It dawned on me recently that I personally surpassed 1000 weddings a while back, and that seems like quite a milestone! So it’s safe to assume I’m somewhere in the neighborhood of a million exposures at weddings alone. It’s fun to think back to how I got started. A college roommate, and high school buddy got hired by a local wedding studio and bought a Hasselblad 500CM. I was a year younger, so it only made sense that I jump into the game the next year. I may or may not have had the experience the studio thought I had when I interviewed, but I was hired anyway.I shot my first wedding within months after I shadowed the studio owner on a few weddings. I was paid $75 plus an extra $25 to cover the reception (hey that was good money at the time!). My wedding career had begun. Within a few months, I was the first photographer booked after the owner and the studio manager! I was working at a local camera store so I used my employee discount to purchase my first Hasselblad, for $1200 (camera, lens and film back). I sold the camera several years later for $1800 and continued to build my medium format system. I still have one Hasselblad 500 ELX motorized camera with an 80mm Zeiss lens that I still use on occasion, and it is always a thrill to burn a 12 exposure roll through that camera! I have a special mount that allows me to use that lens on my Nikon D700 which is totally cool.
Weddings came naturally to me, and I was determined to keep getting better at everything I did at a wedding. Back in the prehistoric days before the internet, it was quite a challenge to find examples of quality work. I attended every seminar and workshop I could find. My breakthrough was having the opportunity to spend a week studying with the legendary Monte Zucker (google that name, he’s not hard to learn about). Monte ushered in an era of elegant, high end wedding day portraits that few had ever thought of at the time. To this day, I use many of the posing foundations, and lighting patterns I learned using both natural light, and studio lighting that I always have at the ready. Just a few years later I was honored to win the top wedding album in the Minnesota Professional Photographers Association being awarded the Haga Top Wedding Album!
Today, the wedding photography world is filled with approximately 4.2 billion shooters (ok, I made that up but you get the point) that just put their cameras on program and fire away. I am one of the lucky ones that can hang right with them on all the photojournalism fun and creative shots, but am glad I have so much more to offer my wedding clients.
Experience at weddings shows more and more that the ability to quickly scout settings and locations, and immediately know how to execute a great series of images produces pure gold, everytime. I can work with soft natural light, full sun, morning, dusk, dark, inside, tungsten, reception halls… I tend to shoot my cameras on full manual settings most of the time, including all the off camera flash I use so that I can be in total control of every element in the scene.
There is a growing trend among today’s brides to bring some elegance back to the party. The time tested classic portrait series I so often use creates images that truly stand out. “What’s old, is new again” comes to mind as couples react to seeing my Monte inspired portrait work at weddings.
I’ll soon be releasing my own wedding magazine style publication that I am developing as a more complete guide for couples to use as they plan their wedding day. It’s about time I start passing on my many years of wedding day insight and tips (even some that have nothing to do with photography). The more weddings I photograph, the more excited I get for the next one. It must be all the dinners that are so appreciated after long busy days (the food always tastes amazing when you’ve been working that hard) that keeps me going.
Plenty of things have changed with weddings, but the one thing that will never change is the thrill of creating images that people look at and just say “wow”.
For more information, or to check availability call me at 651-426-0232
Picture Place Photography http://www.pictureplace.com