December 18, 2014, 04:59:23 PM

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Perfect Orangutan. 

I couldn't agree more with the idea of meeting with the photog (after all, you will spend all day with them) and looking at full weddings.  Not just a best of gallery.

Also couldn't agree more, style is also of critical importance.  Don't hire someone who creates portraits if you want little people in a big frame of architecture or landscape - or vice-versa.

One other comment I'd make. We'd never hand out unedited images.  If we hand over RAW, it's only for a few select images.  I'd like to think that we're hired for our vision and people watching skills as much as our camera and photoshop skills.  That being said, we really don't like to hand out unedited images as they wouldn't conform to our entire vision.  If someone is willing to agree to this, they may not have a style or vision and you may not be able to estimate what you'll get without this grounding.

That being said, early on we did a few 'shoot and burn.'  I'd agree that for 8 hours, little to no editing, $2K is in the ballpark.

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As a small business, with a desire to take care of our client's needs, most of our work comes before or after the wedding.  We scout every location before we shoot, whether we've shot there 15 times or never.
We create a shooting plan for rain or shine. 
We take time to look at engagement photos to see what angles and poses work best. 
We scan fashion and pop culture for new image ideas.
We edit every image we hand over ourselves.  It's our business, and as a personal services business, the only one with an interest in what our clients ultimately want is us.  The photos we take are part of the story we are trying to tell.  We need to edit them to ensure that the story is seen through our eyes. 
We lay out our own books (we took the pics, and again, we know that story we were trying to tell) and our raw book materials cost nowhere near $200.  We use true archival photo paper printed by great vendors.

I'd say that we spend an average of 30-40 hours on a wedding outside of the wedding day.  We don't use second shooters, we, my partner and I, shoot every wedding, we don't split up or double book. 

I can't stress enough that as this is our business, we demand the highest quality possible from ourselves (though we do need to hire someone to help us out with re-designing our website).

As with most things in life, you get what you pay for.  For us, it's our personal attention and experience.  Especially our experience of what to do when the schedule is steamrolled.  :) 

I realize that there is no $ in this post, but it really depends on where you are.  If you want a 'celebrity' photographer in southern Cal, you're going to spend a lot more than a great / creative photog in Denver.

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In terms of my guest comment.  I was using shorthand. My mistake. When I said 'shooting' I meant 'working' the wedding.  Shooting more than a guest would normally, being in places a guest shouldn't be, i.e. middle of the aisle at the kiss, in the reception hall while we're doing details etc. . . .

To be clear, shooting two dozen weddings a year, we have couples ask if it would be ok if 'so and so' 'helped us out' or was given a chance to shoot some of the events / moments.

I work with my partner, we know each other's movements.  If a typical guest gets in our way of a shot, that's our problem.  If a 'guest' who is 'shooting' the wedding gets in my way, they have to share their photos to make sure we get 'full' coverage. 

Our other option is to say no, which, in a personal service industry, isn't our best option.  We could say no, but we have decided not to.

We wouldn't shoot with a second shooter without a contract, a guest is a different story, clearly. 

The OP should, as many others have stated, talk to the primary and decided what the Primary WANTS to do.

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I'm going to use short-hand here . . .

In Toronto, Canada, a second-shooter's images 'belong' to the hired photog.  Even if a guest has persuaded the bride and groom to let them 'shoot' the wedding (not my favourite, but it is their day, not mine), the photos of the 'guest second-shooter' 'belong' to the photog as well.

In this case, the images should be turned over to the primary photog for sale and you get to use the photos in you portfolio.

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Photography Technique / Re: Three days in The Big Apple
« on: March 08, 2014, 12:09:30 PM »
Make sure you take a spin to the Top of the Rock.  The worst thing about the Empire State Building, you can't see the Empire State Building.  The Rock gives  a great view of the State Building and the Park.

Second, take the ferry to Staten Island.  It's not so much Staten Island that you want, but the trip back from Staten Island gives an incredible view of lower Manhattan.  You also get a quick boat by of the Statue of Liberty. 

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EOS Bodies - For Stills / Re: Headed on safari, need some advice
« on: March 07, 2014, 12:53:44 PM »
Oh, sorry.  And if you get a chance to see a cheetah hunt, put the camera down.  We were given this advice, and I've never had a more awesome 10 second wildlife experience in my life and we've been lucky to see a lot.  The evolution of the cheetah into a speed machine is incredible.  You just won't believe how fast the move across a broken landscape.  If you're looking though your lens, you'll never keep up and you'll miss it. 

We hooked up with a couple of South African fellow shooting high speed camera gear I'd never seen before, they had been in the field for weeks and were still complaining that they hadn't managed to catch the 'chase' and 'knock-down'.  These guys were pros, serious pros.


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EOS Bodies - For Stills / Re: Headed on safari, need some advice
« on: March 07, 2014, 12:44:46 PM »
I didn't see it mentioned yet (I could have missed it).  I can't stress enough that you need to bring some good dust covers.  Depending on the rain (which you can't really count on day to day), it can be incredibly dusty!  Incredibly. 

As for beanbags, you don't have to bring a full bean bag, most places (camps, lodges) will have beans for you to fill up.

As for lenses, we brought 300 2.8 and tele, and 400 2.8.  In the Crater, you won't need anything more than that as most of the creatures will be close by.  In the lands between the Crater and the Serengeti, you'll be able to get close enough.  In the Serengeti proper, you'll need the longest reach you can get a hold of and carry on to airplanes to get the cats.

I've seen some commentary about shooting from the top of the land rover.  The lower you can get, the closer to eye to eye you can get will provide a much better backdrop.  If you're shooting down, the grass and dirt right behind the subjects will end up being a little too sharp and distracting.

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Here here . . .

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Video & Movie / Re: As the Photographers--What will we do?
« on: October 26, 2013, 12:30:41 PM »
Perhaps controversial based on the responses provided so far, but, sometimes taking the picture helps more.  I'm not a conflict photographer, nor am I a photojournalist in sensitive situations, but a true calling requires discipline and sacrifice.  Again, sometimes taking the photo helps more. 

Check out some of Larry Burrows' stuff - "With a brave crew in a deadly fight" or perhaps Kevin Carter's Sudan suff (which I might point out both paid the ultimate sacrifice for themselves). 

Bringing awareness CAN be more important than the isolated event.  Taking the picture can be the more human choice.

Easy to talk about what to do when I'm sitting behind my computer with a latte.

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I have to go with Helmut Newton. 

Although he worked in a feild of superstar photographers, in my opinion, he did something new.  Although he was a product of his times and his culture, he pushed the eroticism of fashion photography, and of portrait photography itself (the lense being the ultimate voyeur and all) to the fore like nobody else.  He was successful at making his art become something shocking and aggressive, yet desired by many.

Not satisfied to be simply a rebel and break the rules, he was more of a revolutionary and changed the rules for everyone.

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Animal Kingdom / Re: Wrong Photography Ethics?
« on: May 09, 2013, 02:23:59 PM »
In my humble opinion (which is often wrong - not the humble part), unless you are taking photos to go into a newspaper or photos that are intended to prove a point (i.e. polar bears swimming and drowning in iceless water etc. - no need to debate the example I chose) there is no such thing as ethics.

Any line that anyone choses to stand on is simply aesthetics and preference.  There is no absolute.  Photography and art are supposed to be interpretations of reality.  Now, if you tell me your photo is pure reality and it isn’t that’d be cheating.  If you just ask me if I like it, the fact that it is a composite is not relevant.

The idea that great photos are created in the camera is a myth.  True, some great photos are created in the camera alone.  I won’t argue that.  However, Adams was notorious for spending hours in the darkroom in order to push his negatives and prints to replicate what he saw, his interpretation of reality.  Take a look at how dark half-dome is in some of his most well-known photos.  Take a look at the cemetery stones glowing in moon rise.  Then watch a few documentaries or read a few books about him (not by him) and see what people say about the time he spent in the darkroom on those photos alone.  The idea that beauty is created when the shutter is pressed isn’t fair, nor is it reality. 

Reflecting reality the way you see it is just that, reflecting reality.  It isn’t reality in and of itself.  We don’t have to get into a philosophical debate and start citing Kant.  But art is, I assume, wildly recognized as reflecting.  You can choose to reflect it anyway you want.  Some may think that it is bad art, but it is still art.

I’m often reminded of one of my favorite long-running best-friend adversarial relationships.  Wordsworth and Coleridge.  Wordsworth represented that his poetry was written on the fly, that something struck him and this beautiful complicated language rolled out of his head and on to his page.  He even started to name poems in a way to imply this “Lines composed a few miles above Tinturn Abbey”.  Excuse my butchering of his title.  Coleridge, suffering from addiction and a raft of other social problems tried so hard to replicate Wordsworth’s easy-going technique.  He suffered so much trying to let the words just flow.  Instead he suffered, he wrote for hours on end, locked himself away for months to get the right rhyme or pattern.  He did write some of the best Romantic poetry ever written – Ancient Mariner, Kubla Kahn.  But he suffered.  Funny thing is Wordsworth was having him on.  He worked just as hard.  The poetry didn’t spill out of him, he agonized over it, just like Coleridge.  Difference is he never let on. 

Long way to say, I think that this type of mentality, that beauty just spills out, particularly when there are dozens of tools in photography, and there always has been, to manipulate the raw negative, is way-of-base.
If Adams, Man Ray and their buddies can manipulate an image to reflect the reality they wanted, then so be it.  It’s their art.  It’s still a photo.

I do think that photos will suffer when pushed to far.  I do like your image, but if you look at the fur, it just doesn’t look at good in the manipulated version.  It suffers from the electronic manipulation.  Noise, degradation.  That doesn’t mean that it can’t be art though.

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Canon General / Re: Ever borrow from CPS
« on: April 05, 2013, 02:53:04 PM »
CPS has been great.  When we went to Tanzania last year I borrowed a body when mine decided to stop working 3 days before I left.  The staff in Canada are incredible.  A body was shipped out to me sameday before I could get mine to them for repair.  I'm a platinium member, which allowed for more flexibility in shipping, but they are GREAT.

In terms of insurance, most stand alone camera policies will include "$X" for loaners and rentals.  I'd double check the amount and coverage before agreeing to be responsible for someonelse's equipment costing in the several thousands.  If you aren't fully insured, you may get a prorated amount of the loss back.

I'd also suggest checking your home insurance rider if you're going to go that way. if you use yoru equipment to make money they may use that to reject your claim if something bad happens.  They may refuse your claim if you do not own the equipment (i.e. rental or loaner).  Be very careful.  Insurers profit when they reject claims (I'm not slagging insurers, but they are business, and their goal is to make money, not keep you and your family safe as their commercials imply).

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Software & Accessories / Re: Gloves for Photography
« on: February 15, 2013, 10:17:45 AM »
We were on a trip to South Georgia and Antarctica two years back.  Despite the fact that we were so far south, it wasn't all that cold for most of the trip (right around freezing).  There were however some very serious exceptions - standing on deck could be -30 with windchill and our landing on Elephant Island was the coldest I've ever been (of course 'swimming' in a blizzard at Deception Island doesn't count because that was stupid).

For the coldest days we brought very thin liner gloves (http://www.mec.ca/AST/ShopMEC/GiftIdeas/Running/PRD~5022-373/black-diamond-welterweight-gloves-unisex.jsp), which we wore under those windweight gloves recommended by others (http://www.mec.ca/AST/ShopMEC/ClearanceItems/MensClothing/PRD~5016-588/black-diamond-windweight-liner-gloves-mens.jsp) with big lobster type mitts over top (http://www.mec.ca/AST/ShopMEC/MensClothing/GlovesMitts/Gloves/PRD~5028-499/black-diamond-guide-lobster-gloves-unisex.jsp). 

When the wind is whipping that feriousciously, it doesn't really matter what type of gloves or mitts you bring.  If you want to shoot and manipulate your camera, your fingers are going to get cold.  I'm sure there are specific products for shooting in extreme conditions just like how Dustin Hoffman worked on the Ebola virus.  But in the land of reason, my advice is layer.  I'm not a big fan of the flip top mitts when the temp drops (as many have pointed out) or there is a little water involved as they don't provide the type of wind protection that I like even when closed.  They certainly won't protect you from spray.

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