The One (Wedding Image) That Got Away

Discussion in 'Wedding and Event' started by mbbrown, Jul 3, 2009.

  1. I almost always remove blurry, out-of-focus, or otherwise technically unacceptable (and unfixable with Lightroom) images from weddings before presenting a final collection, as I'm sure most of us do. And I say "almost always" because, every blue moon, I'll have an image I'm on the fence with. Does the aesthic merits outweigh the technical glitches?
    A quick backstory; last weekend's wedding, the Ringbearer was very camera shy. Not a new concept, I know. And while I did manage some decent pics of him at the church, I wanted to get some of him at the reception as he was more relaxed, playful and engaged. But he was avoiding me like the plague.
    He, and a couple other kids, made the head table into their own fort as it it was covered to the floor, in the front, by a white tablecloth strung with lights. He spent some time going in and out. I anticipated this, saw him go in and quickly poked my head in for a quick shot. I fired off one picture and he very quickly exited. As luck would have it, it was out of focus.
    My plan had been to somehow try and recreate this but he wasn't having any part of it. I did get some of him doing a funny dance, but my question is this:
    Do you show once-in-a-lifetime shots even if they're not technically correct...specifically in regards to blur/focus issues?
    I'm on the fence with this one. Any comments are appreciated.
    00Tpjn-150745584.jpg
     
  2. The moments that you capture are far more important to the client than the technical considerations. Is there anything you can do in post to make it look like the blur was intentional?
     
  3. I agree completely. To quote from planetneil.com, "I'm an incorrigible chimper..." so I always know whether or not I need a re-do on the spot. (Hey, chimp enough and you can get it down to a science.) So I rarely miss moments due to technical issues, and, if I do, I realize it nearly immediately and reshoot/reset what I can.
    To answer your question about making it look like the blur was intentional...I don't know. This image is uncropped, unsharpened, no clarity adjustments, etc...But I'm happy to hear any opinions on which direction to take it.
    I'm not new to wedding photography, but new to this forum. So, please be gentle. :p
     
  4. It's difficult to judge this image with the small post but it looks like it can be salvaged to me. You might try isolating his face and sharpening with: http://www.focusmagic.com/index.htm Really nice expression.
     
  5. I'm not a wedding photographer. I've been the groom once before though and if I were the groom in this wedding, I'd very much like to see this picture. Of course, if you decide not to include this, what the bride and groom do not know won't hurt them. That is, unless they are here in photo.net somewhere.
    The expression on him is priceless.
     
  6. Keep it. Once you've applied Focus Magic it will look fine when printed.
     
  7. In my opinion - you can fix this quickly and cheaply with Alien Skin Exposure (Focus Only) or you can leave it alone and give it to them as is...
    I'm not on the fence about this one at all... the look on his face is priceless!
    Dave
     
  8. My personal opinion is to keep it, and as is. I can see that his face isn't in the best focus, but it's very close, and I think this would be one of the ones that turns into a favorite. (from my own wedding, my fav shot of the whole day came from a disposable camera, focused on the oreo on the car window, and I was out of focus, but I don't care!!)
    I might try sharpening just a bit. My hubby might switch it to b&w. I know it's harder to pixel peep on a p.net size, but I really think it's "close enough" to be a good keeper.
     
  9. Photo (moment) is great as-is.
     
  10. Matt (my hubby, not Kuhl) says he'd selectively soften his knee, as opposed to trying to sharpen his face (otherwise, leave it alone). His opinion. We both say KEEP IT.
     
  11. Thanks to all! I am going to keep it. I love everything about it; the lighting, the expression, the composition...
    Here is the "fixed" version. Brought just enough detail back in to make it look sharper, but not overprocessed.
    00TpmY-150771584.jpg
     
  12. Content can easily trump technical perfection. This image's content is way more important than its lack of razor sharp focus.
    Certainly any family member/friend who sees this photo will love it. Every single one of them will smile... what is more important than that (besides getting paid) ? No one will say something like "Gee I can't enjoy this because his face is not razor sharp".
     
  13. "Content can easily trump technical perfection. This image's content is way more important than its lack of razor sharp focus.
    Certainly any family member/friend who sees this photo will love it. Every single one of them will smile... what is more important than that (besides getting paid) ? No one will say something like "Gee I can't enjoy this because his face is not razor sharp"......


    Off the top of my head, the only images I can think of where content easily trumped good technical exposure were taken by Robert Capa on June 6, 1944. While the client and family members may initially love an image with good expression but poor focus, it's apt to work on them later causing thoughts like: "With what we paid him, you'd think our pictures would be in focus." You can bet that if they show an OOF image to Uncle David, he's definitely gonna' say something. Focus problems will also be multiplied with enlargements and 9 times out of 10, which images get the enlargement requests? While this image can likely be salvaged, most of the time it's wiser to delete images that are not technically satisfactory.
     
  14. Hence, my trepidation...though I was able to salvage the image (thanks to the help of the forum peeps). We, as hired guns, are supposed to be able to do what Uncle Bill with his Digital Rebel and Cousin Steve with his Nikon D300 can't do.
    I know this is going to make me sound like an old codger, but I shot my first wedding when I was 15 in 1982 (I'm 42 now) and, back then, we shot medium format; had an Mamiya RB-67 and two 645's. Clients hired wedding photographers because they had better equipment than your average wedding guest, they knew photography inside and out, and they had experience, and in my case, (later down the road, a degree in Photographic Science). In my opinion, the gap is closing (or, at least it's trying to) between wedding photographers and the general DSLR-carrying public.
    So, yeah...I get a little anal about details like images being sharp. For what people are paying me to do...and the assumption is I'm hired because I can provide services and products that your average FWC (friend with camera) can't.
    I also realize, in the instance of this image in particular, I saw more fault than virtue, and being a good wedding photographer isn't JUST about producing clear images; it's capturing a visual narrative, and I have to...what's the saying? "See the forest despite the trees..."
    Anyway, just some introspection. :) Again, thanks to all who replied. This is a great forum!
     
  15. Cute shot! I'd keep it.
     
  16. Definitely a keeper. I am sure that their bias toward the child will way outweigh any of your self inflicted criticism.
     
  17. jbg

    jbg

    Wonderful shot and definitely a keeper!! Especially after you fixed it a bit.
    From my experiences these kind of shots are the ones that stands out of the pile of usual ones and bringing most joy to people watching them.
     
  18. Michael, please do not let yourself be bothered by technicaly insignificant issues. I am sure that this photo is positively unique by any standards, in spite of the fact that it is not perfect. If you have the raw (jpg will also do but at a lesser extent) image I sugest viewing it with Phase One. The first time I used it I simply did not recognize my own photos. Just be sure to remove any noise treatment and the images will be as sharp as possible. At any rate, my best photos are far from sharp. Human emotion is a strage mix of perfection and imperfection. Bottom line, pity I cannot claim I photograped it. Go on being an emotion catcher.
     
  19. Are you kidding? This shot is classic, and years from now, when the kid is all grown up, he and everyone else will smile when they see it.
    If I've learned anything about photography in the past year, it's that the average person (and that means most people in a given family) has low standards for what is a "good" or even "great" shot, and you will get much praise on this because of that, along with it actually being a great shot. Not more than one person will comment on how it isn't razor sharp, if that many.
     
  20. We, as hired guns, are supposed to be able to do what Uncle Bill with his Digital Rebel and Cousin Steve with his Nikon D300 can't do.​
    Ouch! Unfair bashing of the D300 IMO.
    Sorry to post off topic.
     
  21. Haha! Sorry, Paul. My apologies; I think the D300 is a magnificent camera. But, in the hands of (and this actually happened at a wedding in April) Aunt Selma who "used to own a Moto Photo franchise" and "knows a thing or two about photography" (probably literally one thing, possibly two) a D300 is little more than a paperweight. There is no brand of camera or amount of money you've spent on it to take the place of knowledge, experience and, well...especially knowledge of your camera. (I later saw some of her shots and...wow. No worries.)
    Anyway, I agree with you all about the pic. The more I see it, the more I love it. It was just the initial let-down of the focus issues that had me grumbling.
     
  22. The simple answer is yes, let them have it. Just say, "I shot this on the run and it's not as sharp as I'd like it to be, but I thought you'd like to have it."
     
  23. No need for apologies ;o) - I understand your point. Nice work sharpening up the shot BTW - what did you use in the end?
     
  24. Michael this is a keeper for sure. I'm curious what your choice of ammo (software) was when you sharpened it up?
    Cool catch, very creative on your part!
     
  25. Ultimately, I used Photoshop Elements to sharpen. Yes, yes, I know; it's not Photoshop. But I really enjoy it as quick editor for things beyond the normal capacity of Lightroom. Lightroom sharpens, but PE has a bit more comprehensive capabilities that distinguish between motion blur and focus blur.
    I'm not so much into plug-ins, though I realize they're useful for various things.
    "Why, back in my day..." (in my best old person voice)
     
  26. Do you show once-in-a-lifetime shots even if they're not technically correct...specifically in regards to blur/focus issues?​
    You're there to capture "moments" ... it's a keeper. Don't over-think it.
    The family will smile and enjoy.
     
  27. Honestly, when I looked at the picture initially, I had no reaction. But after reading the story behind it, I thought that this was the cutest thing and the technical issue (sharpness etc.) were almost irrevelant after that. Keeping in mind I am in the initial stages of becoming a "real photographer" and am still going through the pixel-peeping stage, I would even then say, THIS IS A KEEPER. Most of people that would see this picture would probably overlook the technical issues (which is not much to start with). Only if there was a way you could tell the story behind the picture to anyone that will see the picture because in my opinion, knowing the circumstance around the picture what really makes this picture.
     
  28. Oh, I agree 100%. I over-thought it.
    Had a wedding today and I happily approached it with a new sense of appreciation for the moments. You'd be amazed at what you can see when you're not looking at your camera all the time.
    It was very refreshing and I had a blast.
    This has been a good thread for me. After 26 years in this biz, I'm still learning and evolving.
     
  29. Michael i had a similar thing at a wedding last week, this chap would not do a thing for the group shots or anything all day, when i had got all the shots that the B&G wanted i put the 80-200 lens on the camera and got some good candid shots.
    [​IMG]
     
  30. Michael, with your subtle tweak, it looks even better (speaking web-resolutionally here ;-)) It is defintely a keeper even without that tweak IMHO.
     
  31. I had over 1800 shots for a Mardi Gras Ball and in the snapshots section there were some slightly blurry shots and also some photos where my flash didn't go off but I uploaded them anyway and I sold several of them! The clients didn't seem to mind the slight imperfections. I think this is a great looking photo and if it were my child, I'd probably buy it.
     

Share This Page