Creativity Under Pressure: How to Shoot More (Creative) Wedding Details

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As a wedding photographer, your job is to create amazing images of all the wedding details. However, it seems like there’s a conspiracy again shooting these images – the cake is delivered late, the centerpieces and bouquets haven’t arrived! Delays drastically shrink your time to capture the amazing details. Suddenly, sixty minutes of scheduled shooting time turns into six minutes. How do you overcome this challenge and still deliver creative images?

My unique solution is to have a formula that allows me (and my team) to systematically shoot all the details quickly and efficiently, while still keeping our creativity high. These formulas keep our detail images consistent and creative. I believe creativity is not only about WHAT you’re shooting, it’s also about changing your perspective and composition while you’re shooting. Our goal as creative wedding photographers is to show the unique way that we viewed the event.

Here are my “Foskett Formulas:”

(Above …

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There’s no such thing as a “Perfect Photo”

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Quantity of Light is not the same as Quality of Light: Part 2

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I’m here to dispel a myth. Quantity of light isn’t the same as quality of light.

There’s a common misconception that the more light you have, the better your photo will be. But an accomplished photographer knows the difference between ‘quantity of light’ and ‘quality of light’.

In my first post in this series, I shared some tips on using reflectors on your shoots. In this post, we’re going to talk about when to use flash. Get ready to break out your strobes. Here we go…

I once worked with a photographer who told me, “I never use flash!” His way of dealing with low light situations was to crank up his ISO and open his aperture as wide as he could – usually f/1.2 or f/1.4 in rooms with very little ambient light. Why is this a bad idea? Well, it depends on what type of result you want to get.

If you want …

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Quantity of Light is not the same as Quality of Light: Part 1

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I’m here to dispel a myth. Quantity of light isn’t the same as quality of light.

There’s a common misconception that the more light you have, the better your photo will be. But an accomplished photographer knows the difference between ‘quantity of light’ and ‘quality of light’.

Here’s a great example of this myth in action: a client calls you to schedule a portrait session. Immediately, they think (out loud), “Let’s do our portrait session at NOON because that’s when there’s a lot of light!”

Of course, this is actually one of the worst times of day for portraits, because the direct overhead light is very harsh. Early morning and late afternoon (the ‘golden hours’) are much better, because the light is more complimentary and doesn’t cast harsh shadows on the subject’s face.

But how can you overcome harsh light in the middle of the day? Well, the easiest and cheapest way to handle …

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How to Avoid Burning out on Photography

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This is what the last 30 days have looked like for me. The collage above is representative of:

• 4 weddings • 5 engagement sessions • 2 bridal fashion shows • 1 fashion/catalogue shoot • 6 museum exhibits photographed • 4 days photographing the Frieze New York Art Fair • Approximately 120 hours taking pictures • Approximately 8975 photos (after editing)

Sure, it’s good to be busy. I’m not complaining about that. However, it’s a heavy workload, which made me think: it’s time to address the subject of ‘burnout.’

Being ‘burnt out’ can take many forms – feeling tired (physically and emotionally), lacking enthusiasm about your work, experiencing apathy, irritability, and frustration. None of those things are good for your pictures, your business, or your life! And you don’t have to work a ridiculous number of hours in a short period of time to feel this way; it could be a prolonged process of constantly grinding away at your work and feeling like it never …

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The Sandwich Method

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Want to hear about one of my favorite recipes of light? It looks like a million bucks, yet doesn’t cost much. And it’s yummy.

It’s called “The Sandwich Method.”

When I stumble on this kind of glamour lighting setup, especially in an abandoned railroad car, you might hear white- fronted capuchin monkey sounds like, “Ooo ooo ooo!” I admit, my clients don’t quite understand my ecstatic enthusiasm…until I show them their photograph in said lighting conditions! See? A picture really is worth a thousand words!

I discovered this natural-lighting scenario when shooting my clients’ (Scott & Alyssa) portrait session. What an awesome discovery! I couldn’t have set my Alien Bees up to make this look any better; that’s the beauty of natural light.

What amazed me most was the sheer quality of light, which was on par with a studio lighting setup, in an unsuspecting location. This is a great reminder to keep your …

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Why Every Pro Photographer Should be a Pro People Watcher

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I once had a client ask, “How do you get those amazing shots of emotional moments at weddings? How do you know when they’re going to happen? What’s the secret?”

Do you want to know “the secret?” Come closer…a little closer…it’s called observation.

That seems pretty obvious; a photographer translates what they observe through their camera to produce an image. But are you actively observing, or are you just clicking the shutter? The problem for many photographers is that they aren’t actually ‘seeing’ what is going on.

The Art of People Watching

“People Watching” is a time honored tradition where you sit and just watch the people passing by. It can be extremely entertaining, but it’s also informative. The next time you are out ‘people watching’ take time to see how people interact with one another. Watch how couples behave together.

If you do an engagement photo session with your wedding clients, be sure to …

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On Location Lighting with Speedlites, Part 2 – Weddings

© Casey Fatchett - www.fatchett.com

Some photographers have an aversion to using a flash. A photographer who once assisted me on weddings told me that he “never needed to use a flash.” Instead, he preferred to open the aperture as wide as it would go, and crank up the ISO! The problem is that you’ll end up with lots of noise in your photos and your depth of field is so small that if your subject moves slightly, you risk them being out of focus. Your flash is a tool – whether you use it all the time or sparingly, you should know when and how to use it.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ll shoot with available light as long as it’s ACTUALLY available and produces a great image. Unfortunately, though, that’s not always the case. The simple solution is to bounce the flash off the ceiling or a wall to soften and diffuse it. I …

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On Location Lighting With Speedlites Part 1 – Portraits

© Casey Fatchett Photography - www.fatchett.com

I like to travel light. Maybe it’s because I spent many years working without an assistant. Also, as I grow older, I don’t really like carrying a lot of equipment. You know what I mean, right? Aches and pains aren’t fun. So, instead of hauling hundreds of pounds of studio lighting equipment I decided that I would create a system for using my speedlites whenever I had to go on location – whether it’s for weddings, portraits, headshots, or fashion shoots.

Here’s what I use on my shoots:

• Speedlite (or two, depending on the size of the group or if you want a rim light) • Wireless Trigger (I use a Pocket Wizard Mini TT1 and Flex TT5) • Light Modifier (beauty dish, softbox, umbrella, etc.) • Light Stand (or even just a monopod). I have even held the flash away from the camera with one hand in a pinch. The most important thing …

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Six Simple Tips for Creating Dynamic Ring Shots

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One of my favorite parts of shooting weddings is capturing details. Couples customize their wedding to reflect their personalities, so it’s important to capture these intricacies that say so much about them. Combining those personal details with the couples’ wedding rings is crucial to creating dynamic ring shots.

What you’ll need: a macro lens, rings, something from the wedding, off camera flash (with a modifier and light stand) or a video light. The number one mistake photographers make with ring shots is NOT using a macro lens. If you don’t have one, rent it!

Here are six simple tips for creating dynamic ring shots:

1.  Wait until all the “major stuff” is over – the first dance, cake cutting, bouquet toss, etc. It might take time to get the shot you’re looking for, and you don’t want to sprint across the venue to get back to something important (cake cutting, for example), only to …

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