The premise of this post was to discuss shooting (and editing, and delivering, etc) my first wedding! BUT – this week turned out to be one of my busiest and most stressful weeks in a while, both with school, and photography. I had two exams, a presentation, coaching, and I was trying to fit in several workouts, studying, and get enough sleep to not die. So I thought I’d throw in a whole bunch of other shots from the past eight days, and write about what was going on. Enjoy!

So, several months ago, I was contacted by a friend/coworker of my father’s, and asked about shooting his wedding. I tentatively said yes, and over the ensuing period of time, we touched base via email, text, and phone a couple times, and finally, the day arrived, I showed up, and thought the wedding shoot actually went pretty well!

Long story short, I enjoyed it. Wedding photography has so many different and varied aspects, that pull from a variety of places and thought processes, that I immediately could see why so many photographers are so enamored with it. (It also helps that it is probably the most lucrative of all the photographic pursuits and businesses). During the ceremony, things might not be moving at a full-ahead sprint like in sports, but there is only take, so you still have to make sure your focus is tack sharp and you capture the scene. Another big thing that I thought about was flash: while yes, of course you could shoot anything without flash, but there is such an indescribable feeling that a properly-implemented flash can add in to images, that from what I understand, most reputable and truly professional wedding photographers will use it. But unlike in sports and photojournalism, wedding photographers are also expected to be highly creative and inventive, and not just shoot the typically bright, white, wedding portrait.

As with most times when I pull out my camera for a photo shoot, I was slightly unsure of where to start and what to shoot, so I started out with with some detail shots, and pushed them to black and white in Adobe Lightroom.

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The wedding itself was a fairly small, backyard deal, which was a great, lower-pressure introduction to wedding photography for me. The ceremony took less than ten minutes, and was a beautiful, heart-felt ordeal. These three shots are a great example of how things happen quickly during a wedding ceremony, and you don’t want to miss it! The first one is right after the groom put the wedding ring on her finger, and she briefly raised up her hand, and I was able to catch the new ring. The kiss, is, well, the kiss, and doesn’t happen twice. Walking down the aisle is a test of focus abilities, although, as primarily a sports photographer, I didn’t have too much of a problem here.

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Here are just a few examples of some more creative shots – like I said, unlike sports photography, wedding photography pulls from quite a few different areas, and creativity is almost a prerequisite.

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And then, of course, you’re expected to both shoot, and edit all the portraits that the family wants. While shooting the portraits, I had the unexpected and rather bumming experience of my 80-200 f/2.8 locking up on me, so I had to set it aside and shoot everything with the 35mm f/1.8. Luckily though, I was able to fiddle with it later, and I brought it back to life. But what else was I to do? I couldn’t hold up the wedding and play with it during the portraits, so I tried to play it as cooly and professionally as possible and just role with it. I also think it’s important to note that normally I don’t edit too heavily. I tweak exposure, contrast, saturation, sharpness, crop, etc. But I do know that it is pretty much expected to smooth faces, and edit blemishes in wedding photos, so I went through the portraits and ceremony shots, and smoothed most of the women’s faces, and removed any obvious blemishes from everyone’s faces.

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Portraits, details, AND creativity? A situation that I’m not too familiar with, but I think I made the most of it.

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More detail shots…

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After the groom changed clothes…with their cake!

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Landscape…well, more like BIG picture shots.

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Candid portraits of the family…

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Detail food shots…

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Here is one that I was really proud of…they had a picture frame that was strung up between the trees, and was wrapped in lights. Everyone who was there was just taking pictures in it with their phones, but I had the idea to separate the subjects from the frame, and zoom in to 200mm and f/2.8 to get the frame to blow out and have a “fairy lights” effect. I was VERY pleased with the result.

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This was the only shot I missed. The couple had said they weren’t going to feed each other, but eventually the bridesmaids convinced them to do it; I got the groom feeding the bride, but I thought they were done, and so I turned away and missed her feeding him, and had to ask them to do it one more time…but oh well, that was the only thing I missed. The rest of the evening I was SPOT. ON.

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These last two were thrown in here just to demonstrate the importance of flash…

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Then, Monday, here’s a photo that I didn’t take, but shows you how goofy I can be…I was stuck at home coaching because I couldn’t travel with the team due to a school presentation during the meet/travel time.

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From Monday through Thursday, my week was relatively photo-free (except for editing the wedding photos).

[edit]

Thursday I got the FSU Newspaper with one of my shots of the British Diving Team, AND the article I wrote…#DoubleThreat

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Friday, I got to shoot the FSU Circus’s last Halloween show. They were VERY professional and courteous. I was originally supposed to shoot Thursday Night, but through some communication error between myself and the FSView, or between the FSView and the Circus, or what. But when I showed up to shoot, they didn’t have any photo passes left. It ended up being a good thing as I had a ton of studying and work I needed to do prior to an exam on Friday. The Circus was very kind though, and asked if I could come back the next day at one of their three show times. I was thrilled to come back Friday night, and not only shoot, but watch the circus, which was something that I hadn’t seen in YEARS!

The ringmaster (Beetlejuice?) introduces the circus while looking over some “dead” performers.

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Thriller.

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I liked this – intentionally slowed down the shutter speed to show motion.

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Damn. #muscles

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The only issue I had to start, was I forgot to change the metering mode to “spot,” but after that, my ISO calmed down and everything went smoothly. The student performers were INCREDIBLE, and even though the circus show was pretty short (40>), it was very pleasant and fun.

Halloween morning, I had coaching, but we also had a party! Kids brought in decorated swim caps to be judged, and we served pancakes, and just in general, had fun! Lots of thanks to the parents who helped set it up!

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Calculus is scary……………………

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As soon as I got home from coaching, I had the brilliant idea of comparing different kid’s pancakes…

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I also swung by our downtown market area to see a local animal refuge’s “Owl-O-Ween…”

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And then…later Saturday, Halloween afternoon, I got the opportunity to shoot high school volleyball for the local paper – one of the sportswriters asked me to come shoot because the other photogs were occupied. It was the first time I had ever shot volleyball, and so the images were not exemplary, but I thought the were reasonable. I was also playing around with some ISO settings and post-processing editing.

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These shots had some cool symmetry, and I did some creative editing, they ended up being my favorite shots of the day.

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And finally, the shot that got picked, and it in the paper…

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Honestly, shooting the volleyball game made me feel a little unprofessional. I struggled to get the pictures downloaded and edited at the speed the writer wanted. But I did get my shot in the paper, and I know how/where I can improve my editing/upload speed, and I will work on it.

Finally! Last shoot of the week…(eight days…). Soccer! Shooting for the university. Day game, meant a lot of technically superior images, lots of cropping opportunities, but not necessarily a lot of “wow” shots. Out of 70+ images (from 600+) that I kept, here are my personal favorites.

It was Senior Day!!

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Lots of parents and families…oopsies I just realized that I chopped off an arm in this edit. Oh well, good thing I have a RAW file to go back and re-edit. I’m almost 100% sure that I didn’t cut it off in the original.

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I liked the background in this one…really tight crop – you can see I lost a lot of resolution.

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She didn’t play for some reason…but it’s nice to know that she was comfy.

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Perfect timing. Not an inspiring image, but foot TOUCHING the ball. BAM.

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Was THRILLED with this shot. The two or three other photographers next to me here were all shooting 200mm+ long glass, or with teleconverters. I had to zoom all the way out to 80mm here, but I got the shot and none of them did!!

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Roundhouse kick! Again, another killer crop, lost some resolution, but not too much. One of the most unique images of the day.

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Celebration shots are great, especially with emotion! And it’s always best when they face me versus other photographers…
😉 It is another heavy crop – but this one kept pretty good resolution.

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And sooooo…final image of the day, and of the post! Artsy-fartsy BW sports image.

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Hope y’all enjoyed this! Sorry for any incongruities, spelling errors, nonsensical sentences, etc. I banged this out around some studying, and late in the evening. But really, it’s all about the pictures. They look so much better on the blog than on Facebook, and make so much more sense with some captions in this linear format than smashing them all into one “catching up” album on the infamous “F B.”

Have a great week, and happy November!

Best regards, and I really hope you enjoyed it all!

-Colin

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