It’s the biggest moment in your life. It’s the grandest event of the century! Weddings bring together friends and family from far corners of the country. I like the excitement of the day, range of emotions, and party atmosphere. As a photographer, it’s a an honor to be part of something bigger than yourself.
I’ve been to a ton of weddings in my lifetime. Here are a few tips I learned along the way:
First and foremost, make an effort to make everyone feel comfortable. If the couple or guests feel uncomfortable, it will reflect in the photos. Maintain distance, but remain part of the group.
It's important to get casual, relaxed shots, as well as posed and group shots. I usually start 2 hours before the ceremony. I meet with the bride and take photos of her getting ready. It's a good time to take pictures of the dress, shoes, and flowers. An hour before the ceremony, I meet with the groom and see what he's up to and who he's hanging out with.
Don't be afraid to get creative. Experiment, explore and have fun!
Machu Picchu is a magical place. And it’s quite expensive as well. From the town of Cusco it’s a $70 train ride to the mountain of Machu Picchu. I opted to forgo the train and try to find the legendary site myself. The word on the street was that it took 3 hours to hike into Picchu.
The street could not have been more wrong...
I started out on the train tracks near the outskirts of Ollantaytumbo. Dodging the local police, I made a run for the tracks and after a few minutes I found myself amidst a roaring river, misty mountains and an endless train track. With me I had my tripod, 3 cameras, snacks and some agua. The first few hours were quite peaceful. I couldn’t complain about the scenery and the weather was perfect. A few clouds lingered up high in the mountains and the sun popped out to say hey once in a while. Occasionally I’d come across a farm complete with crops and llamas.
After an hour of walking in the dark I came upon a burning light in the void. Upon closer inspection, I found a man shuffling about. The light illuminated a small snack shop selling soda, water and energy bars. I asked the man, ¨Cuantos mas kilometros para Machu Picchu?” He furrowed his brow and told me it was another 10-hour walk to get there. I was floored! After walking for 6 hours, the prospect of hiking through the cold, wet night was crazy.
The next 10 hours of hiking was scenic and exhausting. I thought I would never make it there. My boots that I had repaired back in Ica began to fall apart again.
What makes a headshot great? You don’t need a fancy camera to get great shots. Play around with different settings. Experiment. Try forcing your flash even outdoors to get rid of unwanted shadows on the subject’s face. Both of the photographs I’m going to discuss were taken in New York City using natural light. I opted for real backgrounds as opposed to simple white backdrops.
Headshots: Three Tips
I chose the building, located on the Lower East Side, as the backdrop in Nicky's photo because of its unique facade. I am always looking for walls with interesting lines, angles and colors because if you photograph them at a certain angle all the horizontal lines will meet at a vanishing point. The eye is funneled towards the subject and the abstract, geometric backdrop is much more interesting than a white wall. In this particular case, the light was ideal because each brick was shadowed and defined so that the surface looked particularly dynamic.
The model’s face is awash in light that is both soft and defining. See the highlight on her nose? Direct sunlight can cause harsh shadows, a squinting subject and reveal blemishes on the skin. It was close to sunset so the light was glowing gold. I held up a reflector to lighten the shadows of Nicky’s face. But the real trick was: New York is great for bouncing light off of buildings; a 200-foot reflector gives you amazingly soft, dispersed light.
I always wanted to have a photoshoot on a boat. Isn’t life better on a boat? For those of us that are “in-between boats” there’s always the Staten Island Ferry. It’s free and poses some unique traits. In this photo the background is out of focus, making Manhattan look especially soft and distant. The blue tones are cool and quiet. I was hoping for a dramatic red sunset, but didn’t get much. The monochrome background works, though. It’s almost abstract. Krissy is in the front and in focus, set apart from Manhattan in the distance. She is clearly the subject of this photograph, the contrast between her and the background making her skin, hair and eyes pop.
Q&A - Leave your questions in the comment section!
Emma from Brooklyn: Do you have any other ideas for great, free locations for shoots in New York?
Patrick: Do some footwork. Explore your neighborhood on a bike. A bike is perfect because it’s slow enough that you can see everything but fast enough that you can really cover some ground. Photography and exploration go hand in hand, don’t they? Here are some great locations I found while exploring Brooklyn and New York City: