It’s summer time, and the Baltimore Orioles abound in their splendor.
Summer is also the time when we are invited to a lot of outdoor weddings. Lots of splendor to ponder there as well… the couple, the gowns, the flowers, the guests. My mind drifts to making observations about the wedding photographers who are engaged in a very different sort of photography than the craft I practice.
Basics for All Photographers
But is wedding photography so very different than bird photography? I look over the photographer’s camera and her moves, looking for evidence of skill, efficiency, art, and respect. I can’t help but conclude that all photographers must share the same basic principles to be effective and productive.
At the Low End
On the wide spectrum that includes the best and worst of photographers, it’s easy to spot the rookies…or the ones who just don’t care. These are the people who rank on the low end of the effectiveness meter. Somehow, whether due to ignorance or arrogance, they do not understand what it takes to be successful and are often delusional about what is expected in a situation fraught with uncertainties and uncontrollable events.
Some specific observations:
- They think showing up accomplishes 95% of what they are there to do.
- They plan to get in and get out as they are squeezing this shoot in on their way to somewhere else.
- No time is set aside to check the weather, understand the layout of the location, study the lighting challenges and opportunities, evaluate the backgrounds, and mentally setup the shots for optimal results.
- Respect for their subjects is seriously lacking as is an understanding of group dynamics.
- They do not know how best to get their subjects posed attractively.
- They are not in the right place at the right time to capture those special moments.
- They arrive unprepared. Worse, they do not anticipate complications nor do they know how to troubleshoot.
- They bring only themselves, one all purpose camera and lens, one compact disk, and one blinding flash affixed to the top of the camera and aimed directly at their subjects.
- They do not dress appropriately nor do they try to be unobtrusive to the events around them.
- They do not search out opportunities that have the potential for candid and stunning photographs.
- They put no effort into post processing, nor do they screen the photos to eliminate those that are out of focus, poorly framed, uninteresting, and/or redundant.
Photographers’ Skill Set
The skill set of a good photographer consists of a hard earned complement of components – all working together with the best equipment that the photographer can afford. Photographers at the top of their game are diligent in observing and respecting their subjects as they struggle to achieve the milestones of their lives. They understand that things do not automatically fall into place and when something unexpected and wonderful happens, they react quickly and professionally.
Beautiful photos are the result.
Press this link to read about Control as an Illusion.
Press this link to read more about photographing Baltimore Orioles.