by Douglas Gordon Published 01/02/2009
I would like to think everyone at the Society of Wedding and Portrait Photographers for another wonderful convention. It's always exciting to see what our colleagues "across the pond" are up to. I came home feeling inspired and reinvested in our work and I hope you feel the same way.
I think it's so important to step back from your own business every so often and see what everyone else is doing differently. It's so easy to get wrapped up in your own affairs that you become stuck in a rut that you don't even realize that you have created. Travel itself is a great way to break out of that kind of mindset. Seeing new places and breaking out of your day to day routine opens up your mind to new trains of thought. Talking to other professionals from different market regions can be a real eye opener as well. You've got to get out there and see what other people are doing and see if you can be the one to introduce a new idea to your region. Being the first to offer an exciting new product or service in your area could make all the difference in this struggling (but hopefully improving) economy.
I had the pleasure of receiving a lot of wonderful feedback for the new posing educational products that I debuted this year. The All Star Core Deck (a collection of my favorite images from the past year, complete with all the information on how to duplicate it, from choosing the location, to the posing, to the metadata, and editing) and the new Bar/Bat Mitzvah Core Deck (including all the poses that I do on a Bar/Bat Mitzvah and how to do them) were met with rave reviews. The newest edition to my posing DVD series, Bride and Groom Flow Posing 2009 was, as predicted, a big hit as well. By far our biggest success, however, was my baby, my pride and joy- The Business Game Plan. This new CD is the culmination of over 20 years experience in the business of wedding and portrait photography. It includes every contract, form, and marketing tool that I use to run my studio, all in formats that can be altered to fit your needs (your logo, studio name, pricing, etc.). The Business Game Plan is my key to running a successful studio and I consider it an indispensable tool for the professional photographer.
All that said, kudos to those of you who made it to London in January. It was great to see you again! I hope you had as much fun as I did. Remember I will be at the SWPP booth in Birmingham at Focus. To everyone else, I hope I see you next year at the SWPP Convention 2010!
It all begins with Personality
I have been fortunate enough to be photographing weddings since the young age of 16. As a second generation photographer, I learned the art of patience and control. My father's first rule was simple; always keep control. Never ever stop talking,. He use to tell me never give the subject a chance to lose there focus. If I stop talking, they're going to lose interest. He is so right I have spent the last 18 years following that same principal.
Wedding photography is a show in itself. I have learned that being a photographer puts me on stage always. If the client likes me, they will love my photos. My main goal at a wedding is to impact each and every person I come into contact with. I try to do something to make them remember me. I would definitely classify myself as highly energetic and motivational. With that personality trait I find it very easy to get my clients to push the envelope beyond anything they ever expected. I believe in the old fashioned shock value. Some people will love what I do; some will be indifferent. The question I ask myself always is; will they remember me?
If you didn't figure it out already, I love posing people. I love telling the story. I love making people feel special. The best thing I get to do is make people look better than they have ever looked in there life. I tell them before I ever press the shutter that I am going to put them in the most uncomfortable positions they have ever been in, however they are going to look better than ever. As you probably already know they don't mind.
With my posing plan in place, I have a specific lighting plan. My lighting approach is simple, I focus all my attention on the subject. I try to always shoot from a dark to light area. I love brightly lit warm photos. With an overexposed background and a properly exposed subject ; it gives the photo that warm oil painting look. This look usually cause a beautiful wrap around light glow effect. I am generally shooting with a 70-200 mm lens set for aperture priority 2.8 I use the shallow depth field as a sought of skin softener. The main thing that separates my lighting style metering. I am using a center weighted spot meter that I lock the exposure in the shadowed area under the subject's eye.
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