Welcome to Spotlighting. Here I will spotlight new and interesting wedding details that I find in a hope to be a reliable resource to my brides and families. Here you will find honest, unsolicited advice and recommendations. Hopefully, you will also gain valuable insight in to who I am and how I view my work!

Friday, June 05, 2009

Concept Photography

Several years ago I took a workshop that opened a whole new world to me and my photography. Because we all can get complacent in our work, I think inspiration especially in my field is invaluable. Without it your images would be a little stale.
The workshop was taught by a colleague in San Fransisco and to say I was intrigued by his invitation was true but more over I was a little concerned too. I am a portrait photographer and I am a wedding photographer. That's what I knew and that's what I was comfortable with regarding my photography. Photo-journalism, documentary and candids are all part of an intricate combination that come together to make for the best wedding photos. So to learn more about a subtle style that I may be over looking was a little intimidating and a little scary.

I went and of course was in awe of the images that we were able to achieve in the workshop. "Concept" photography is just that...to create, design or conceive of a concept that creates a story for your couples. Often times a couple for example want to do some interesting shots for their engagement portraits. In most cases though they may not have an idea for what they actually want and even still no real idea of how to achieve it. This is where concept photography becomes so much fun and is highly rewarding to the couple because these images will be unique and original to them. For example, one of my couples who wanted to shoot a concept wanted to be Bonnie and Clyde without all the bad stuff. It was the concept of the old style clothing and the old car of course so that's where we started creating our concept design. With a little leg work and a little persuasion I think between the two of us (my bride and I) we found a gentleman that would let us use his car and the clothing was easily available on line almost like costumes.

In the end we were successful in taking some amazing shots and these images were priceless to them because they were unique to them and captured something fun in their relationship.
Let me just say that the options and ideas are limitless. Its something that you may want to consider if you as a couple are adventurous and want something completely unique and different. Some concepts are easy to put into motion...others take a little ingenuity and creativity. But ultimately the images and the FUN are well worth the effort!!!

Clothing For Portrait Sessions

What to wear for your photo shoot?
I get asked this question all the time and was asked again today by a couple to email them my thoughts about their attire for their engagement session this weekend. My response came from an article that I wrote many years ago but still rings true today. So I am reposting this addition because it is relavent then and now with a few new thoughts. I hope that this information helps anyone who is considering their clothing for their next photo session. When I first started shooting "concept" photography, it became a topic of some consideration. Everyone wants to look their best for their portraits but remember its really a matter of personal style and should be in keeping with the look you hope to achieve. There are a few factors that I think are important to consider regardless if your session is a studio or on location shoot. To begin, color is a very important consideration. Not only is black classic and slimming it also photographs well on dark backgrounds. I also like burgundy, grey and deep red. On the other hand, denim, pastels, and whites work better with light backgrounds and with most outdoor settings.
Keep in mind however your "good" colors. For example, golden skin tones do not wear shades of blue well, nor do blue skin tones wear oranges or yellows well. I have also found that brunettes photograph beautifully in white and blondes, in black. The contrast can be striking. Hands down white or off-white looks best on a beach location. Breezy, summer dresses are lovely unless the wind catches the dress and billows you like you have gained 40 pounds. I have always found linens to photograph extremely well on the beach. The difficulty is trying to pair an ensemble for a couple. Its never the best idea to be identical... although I have seen it done and it can produce good shots. Clothing with texture is always beautiful in black and white. My best suggestion is to avoid stripes, polka dots, distracting patterns, t-shirts, and t-shirts with decals unless you are both sports fans and support the same team....if not that may be tricky....

As for the style of clothing, its best to not be too trendy unless you are doing portfolio work. Long sleeves are best because bare arms usually distract from the beauty of the face and on a male can change a portrait to a snapshot in one swift move. You might consider bringing a change of wardrobe for different poses as well. However, the key here is to wear something that's comfortable. If you are not at ease with what you are wearing, this will show on your face and will completely take your attention away from the shoot.Keep jewelry to a minimum. Metals and watches tend to create unwanted reflections. If you wear earrings, keep them dignified. If you have more than one ear piercing, then for a formal portrait, wear only one set in the main opening. If you are going for an edgy look, by all means keep all your piercing. Same for tattoos....cover up for a formal session or if your session is an editorial of you and the work you have had done on your body....then show them off!!!Makeup and hair is another important consideration. Some young women nowadays do not wear much makeup and that is a good thing. Although a bit of foundation, powder and blush can do much to soften your look in your portraits. Too much applied over acne or redness can accentuate dryness and make the area look much worse.Dressing children tends to break most of these rules. They can get by with stripes and polka dots when we can not. Contrasting patterns can be adorable on a group of siblings. My favorite shots however have the children of a family...all in the same mid-tones or white.. only dressed differently. For example, a little sister in a quaint antique white dress, her brother in linen slacks and shirt in the same shade and the oldest sister in matching skirt and blouse. Let the clothing demonstrate their personalities.Most important to remember however, is to be comfortable, relax and have fun, smile and laugh!!!! If that shows through in your portraits it may not even matter what you are wearing....