June 25th, 2015

It’s in the Details: Vanessa Joy’s Metal-Printed Wedding Photos

Sponsored by Black River Imaging

Over the course of her career, photographer Vanessa Joy has established thoughtful and elegant practices to capture her clients’ engagement sessions and weddings, taking special care to document the details the couple has worked hard to bring to fruition for their special day. From flowers to tablescapes, Joy preserves the ephemeral details of each wedding, and has found that it’s often these types of images her couples fall in love with. Joy has also had her wedding-detail photos featured on popular blogs such as Style Me Pretty and Off Beat Bride.

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Images from two weddings photographed by Joy, including detail shots from a rustic wedding by couple Caitlyn and Gene. Printed on 8 x 8-inch Black River Imaging Metal Prints.

In September 2014, two of Joy’s clients, Caitlyn and Gene, were married in an elegant and rustic wedding in Monmouth Hills, New Jersey. The event is one of Joy’s recent favorites due to the many elements she had to work with, such as the bride’s pearl jewelry, the couple’s wedding invitation and a vintage photograph of a family wedding. She says, “I try to look for things that will give a little bit more character than just a pair of shoes. Sometimes that’s all I have, but if I can, I will grab certain elements to pull into them in.” Joy also considers the final color palette of the photographs in the album and wall art her clients will be receiving. “I try to keep a fairly consistent look to all of my pictures, and that of course includes the details, too. One of the things I like to do when I first arrive is check what color the bridesmaids’ dresses are and if somehow I can pull in a color, the same color or a similar color, then I know the pictures are going to look good in the album,” she says.

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8 x 8-inch Metal Prints of couple Gina and Mike.

Having a vision from the beginning is important to Joy, and she encourages her clients to consider final artwork, and how it will fit their homes. Working frequently in the New York metropolitan area, she has a range of clients with varied tastes. She shoots both sleek and rustic weddings and is careful to inquire about her clients’ homes and how her work will best fit their existing décor. “I’m always trying to get clients to consider things that they’d put up on their wall or put around their home as more art pieces, not just staple ‘Hey this is my wedding’ photos,” she says. “When they’re decorating parts of their house like side tables, detail pictures are a lot of fun. It’s a way to have wedding photos around [that aren’t all of the] bride in a wedding dress—it can be other little details that are more subtle and artful.”

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For these photographs, Joy works with Black River Imaging and provides the company’s Metal Prints. “My clients like having something unique and something that they can show off to their friends. Metal Prints aren’t something that my clients can typically find anywhere else so they love decorating their homes with them,” she says. Joy especially likes the 8 x 8-inch format (which, she points out, is also a great scale when couples are ordering Metal Prints as gifts) and appreciates Black River Imaging’s different metal-printing options. “[There’s] vibrant metal that is super chic and stylish and is perfect for a New York wedding, but then I have other clients who have barn weddings,” she says. “Those clients that have a little bit more subdued taste that want maybe a little bit more vintage look, they love the metallic fade with a matte finish.” The fade effect, she says, lets some of the metal texture show for a “really pretty” effect. No matter what their personal style and printing preferences are, Joy always has a unified vision for her brides and grooms. She says: “My goal is to provide my couples with romantically whimsical wedding photos that are timeless and tell their love story.”

Visit Black River Imaging for more information on Metal Prints.

June 18th, 2015

5 Tips for Striking Wedding Photographs

Sponsored by Olympus
All photos @ Tracie Jean Photo Studios

Tracie Jean Maglosky of Tracie Jean Photo Studios first fell in love with photography 15 years ago, when her first son was born. “Initially it was a passion because I loved my son, but soon enough it became a way of seeing the world and translating what that meant to me [through] images,” she explains. She founded her Cincinnati studio five years later after her friends began asking her for photographs of the memories they wanted to keep precious. Soon, she was a full-time wedding photographer (“There was just something about the fast pace and high pressure, coupled with the elegance of a wedding day—I was completely taken,” she explains), but Maglosky still emphasizes a personal approach in her family-owned and -operated business.

Maglosky approaches her business with an outgoing and upbeat personality. She knows that a good wedding photographer needs to be flexible and efficient, but humility is also key. “Comfortable brides are happy brides,” she says. “Sometimes being a wedding photographer means getting drinks, wiping sweat and helping the bride to get some air under her dress. There is no room for prideful qualities in wedding photography.”

With 10 years under her belt in the wedding industry, Maglosky has more than a few tricks up her sleeve. And, as an Olympus Trailblazer, she favors the Olympus OM-D EM1 mirrorless digital camera to perfect those tricks. Here, she shares some images from a recent wedding in Ohio that illustrate her favorite tips and techniques to simplify shots and add some extra sparkle to your clients’ wedding photographs.

1) Get the sunset shot that will knock their socks off. Super wide angle or fisheye lenses give the sky some extra liveliness and create a spiral effect with the clouds. Set up your trigger and off-camera flash in manual mode. Expose for the sky, and don’t be afraid to shoot a little underexposed. In this shot, I lowered the flash to 1/4 power, using a MagGrid light modifier to isolate the bride and groom. The image was shot with the Olympus OM-D E-M1 with an M.Zuiko 8mm f/1.8 Fisheye. The electronic viewfinder offers the ability to see exactly what the sky’s exposure would look like in the image before ever actuating the shutter.

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Pictured: Luke dips Suzi at the Four Bridges Country Club in West Chester, Ohio, against the sunset. Shot with the Olympus OM-D E-M1 and M.Zuiko 8mm f/1.8 Fisheye Pro lens at ISO 500, f/5.0, 1/250th of a second.

2) Give your dance-floor images movement and make them unique. For this image, I used an on-camera speedlight directly pointed at the subject and set my shutter speed to 1/3 of a second. I chose the M.Zuiko 8mm f/1.8 Fisheye Pro lens because the focus ring spins without changing the focus, allowing me to spin the camera after actuating the shutter and freezing the subject. Firing at 1/3 of a second allows enough rotation for a nice circular feel, and the angle of the lens creates an almost vinyl-record look. Having 5-Axis Image Stabilization in-camera on the Olympus OM-D E-M1 helps to create the smooth lines at such a slow shutter speed.

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Pictured: Suzi on the dance floor. Shot with the Olympus OM-D E-M1 and M.Zuiko 8mm f/1.8 Fisheye Pro lens.

3) Take meaningful macros for detail shots. When photographing rings, one of the greatest challenges is light reflection. Choosing a side-lighting situation helps to reduce glare seen by the lens. Using a macro lens allows you to get extremely close and capture stunning detail, isolating it from the background. For this image, I chose the M.Zuiko 60mm f/2.8 Macro lens, as it allows for an 18.8cm focusing distance and a 1:1 magnification ratio switch. Remember when you’re shooting close to stop down so that what you want in focus is sharp. Conventional knowledge would say to use a tripod for your macro images and a shutter-released delay to avoid shake. With an Olympus mirrorless camera, the absence of a mirror eliminates the possibility of mirror shake and the 5-Axis Image Stabilzation in the OM-D E-M1 allows hand-held shooting without the loss of sharpness.

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Pictured: Showcasing the ring. Shot with the Olympus OM-D E-M1 and M.Zuiko 60mm f/2.8 Macro lens.

4) Push your sensor to the limit using highlights and shadow to create dynamic imagery. Mastering backlighting is vital for any wedding photographer who wants to have subjects with open eyes. The danger when shooting in any amount of direct sunlight is that the details of a white wedding dress will disappear under the intense light of the sun; it is imperative to retain the details of a bride’s exquisite gown. Using the histogram and the highlight shadow display on the OM-D EM-1’s electronic viewfinder allows you to choose which parts of the image you’re willing to allow to peak in highlights or leave in shadow. Having all of this information in the viewfinder before the actuation of the shutter is a foolproof way to quickly capture images that are dynamic and well executed. For this image, after setting the backlight exposure, I triggered an off-camera flash at 1/2 power at the left of the couple.

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Pictured: Suzi and Luke in the sunlight. Shot with the Olympus OM-D E-M1 and M.Zuiko 12-40mm f/2.8 Pro lens at ISO 1000, f/1.8, 1/400th of a second.

5) Getting light without an assistant. Shooting with natural light can be beautiful, but comes with its challenges. Taking care to give a soft fill will decrease strong shadow and make way for beautiful portraits, adding depth without harsh shadows on a beautiful bride. A speedlight is a valid option, but color matching can become a time-consuming issue. Holding a reflector with one hand while shooting with the other is an easy solution, but the weight of gear can be limiting. I choose to shoot all my weddings with an Olympus OM-D E-M1 to greatly reduce the weight in my bag and on my arms. A light camera paired with a light lens eliminates the weight obstacle.

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Pictured: Suzi, photographed with natural light on her right and a soft fill on her left. Shot with the Olympus OM-D E-M1 and an 25mm f/1.8 lens at ISO 250, f/2.8, 1/500 of a second.

Lean more about the Olympus OM-D E-M1 mirrorless digital camera on the Olympus website.

 

January 20th, 2015

5 Fundamental Photo Tips for Aspiring Wedding and Portrait Photographers

Sponsored by NYIP

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Photos courtesy of NYIP

For wedding and portrait photographers who want to sharpen their skills, but already have a full schedule, The New York Institute of Photography (NYIP) offers an online course for each specialty that covers both technical skills and business smarts. Each course is 150 hours, divided into four units, and can be completed at the student’s own pace over 18 months, with an additional six-month extension easily available as well. Instructional materials span a variety of levels of experience and creative talent, and every student is paired with a professional photographer as a mentor for personalized technical support and artistic development throughout their studies.

Lead photo mentor Chris Corradino says working with NYIP students has been “one of the most rewarding experiences of [his] professional career.” We asked him for some fundamental image-making and photography business tips:

1) To enjoy long-term business success, a strong foundation is crucial. This starts with a solid knowledge of manual exposure, the important camera features, and the language of photography. Buying more expensive gear won’t result in leap frogging the competition. No matter what piano an untrained musician sits at, they still can’t play it.

2) Don’t get bogged down in equipment. What distinguishes your photographs can’t be purchased in a store. It’s your own unique vision and perspective on the world that makes all the difference.

3) Learn the rules of composition, and then break them. Good art doesn’t necessarily come from a textbook, but rather a blend of technique and creative vision.

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4) Avoid categorizing yourself as “professional” and “amateur” or engaging in debates that seek to define these terms. A good photographer focuses on craft, not labels. The actual definition of the word amateur is “to do something for the love of.” This is the spirit that all professionals should strive to retain throughout their career.

5) Simplify your composition by eliminating distractions from the frame—unless showing more of the environment actually strengthens the overall impact of an image. For example, instead of eliminating the wedding party as the couple exits the ceremony, include them in the image.

NYIP’s wedding and portrait photography courses delve further into these key topics, as well as: setting up a business; defining your brand and visual signature; developing packages, building an online presence and marketing techniques; working with vendors, planners, videographers, and clients; the history of photographic portraiture and current photography trends; posing individuals, groups, children and pets and putting them at ease; setting up a studio; using backgrounds and a variety of lighting and lenses; working on location, and more.

Visit www.nyip.edu/courses for more information on the wedding and portrait photography courses.

October 29th, 2010

Elizabeth Messina, Jasmine Star at PhotoPlus Expo

Wedding photographers Elizabeth Messina and Jasmine Star, both based on the West Coast, flew East to PhotoPlus Expo to share the photographic techniques and branding tactics that keep them at the top  of what has, in the past several years, become a very competitive and lucrative genre of  photography.

In Messina’s seminar, “Getting to the Heart of Wedding Photography,” attendees were presented with several slide shows of her work (accompanied by upbeat Lauryn Hill musical tracks), free memo pads  (with an image by Messina on the cover), and giveaways from Big Folio and Graphis Studio.

At the heart of Messina’s seminar was the message that “wedding photography is a team sport and everything you as a photographer are there to capture, someone else had a hand in creating.” She advised photographers to urge subjects to always open up and give more. “Find a way into their space and create lasting memories.”

Messina also stressed to the packed seminar room that it is important to continuously nurture your creativity, and keep advancing your brand, both through personal projects and assignments as well as through blogging. A year ago she created the blog kissthegroom.com, which went on to win design awards as well as nab the attention of paying advertisers (see the article on her successful blogging endeavor in PDN’s November issue.).

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