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Old Jan-08-2012, 11:56 PM
#1
NeilL is offline NeilL OP
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A Little Wedding in the Park
Photos were an afterthought. No rehearsal! In addition, obvious challenges were strong 11.30AM summer sun through thin overcast clouds (lots of glare, though shadows softened just a touch) on whites and faces, and very busy, distracting backgrounds. Also, the groom wanted an "in the cool shady bower at the bottom of the garden" ambiance to the whole event!

Here are a sample. Comments welcome.



1





2





3





4





5





6





7





8










Neil
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Last edited by NeilL; Jan-10-2012 at 02:57 PM.
Old Jan-09-2012, 11:30 AM
#2
Qarik is offline Qarik
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nice color on these but the processing is killing it for me neill
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Old Jan-09-2012, 02:31 PM
#3
NeilL is offline NeilL OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Qarik View Post
nice color on these but the processing is killing it for me neill
Thanks for commenting Qarik!

By processing, do you mean basic settings (exposure, light balance, contrast etc), or style (tinting, vignettes, folksy adornments, etc)?

The event was ad hoc on the day, unrehearsed and over in 15min, no make-up, no grand costumes, no embellishments of the location, there were no plans or allowances for photos and nobody was interested in them, apart from having a few as a record. It was a matter of a few quick snapshots. I don't have any pretensions for them.

My aim in processing them was to lift the subjects from the busy detailed background, smooth out some of the crudenesses, add a bit of visual richness in colour and tone, and a bit of playfulness in the folksy adornments to help balance the static and emotionless content.

They are a bit of an oddity in this forum for many of those reasons. But there they are!

Neil
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Old Jan-09-2012, 02:45 PM
#4
Qarik is offline Qarik
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the style of the processing really. also..I need to comment on your apologetic tone..if images were so ad hoc and uninteresting, why post them?
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Old Jan-09-2012, 03:21 PM
#5
NeilL is offline NeilL OP
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Thanks for the clarification.

As to your question, so much of what I do is "student exercise-experimental-for-me" and obviously to get comments on it is a valid purpose for posting in DGrin. That is the value for me of comments like yours. DGrin has always been as much for the rookie shooter as for the polished practitioner. Just the act of posting stuff causes me to shift to a different perspective on the stuff. When I can flip back and forth between, for example, your accomplished wedding work here, in the same presentation space, I can better analyse what the different factors are that contribute to the greatly different results.

As for my being apologetic, I think rather I am describing the facts of the matter, the kind of facts that are relevant to any photographer of this kind of material. What is here is not "real" wedding photography, as you, I think, think of it. Yet, it is representative enough of many of the factors which affect wedding photography to have taught me a great deal and to have been worth doing.

Neil
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Old Jan-10-2012, 09:51 AM
#6
sphynge is offline sphynge
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Hi Neil

Nice colors given the light it sounds like. I agree that if you could do without the edges/ soft / vignetting, I would do without. If the client INSISTED on it, that's a different ballgame, but I think your photos should stand on their own (and that's something I'm working on too!).
On #7 I would have suggested trying him kissing her / her kissing him; as it is it's slightly awkward, and it might be because their cheeks are so close to one another. Be very conscious of hand and finger positioning if you can; on that #7 also their wrists look a little off. So fine tuning on these poses would be great. I would also try interacting with the couple and making jokes / comments to get them into a different "zone" than the "hey, smile" look. Hope that makes sense?
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Old Jan-10-2012, 02:40 PM
#7
NeilL is offline NeilL OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sphynge View Post
Hi Neil

Nice colors given the light it sounds like. I agree that if you could do without the edges/ soft / vignetting, I would do without. If the client INSISTED on it, that's a different ballgame, but I think your photos should stand on their own (and that's something I'm working on too!).
On #7 I would have suggested trying him kissing her / her kissing him; as it is it's slightly awkward, and it might be because their cheeks are so close to one another. Be very conscious of hand and finger positioning if you can; on that #7 also their wrists look a little off. So fine tuning on these poses would be great. I would also try interacting with the couple and making jokes / comments to get them into a different "zone" than the "hey, smile" look. Hope that makes sense?
Thanks for the great comments sphynge! Yes, I couldn't agree more with you about the importance of good interaction, I wish there could have been a lot more in this case! There also could have been a lot more different poses, of course. They would not kiss however.

Personally, I would have ditched the bright saturated colours if it had been my call, but Francois chose these gardens because of the garden colours, and light and shade, so I kept them as a major thing. He also liked the idea of the bright reds being part of the colour scheme, and chose a bright red tie to go with Hau's traditional Vietnamese costume. When I showed him the b&w images he couldn't quite see the point. I think they both like the vignettes and adornments, as I thought they might, especially as the images will be emailed as single attachments to friends and family abroad, compared with being viewed in a portfolio/album with a chosen style and theme of its own.

So, the whole situation was an interesting one of needs-expectations-arrangements being quite a ways different to what normally appears on this forum.

On my side, it had some technical lessons to teach, especially to do with fill lighting and lens use. I used an off-camera 580EXII in a diy socked reflector wireless triggered - it could have been higher power and closer in most shots. I used a 24-105 f4L IS, but would have done better compositionally and exposure-wise with a faster, longer lens like 135mm f2L, and with extra fill strength and wider aperture a faster shutter would have made up for no IS.

But what has come home to me most strongly from the experience is the critcal importance of photographer style (when the photographer has the freedom to apply it!). Looking back through the hundreds of posts in this forum, and some associated blogs, I see that a high quality, high impact and distinctive style is what wins overall. So facing that challenge is where this experience has placed me, if I want to pursue doing this kind of photography. Looking through the posts here I see that many folk use, often strikingly beautifully, the fashion of the moment styles, like high key+brown/orange tint, or cross-processing, frequent backlighting, tilt-shift emulations, etc. So obviously they are a big part of the success story!

Wedding photography certainly ain't a cinch!

Neil
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Last edited by NeilL; Jan-10-2012 at 04:30 PM.
Old Jan-10-2012, 07:42 PM
#8
Matthew Saville is offline Matthew Saville
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NeilL View Post
Thanks for the great comments sphynge! Yes, I couldn't agree more with you about the importance of good interaction, I wish there could have been a lot more in this case! There also could have been a lot more different poses, of course. They would not kiss however.

Personally, I would have ditched the bright saturated colours if it had been my call, but Francois chose these gardens because of the garden colours, and light and shade, so I kept them as a major thing. He also liked the idea of the bright reds being part of the colour scheme, and chose a bright red tie to go with Hau's traditional Vietnamese costume. When I showed him the b&w images he couldn't quite see the point. I think they both like the vignettes and adornments, as I thought they might, especially as the images will be emailed as single attachments to friends and family abroad, compared with being viewed in a portfolio/album with a chosen style and theme of its own.

So, the whole situation was an interesting one of needs-expectations-arrangements being quite a ways different to what normally appears on this forum.

On my side, it had some technical lessons to teach, especially to do with fill lighting and lens use. I used an off-camera 580EXII in a diy socked reflector wireless triggered - it could have been higher power and closer in most shots. I used a 24-105 f4L IS, but would have done better compositionally and exposure-wise with a faster, longer lens like 135mm f2L, and with extra fill strength and wider aperture a faster shutter would have made up for no IS.

But what has come home to me most strongly from the experience is the critcal importance of photographer style (when the photographer has the freedom to apply it!). Looking back through the hundreds of posts in this forum, and some associated blogs, I see that a high quality, high impact and distinctive style is what wins overall. So facing that challenge is where this experience has placed me, if I want to pursue doing this kind of photography. Looking through the posts here I see that many folk use, often strikingly beautifully, the fashion of the moment styles, like high key+brown/orange tint, or cross-processing, frequent backlighting, tilt-shift emulations, etc. So obviously they are a big part of the success story!

Wedding photography certainly ain't a cinch!

Neil
Don't worry too much about the trends in processing style, Neil, as much as I enjoy "tinkering" around I don't think they're timeless enough to be an issue that directly affects success as a professional.

In my opinion, the fundamentals will always reign supreme, even if every single image had absolutely zero post-production applied: Composition, Timing, Pose, and Lighting. If we focus on these in every portrait we make, we'll be just fine.

Looking at your images, it looks like what you said- you did a great job with what you were given. The only things that come to mind, aside from the post-processing, is the depth of field / backgrounds. In a situation like that, I'd be shooting at f/1.4 or f/2.8 as often as possible, or for the formals that *require* a deeper DOF, I would focus a LOT on composing the shots carefully so that there aren't things in the background "touching" people's heads. That is what makes or breaks a picture of a person, usually- the exact background surrounding the person's head and shoulders. One twig or light pole, and the whole impact of the image drops a notch...

Other than that, just remember those four things... :-)

=Matt=
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Old Jan-10-2012, 09:31 PM
#9
NeilL is offline NeilL OP
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Many thanks Matt for the great crit!

Yeah, I'd have gone for the 135mm f2L (the next fastest lens I have after the f4s).

Neil
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Old Jan-11-2012, 06:36 PM
#10
innershell is offline innershell
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One thing that stands out for me and prevents these series from being a better result is both the subject's distance to the background and the speed of your lens. The DOF is too wide and the subject being so close to the background doesn't leave much room for separation. It greeneries behind make the entire composition too busy.
Old Jan-11-2012, 07:34 PM
#11
NeilL is offline NeilL OP
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Originally Posted by innershell View Post
One thing that stands out for me and prevents these series from being a better result is both the subject's distance to the background and the speed of your lens. The DOF is too wide and the subject being so close to the background doesn't leave much room for separation. It greeneries behind make the entire composition too busy.
Good points, agree on both. The DOF was pretty much the max with the 24-105.

Neil
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Old Jan-11-2012, 10:34 PM
#12
Ed911 is offline Ed911
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Originally Posted by matthew saville View Post
in my opinion, the fundamentals will always reign supreme, even if every single image had absolutely zero post-production applied: Composition, timing, pose, and lighting. If we focus on these in every portrait we make, we'll be just fine.=matt=
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Old Jan-12-2012, 05:32 PM
#13
NeilL is offline NeilL OP
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A different treatment
Does this treatment have more appeal to anybody?












Neil
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Last edited by NeilL; Jan-12-2012 at 05:54 PM.
Old Jan-17-2012, 09:33 PM
#14
babowc is online now babowc
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Maybe it's the "dreamy" style of pp that's throwing me off, but you may have intended it..
I've tried group shots myself and it's always hard to get everyone's good expressions, but the group shot doesn't do anything for me. Trees are sticking out of their heads and many look to be focusing elsewhere than you (camera).

I love the colors on the second shot, but feel that it was taken from an angle too low.
Old Jan-18-2012, 05:35 PM
#15
NeilL is offline NeilL OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by babowc View Post
Maybe it's the "dreamy" style of pp that's throwing me off, but you may have intended it..
I've tried group shots myself and it's always hard to get everyone's good expressions, but the group shot doesn't do anything for me. Trees are sticking out of their heads and many look to be focusing elsewhere than you (camera).

I love the colors on the second shot, but feel that it was taken from an angle too low.
Appreciate your comments thanks! And points taken. When the photography is knitted into the event and rehearsed, and when the subjects are aware of having to give to the camera and are happy to do so, then the results will be on a different level. When the photography is sidelined, then the locations and the way people are placed in them will likely not be photographically ideal. On my part, a faster lens and a better deployment of my lighting, would have gotten better shots in the circumstances.

As you can see from the shot in post #13, postprocessing (blur, darkening, desaturating, tinting, texture) can go a long way to pushing the background back and giving it a more decorative role in the image, so with a bit more work those images with too intrusive a background can be much improved.

Neil
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