Is it just me or....?

Discussion in 'Wedding and Event' started by jon_shumpert|2, Jun 30, 2019.

  1. For all the current and former wedding photographers, I have a question. I used to photograph weddings, either as the main photographer or second shooter. I have been out of the game for a few years , only doing 1 or 2 a year. Today I was at my nieces wedding and was critiquing the photographers (in my head). I was on good behavior and didn't say anything. My question is, how many of you have attended weddings as a guest and had a similar experience? I did take a Nikon FM2N with black and white film, but didn't take any posed shots or any others near the hired photographer.
  2. I prefer to critique tourists taking selfies. Like shooting fish in a barrel. :eek:
    Roger G likes this.
  3. I HATE going to weddings that I'm not shooting . . . They're even more boring as a guest!

    I was, however, a guest at a wedding a few weeks ago. The couple didn't meet me until well after getting engaged and they already had a photographer and videographer. When the time came to cut the cake, someone pushed a phone into my hands and asked me to take some pictures. They expected me to shoot from where I was sitting. Not me . . . I got up, went around to the other side of the cake and stood where I would have been if I were working. It was only after the cake was cut that I noticed that there was no photographer there. They had already done a "mock cake cutting" and left the venue.

    This photography did a fantastic job throughout the day. I've already seen many pictures. Some that I would have shot and some that I would not have taken.

    But, they cost several thousand dollars and couldn't stay until the cake was cut?
    Dave Luttmann likes this.
  4. and how- Here's my "critique"
  5. I was at a works event over the weekend and I have to admit to keeping one eye on the pro. Didn't feel brave enough to turn my camera on him though, which I regret as the 'thousand yard stare' would have made for a good photo. I suppose if you do this day in, day out, it becomes rather boring.

    I stayed at my table and only photographed the stage, with just an 85mm lens I was fairly restricted in my shooting options. No flash obviously, so as not to annoy anyone.

    It was fun to see him scanning around the room looking for shots, he obviously had a good eye for what would work and certain pre-planned shots.

    Anyways, today I had the added guilty pleasure of being able to look over his photos and compare them to my own attempts...

    And I'm rather shocked.

    I don't want to sling mud at a fellow photographer, much less a hard-working professional, so I'll only comment on two points:

    * On camera flash is not a good look when the room temperature is somewhere around 40 celcius and everyone is sweating like pigs.

    * Does an EOS 6D have difficulty focusing in low light? I was typically around 1/60, f4, ISO 1600 or 3200, I'd have thought the Canon would cope in those conditions?

    The photos I have appear unedited, maybe he'll throw out the missed shots and retouch the good ones for the final package?
  6. Professional does not equal quality.
    Tony Parsons likes this.
  7. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    As I mentioned at your other conversation, I've been to many of my relatives' weddings since I hung up my pro wedding gear: I think it is inevitable that we would 'critique'.

    I've tried, during my observations, to arrive at the answer to: "why is s/he doing that, that way?" These elements of people interest me the most. I've never 'interfered', really not even to say 'hello'.

    The best (aka "most professionally courteous”) interaction I've had was several years ago - I was carrying a 5DMkII and 35/1.4L. I kept my distance all day (as mentioned on the other conversation) making behind the scenes images, mainly of the extended family that we rarely see because of the geographic scatter. On the dance floor I anticipated two shots of my nephew and bride, they were dancing under the spotlights: it was obvious that they had a choreographed dance and that they had practiced it, I didn’t know that before hand – I saw one, maybe two creative available light shots – the Pro had four wireless Speedlites set up and was shooting from the other side of the room and was using her Flash for all her shots.

    I made one shot, at the ‘dip’ and was framing a second at what I anticipated would be an upcoming ‘swirl’, during that passage of time the Pro moved over to the side of the room where I was standing and I noticed she’d plonked a 50/1.4 on her second body. As I saw her coming toward me I moved backwards – she said “there’s plenty of room for the two of us”, she made her shot a standing a little behind me – we both got a good shot - I said “thank you” she said “no, thank you, it was a good idea.”

    I’ve mentioned this on past threads: that simple yet professional interaction resulted in me researching her business, having a detailed review of my nephew's wedding photos and subsequently recommending her to anyone who later made inquiries as to whether I was still shooting weddings.

    mikemorrell likes this.
  8. As a photographer, I do, and I expect others to do also.
    I observe the paid photographer, to learn.
    Even if I don't like something, to me that is learning, what I don't want to do. But I also try to figure out WHY I don't like it, to further my learning. It might simply be style of shooting, which is not bad, just different.

    At my nieces wedding, I watched him shooting the champagne glasses, and thought "that's a cool idea."
    Then I went to try to shoot similar, and must have been apparent that I was having trouble, as he came back to give me tips on how to do the shot. (thumbs up).

    I also stay out of their way.
    The paid photographer is there to do a job.

    So I do not want to distract them from their job, just as I would not want to be distracted when I was doing a job.

    At my nephew's wedding, I did talk to the photographers, because I was facinated by the belt holding mechanism that the gal was using (Spider), and wanted to learn about it. I had never seen it before, and she used it well. Talking to her husband (2-person team), I learned the flip side of it. He did not have the hips to hold up the belt system, and he told me it would just slide down past his hip.
    As for learning. I saw how they shot as a team. She with the 24-70 and him with the 70-200. So no hassles of switching cameras to use a different lens. They could get the two shots at the same point in time with two different lenses. Up till then I had always seen a photographer and an assistant, but never a team shoot like that.
    ruslan and mikemorrell like this.
  9. Talking about guitarists, many years ago, my father told me, "No one is useless. They can always serve as a bad example."
    ruslan and Gary Naka like this.
  10. On camera flash pointed directly at the subjects in a dark reception room is not the sign of a professional. Sometimes, if the situation permits, on-camera flash bounced off the ceiling is acceptable.

    When I first started shooting weddings 6 years ago, I had a 6D and it did fairly good job (with a 35mm 1.4L) in darkness until I got a 5DMIII and that was way better. However, 1/60th at f4 in a dark room..... lens with a max aperture of f/4 is not a good low light lens and will have a lot of difficulty focusing and 1/60th is just too slow to stop action or avoid camera shake.....for the most part.

    Since I went professional years ago, I have gone to one wedding and several other events where there was a professional photographer and as a professional myself I dare not critique the paid shooter under any circumstances unless they were doing something completely ridiculous.....which hasn't been the case at least in my experience. If you first or second shoot weddings or events yourself, then you might say "I think I would've tried this, or moved here, etc" but if you're a guest at a wedding and have a camera, for the love of God, stay out of the way of the paid shooters!!! My goodness I've had to give some nasty stares at the guests (w/cameras) who walked into my frames or were trying to get a shot right next to me.....and the ones that jump into the aisle during the procession or second procession....oh, well, this forum would not allow the words I'd use to describe those folks.
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2019
  11. I regularly shoot receptions at ISO 400, 1/25, f5.6, with a mix of on camera and off camera flashes. The flash stops the action and the dragged shutter brings up the light in the background of the room.
    William Michael likes this.
  12. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    F/4 @ 1/60s @ ISO1600~3200, is low light, but certainly not 'a dark reception area': it's around EV = 6 and although I haven't used an EOS 6D, my 20D would AF quite well in those conditions with an F/2.8 lens, F/4 should make that much difference for the relatively more advanced AF of a 6D.

    There are disciplines and techniques of best practice to follow when using EOS AF in low light, for one example only: I'd would typically choose center AF only and nail the AF on an high contrast EDGE of the Main Subject.


    I'd like to underscore the point that ed farmer made: - in almost every shooting situation, indoors with Flash, it is the duration of the Flash Exposure that renders the Subject(s) motionless, and not the Shutter Speed of the Camera. In results when this is not true, then I suspect that it was likely the intention and the result was simply user error.

    ed_farmer likes this.
  13. I think I need to clarify slightly...

    I was shooting at around 1/60 to 1/160, at ISO 1600 to 3200, using an 85mm f2 lens, stopped down to f4 as I wanted a little depth of field. I know the Fuji performs well at 3200, so I wasn't concerned about raising the ISO in order to get a bit more shutter speed. Lens was a manual focus Jupiter-9 (pre-war Zeiss Sonnar) 85mm, so close to 135mm on the Fuji and I was at a table a good distance from the stage. Lighting was all over the place and there was a backdrop/video being projected across the stage, so I left it in aperture priority mode and kept an eye on the shutter speed, bumping the ISO up and down as needed. I would say that I nailed focus 90% of the time, not hard as distances weren't changing much. Shot bursts at 6 fps for important parts. Obviously, no flash.

    He was using an EOS 6D with, I think, a 28-80 f2.8 (or something like that), shooting at (I think, I don't have the files here to check) ISO 540, f5, 1/30 sec in shutter priority mode, with a TTL speedlight, direct, not bounced.. As already said, direct flash (or any flash) when it's 40 degrees and everyone is beaded with sweat is not going to be pretty (it wasn't). But what really surprised me is that for almost every group of shots he took, the first missed focus entirely, the second focused on something, normally a foreground object and the third, when there was a third, tended to be correct.

    So, technical issue or user error? I have to confess to knowing little about autofocus, on the rare occasions I use it, I set the centre point and leave it there. We're talking, for example, about shots of a speaker at a lectern. The focus would be on the speakers hand gripping the lectern, or the company name on the front, rather than their eyes, the difference being just enough to throw the face out of focus. Likewise, shot of people at a table, focus is on the glasses on the table, faces across the table are out of focus.

    He also missed one of the key moments, medal presentation followed by a kiss on the cheeks (this is France, after all), he missed the kiss as his flash was recycling. Nothing that can be done about that other than to plan ahead, kill the flash and go to high ISO for that moment I suppose.

    I guess I'm just surprised at the results my bosses were presented with. I can't say 'I'd have done it differently', as, having very different equipment, I had no choice but to do things differently.
  14. Didn't the couple demand to compensate crappy images?
  15. My experience is this caused by an incorrect choice of the autofocus mode (group vs single point).
    In the Canons that we use at school, according to the manual, group AF will focus on the "closest subject." So it would focus on the lectern in front, rather than the speaker in the back, as the lectern is the "closest subject."

    This is my issue with group/zone autofocus.
    It has to be used with care, and matched up against the shooting situation.
    While in some cases it will work well, in other cases it will NOT work well.

    With single point, YOU have to place the AF point on the subject. So out of focus is you not placing the AF point on the subject.

    Camera shooting mode will also drive the AF.
    In "auto" the camera uses "closest subject" logic, I cannot control what the camera will focus on. That is why I never use auto, only PSAM
    I don't use scene modes, so I can't say what focus logic is used in scenes.
  16. I forced myself to stop thinking as a photographer, felt difficult at the beginning but then it came easily. At present time I have no issues watching people do whatever they do while taking pictures (except ridiculous cases), and it is very relaxing, I don't know if everyone experiences the same in the sense that this could be just one of several stages.

    The thing is I started taking pictures with a professional camera around 1998-1999. Used to bring my camera with me to every place I visited and then noticed I was always in "photographic mode", my then trained eye didn't have any "off button". I wanted to capture lots of details in many situations but mostly it was my eye and my brain thinking that way. As you describe, I was also aware of other people making terrible mistakes with their cameras. I honestly didn't like that, if you think about it, it is some kind of compulsion (in a way) and so I stopped having my camera around, in fact I took some years off and traveled without my camera, life was better that way. Then one day I came across an interesting article on the web written by a photographer, he explained how sometimes by taking pictures you buy a one way ticket to photography land and suddenly you can't turn off your photographic eye, unable to experience everyday average situations like an everyday average person, it resonated with me.

    Eventually I was able to be present at ceremonies or diplomatic events watching people do terrible things with their cameras and I was fine with it, in fact many of them were invisible to me unless someone told me to watch and pay attention to something. I personally think it's a temporary stage.
  17. Sometimes photography is like driving. You never know what a driver's skill level is. You may get annoyed and tail gate, honk your horn but you never now if the driver in front of you is just starting out...

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