A Little Wedding in the Park

NeilLNeilL B+R=M,B+G=C,R+G=YPosts: 4,201Registered Users Major grins
edited January 18, 2012 in Weddings
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

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2

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3

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4

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5

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6

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7

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8

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Neil
"Snow. Ice. Slow!" "Half-winter. Half-moon. Half-asleep!"

http://www.behance.net/brosepix

Comments

  • QarikQarik Krazy Korean Posts: 4,938Registered Users Major grins
    edited January 9, 2012
    nice color on these but the processing is killing it for me neill
    D700, D600
    14-24 24-70 70-200mm (vr2)
    85 and 50 1.4
    45 PC and sb910 x2
    http://www.danielkimphotography.com
  • NeilLNeilL B+R=M,B+G=C,R+G=Y Posts: 4,201Registered Users Major grins
    edited January 9, 2012
    Qarik wrote: »
    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!mwink.gif

    Neil
    "Snow. Ice. Slow!" "Half-winter. Half-moon. Half-asleep!"

    http://www.behance.net/brosepix
  • QarikQarik Krazy Korean Posts: 4,938Registered Users Major grins
    edited January 9, 2012
    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?
    D700, D600
    14-24 24-70 70-200mm (vr2)
    85 and 50 1.4
    45 PC and sb910 x2
    http://www.danielkimphotography.com
  • NeilLNeilL B+R=M,B+G=C,R+G=Y Posts: 4,201Registered Users Major grins
    edited January 9, 2012
    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
    "Snow. Ice. Slow!" "Half-winter. Half-moon. Half-asleep!"

    http://www.behance.net/brosepix
  • sphyngesphynge black magic Posts: 172Super Moderators Major grins
    edited January 10, 2012
    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?
  • NeilLNeilL B+R=M,B+G=C,R+G=Y Posts: 4,201Registered Users Major grins
    edited January 10, 2012
    sphynge wrote: »
    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
    "Snow. Ice. Slow!" "Half-winter. Half-moon. Half-asleep!"

    http://www.behance.net/brosepix
  • Matthew SavilleMatthew Saville Wedding Photographer Posts: 3,394Super Moderators Major grins
    edited January 10, 2012
    NeilL wrote: »
    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=
    My first thought is always of light.” – Galen Rowell
    My SmugMug PortfolioMy Astro-Landscape Photo BlogModerator of the Dgrin Weddings Forum
  • NeilLNeilL B+R=M,B+G=C,R+G=Y Posts: 4,201Registered Users Major grins
    edited January 11, 2012
    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
    "Snow. Ice. Slow!" "Half-winter. Half-moon. Half-asleep!"

    http://www.behance.net/brosepix
  • innershellinnershell Rookie Wookie Posts: 26Registered Users Big grins
    edited January 11, 2012
    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.
  • NeilLNeilL B+R=M,B+G=C,R+G=Y Posts: 4,201Registered Users Major grins
    edited January 11, 2012
    innershell wrote: »
    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
    "Snow. Ice. Slow!" "Half-winter. Half-moon. Half-asleep!"

    http://www.behance.net/brosepix
  • Ed911Ed911 Major grins Posts: 1,306Registered Users Major grins
    edited January 12, 2012
    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=

    +1
    Remember, no one may want you to take pictures, but they all want to see them.
    Educate yourself like you'll live forever and live like you'll die tomorrow.

    Ed
  • NeilLNeilL B+R=M,B+G=C,R+G=Y Posts: 4,201Registered Users Major grins
    edited January 12, 2012
    A different treatment
    Does this treatment have more appeal to anybody?




    i-nVcKf6T-X2.jpg







    Neil
    "Snow. Ice. Slow!" "Half-winter. Half-moon. Half-asleep!"

    http://www.behance.net/brosepix
  • babowcbabowc Casual amateur photog Posts: 510Registered Users Major grins
    edited January 18, 2012
    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.
    -Mike Jin
    D800
    16/2.8, f1.4G primes, f2.8 trio, 105/200 macro, SB900.
    It never gets easier, you just get better.
  • NeilLNeilL B+R=M,B+G=C,R+G=Y Posts: 4,201Registered Users Major grins
    edited January 18, 2012
    babowc wrote: »
    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
    "Snow. Ice. Slow!" "Half-winter. Half-moon. Half-asleep!"

    http://www.behance.net/brosepix
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