's that yeah, it has that ring on that. Okay, so you get a lands like that so this is what I'm recommending this okay, this lens is going to cease to exist to get on ebay right now. Okay, fifty millimeter one point eight f d lance, you can literally find that lens from ten dollars to fifty dollars whatever now you probably can't find it they're going to be gone. Okay, ten dollars let's say you get one for ten dollars. Okay, now what you do is you buy that lens and what the trick is is you need to turn the lands upside down and mounted on your camera and it is instantly a macro lens you didn't know that, did you? Ok, so you buy a reverse ring adapter amount they're probably less than ten dollars confined them on e bay two and the one that fits on the thread here is fifty five millimeters so you get a fifteen five millimeter reverse ring adapter mountains on your camera that fits so what it is is that ring fits on the front of the camera and then you put that lands this part you mount that onto your camera, ok? And so do you just turn it upside down and it's instantly a mackerel lands that you've made for twenty dollars? Well, now it's going to be more because thes don't exist anymore, okay? And now, because I didn't say you had to shoot it at five point six storm or you need to control your f stop if it didn't have this control on it, you couldn't control your f stop. But now you manually you don't need any auto focus because you khun manually focus it on this lance and you, khun manually adjust your f stop. Okay, so therefore you've got a perfectly amazing mackerel lands for probably get one for like twenty dollars if you shop around, just go to your camera store and you see, and so any lands will work as long as you could get the reverse ring adapter mountains to fit your camera whatever, um, camera that you have any questions on that moving forward? Okay, so that's the ring shot, then you shoot during the okay, you know, you got your shoes gotta shoot a picture of the seasons um us, okay and you can sometimes have it when they're wearing the shoes I love the shot where someone's putting on the shoes also or you could put the shoe in an interesting area or element around something just to make it look good here like for here this is a very common shot I also used a video light here to fill in the shadows so I just put it by the window to get some back light and then I shine a little video light on top of it and I take the shot or if you have an interesting background like chairs have good like cool fabrics to it so there there's your little mini backdrop right there you take your video like you shine it right on top of it or maybe if you just get your too smartphone lights that'll probably work too bam you take the picture you're good video light is fast way to create dramatic light on small objects that's why I love the video it's so not on ly now I showed you how to create great light quickly on your subject but also for shooting details it's a must so it's so fast and it creates beautiful light on all your detail shots is going to put you in a notch above because most people don't shoot their detail shots they just put it in natural light that's all they do I treat my treat my ah my detail shots like a subject so I do the sandwich lighting and all that that's like I pretend that's a person and I you know and I take and I light it the same way and so if you have to video lights it's very easy now this particular one I just put this chair by a window to give me some nice natural light in and I might have pop some light in the background I'm not sure I can't remember what I did most likely I did okay, so now you paste the bride in with some great natural light and you have her pretend to put her shoes on it's a great shot people love it and it's very easy on you just find some nice light and they can pretend now they don't have to reach all the way down there if it's too hard depending on what the dress but it has to have the parents that they're kind of doing that. And so this is ahh wedding that did recently in beverly hills and so I just had a low towards the light and uh put her shoes on here they're putting something blue on and this was actually a photo journalistic moment um and while they're doing that, I just shot it and this is just using some video light when a woman wears unique shoes, make sure that you photographed them okay, they're coming in with something very unique because that was one of the thing that's makes a woman a woman, right? What were the other two things were this and this and the last thing is the heels and that's what separates eleven s o that shoes are very important to her. So make sure that you captured that. Okay, now you get to the dress so you'd done the ring and now you do some shoes and go, yeah, it's addressed laying around here and so what I do is I take the dress and I put it against something backlight so I try to find a window or something and I create some sort of back light on it or I create a scene where I've got foreground and background like in this particular case here I have her in the foreground. I put her dress back there, you have to set up because no brides going to just oh, I think I'll lay down here and do the roll over for you and, uh, you know, with my dress in the back, you kind of have to set that scene up, so hang the dress against some strong backlight and over expose it to create that dreamy feel right it's usually when two stops overexposed ifyou're in automatic mode, but you just get it in manual and just rip it off so in this particular case I posed the bride where that light was noses towards the light right? Ok, so I posed her over there and then I put the dress on the door. The problem is the dress was too dark because that's really bright back there what do you think? I used to put some light on that dress video light it's fast and easy so I couldn't like them so I have to make sure that dress came out then there's all the other small little details that you run across I love depending you know, putting the garter on is a great shot especially if they have nice legs she's like a dancer so she loves showing off her legs so she told me like, oh scott you've got to get the shot on putting the gardener on it's like okay, great and here you know, sometimes they send little cakes or deserts to each other and then they eat it or whatever and so there's different details you know there's the bookcase that you can use but anything that's the unique uh tried and personal try to grab that while you can that's there this is ah what you should try to do I should try to do this more often is take one detail, put that in the foreground and then put the bride and the groom in the background this is another shot. I thought of this shot in my head before the wedding because I knew I was doing this wedding and I researched the grounds to see what it was like, and this grounds was famous. This is in car male. It was famous for this swing on this oak tree. It's like okay, so I know I'm going to the swing. Okay, so why am I going to do in that? Oh, I know I could put the bouquet on the chair and I can have them hold hands in the background. So that was already in my mind before I went there. So you guys could do a little bit of homework? Uh, before you did let's say, you go to avenge you that you don't have never seen because you guys have the internet. Now you can just search it out and see what it looks like. And then you can start form some unique ideas about what you want to do in those certain areas. Okay, also now, she's getting ready. And what I try to do is I get the bride looking in the mirror shot it's very classic in traditional. So either a handheld mirror or looking into you know the bathroom mirror and I make them pretend to do something like oh pretended but this lip stuck on or something and just make him do something I don't really wait for that casual moment I don't have time for that I just make it happen a lot of times so I just go in there and I say hey do this or do that or pretend you're adjusting something gam take the shot and we're done in this particular case here I was using the natural light from the window so I placed there over towards the window have are looking that and I came on the other side I had the light her up first get her in good light and I just moved the mirin and then have a look at it so here's another shot and using the mirror again that's all set up looks natural but it's completely hold this mirror and look into it pretend you're doing something okay now I get to okay that shot a called pamper the bride you want that one shot where all her girls around her and they're helping her and they're assisting her so what I usually do is I find some very strong backlight like a window or that sliding door area is great I put them there and then I arranged them and I tell them to do something on guy create that kind of fact like feel with them kind of pampering her and taking care of her. This is another thing, too. This is completely contrived. It's not a natural moment at all. I don't know how many of my photos are actually natural moments, but there's a lot of them, I have to arrange it because I'm a perfectionist. I wanted to be a masterpiece. If you're waiting for that most perfect moment, it may never come. They're paying me a lot of money I need to hit. I need tohave something I can't go home with nothing. And sometimes you, khun wait forever and you may not get that shot exactly how you want it. So I just arrange it myself. It's, like, you know, put them around their of mirror and just have them kind of talked casually talk and all that kind of stuff. And you can get a a great shot. This I took a chose to take a higher angle at a cz you can see I'm shooting down on them. You want it, you know. So it's the pamper the bride and then you want a shot with all her girls around her, and a lot of times, what I like doing is getting them on the bed, and I call that the slumber party's shot so she gets on the bed and then I get her girls around them and I get them see when you see everybody laughing in that photo you could see the upper right photo here when you see everybody laughing at the same time I guarantee you the photographer made that happen because it's not going to naturally happen and that's that's kind of like one of my strengths is I can't get this I can get that I can get that feel out of people and I know it and I you know and that's I just know that that's one of my strengths here again the same type of thing this is a kind of interesting picture because I ain't her dress there was these little lin balls and she wanted to get them out so she was over there in the corner just jumping up and down it was like that's pretty funny so I just got her bridesmaids over there while she was doing that you can kind of this is a technique that I use is called hitting the rewind button okay so I'm doing a wedding and I see something that kind of ooh that's a good idea and I see something that I like and then I hit the rewind button I said hey can you do that again for me but let's stand over here in the better light or let's bring your mom in now and can you do that I constantly hit the rewind button because why I want a masterpiece I want better than real life isn't that what a freakin wedding is anyways it's something that we imagine that's not reality right? And I constantly hit the rewind button I cease some sort of look or some sort of something and I go oh I like that little kids I just do it over again but I make it a little bit better when I when I do it and so in this particular case uh this this wedding here right? She was coming in I was hey, I was doing the typical poles lean against the wall face towards the light all that kind of stuff and then her bridesmaid come in which often happens you're opposing the bride you're getting or in that mood and then someone comes in and asks a question that isn't that we hate that that's gonna happen to you but she came in as a guest is like, oh hey, why in your zaheer want to just give each other a rigorous it's a boom there it is so you have to be creative with your mind too you always have to be a wedding to do wedding well it's like running a mental marathon for ten hours it's very draining it's like I remember my first weddings I'm like totally just zonked out because not only is it physically training because I'm the type of photographer world I'm always taking extreme angles either higher or lower so a lot of time I'm going with this I'm going I don't know how many times I do this today I'm doing it a lot there sometime the last winning that I was doing it doing a shot it was literally a hundred degrees outdoors and I got dehydrated at the end of the day and my legs and as soon as when I kind of just was able to stop and not run around my legs completely cramped up on may that's happened to me a lot of times because it's physically exhausting and it's mentally exhausting too and if you really want to be a good wedding photographer you gotta come up with that on the spot and see it right there you've got to be engaged just can't let it happen but you have to physically being engaged with the wedding and put creativity on top of what you see you just can't capture it if you're going toe okay especially when you're first starting out those weddings are not going to be at the most beautiful venues in the world right? So a lot of times if it's beautiful I mean you just take shots and looks great but sometimes you're not going to get that beautiful venue so you've got to create something else on top of it create emotion here and getting them to laugh uh here that putting them in natural light but you see that look on their face they're how natural that is that's because I've been engaging with them and they feel comfortable with comfortable with me so they're going to give me a they're going to take those filters are goingto come down and they're going to give me just a natural expression and you gotta build that up you gotta build that trust up with your client throughout the day subjects will mirror and reflect you if you've heard that a lot here's another this actually is a photo journalistic moment so you will catch them okay, so this was not reenacted that I actually did catch this life, so this wasn't re enacted but you go to where good light iss so wherever you see that the good light is you kind of hang around that area and then you wait for that action to come into that area and you're already set up, so if you kind of see an area that we're has good light and then you go, eventually something will happen in this area, then you take a shot, okay? Wedding is all about the bride, so you've got all those getting ready shots now you're going to do the bridal portrait and we talked a lot about this I could probably just skim through a lot about aa lot through this using natural light first on video light we just talked about that so he's very alike to create fast ream lighting. Um, you always do that shot this shot right here. Every single one it's so easy to do. This is the easiest shot money shot in the world to do. All you do is place that bride back there, right? And so, uh, exaggerate the hip look off to the side on dh. Then sometimes you khun put people there or just leave it alone. Ah, lot of times in this particular instance, this is going to be a lot darker down here. So I used my video like to feel light into keep uneven exposure on the dress. So that is a really that you can always do this shot every single time. Okay? And then you can come around to the other side. You could take some fortress of her if you want to there because he's already in good light. So you got to set up with one up here's the shot here. So you're that's what wedding photography is a lot is you got one set up, two shots, one set up, three shots on. You've got to think of it that way because as you know, it takes a long time to reposition a bride because of the dress so by the time you don't like, take the dress out and this and that you shoot it that's investing a lot of time, well, you better get more than just one shot out of that because it takes forever to kind of arrange your dress and make it perfect and everything. This is a great idea that the bright had wass she would always see brides dressed in sweats and she goes, oh, I'm going to go to forgot where she said she got that at I think it was like k mart or walmart or no or I don't know it wasn't a very expensive place because that she bought this little thing and she's like, oh, yeah, I want to just wear this around cause it looks better and so I said, oh, yeah, I like that want to come over to your dress and pretend that you're looking at it and everything I put some back light to their great photo one lighting, three different shots okay, so see these three different shots, she was just sitting right there. So in the first shot, um I had her there's some great natural light coming in this way, and actually there are some great natural light coming in this way there was a window there, but I photoshopped it out to make it look because if you look right here that doesn't look right that's because my photo shop skills aren't that great but there's a window right there on dh so I've got like, this way here I've got her dude doing the shoot okay? Now just what where's her nose pointing towards the light, right? So I got actually did four shots here I'll show you later on dh she's looking for their that and then I come in close and I take another shot over there to do the head shot all in one set up and also then on top of that, I brought the groom in behind her okay s so I brought the groom in behind and I had four shots one set up, I didn't even move her at all really maximize unlimited time. We already talked about this nose body away knows towards a light this is especially important when there wearing white when they're wearing dark, it might not work, but when they're wearing white, as you see her body has turned away from the light, you see the definition now that you see in the shape if her body wasn't away from the light, you wouldn't get that definition on the shape that you need to have this is talking about using video light, doing the same role over this bag of bob la okay, off camera flash of so I use video light in low light situations. They use off camera light in in bright light situations, hears a shot, too, that I did. That was actually flash, but I could have easily used the video light in that particular shot. Shadows. You see shadows that you can do this. This is another thing. If, for example, in this particular case, the groups, the bride was taller than the groom. And so, when that's case, you have to try to do something where they're sitting down or whatever, like I said before soft shadows creating mystery, they create drama.