Blind Groom

Discussion in 'Wedding and Event' started by bdp, Aug 18, 2006.

  1. bdp


    I have an interview coming up with a couple in which the groom is blind in both
    They are 2 really great people and want to make sure I make them both look
    great in the images. I'm concerned about the fact that groom doesn't wear
    glasses and his eyes wander and am trying to figure out how to make the
    formals/etc look good with a person who wouldn't be looking at the lens most of
    the time, as the wandering part is uncontrollable on his part, and he's fully
    aware, as is she. (I've known them for some time and and think I would be more
    comfortable than if I hadn't known them). I still want them to look great.
    I hope I'm conveying properly my concern without sounding condensending.
    Has anyone come across this situation, and if so, how did you make out for
  2. I have not come across this, but here are a few ideas:

    Can he control his eye movements at all? (I don't know if that is possible.) If so, can you direct him to force eye muscles to the left or to the right for certain shots?

    The other option -- if you're up for some Photoshop -- is to take a TON of pictures for each pose until you get at least one where HIS eyes are looking good/normal. Then you can cut/paste the eyes from "his" good shot into the "overall" good shot.

    I had to do that eye cut/paste before with glasses issues. It's a pain in the butt, but if the aspect ratio, angle of the shot, lighting and height are the same (or REALLY similar) it can be pulled off without anyone knowing. I've also cloned entire heads of recalcitrant babies from one shot to another!

    I'm eager to see what others suggest too!
    good luck...
  3. Hi Bob,

    Forgive me...I'm not a wedding photographer per-se...but by "formals," do you mean the straight-on, full-torso shots of the bride and groom standing side by side? Maybe you could see how it works to have them turn fully or partially towards each other?


  4. What about taking pictures with his eyes closed? I went to school with a kid who was blind. He has his eyes closed in his yearbook picture.
  5. It sounds like you have a good rapport with this couple already. Is this issue one that the
    bride and groom have expressed? Or is this your own concern? It's quite possible that the
    bride and groom really aren't concerned one way or another. He's blind -- his family
    it, his wife-to-be knows it, all the guests at their wedding will know it. No one will think
    twice about his eyes when they look at the photographs.

    For artistic purposes, I like Dave's idea of composing most of the formals so that the
    couple is looking at one another, not directly at you. If they're interacting (kissing,
    hugging, nose-to-nose) then it won't matter where his eyes are directed.

    I really can't imagine this being a "problem" unless the bride and groom are expressly
    concerned about it. And, if they are, just make sure you're on the same page with them
    regarding what you can and can't do.
  6. bdp


    Thanks to the replies so far. He has no control, or very little of his eye movements. They seem to be in constant motion. The facing each other does sound like a good idea on some of the pics.
    Anne, It was more for my concern of the pics, and like you indicated, everyone is aware that he is blind and probably wouldn't notice anything about the eyes, but you're right, I should just mention it when I talk to them and see what they're opinions are.
    Thanks everyone that replied so far.
  7. Why are people constantly trying to make people look different then they are. Would you add an arm to a one armed man because you thought it looked bad?

    Quit trying to make people who they are not. When you try to "fix" situations like that, the pictures look like S H I T to your clients because you've altered the way someone looks. If the bride was uncomfortable with his eyes they probably wouldn't be getting married. Treat them like any other client. Do your job and take good pictures. Let his eyes do what they NATURALLY do.
  8. My sentiments exactly JC.
  9. Hi Bob, is this your concern or is this their concern? And have you talk to them about this directly? I am not a wedding photographer but I would think one is there to document a story (even the formals to some degree). If they are not concerned about this and the groom has no control of his eyes at all, I would have them be themselves and shoot as it is, perhaps more frame than you would normally would so the bride can pick her favorite afterward. Afterall, that's who they really are. What pictures looks "good" is decided and defined by the bride only. Best wishes.
  10. If you haven't already secured the contract for the wedding, I'd not say anything about the groom's eyes in photos unless they bring it up. If you get the contract, I would then tactfully ask the bride about the issue...what has worked in the past concerning the groom's photos...what would she she concerned about it at all, etc. They have probably worked out some method that they are happy with re photos together, or they haven't and would appreciate some help, or they don't care. Find out which it is, and if they want some help, maybe do a free mini session with them to find out how best to handle the issue on the wedding day. I have photographed a blind groom before but he did not have trouble controlling his gaze. I was just told to speak up so he could track my location via my voice, and not to sneak up on him or touch him without saying anything. Although very common sense, this was volunteered--I didn't need to ask.
  11. I concur with Nadine, my wife is visually impaired (95% vision loss) but she keely can hear the protographers voice, not always perfect but oral promts are good. I'd definitely and tactfully ask how to make sure that all eyes are toward you, it wont offend them.
  12. Bob, it's a legimate concern that you voice in the spirit of wanting to create/capture the best image possible to present to the customer.

    The groom is blind ... just let it go and shoot the wedding; I promise you that he won't mind when he "sees" the photos. You could ask them if you should be concerned about it and let them assure you that all's ok.

    Romantic and natural low light situations will give you lovely images if you can shoot them in a Private Moments segment away from the crowd ... just make the time to give them a few minutes in a quiet place and sit back and shoot the love. They'll love them.
  13. Something no one has thought of yet, but perhaps you can offer an engagement sitting. At the sitting, just ask how they prefer to be posed. By the end of the engagement sitting all of you will be more comfortable with each other. I'm sure if you ask them this type of indirect question the bride to be will speak for both of them, because she as well as most brides have definite ideas of the type of wedding shots she wants. The wedding should be much more relaxed with this connection. You will do great.
  14. Years ago, I worked for a high volume shooter. This man was not the sharpest lens in the cabinet. I once shot a wedding for him, where the best man was blind. When he got the prints back, he kept yelling at me that the best man wasn't "looking at the camera".

    My answer was that "the poor man is blind, and can't look anywhere"!
  15. I have worked with visually impaired individuals for years in my "day job," and I often take portraits of children with visual impairments. It is difficult to get good photographs of individuals with nystagmus or other non-controlled eye movement. That said, the bride, parents, etc., do care about having flattering pictures of the groom.

    You were given good advice from Nadine and William, and here are a few more thoughts:

    It's okay to use the word "look" -- as in "look toward my voice" or "look toward the light" if he has light perception. (Many "blind" people have light perception or object perception, and some have more usable vision than you think.) If you don't already know whether the groom has any usable vision, it is appropriate to ask.

    I strongly second (third?) the suggestion of an engagement session. This will answer a lot of your questions, perhaps without you ever having to ask them. Don't assume they will know the best way for you to pose them -- they are counting on you to take care of this for them. Three quarters or profile poses of the groom will help if his eyes don't work together -- that is, if one eye moves independently of the other. Be an observer during the interview. You may find that one eye is more controlled than the other, and you would want to pose him with this eye closer to the camera.

    If you normally take nice, symmetrical group photos with everyone looking and smiling at the camera, you will be in for some frustration. As an alternative, pose your groups a little more casually (some sitting, some standing, couples angled toward each other, etc.). Ask them to talk to each other, even if it's to tell the person standing beside them what they had for breakfast. You will get nice, casual-contemporary photos that are fashionable right now, anyway.

    Take a lot of exposures -- two to three times what you normally take would not be unreasonable. Set up a pose, then take multiple frames in quick succession. This will increase the chances of getting flattering photographs of the groom. Take your eye away from the viewfinder and watch the groom as much as possible. This may mean using a tripod even if you don't usually.

    In those romantic engagement and bride/groom portraits, encourage the groom to touch the bride's face. If he does not have usable vision, these will be especially meaningful photographs for the bride. The fewer onlookers you have for these poses, the less stressed the groom will be.

    Let us know how it goes!

    Shelly Meyer in Indiana
  16. Shelly--I found your info very enlightening. Why do you put the more controlled eye closer to the camera? I have tried to do this in the past with people who have a wandering eye. Yet sometimes, I find the opposite works better.

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