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Stop Whining….

Image by Victoria Will, via Profoto's Blog
Image by Victoria Will, via Profoto’s Blog
How often have I heard wedding photographers proclaim “If only I could shoot a wedding in a grand location, my photos would look just as good as yours”…
I just came across a blog post over at the guys from Profoto, featuring celebrity photographer Victoria Will’s 3 minute session with Al Pacino.
Allow me to quote Victoria…

“This kind of shoots are always a challenge,” says Victoria. “They don’t tell me what kind of room we’ll shoot in, what clothes the subject will wear or how much time we’ll have. Well, they say ten minutes. They always say ten minutes. But you never get it..”

Of course, the hotel room chosen for the shoot didn’t match Pacino’s character (” I wasn’t shooting Louis XIV. I was shooting Al Pacino. You don’t put Al Pacino against a floral fabric.”)
Hmmm sounds familiar? Now, did she throw her hands in the air, took a few shots and then later complained that is was all “the location’s fault”?
Of course not: Victoria takes control! She shows up early (*hint* *hint*) and modifies the location so it fits the character of the shoot! When the subject arrives, she is ready! She doesn’t react, she is proactive!

When Al Pacino eventually entered the room, Victoria was as prepared as she could possible be, given the circumstances. The backdrop was in place, the lights were set and Victoria was good to go.

The important lessons to learn here are:

  1. Show up early, well before your bride arrives.
  2. Know what results you want! Pre-visualize! If you don’t know how you want the final image is supposed to look, how can you later complain it’s “not great”?
  3. Take control! If you don’t like something: Hide it! Hide it in shadows, cover it or move it out of the way. If you can’t hide it, crop it. If you can’t crop it, simply don’t shoot!
  4. Don’t waste your client’s time! When the bride shows up, you should be prepared and ready to go. Get the shot and get out. She is there to get married, not for you to watch fiddle with your lights…

Read the full blog post here

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