You’ve probably read and heard it multiple times, but one of the most important success tips for aspiring wedding photographers is to seek the guidance of a mentor. Because of PhotographyTalk’s growing reputation in the digital photography world, it has been able to communicate and establish relationships with some of the world’s finest wedding photographers.
PhotographyTalk is eager to share their insights with you, to inspire and drive you towards your goal. Once you have a better understanding of the thinking and perspective of these highly successful wedding photographers, you’ll be more likely to find the right mentor for you, locally.
Jasmine Star: Within one year of becoming a wedding photographer, American Photo magazine voted Jasmine one of the top 10 wedding photographers. During 2010, Photo District News named her as one of the top 10 most influential photographers.
Jasmine’s photography style is best described by her concept, Life in the in Between. For her, there is a moment in time that is neither prompted by what she asks a couple to do nor what is happening in real time. Her best photos occur between, when a couple is briefly uninhibited and not aware of the camera. As she says, “It’s right before the kiss and right after.”
In terms of equipment and technique, Jasmine uses a Canon 5D Mark II and shoots mostly with a 50mm f/1.2, 85mm f/1.2 and 24mm f/1.4. She doesn’t use a flash or any lighting equipment until it is absolutely necessary, during an evening reception, for example. She prefers natural light so much that it isn’t unusual for her to push her images to ISO 2,500–6,400. She also believes in cropping images as they are shot. Although Photoshop is a useful tool, she relies on it sparingly. She also likes to photograph beautiful couples in contrasting locations, such as an alley or industrial setting.
Jeff Ascough: Popular Photography named Jeff one of the top 10 wedding photographers in the world during the first year of the award (2007). He has also earned similar honors from the BBC and international publications. Ascough’s approach to wedding photography has led to him being recognized as the first photographer in the U.K. to do weddings in a photojournalistic style.
Ascough works from the simple premise that “the picture isn’t a moment—it is a photographer’s idea of what that moment should be.” He doesn’t plan “moments” with the bridge and groom to shoot. Instead, he wants to document what they do without his interference. Jeff shoots with fast lenses and uses available light. He hasn’t brought lighting equipment to a wedding since 2008! He uses either a 24mm or 50mm fixed focal length lens. He advises that any new wedding photographer only needs “a couple of 5DMKIIs, a 24–70L and a fast prime.”
Chadwick and Camille Bensler: American Photo selected this professional couple of Vancouver, BC as one of the Top 10 Wedding Photographers of 2011 because of the beauty of their images.
From a strictly commercial perspective, they don’t shoot every wedding opportunity that comes their way. They are more interested in finding the right fit with the right couple. Without a natural and personal connection with each client, the Benslers know they couldn’t produce their best work. Building strong trust with the couple is everything to Chadwick and Camille. They don’t want their clients just to have photos that record their special day’s activities, but images that remind them of how they felt when the photo was captured.
Marcus Bell: American Photo named Marcus one of the Top 10 Wedding Photographers for 2011. He has developed a style that doesn’t conform to the standard wedding photography methods. Instead, it’s an amalgamation of his passion and techniques for landscape and street images with wedding photography.
As with landscape and street photography, where he is shooting a wedding isn’t as important as the elements he finds there, the primary ones being the wedded couple. That is why he uses the same mindset at weddings as he does when trekking through a wild landscape or walking the sometime equally “wild” streets of a city. Sounds and voices, the words people say, are not where he finds his creativity, but in the elements of shape, color, texture, movement, etc. of the people: the couple, wedding party, family members and guests. His synergistic style was so different that maybe his greatest accolade is to have the photography world define his work with a word that describes no other photographer…weddingscapes.
Nate and Jaclyn Keiser: American Photo named Nate and Jaclyn as one of the 10 best wedding photographers for 2011, based on their ability to mix a nitty, gritty urban vibe with wedding photography. These two genres couldn’t be farther apart. One essentially shows the death of infrastructure while the other celebrates one of the major symbols of life and renewal. The Keisers, however, are able to bend the basics into odd shapes and angles that have resulted in a style unlike any other wedding photographers.
The Keisers look for the “fun in formal” before the obvious romantic relationship. In a sense, they force their clients to climb off the top of the wedding cake and be themselves, expressing honest, universal emotions that have nothing to do with being dressed for a wedding. Nate and Jaclyn often surprise couples by requesting considerably more portrait time than many wedding photographers. Removing the couple from the stress and requirements of their wedding day schedule reveals more about them as people and their relationship.
Photo copyright ny Photography member Amanda Wilson
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