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Jul25

Shaking up my Photography with a Creative Exercise

So I mentioned awhile back on that I was going to a few weddings for free with fellow photographers, simply to try and get ‘creative’ images. The idea came from the Boston¬†“Kickstart Your Wedding Season” seminar I attended in April, where 8 different New England Photographers spoke about different aspects of the photography business. From shooting in ‘crappy light’ to workflow, there were a lot of topics covered in a short period of time. In particular though, something Connie Miller of Studio Atticus said that hit a nerve with me. She suggested tagging along with a photographer – for no pay – to simply force yourself to photograph thing in a way you never would if it were your own wedding. This idea intrigued me, and I contacted a few friends who have been nice enough to let me come along on days when I didn’t have my own event.

I’ve gone only twice so far ( not including images taken at this weekends wedding which I feel ‘qualify’) , but the experience has been eyeopening. Before I began, I asked other photogs on Facebook what THEY would do if they were going to try such an experiment. The suggestions were plentiful from ‘use a lens you never use’, to ‘shoot only film’ to ‘shoot everything BUT the bride and groom.’ In the end, I tried a combo of this ideas, and for my first wedding with Steve Depino, I brought one lens and no flash, as well as my old Canon AE-1 film camera (my FIRST camera ever, from about 1983!!) I also did something that proved quite challenging: I taped over my digital LCD screen so I could not see what I was getting. Thats right- I had to depend on my camera knowledge and metering skills!

So the days have proven to be fun and at times, frustrating. I guess I felt like I HAD to find cool images since that’s why I was there, but hunting for something is not alway as effective as waiting, watching and waiting. It was also VERY interesting to ‘step back’ as the third wheel and watch everything going on from a distance, camera in hand, without having any real responsibility of having to capture anything other than what I felt like. I went in prepared to come home with no useable images, and in fact only got a handful from both events ( Bruce Plotkin was also kind enough to let me follow along to his Brooklyn wedding) So sharing these are difficult, as I think they’re cool , but maybe not as ‘creative’ as I might have hoped. You may notice I was playing with some toning/Photoshop actions as well – something I have avoided the past couple of years, but wanted to mess around with them here simply for fun.

Don’t judge. ūüôā

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I snapped this is the car of Steve with the Canon AE-1…how strange it was to have to advance the film lever and actually manually focus!!!

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I hardly ever use my 50mm lens ( though I know MANY photographers swear by it) , but forced myself this day. So to get an image this close, I was literally sitting RIGHT next to him in his personal space–something I usually avoid doing.

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..she was really suspicious of me, I think

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I’m not sure how ‘creative’ these are, but how can you beat a groom at West Point all dressed to the nines?!

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a 35mm film shot–again, it was a VERY weird feeling to have to advance each shot as well as watch the little counter as to how many frames were left!

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You may have noticed a trend here which I surprised myself with–I found myself taking a LOT of REALLY off-center, oddly framed shots. I know I have a habit of doing that, but it REALLY came out these days!

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the ‘tone’ to the brides right is actually a privacy wall they were ‘hiding’ behind before they made their church exit. I was amazed at the odd color it picked up! ( but didn’t see as I took it, since the LCD was covered with gaffers tape)

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this is another film image. I think next time I might get out the old Hasselblad and use it for some very ‘tight’ portraits.

thinking more about pattern and abstract framing

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SEE? There I go again with the “3/4 off to one side” thing!

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lying on the ground with this screaming little one

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Ive also been fascinated by great faces(that’s nothing new, but still…) These folks probably thought I was nuts kind of following them around!

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50mm, so i’m REALY close to Mom here

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Just as a side story, it was about a Billion Degrees this day (no really, a BILLION), but the groom got us access to the West Point hockey rink, the temperature of which was a VERY welcome change from what it was like outside. I decided to SIT on the ice to get a low angle in this film shot. My rear was wet and cold–and i loved it. Thank you very much.

More faces I couldn’t resist

again, i’m down on the floor- but thought the yellow duct work made a very unusual background.

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this is 2 different versions of  basically the same exact image, just processed very differently

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(more boring tech info) ¬†50mm lens, wide open and very tight–big gold reflector JUST out of frame to the left of brides face.

So there you go, i’m not sure theres anything Award Winning in there, but it was a great experiment. Thanks for letting me tag along, and I should mention some of these are from Dave Noonan‘s wedding for Carla Ten Eyck as well!

1 Comment

  1. Dave Noonan

    Love this post. Keep up the inspiration.

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