The Psychology of Creative Wedding Photography

Kownslar Wedding-244

Photo Essays is a series on the Phoblographer where photographers get to candidly speak their mind about a specific subject or project of theirs. Want to submit? Send [email protected]

All images by Travis and Nina Tank. Used with permission. Be sure to also follow them on Instagram.

Something that I have spent the last few years trying to perfect in wedding photography is creating moments. Raw, real emotion is actually very difficult to achieve when you have a semi-stranger in your face expecting you to model. I have found there to be a significant difference in what sets photographers apart… there are ones who create moments and some that simply capture them. While yes we are all technically “capturing” moments, photojournalism in its purest form doesn’t tend to lend itself to the creative imagery that couples want or hire us for.

Those laughs that you see, the smiles and the people who look like they are having a good time are actually having a good time and laughing with us. This is the reason why few photographers seem to have more stiff imagery in their portfolio than authentic emotions. The good news? It only takes a simple switch in your mindset to completely change the way you view yourself as a photographer and how you capture any subject on the other side of your camera.

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The Creative Mentality Behind Intimate Portraiture (NSFW)


All images by Jason Bach. Used with permission.

“We live in a world where media & film censorship favors violence over the beauty of the naked form.” says photographer Jason Bach about how he got into intimate portraiture. “To me, its an appalling concept and should be reversed – we should be embracing and teaching younger generations that sexuality and nudity is natural and a much more positive representation of humanity than what violence offers.” You see, Jason isn’t one of those guys on the social interwebs using nudity to become Instafamous–he creates genuinely intimate, sensual and beautiful work.

Jason Bach is a wedding and commercial photographer who owns his studio The Photogenic Lab based in Denver, CO. He labels his distinctive style as “playful, innovative images that wrap stories into single moments.” Indeed, it makes a lot of sense. And when it comes to creating intimate scenes, he says that it’s all about the serious nature behind the work.

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What I Learned from One Year Shooting Manual Flash

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Direct flash Macro tutorial (2 of 3)ISO 4001-30 sec at f - 2.8

“I’m not exactly sure how I can go back,” I said to a photographer the other night in a business dinner. Our conversation briefly touched on using flash and how manual is the way to go over TTL for many applications. For the past year, I’ve been shooting exclusively with manual flash: I guess you can equate it to those projects photographers do involving one lens and one camera or just shooting in manual for a year. But the difference here is that with manual flash, you’re creating your own light and you’re dictating how the scene looks even more so than anything else because you’re adding an extra layer on its final perception.

After spending one year shooting with just manual flashes, it’s something that I recommend almost every photographer try.

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Jocelyn Voo: Photographing Orthodox Jewish Weddings in America


All images by Jocelyn Voo. Used with permission. This is a post in a special series done with R/WeddingPhotography on ethnic weddings in America.

“Many of the weddings I shoot are ethnic, but I shoot quite frequently in the orthodox Jewish circuit, despite not being Jewish myself,” said photographer Jocelyn Voo in her initial email contact to us. Jocelyn runs Everly Studios–and got her start as a photojournalist and documentary photographer. Naturally, the skills learned there transitioned well into the wedding business for her.

Orthodox Jewish weddings tend to differ from the commonplace Christian weddings here in America–and as a result even many of the photographers are Orthodox Jews themselves since they already know and understand the culture. However, my time at B&H Photo Video Pro Audio taught me that there are many different tiers and each couple makes their own individual decisions on how they practice and their belief system.

I talked with Jocelyn about the rituals and what it’s like photographing these ceremonies.

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How Photographers Should be Using Social Media

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Instagram for the iPad (1 of 1)ISO 2001-20 sec at f - 4.0

“It’s not about the ROI.”

That’s what social media managers and influencers used to say all the time. ROI is short for return on investment–and as most photographers know, you’re bound to invest a heck of a lot more into this industry than you will ever give back.

But in today’s day and age, while many professional photographers spend most of their time on marketing, we should be using our skills as creative image makers to actually market ourselves and the types of work that we do much better. What you’ll learn is that social media isn’t about trying to create a following and gain returns from it, it’s about proving to people that they should be interested in you and your work.

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How to Think in Terms of Photographs

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm 16-55mm f2.8 WR review Graham's images (16 of 19)ISO 4001-60 sec at f - 2.8

It’s extremely common for most photographers these days to simply just hold down a shutter button and hope that they get the right shot. But in the end, that just gives you loads and loads of extra images that you don’t necessarily need and you’ll end up with less keepers than you’d like. Fixing that problem means that you need to think about (in the brief window of time) the end result. And for that, you need to think about what you possibly see in a scene and how you can quickly capture it to ensure that you deliver a result that your mind’s eye saw.

Sounds really, really tough to do, right? It’s not that bad if you make the job easier for yourself by doing things like shooting in aperture priority where you have a bit of control over the image or you have an autofocus point already pre-selected for the scene. Automation of some of the settings lets you get to that end game image that you have in your head and greatly improves your chances of actually getting it.

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The Three Best Focal Lengths For Shooting Candid Photos

Pro Tip: Manual focus lenses make you require the way that your brain tells you to shoot. Instead of just putting a viewfinder to your eye, focusing, and shooting, sometimes you pre-focus, put the viewfinder to your eye and either shoot immediately or touch up just a bit. You can do this using the depth of field scale.

Pro Tip: Manual focus lenses make you require the way that your brain tells you to shoot. Instead of just putting a viewfinder to your eye, focusing, and shooting, sometimes you pre-focus, put the viewfinder to your eye and either shoot immediately or touch up just a bit. You can do this using the depth of field scale.

Modern autofocus is quite good–don’t get us wrong. But when push comes to shove and you need to capture a moment in a split-second, some focal lengths are easier to work with than others. Part of this has to do with depth of field at a specific distance and the other has to do with the specific focal length. For what it’s worth, a telephoto lens and a wide angle lens focused out to 7 feet away and shooting from the same distance will have a varying amount of the scene in focus. The telephoto will have less in focus while more of the scene will be in focus with the wider angle lens.

But at the same time, you may not want to be so close to the scene that you’re within arm’s length of the person or scene being photographed. So to do that, we’re recommending three focal lengths that are best for candid photos.

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Don’t Be “The Guy With the Camera”; Be a Photographer

Photographers Hoodie from Teespring front

Wedding photographers have called them “Uncle Bob.” Indeed they’re a plague to us. Folks sometimes say, “Oh, we’ll just ask so and so to shoot for us, it’ll be fine.” The concept of Uncle Bob has evolved over the years as DSLRs and other interchangeable lens cameras have become more popular and everyone begins to try their hand at photography.

For the site’s reviews and tutorials, I often shoot actresses, actors, models, and mix in some paying clientele. But they’ve all talked about a specific type of photographer that they call “The Guy with the Camera.” When they get a new look, their agents always tell them to get new photos done. In some situations, their agents say, “Don’t you have a friend with a camera that can do it for you?”

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