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Archive for January, 2011

ShootStyle Workshop: Rock Your Reception Lighting 2

January 26th, 2011  |  by  |  published in Featured, Mingle

ShootStyle - Wedding Reception Lighting Workshop

One of the big challenges faced by wedding photographers in New England is that our wedding receptions often take place in dark, windowless halls. Worse, these halls are sometimes run by catering managers who feel that turning the lights down to almost nothing gives their hall a romantic ambiance.

Well, that may be, but the dim atmosphere also means that Grandpa can’t read the menu and we wedding photographers can’t shoot using available light.

So the question facing us isn’t ‘should we light the reception’ but rather ‘how should we light the reception?’

There are a number of approaches to lighting the reception and each of the ShootStyle members do it a little differently as you can see in the examples below.

ShootStyle Workshop - Wedding Reception Lighting


At this hands-on lighting workshop, ShootStyle members will be demonstrating everything we know about lighting a reception. And since none of us tackle lighting a reception in exactly the same way, you’re likely to see an approach that suits your style of photography.

We’ll be working with flash on camera, flash off-camera, sync cords, radio triggers, multiple speedlights, light-on-a-stick and even studio lights. We’ll cover topics such as lighting the entire dance floor, balancing your lights with the ambient light, and creating dramatic lighting. And because time is always tight on a wedding day, we’ll also show you how to get different looks from a single lighting set up.

We’ll probably be introducing you to some new equipment was well as new techniques. We all know that buying new gear is fun, but great light starts with getting the most out of what you already own, and we’ll be there to help you do just that! Bring whatever equipment you currently have including a camera, strobe(s), stands, triggers, cords, fast lenses, etc.

There’ll be a lot to cover and we’ll be zipping right along, so to get the most out of this workshop, you’ll need to already have some understanding of basic camera function.

The Rock Your Reception Lighting workshop is happening on Thursday, February 24th from 1pm to 7pm at the Elks Club in Worcester, MA. It is limited to the first 20 people who sign up. Tickets cost $99 and are non-refundable (but if you find you can’t make it you can transfer your ticket to a another photographer).

We look forward to seeing you there!

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Framing things up!

January 19th, 2011  |  by  |  published in Featured, Shoot

Framing the subject is one of my favorite photographic devices. Not only does it provide visual  layers in the image and make for a more interesting composition, it also is an opportunity to add more information to the image. As a photojournalist, I often stack information in a photo to tell as much of the story as possible in one frame.

When I worked for the newspaper, I was responsible for writing the cutlines under my photo. I found it incredibly helpful to stand in the scene I was photographing and compose the story in my head. Who, what where when why. If I can compose a story of the moment in words, sometimes I can figure out a good vantage point. “Bride gets ready in hotel room moments before her ceremony.” Great! Let’s grab this shot.

It’s got the bride, getting ready activity, the hotel room number, and a crack in the door. The photo shows the bride engrossed in her activities and hints at her imminent departure. It conveys place, time, subject and purpose.

A detail of the bride’s dress includes the bride almost ready, in the mirror, talking with her mom.

This next bride, at a wedding I shot with Jamie Wexler, had asked for a photo in a particular bed of ferns. I heard “These ferns are important to me”, so the photo of the bride also became a photo of the ferns.  I laid down on the ground and positioned a fern in the foreground over her head.

While this next shot isn’t technically “framed”, using more of a split screen effect, it does feature layered information.  A completely dedicated ski-dad practices the father-daughter-dance  right behind his wall of ski gear. If this family had just happened to be renting a ski house, but weren’t skiers themselves, I may have grabbed some detail shots of the ski gear, to honor the environment, but I wouldn’t have worked nearly as hard to create a meaningful shot. To the bride and her father, it probably didn’t look like the camera was aimed at them; I was shooting directly into the corner of the wall.

Sometimes framing includes the texture of the environment. This is a wedding I shot with Joe Ciarcia. I see a beautiful couple in a beautiful field and look around for something to get behind or a hole to shot through. It also helped me get rid of Joe. He’s three feet away from the couple. I’m shooting through a hole in the fence.

A wedding in a tent means that the tent is the venue. If the tent is a beautiful tent, then I’m going to work it. Towards the end of the evening I took some time to set this shot up, positioning my external lighting in the perfect spot.  I asked the couple to come dance over in a spot on the floor. I waited a little too late in the evening to make my request and so most of the time they were in my spot, they were hugging guests good-bye. That’s okay, I had faith in my second shooter, who was covering the action inside of the tent, and I waited, loving the potential of the shot. Sure enough, the groom whipped out his signature “guns”, perfectly capturing their personalities.

Sometimes I’ll frame people with the frame behind them like this shot I took while working with Earl Christie. It’s not loaded with meaning, but it’s a great portrait that highlights their venue as well as evoking a mood.

This texture of a white picket fence will remind the couple of the place they were in on their wedding day, and makes for a more visually interesting, layered image.

I’m too vain to show you my failures, but for sure, not everything works. That’s okay, I am completely fine with that. I make sure I get the “safe shot” and then I work it to make it better. Sometimes the composition just looks heinous and I’ve make a terrible image. I have to forgive myself and keep on keeping on, or I would never try anything new. It keeps things interesting and keeps me improving.

This is a shot that could have easily failed. Instead it ended up being a fantastic ethereal image. There was tons of activity and I was sitting on the floor shooting up at a sharp angle, pretty much right under the brides elbow.  I was focused on the mirror and the bride touching up her lipstick. Already at this point, the bride is unaware of me and not worrying about “wrecking” my shot. This is good news to me. The framing, which is the bride herself, opens and closes around my target, her reflection. The scene turns perfect for a fraction of a second, I grab my shot and move on.

Being a good photographer often means putting the camera in an interesting place, it often means having patience and waiting for a great moment to happen in my carefully chosen composition. Most of the time it involves bending my knees, climbing up on something, moving to the balcony or crouching behind a fern.

~Andree Kehn – One of the many Maine Wedding Photographers documenting your day’s fun!

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Winter GTG and Tax Talk

January 13th, 2011  |  by  |  published in Featured, Mingle

For many of us this is the slow season and that usually means we’re feeling cooped up at home, cold from snow shoveling, and dreading the need to get our finances in order for taxes. Well ShootStyle’s here to help you with that.

On January 25th we’re inviting everyone’s to join us for cocktails and fun at Michael’s Harborside in Newburyport. And this time we’re inviting a special guest to start the festivities!

Joe Carreiro is a business consultant who’s been working with small photography studios for over a decade. He’s been helping me with business matters for years. Joe will be giving a quick talk about organizing your accounting for taxes and will do a Q&A about tax prep, accounting, or any other business advice you might have.

When the Q&A is over we’ll all continue to mingle, socialize, and celebrate the start of a new season.

Just what the doctor ordered? Super! RSVP on Facebook then get yourself to Michael’s Harborside, One Tournament Wharf, Newburyport, MA (directions), at 6:30 PM on Tuesday January 25th.

We’d love to see you there!

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Mystic Seminars Photo Booth Images

January 9th, 2011  |  by  |  published in Featured, Mingle

The ShootStyle gang just got back from four days at one of our favorite photography conferences, Mystic Seminars. We love Mystic for both the world class education and the chance to network with other local, national, and international wedding photographers. This year we set up a photo booth outside the lounge after Saturday evening’s last seminar. Folks got creative and a even a little silly taking their pictures.

See all the fun and tag your friends in the photobooth photos on Facebook.

And if you want to make a print of a photo you’re in, you can find the high resolution images on Flickr.

Thanks to everyone who came out and mingled with us that night and a BIG thanks to Walter Van Dusen and all the speakers and exhibitors who made this year’s Mystic Seminar the best ever.

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Seems it’s not only iPhone users having issues

January 3rd, 2011  |  by  |  published in Play

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