How does he do it?

Discussion in 'Wedding and Event' started by rasi_wickra, Aug 26, 2013.

  1. I am a photo enthusiast and not a professional wedding photographer. Recently, I discovered the website of a very talented wedding photographer, Mr. Otto Haring.
    Can someone explain to me how he takes such rich pictures? What I don't understand is that he has perfect sharpness, incredibly color rich images, contrasty, and absolutely breathtaking.
    The irony is that about 4 years ago, Mr. Haring was active in this forum and asked the very same question about someone elses' photography. I would love to hear from him, and I have written to him twice but have not received any response. I imagine he must be very busy with his successful wedding photography business.
    If someone else can provide suggestions about how the richness of color, sharpness and contrast are achieved, I would be grateful. Do you think he does this out-of-the camera, or is this all post-processing? I am just stunned at the color and would be so lucky to be able to take pics like that.
    Thanks for your time!
  2. Hi Rasi, I'm not a wedding photographer either, but if you browse through his Flash site and click on "Information" on the menu bar, you will get a good sense on how he (they) approach their assignments which is reflected in their style.
    I don't think there is any particular magic, simply that he has quality gear and knows how to use it to the best advantage through his artistic and technical sense.
  3. Thanks for the response. I looked on the site and the "information" seems to talk more about his philosophy. The only tid-bit I could gather is that he seems to use primarily prime lenses. What I don't get is what sort of post-processing he does to the images. No question he is a talented photographer!
  4. Take this one, for example:
    The colors are so rich, contrasty -- is this all done in post? Most of his other pictures have that same quality that is hard to describe but looks very pleasing to the eye.
  5. Well, what I'm seeing in that picture is a high end camera and a capable lens shot at high ISO. The scene is inherently colorful, so if you get a clean shot in RAW, there's no reason why this type of result can not be expected with just a bit of tweaking in software.
  6. In the linked-to photo, I'm actually seeing what looks to me like over-saturation of the blues, and some contrast pushed in post production. Those are a couple of mouse-clicks after the fact, really. It certainly helps that he uses a camera with good dynamic range, and that many of his more compelling images take advantage of subject/background separation through the use of a wide aperture and the resulting shallow depth of field. But much of what I sense that you're liking starts with a decent exposure, and then some relatively careful work in post production (read: time for some Photoshop! - but you could get it done in Lightroom or any number of other tools).
  7. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    He's used Lightroom and at least four plug-ins, or four trips through plug-ins. I don't see anything special otherwise and the composition in the referenced shot is not particularly good.
  8. About half the gallery images including the linked example, have a radio triggered flash gun on a light stand positioned behind the subject, this is giving the 3d effect.
    Then most everything has had the contrast and saturation pumped up. The naturally lit shots have the advantage of some beautiful brides and a lovely quality of Miami sunshine.
  9. Good photography and good lenses which is to be expected by a professional. The basic post processing to bring out colors and contrast again something that should be expected from a professional. With the exception of some special effects sprinkled in on a few shots which is something that should be used sparingly. When your photography is good you don't need to add special effects and dramatic processing on every picture. In my work on my website I don't use one special effect in processing. All is done in camera and with lighting (strobe or natural light).
  10. I'm no pro, and correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think there are too many photographers who can get these kinds of results straight in camera. Most shoot in RAW and try to keep things as neutral as possible as to be able to maximize their post production efforts.
    At first, I spent hours upon hours in LR or PS. Now that I have a certain amount of go to presets that I'm particularly found of, that amount of time has decreased, but I don't think there is truly any way to achieve these results straight in camera.
    One must also remember that these images are being used to sell a product and service and have been worked on to showcase the possibilities that arise if he were to get the gig. No way does anyone just put their images on a website straight from camera.
    Or am I mistaken?
  11. Keif if you are refering to my comment you best reread it slowly cause I did not say at anytime that those shots were all done in camera. WHAT I DID SAY IS MY SHOTS THAT I TOOK IN MY WEBSITE ARE DONE IN CAMERA! A great image does has to start with good skill technique and talent, all which Mr. Haring has. I ALSO SAID THAT A PROFESSIONAL MUST USE SOME PROCESSING IN RAW TO BRING OUT THE COLORS AND CONTRAST. Now to what degree and how many hours it takes you in processing is your business.
    My initial comment was to Rasi to answer that as a professional photographer one must at the very least meet those points that she thought to be hard to achieve "perfect sharpness, incredibly color rich images, contrasty, and absolutely breathtaking" Most amatures look for a magic program to turn there mediocre pictures into breathtaking images and sometimes it works but it should be done sparingly.
  12. Sorry, Michael. I was not referring to your comment. I was referring to Rasi's first post. I'm not in the habit of insulting people on this forum nor do I look to pick fights. I'm a newbie and look up to all of you. This forum has been a huge source of help and inspiration.
    That said, I did read your post CAREFULLY and I am in complete agreement with what you said.
  13. No offense taken just want to be clear. I love this forum.
  14. Absolutely agree.
    And you're right, Mark. As an amateur, I can take decent pictures but my pictures on average do not look as breath taking as Mr. Harings (or yours for that matter -- impressive work on your website). I guess I do agree that I am looking for that one shortcut, not necessarily to bridge the gap between the quality of my work and Mr Harings, but perhaps a little piece of the puzzle that will help me get one step closer.
    Thanks again for all of your comments. I love this forum, and you all have been wonderful.
  15. Focus on the basics of photography and experiment with different lenses at different f-stops. Pay attention to what is in the frame of your camera. You are responsible for everything that comes into that frame. Many times new photographers are only focused on there subject and not on the surround frame. Composition, composition, composition equals great images with impact.
  16. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    Just so everyone knows, there is a way to tell that he has used Lightroom and four different plug-ins, or at least four trips through plug-ins, on the specific linked shot. The post-processing used was not all that basic.
  17. Personally i don't care what he did, It looks to unnatural the saturated colors. All these plugins are not always the best choice. His photography is great on its own. But to each his own.
  18. Agreed. I am sure he used some work on the photos, but I agree with Michael that it does not take away from the fact that he is a talented photographer. I liked what he had done with some of the macro shots (rings, shoes etc) by using props that give color so that when using a shallow DOF the subject is in crisp focus, but the background is a creamy emulsion of multicolor. This is probably something that's quite common in your world, but I thought it was cool.
  19. Rasi Now your viewing the images the right way!!! Try to break down how he took the images, what lenses, what f-stop, what angle of view and how he used the lighting. Anyone can add the special effects in post processing but few can take a great image right from the camera.
  20. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    The question, however, wasn't the quality of his photography. It was how he achieved the look he did and an example was given. That example was put through a lot of post-processing in plug-ins.
  21. "Just so everyone knows, there is a way to tell that he has used Lightroom and four different plug-ins, or at least four trips through plug-ins, on the specific linked shot. The post-processing used was not all that basic."
    Jeff, can you let us know how to tell? I don't use Lightroom so it'd be an education.
  22. Rasi, the question I would ask myself if I were you trying to understand these shots is, first, what about these images appeals to me. You use the description "rich" or "rich colors" and I think that was aptly described as kicking up the saturation. With Nik Viveza, you can select a color, the dress for example and work on it alone. You have brightness, contrast, detail, shadow and individual color adjustments available on the drop down. You can then copy those changes to a similar dress. This would kick up the dresses or what ever but wouldn't effect skin tones which could be lost by those adjustments, not to mention, the kicked up detail wouldn't be welcomed if it was kicking up the detail of blemishes and wrinkles. I'm not sure, if on some it was a global adjustment. I would guess the Nik series was the plug ins were used. Their noise reduction, viveza, and color efex pro plus silver efex for b&w. The reds and blues seem especially saturated. Michael is spot on, the initial capture starts the ball rolling. This photographer has a great feel for light, that's not photoshop, that's photography. Look at how the light has direction in most of his shots and shadows are well placed and the ratio is appropriate for the shot, darker for more dramatic, lighter for the dreamier shot. On the shallow dof shots, he nails focus, gets the right dof for making the second person slightly out of focus yet recognizable making the person in focus the star and has great bokeh from his lenses. I agree with Matt, the saturation has been heavily increased. I wonder if this is something that sells to the culture he shoots or is cultural for him? At least it isn't the "expired film" yellow look I hated even before it went cliché. I agree with Jeff, on some of the compositions there could be improvement, but I still like the images because, first, some of these don't appear posed and is an attempt to capture the decisive moment as it unrolls. That's a challenge wedding photogs share with the street guys and photojournalists. When you get it, its like the crack of the bat on a perfectly hit ball. Also, I love Bambi Cantrell's quote, expression trumps perfection every time. Or, beauty is in the eye of the checkbook holder. I doubt many of these folks actually have a clue about composition. But that doesn't relieve the photog for responsibility for everything in the frame. Notice how well he uses the implied lines from eyes to direct your eye around the photos. Of course it helps to have a beautiful subject with large eyes. Here, sometimes it's the mood he has captured. As you work through his website, he changes up the saturated image with the occasional black and white. If this is your style, learn it. I studied with Denis Reggie years back and he is heavily photojournalistic. Minimal post except on images that benefit from it or need it to be "saved." A different style. And at 30-50k per wedding, a different clientel. Take a look at his images too. Joe Bussink as well.
  23. Sorry Jeff proceed with your findings...Yes you are correct in her second post which had a specific example. The original post was a question on the quality of his entire work.
  24. Thanks guys, especially Michael, Bob and Jeff for your comments!
    I really am trying to understand how to recreate the photographic quality. There are so many things I love about Otto Haring's work, even how he chooses to isolate the subject in each of his photographs.
    There are some compositional elements that I am baffled by (as in, not sure how he creates this effect). For example, take a look at this photo:

    How is it that the area of focus is between two vertical lines in the center of the photo. Are there lenses that can create this effect or is this something done in post?
    Next, take a look at this image:

    In this image, I've also noticed that the bokeh in many of his images taken at "natural" focal lengths (like 35-50mm or so) have a swirly nature to it -- where the out of focus highlights become more elliptical as they extend out from the focal plane. I've never seen this effect before in other wedding photography and was wondering whether this was also a photography technique or postprocessing.
    Lastly, I love the advice and comments from all of you. I am not a wedding photographer but what you said about being able to capture the perfect picture at the perfect time is quite a talent to develop. My hats off for people like you in this business. Amazing work, everyone.
  25. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    17-of-55 is quite obviously post-processed to throw most of it out of focus. The way you can tell that it's post-processing is that it's not distance-dependent and it doesn't appear to be something like vaseline on the filter. It's very sloppily done.
    The second one also looks like it was done with post-processing. There is no gradual change in apparent focus that you would expect if it was a lens effect.
    The appearance of the out-of-focus highlights probably has something to do with the post work.
  26. With regards the first image, it's possible it's a shift lens rather than PP, only because all the images using this effect
    have the line of focus running top to bottom centrally which a shift lens would do, if it was PP I would expect the area of
    focus to be used with more variants of placement and sometimes to be more circular. I've only used camera movements
    in 5x4 though, so I'm not writing from experience with 35 mm lenses.
    The second image looks similar to the oof area on the 85 1.2 when you get down to about 1.6 -1.2, so could be in
    camera, I'm not saying it is, just that it could be.
  27. Sorry Jeff, my post above was made in response to Rasi and before I'd read yours, it looks like I'm arguing with your post
    which was not my intention, besides I've probably got it wrong.
  28. I'm just a newbie to all this and what I think is he played with the, saturation, and chanel mixer to boost the colors halfway in-between provia or maybe velvia film effect. He did toy with the background by using the blurring tool, he's pretty good photographing in very good light also....................
  29. Rasi, in reference to the link you provided, I'm not seeing anything special about that photo. The women are wearing very bight colored dresses. The room has a lot of rich colors as well. There is an off camera flash he used in the background. It adds lighting to the room and a little rim light to the subjects. Looks like fill flash as well as you can see a shadow on the back wall. His focus is tack sharp on the subjects. It does not look "over processed" as some have said. Looks like, to me anyway, he just brought out the colors a little and not much more. Sure he added a little sharpness as well. As to what he did exactly in PP no one knows for sure but him. Sure he added a little sharpness as well.
  30. As far as the photo with the cottage. There are tons of PP programs that will give that effect. Or you can do it your self with little trouble.
    Jeff you seem a little harsh on other photographer's work. The look that you said was "sloppy" may have been the look you was going for. Who are you to judge? The link was not posted for critique but by the Op to ask how the effect was done. Also, as far as composition goes on a photo, unless you have seen the original file, how do you know this was not the best composition/crop that he could get from this photo? You don't. This photo (the women dancing) was not a posed photo. It was a lot of people in a closed space dancing and moving. How would you "compose" such a shot? Weather you liked the shot or not was not the point of this post. It was a "how did they do this" question, not a "break this photo down and tell us what's wrong with it."
  31. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    The look that you said was "sloppy" may have been the look you was going for.​

    It's bad post-processing.
    The link was not posted for critique but by the Op to ask how the effect was done​

    Teaching someone how to do bad work is not a good thing.
    as far as composition goes on a photo, unless you have seen the original file, how do you know this was not the best composition/crop that he could get from this photo? You don't.​

    That in no way justifies a poor composition on someone's web site. How it got there isn't a concern. If the clients liked it, that's fine, I've been in that situation. However, the composition of that one really sticks out from the much better ones on the site.
    How would you "compose" such a shot?​

    You don't compose a shot like that, but if you are doing that type of shot, you look for a place where the composition works and you don't shoot it when it doesn't. I shoot at least three events a week, it's easy to keep moving until you find the right composition.
    Weather you liked the shot or not was not the point of this post.​

    Where did I say anything about liking or not liking it?
    Jeff, can you let us know how to tell? I don't use Lightroom so it'd be an education.​

    Michael, the jpg file name has a structure that only comes from using plug-ins (or Photoshop) from Lightroom. It has four "edit" labels, indicating that it made four trips out and back. It is possible to generate the file name doing four trips to Photoshop but it would be highly unusual since the normal choice would not do that. Also, someone suggested Viveza above and it is a good tool for that.
  32. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member


    This thread contains some very useful information and comments.
    Some specific housekeeping matters, so as to ensure good continuity and high quality of discussion:
    Jeff Spirer’s previous comment described that - the Post Production technique which was employed, was sloppily employed – this comment was an opinion about the employment of the Post Production Technique which the photographer apparently chose to use.
    Previous to that comment, Jeff did make a comment on the composition of the shot which was referenced.
    Composition is one constituents of the "look" that any Photographer might attain.
    It is noted Jeff, himself a short time later, ensured that this thread stayed on the MAIN track of discussion, by mentioning that the thread is about the PP Techniques employed and the 'look' that the Photographer attained - (i.e. NOT a critique of the photographer's work, per se.)
    The questions that Mike has asked of Jeff have been addressed.
    It will be best, if this thread stays on the main track and discusses and comments on the Post Production Techniques which seemingly have been employed by the Photographer and generally how the Photographer might have attained the "look" of his Images.
    It would NOT be good for this thread to wander into a side-track of critiques of this Photographer’s work.
    Nor is it beneficial for this thread to wander into on-going correspondence, between members, just chatting about the same, side issues.
    Thank you in advance, for your co-operation.
  33. Thank you for your responses everyone. As the moderate said, I understand that some people may have reservations about Mr. Haring's compositional or postprocessing techniques, but as I posted the question what I wanted to know if anyone knew HOW he achieved this effect, not whether the effect in question was visually pleasing or a "good technique" -- ultimately, beauty is in the eye of the beholder and I had to confess that despite the criticism in this thread, I remain a fan of his work. Thanks again for your responses.
  34. Rasi, I think you are justified in being impressed with Haring's work ... it is very difficult to produce a sense of vision that differs from others ... and he had managed to accomplish that. His work has a "graphic" impact which he is fairly consistent in applying to one degree or another. Personally, I was also impressed.
    While anyone can debate individual images, it is subjectively in the eye of the beholder ... allowing us to react one way or another. Some take in an image emotionally, while others may analyze the elements of technique ... same can be said in how different photographers place priorities while shooting or doing post work.
    If the question asks "how this was done" it can be answered in the aggregate, or the specifics can be analyzed. I tend toward the former over the latter because wedding photography usually involves a huge amount of images and there are limits on how much time you can spend with each individual shot.
    How he achieves the effect(s) probably varies wildly ... however, the one driving aspect to any shooting, lighting or post processing decisions is that sort of consistent graphic impact ... the use of color or other techniques to control the viewer's reaction.
    I also believe that his use of lighting plays a great part in pulling off some of the images on his site. Lighting can make a much bigger impact than all the cameras, lenses and post work combined.
    In this day of wide spread public involvement in photography, it is increasingly getting difficult to live on content alone ... if you are shooting a wedding and 20 or 30 guests are also shooting it, chances are they will preempt the pro by posing images on Face Book before the pro even gets home that night. So, we all have to step up our game.
    Thanks for the question and introducing Haring's work to me.
    - Marc

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