Thursday, September 6, 2012

A Baker's Dozen: Photography Tips For Events

I recently had someone ask me for advice on shooting a wedding. I gave her the following tips and tricks. Do any of you have other ideas, corrections, or pearls of wisdom to share?

  1. The most important piece of advice I have to give is to take more photos! When shooting a wedding, if you walk away with less than a thousand pictures, you probably did something wrong. Just keep shooting everything, and everyone, in sight.
  2. At least 80% of the pictures I take never see the light of day. You only get to see the cream. (Bonus tip: If you post all your photos of people trying to laugh, talk, and eat at the same time, you won't have anything to blackmail them with later. Keep a strategic reserve.)
  3. If you shoot in manual mode ~95+% of the time, like I do, you have to be aware of things like turning around while near shadow-boundaries, etc. (exposure needs can change radically when you least expect it.)
  4. I also recommend that you keep the image-review mode turned on; that way you can see if you are messing up on things, such as exposure times, with every shot.
  5. Make sure you have a tripod (So useful!), enough space on your memory card, and a spare battery or two.
  6. Auto focus is usually the best way to go, as it frees your mind for finding your next shot, and not on trying to get the previous one right. BUT! Sometimes you will want manual.
  7. Get there early, and stay late. Shoot anything that moves, and also any of the things that do not.
  8. Longer distances + lower F-stops = more focus contrast between subject and background.
  9. Check out your shots by zooming in on the details of one every once in a while, especially around the time before and after the sun sets.
  10. Change your angles a lot. Shoot from the hip. Hold your camera on your tripod up as high as you can reach. Don't be afraid to get down on the ground; Perspective matters!
  11. Remember, there is no such thing as a wasted picture; you're not shooting on film. It's free and unlimited and free!
  12. Change around your settings and play with your equipment before the event to get a good idea of how you want to roll with things when you are crunched for time. (They aren't going to walk down the isle again for you.)
  13. Have a back up camera! (Beg, borrow, or steal!) Even if it's just a point-and-shoot. I have a friend who is a professional photographer and her camera recently went out in the middle of a wedding shoot. If the bride and groom had not hired two photographers, she would have been in a world of hurt. A P&S may not take super quality shots, but it's a mountain better than nothing.
Hope this helps!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

---This Post Contains minor SPOILERS for 
both The Hobbit, and the movie (Part 1) of the same name.---

The Hobbit (Part 1) movie is still eight months from release, and I already have a minor litany of complaints about it. I'll restrict each post to a single point. 

In an special screening of a ten-ish minute long segment shown to theater owners and reporters in late April 2012, (in which it was generally lambasted for using 48 FPS 3D filming techniques, which I cannot comment on, having yet to see that) one reporter gave a quick summery of a few of the tidbits he was privy to, including this quote:

"Bilbo imperiled by three giant troll-like monsters before Thorin Oakenshield and the dwarves come to his rescue."  []


This is a perfect example of changing the superbly crafted story that J.R.R. Tolkien wrote simply for the sake of changing things. This is the one thing that truly drove me bats-in-the-belfry, crawling-up the-walls, yelling-at-the-theater-screen, enraged in the Lord of the Rings movies.

I have always loved the scene with Burt, Tom and William. It's a delightful, light-hearted, yet suspenseful encounter. In it we get to see that Gandalf is not only a high and powerful wizard (A member of the Istari, a Servant of the Secret Fire, wielder of the Flame of Anor, etc.) but he can use guile and small tricks quite effectively as well. In addition to all this, we get to see the,  nature of  Trolls, how they interact with one another, and just how out-classed dwarves are by Trolls.

Instead, it looks as though we are going to get, "dwarfs attacking monsters." (Yes, I spelled  dwarf with an F; as in Fail.)