Learn to Shoot Like the Ultimate Wedding Photographer

No, not me … this guy:


Long story short: I’m offering a workshop in NYC on February 6, 2010. Click here for a PDF with more info. If you want to sign up, e-mail me here.

I have always thought that, if commercial photographers were like scientists in a lab, wedding photographers were a bit like MacGyver. (If you don’t know your ’80s television shows, let Wikipedia wow you). We often work under incredibly tight time constraints, with far less set-up and equipment than you’d want to do the job perfectly, usually working with subjects who have no experience being in front of the camera, with venue coordinators tapping their watches, Uncle Bobs getting in your way, little control over your shooting environment, etc. etc. etc. As a New York City photographer, I work with tighter time-frames than most, frequently getting five minutes or less for formal portraits, and try to bring only as much gear as I can carry up the endless stairs on a subway platform.

Whether you’re a harried professional or just an avid amateur, it’s handy to know how to maximize the tools at hand, whether they’re things you brought or whatever is lying around … after all, give MacGyver a baked potato and a ballpoint pen and he could make a nuclear submarine. Or, for example, take an overhead projector and turn it into a dramatic light source. Make small lights look like big lights. Make your DSLR look like a huge medium format camera (the “Brenizer Method” in action). Make your light, cheap tripod enable amazing feats. Give yourself as many tools as possible, so you never have to be stuck to one small set of expressions within your images.

That’s what I try and do with my work, and what my workshop on February 6 is all about. It is tied to a broader three-day meet-up with Flickr’s Starting a Wedding Photography Business Forum, for those interested in meeting other budding professionals, some of them as good as any long-experienced wedding photographer I’ve seen.

I’m very excited about bringing together the style of work that I love with my longstanding love of teaching. People have been asking me to do this for years, but even after years as a photojournalist and documentary photographer I wanted to get at least 100 weddings under my belt before I felt completely comfortable teaching others — and so I have. I know that just someone having technical skills doesn’t mean that they can actually teach them to others, so perhaps my photographic awards matter less as a reference for this workshop than my final for a curriculum course at Columbia University Teachers College, which was graded “A++! Are you SURE you don’t want to enter this profession, PLEASE?”

No, I didn’t know Columbia gave out A++’s, either.

More information will appear on this space, and more workshops will happen as I gauge interest and find the time to do them right. I am in no way slowing down in my true passion — shooting weddings — to teach, so this will be one of the very few ever on a Saturday.

More to come!