Friday, July 1, 2016

Beware Of Over Processing

This might be more of a rant than anything else, but one of my biggest best peeves is over processing.  With all kinds of great photo apps out there, especially Instagram, people are trending towards images that have had filters applied.  With all of the media we are exposed to these days, we can't help but be influenced by it... it is only natural.  I am certainly guilty of doing it with my personal photos despite everything I have learned about photography over the years.  This trend is now influencing the way professional photographers edit their work.  There are actually pre-sets (essentially filters), that a lot of photographers purchase and plug into their editing software.  I'm not referring to your basic color correcting and cropping.  I'm talking about enhanced colors, muted colors, black and white photos with no real whites or blacks and over vignetting.  I guarantee you have seen these images all over and in 10, 15, 20 years the trend will be towards something else.  If you hire a photographer who does edit their work this way, you might be left with photos that are dated once styles change.  This over processing is very stylized and fits in with a lot of what is currently popular on wedding blogs, pinterest, etc.  It also helps to trick the eye into thinking an average photo is much better than it really is.  Focus (no pun intended!) on finding a photographer who is first and foremost a great shooter... someone who really captures the essence of whatever it is they are photographing.

Before I go, I should say that I don't mean to discourage anyone if you like this sort of thing.  When I started shooting weddings, I shot film.  Because of this and my background in documentary photography, I have developed (see what I did there?!?) a strong belief that photography should be timeless and relevant for years to come.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

A Little About Me

Since I'm just starting this blog, I wanted to introduce myself to anybody who might be reading.  I'm a photographer based in Norwalk, CT.  I grew up here and went to college for photography at Rochester Institute of Technology, Fordham University at Lincoln Center.  I also took classes as The School of Visual Arts.  My first job in photography was assisting and second shooting for various photographers in the area.  I moved onto shooting for a local daily newspaper, which I loved and I still freelance for them on occasion.  I officially started by business in 2009 and here I am today.  I live in East Norwalk with my husband Oliver, my daughter Zoey and my dog Ringo.  The photo above is me with my daughter, who is now a little over a year old (I can't believe how quickly they grow up!).     

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Thoughts on Second Photographers

One question I get asked a lot is "Do I need a second photographer at my wedding?".  The answer is, it depends!  Every photographer is different.  Some photographers always work with one or more shooters and more recently I've noticed the trend is actually leaning towards three.  I tend to mostly work alone (sometimes with second photographer as needed) to be as unobtrusive as possible.  Every photographer's style is different so you have to find what works best for you.

My general rule of thumb is that I can best represent a wedding of 150 or under by myself, but beyond that I always recommend a second shooter.  The reason for this is really because with a higher number of guests, I don't want to take my time away from the bride & groom because I am worried about capturing every single person who attended.  If the photographer you are considering is like me, most photographers have a great network of shooters that they contract out for this... mine have actually become close friends!  We have a similar approach and and shooting style so our work blends together nicely.  They shoot, provide me with the files and I edit the whole wedding together to keep things as consistent as possible.

"How do I use a second photographer"?  Glad you asked!  I usually start off by figuring out how long they are needed.  I like to avoid having a second photographer with me all day because I don't want people to feel like there is a constantly a camera in their face.  It typically ends up being that the second photographer shoots the groom and his guys getting ready as well as captures reaction or balcony shots of the ceremony and the recessional.  Then we move on to the family/bridal party photos.  Depending on the timing of the day, they either come with me to capture candids OR head to the reception to take details shots.  They also capture whatever part of cocktail hour I might be missing.  Sometimes they stay longer if table shots are requested, but after cocktail hour I'm generally ok on my own.

"I want a second photographer to capture my groom's reaction when he sees me as a bride for the first time!".  The is my favorite moment to capture at a wedding!  Truth is, a second photographer won't really be the one to capture this.  The photographer you hire will position his or herself somewhere in the isle to photograph the processional.  Once the doors open they should snag a few photos of you first and then turn around to capture the groom.  Then its back to the camera being on you.  All of this happens fast, but if you are a skilled and experienced photographer it should not be a problem.  This is a beautiful moment to preserve, but DON'T hire a second photographer for this moment alone.  In almost ten years of photographing weddings, I've never missed this shot.

Some last food for thought... I never take a second photographer when I photograph the bride and groom.  I like this to be as intimate as possible so the couple feels comfortable and relaxed.  I believe the best photos are taken when this happens, but also that it is important to take a break from the craziness and enjoy being together.  In most cases it will also be the first time they get to really be alone after the ceremony.  This time is short and sacred.  Also, it is usually the only one on one time I get with a couple on their wedding day so I naturally prefer it to best represent me.

To wrap this all up,  I know a lot of people go with multiple photographers for security, which is totally understandable.  If you feel this way, just understand the vibe that multiple photographers will bring to your day and make your decision accordingly.  Don't forget to factor in the type of wedding you are having, the amount of guests and your personal style.  Whatever you do, hire a photographer that you feel confident with and trust them implicitly.  They will feed off your trust and go above and beyond for you!

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Behold... The Styled Shoot!

In the off season photographers either arrange or look to be a part of a "styled shoot".  If you aren't familiar with that a styled shoot is, it is when vendors (such as hairstylists, make up artists, clothing boutiques, florists, caterers, videographers, event planners, lighting professionals and tent companies) get together to create what is basically a mock event... usually a wedding at an absolutely beautiful location.  You've seen the images all over Style Me Pretty.  You've clicked on the photographer's link and wondered who they are and what they charge.  You've thought that you would like to have that photographer at your own wedding.

Let me say that I've never actually done a styled shoot.  In an effort to stay true to myself and what I believe photography should be, I don't think I will be participating in one any time soon.  To me, photography is about documenting and capturing moments... real moments.  These moments are what I want to show people, especially my clients.  To me it is about finding beauty, not creating it.

Don't get me wrong, I understand that creative people like to get together to collaborate, but my issue with this is that the staged work is basically being used to sell services that are not staged.  These images get posted on wedding blogs and used in portfolios and if you didn't know you would think they were real weddings.  For most vendors this is OK, because a lot of what they do happens prior to an even day, but photographers work site on scene and while the photographs are beautiful, they were taken in a controlled environment.  Everything was chosen in advance by experience professionals... right down to the timing of that gorgeous golden light.  

There are PLENTY of beautiful moments to capture at any wedding, but most people can not have images like this taken on their special day.  There are time constraints and weather related challenges and unless you want to spend hours missing your wedding day, you'd better plan to be prepared for disappointment.  So often I hear stories of people who hired photographers based on images like this (often going beyond their original photography budget), only to be disappointed.  Take this information and hire a photographer who does an incredible job capturing real moments.  Finding a photographer who is capable of making a regular moment look beautiful will be a lot more valuable to you than finding the one who had their styled images published (just wait for my future post on publishing!).  There is no harm in asking a photographer about their portfolio images.  You can even ask to see a whole wedding.  Don't be shy!  

Hello World!

Hello world!  My name Danielle and I am a professional photographer under the name Danielle Robinson Photography.  As I learn and grow in this industry, I have become so excited and so turned off by some of the trends.  As someone who genuinely loves photography for the sake of creating and documenting, I started this blog to help break down a little bit of this information for those of you who are in the market for a photographer... because lets face it, things have gotten pretty overwhelming!  If you like what you see or would like me to cover something specific, send me an  email.  I would LOVE to hear from you!