Category Archives: candid photography

CREATIVE FREEDOM FOR ALL!How to look great in your wedding photos!

TRUST THEM

Of all the wedding photographers I know, one of their biggest gripes is when a client hands them a detailed shot by shot list of every single thing they want photographed – the dress hanging in front of the window, the shoes, bride getting into her dress, dad looking proud… you get the idea. Trust your photographer. They’ve been doing this a lot longer than you and they will be well aware which shots to get .

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Creative people need “Creative Freedom”That is why I call my business creativefreedomphoto.When artist are told what to do, they  can loose their passion,it interferes with the creative process.When I was a photojournalist for newspapers they give you 100% “Creative Freedom”they trust your eye and talent to tell the story” That is why they hired you!

obviously if you have something particularly sentimental or unique that you’d like photographed (maybe a piece of jewelry passed down through your family or a DIY project that you spent days on) then be sure to let them know, but don’t hand them a blow by blow list of every single shot you want. Allow your photographer to do their job and to be creative. They’ll enjoy the day more which will result in better photographs.

THINK ABOUT THE LIGHT

This is another thing that couples tend to not consider (or not even know they have to consider) but be aware that the light changes throughout the day and different light will result in very different photographs.

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Usually two hrs befog the sunset will give enough light and time for group shots and the”intimate session. Even better,     do a ‘first look’ (where you see each other before the ceremony and get your photos taken then). If you’re not superstitious about seeing each other beforehand, this is a great option too.

When looking at venues think about the light in each room. Is the bedroom you’re getting ready in to small, if there will be allot of people in the room ,obviously you need a big room.does it have an abundance of natural light  ,DO NOT get ready in a locker room with florescent light.  Are the ceremony room walls covered in dark wood with small windows? Remember, photography is essentially painting with light and if there isn’t any, there’s only so much your photographer can do without using a flash.

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Getting ready: “Having about   two hrs with the bride before the ceremony would give me enough time to photograph all the details of the dress, shoes, jewelry etc as well as take some informal photos of everyone getting.  I always ask to have the grooms nearby,keep in mind if I have to go to two location you are missing out on photos I could be taking while I am traveling

Another thing to consider is to politely ask your guests to not take photos during the ceremony (you can do so in the order of service). Guests holding up mobile phones as you walk down the aisle or flashes going off throughout the vows are only going to be distracting for you and other guests (and/or ruin the professional shots).

LEAVE ENOUGH TIME

As I said, time is of the essence and the more time your photographer has the better. They are the experts so ask them how long they think each element should take. Group shots for example are notorious for taking longer than you expect. Having to round up a half-cut usher or a camera-shy aunt for the photos can take a while Give a trusted friend or relative   a list of the group shots you want, do not put down every combination of everyone,keep it simple, try to photograph the elderly first  and if possible delegate the task of helping round people up to a trustworthy usher or bridesmaid.Best to let them know beforehand.

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GET CREATIVE

Your photographer is not just there to snap away aimlessly. Wedding photographers are a super creative bunch so be open to their ideas and again, trust them! For your portraits, listen to their ideas and don’t be afraid to walk off that beaten path a little bit. These often result in THE MOST AMAZING PHOTOS!  Set aside as much time as possible for this part of the day. The more time the photographer has, the better the results will be.

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The “intimate session”I like to call it is probably the only time the two of you will be alone.leave the best light for these photos.I like to have at least a half hr,the last hr before sunset.  pick a beautiful location nearby,do not allow anyone to follow you and your photographer.This is a good time to have a cocktail hr.

Do not go out and get a tan,does not look flattering in photographs. Guys watch out for those racoon eyes. Try your best to get plenty of sleep and drink as much water as you can before the big day! Hold your bouquet down low it will elongate your waist . Never stand straight in front of the camera, turn your body and put weight on your back leg. If you are self conscious about back fat (yes I said it)  or your arms are not perfect, why not get sleeves 3/4 sowed in, I know it seems like all wedding gowns are sleeveless I dont know why ,if that wont work for you,do go with a veil or even a bolero jacket or a shawl depending on your style of dress. Do established a friendship with your wedding photographer,the more comfortable you feel the better,the less nervous you are in front of the camera the better,!  I always make a strong point of getting to know my clients,I have heard so many times that they felt so at ease as if family were taking their wedding photographs,believe me it really makes a difference!

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Most of all forget about the camera and enjoy the day!!

And do keep in mind I travel worldwide!

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CHILDREN AT WEDDINGS/www.creativefreedomphoto.com

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I started out as a child photographer,to me a wedding is colorless without children!

if you’ve invited children to your wedding you can be sure of one thing – there’ll be lots of cute photos for your wedding album.

Children of all ages make great subjects for wedding photos. Parents love the proper posed photographs of them dressed up in their best clothes – and these do make lovely portraits – but it’s the natural, candid images (when children are just being children) are the ones that always raise the biggest smile.

Little ones chasing ducks, picking up the thrown confetti,  or simply running to give grandad a huge hug, there’s a timeless picture just waiting to be taken.

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Have a look at these photos of children at weddings 1 a sisters toung LITTLE BOYS      flower girl walking psa1-003   a1rsfws aafws9          akis

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And you’ll see what I mean…….http://www.creativefreedomphoto.com/

FOR THE LOVE OF STREET PHOTOGRAPHY ; part 2/creativefreedomphoto

    I am known as a wedding photojournalist, but my true love is street  photography . I have allot to say about this subject I will most likely have several blogs on the topic of street photography.
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     . Whenever I am sent on a destination wedding to places like New Orleans (one of my favorite places)  I try to at least have a day for myself where I can explore and shoot for my soul.Of course being a “people photographer,New Orleans is magical to me, .I stopped using a zoom lens, on purpose  It has forced me to be up close and personal, to talk and get to know my subjects, most times this is more rewarding to me.. there are still moments where I see a shot and take it very candidly,getting up close would loose the feeling  .There are no rules here, it depends on the subject.Sometimes standing from a distance and just allowing     life to happen, Or,,finding a great spot with just the right light and composition and just waiting for a subject to walk into it. other times
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meeting an artist , musician or character
on the street  and talking while I am photographing him./her,getting to listen and enjoy their stories.Below I ventured into “musicians village in the upper 9th ward in New Orleans and met this wonderful musician named David who invited us into his home and just loved to tell us his stories . Musicians village is a magical place

The village, a development of Habitat for Humanity, was started after Hurricane Katrina on a vacant piece of land once occupied by a school, with the notion of creating a new, affordable neighborhood that would welcome home New Orleans musicians and others displaced by Katrina.

With support from homegrown musical celebrities like Harry Connick Jr. and Branford Marsalis, the village has blossomed into a neighborhood of 72 new homes and spurred the renovation of previously existing homes along its perimeters. I am dreaming of an “artist village right next door,I would move in a heartbeat”!

 

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“The best asset that any photojournalist has is the ability to schmooze—the ability to relate to somebody else, the ability to talk to somebody else and to make them feel comfortable. If they’re comfortable with you, your pictures will clearly show it,” “You can’t be shy if you’re going to play photojournalist. You have to talk to people.”

Explain yourself. Be polite, smile and say sorry if somebody is offended you took a photograph of them. Offer to e-mail the photograph. It takes practice being comfortable in this style of photography, but the results are very true to life and worth it.

Although I love photographing people,street photography doesn’t have to have people in it,sometimes its the details, I found this tile a child wrote and stuck it on a fence in Greenwich village after 9/11

 

And always remember this,
“A mime is a terrible thing to waste”
"A Mime Is A Terrible Thing To Waist"

FOR THE LOVE OF “STREET PHOTOGRAPHY” PART 1 /creativefreedomphoto

I have a lot to say on the subject of street photography so I am going to have several blogs on this subject,I post approximately once a week, sometimes more when I have the time.

WHAT IS STREET PHOTOGRAPHY?

” Street photographs are mirror images of society,displaying unmanipulated  scenes,with usually unaware subjects”
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 Street photography shows a pure vision of something,like holding up a mirror to society.Street photography often tends to be ironic and can be distanced from its subject matter,and often concentrates on a single human moment,caught at a decisive or poignant moment.On the other hand,much street photography takes the opposite approach and provides a very literal and extremely personal rendering of the subject matter,giving the audience a more visceral experience of walks of life they might only be  passingly familiar with.

 

Growing up in New York,It was my first photography class in ninth grade.My Mother would drive me into the heart of New York city ,she was very impatient and I had to roll my window down and shoot from the car, she would say “shoot,Shoot,life is happening fast “! .I wish I still had my work from that time,I do still have these photographs in my mind; angry faces of NYC cab drivers cursing at the traffic,   old ladies looking at the world from the safety of their windows.I have just one photograph from around that age.
 the Bowery NYC,1972
I started to take the train into the city by myself and wander down into”the bowery” a “very bad neighborhood” I was told to stay away from, of course that  intrigued  me!    I started talking to the street people, back then they called them”bums” I asked this old man, bottle of whisky between his legs,sitting against the tire of an old truck ,wisdom and pain displayed on his many wrinkles”Hey,Whats going on,how are you doing today”that would  strike up  a conversation, He then started to tell me a bit about his life while I listened and photographed him,periodically putting my camera down.
      I would bring the film back to class and develop it in the darkroom watching the photo  come to life before my eyes in the developer, in those days I had to wait a long time before I could actually see the photograph .
     I was born with amblyopia and only have sight in one eye), I learned much later in life this is a good thing, close your eye and see the world with one eye, after all that is what the camera does
   ,My photography teacher loved my work,at that time in my life I did not have any confidence in myself,(coming from an abusive home ) it felt strange to me to be complimented, I did not believe in myself all I knew was that I fell in love with photography,It was a way for me to not only express myself but a way to capture a moment forever..I was hooked!!
There seems to be a sentiment out there that somehow “legitimate” street photography involves only candid shots. I began with candid shots myself. It was when I began interacting with my subjects, however, that my photography truly began to stand out. By involving your subject in the process, you can not only compose your shot better, but also reveal more of the subject’s personality.
   I tend to do both,it depends on my subject
 New Orleans Lady

Start in a crowd.

I encourage new street photographers to start with a busy public place such as a street market or an outdoor event as a comfortable start.  You are more invisible in a crowd and can more easily overcome your fear of photographing strangers. Street performers are excellent street photography subjects to start shooting. After all, they are there to be seen and are used to being photographed plus they are part of the culture of the place you are visiting. Buskers perform to make a few bucks, so shoot away, and be generous with what you toss in their hat!

Jah Bless

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I photographed the shot above of a street  vendor  at the Goombay festival in Key West. There is always that one face in the crowd that stands out, that particular day, this man was the one face.At that time I was photographing for the newspapers.

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Now that I am older,I enjoy getting to know my subjects,getting up close and personal and listening to their stories.

I was starting out in my career,not as bold as I am now and shot mostly candid with a 300mm zoom lens.I walked up and down the crowded streets that day,hoping for that one shot that would capture this colorful Caribbean festival. I kept my eye on my subject waiting for just the right moment. I had my camera ready and zoomed in on him,a tourist stopped by his set up and asked to see a particular item, that is when he stuck his head through the beautiful material that framed him perfectly with abundant color,that was it!, the photograph that captured the festival, even though I was using film and couldn’t see it right away, I knew in my heart that I had gotten “the one”!

New Orleans,streetmusician

The street musicians of New Orleans among my favorite subjects to photograph (in my favorite city on the planet!)

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“Which of my photographs is my favorite? The one I’m going to take tomorrow.”
~ Imogen Cunningham

Wedding Photojournalism/The Story Teller by creativefreedomphoto

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 In the limo

Dont just keep pressing the shutter and hope that something sticks,wait,watch,observe.Do not ask people to do anything,allow life to happen .There are moments at a wedding like the dances that you are just about guaranteedfws1-003

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that there will be plenty of emotion to capture.Shoot like you are using film.If you are just starting out,I suggest that you use film. One of the best angles for capturing candidws is above,do take advantage I always look for this vantage point

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…A great wedding photographer is a great story teller. . Get to know your clients,meet with them, do an engagement session, it is very important that they feel comfortable with you, the more you know them the more passion you will feel.

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As a wedding photojournalist, I allow the story to come to me.I very rarely tell people what to do (unless I am doing the group shots,my least favorite because I feel I am missing out on the “real moments”) I ask my clients to keep the group shot list to a minimum. They didint hire me for a bunch of posed group shots but for my ability to “capture emotions” To me weddings are by far the easiest because they tend to be a field day of emotions.

  •  At the beginning of the story,remember to photograph the place,the details,the venue.These are all important to the couple and are a part of their story.

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I ask my clients to have the guys nearby so that I can go back and forth between the guys and the ladies, You want to get both sides of the story!

Try to be a fly on the wall, wear black not bright colors.You want people to forget that you are there so that things can happen naturally. I long zoom lens is a good Idea for candid s at weddings.

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Keep in mind that there are two sides of the story,during the ceremony for instance,its not just about the couple but pay attention to the audience,know who the parents are,most often the Mothers will shed some tears.

 

The most important shot during the ceremony most often it is the grooms reaction when he sees his bride for the first time

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My students often ask me what do you photograph during the reception when everyone is eating. Good question, it is not flattering to photograph people eating,but children can be adorable during this time.It is also a good time to shoot some of the details.Also the atmosphere,the musicians if they do have live music

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A great story has a beginning,middle and an ending, think of a parting shot,it could be a back shot of the couple walking away in the sunset or grandma asleep at the reception,most often I dont think, I just allow things to happen naturally.Sometimes my couple does request a specific parting shot .

Super dome wedding

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Most important,dont pose people,allow them to be themselves,stand back,remember you are there to tell the story and to capture all the emotions

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