3 tips to being a better wedding photographer // Jerry Ghionis and Sal Cincotta

September 16th, 2014

3 tips to being a better wedding photographer // Jerry Ghionis and Sal Cincotta

Check out a recent conversation between myself and Jerry Ghionis about some of the challenges in the wedding industry and ways to stand out from the crowd.

In addition, Jerry is now on tour and coming to a city near you courtesy of MZed – an amazing educational organization, by the way.

If you have time and they are in a city hear you – I highly encourage you to check them out.

Use code HTWSHTR and save $10 off your registration!

3 tips to being a better wedding photographer // Jerry Ghionis and Sal Cincotta

Glamour and Glass

September 12th, 2014

Glamour and Glass

Recently while on my trip to Prague, I had an incredible opportunity to photograph some one-of-a-kind and just stunning art pieces created by Katarzyna Gemborys.

It was during one of my workshops in Prague that I ran into Karolina Skorek and she told me of a friend in Poland doing some cool things with glass. I thought nothing of it at first and asked to see some of the pictures… my first words… I HAVE TO SHOOT THIS!!

Scramble Team Cincotta. Taylor and Alissa love when I do things like this. You know, like when we are in another country, with no models, access to studios, access to hair and makeup, wardrobe, etc? And then I expect miracles. Well, I like to keep everyone on their toes, that’s for sure.

Shooting the glass was not as easy as you would think. I am not a product photographer by any stretch, there is definitely an element of that needed for something like this even though we are shooting portraits, the goal is to really showcase the art pieces. We shot on a black and white background to give diversity to the shoot, but as I am sure you will quickly see, the art pops off the black background and a more low-key shot vs a high-key shot.

We found a studio in Prague and rented it for the day. We had the art brought in from Poland and Alissa played makeup artist for the day. Thank God Taylor was willing to step up and model for us. It was a hectic day, but we got some amazing pictures from the day.

Below are the images we produced for the shoot.

Equipment Used.

Phase One IQ250
Profoto Lighting
1 – 7a 2400w pack
2 – Profoto pro heads
1 – Acute pack
1 – Acute Head

For those of you considering Medium Format, STOP considering! The folks at Capture Integration can help you figure this out. At a minimum, rent one for the week! Play with it and see what it’s all about. Ask for Dave McRitchie – he will take care of you for sure.

Special thanks to Katarzyna Gemborys for making this possible and personally driving your beautiful art from Poland at a moments notice for us to use. Check out more of her work at https://www.behance.net/kat_gem

Now, no Sal Cincotta story would be complete without the back story.

So, like all of our shoots, there tends to be chaos. I am starting to believe we love the chaos and thrive in it. First, finding a studio in another country and dealing with language barriers is never easy. This particular day, we found a model – who flaked out. We had a makeup artist who also just didn’t show up. Then while setting up lights… the worst possible thing happened. We dropped the Profoto head… POP… the flash popped. The head held up, but we had to pay for a replacement right then and there or the shoot was over – $600.

It’s always fun to look back on images from a shoot and think about the story behind the shot. Not sure which is your favorite, but mine is the full body portrait – love the perspective. But hey, I am biased.

As always, my message is about getting out there and shooting.

CLICK IMAGE TO VIEW LARGER


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Be a Better Second Shooter

September 1st, 2014

Be a Better Second Shooter

Be a Better Second Shooter

For many people, myself included, being the primary photographer on a wedding day is something of zero interest. That doesn’t discount the passion to shoot, however. For me, second shooting is the perfect outlet to be creative, be engaged and support the primary shooter, giving that person every opportunity to get the amazing shots she needs to wow her clients.

I have been training under Sal Cincotta over the past three years, and continue to learn new techniques and practices with every wedding we shoot together. We have a flawless system that we never steer away from on a wedding day. For me, there are three key points I had to learn to make sure I am the perfect second shooter for Sal: a firm understanding of the role, the types of shots needed and the gear.

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Finding the Right Clients

September 1st, 2014

Finding the Right Clients

Finding the Right Clients

Do you know who your ideal client is? Most photographers I meet have no clue who their target demographic is. It’s incredibly important that you have a handle on your client base. I’ve become really good at finding and connecting with my chosen demo.

Try this: Write down four or five descriptions of your ideal client. Now let’s look at some basic factors to consider. I’ll be curious to see if your definition of “your client” and the process behind getting to your client will change after reading this article. You might find that you have selected descriptors that are either not important or are not geared toward honing in on your client. Below are my criteria for my target demo. Just keep in mind that, while I encourage you to learn from these criteria, your demo descriptors should be unique to you and your business.

Want to read this photography training article? Log in and launch this free photography training magazine // September 2014 issue or create a free account by clicking here.

The 6 Steps of Marketing Your Weddings on Social Media

September 1st, 2014

The 6 Steps of Marketing Your Weddings on Social Media

The 6 Steps of Marketing Your Weddings on Social Media

“I have bad news: Marketing is hard, and it keeps getting harder. But there’s no time to mourn the past or to feel sorry for ourselves, and there’s no point in self-pity anyway. It is our job as modern-day storytellers to adjust to the realities of the marketplace, because it sure as hell isn’t going to slow down for us.”

–Gary Vaynerchuk

I wanted to open up with this favorite quote of mine from Gary Vaynerchuk’s book Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook because it’s so relevant to how photographers run their businesses. Gary wrote this portion of the book last because, after he finished writing the entire book and was getting ready to send it to print, Instagram added the video feature and he had to add on a whole new section on this new development. How incredibility frustrating, right? How often do we feel the same way when learning to market our photography? Especially with weddings, when the demographic we’re trying to target is the one that changes the most rapidly. If you’re like me, you’re in constant marketing flux trying to find out what works and what doesn’t so that you can put food on the table.

Want to read this photography training article? Log in and launch this free photography training magazine // September 2014 issue or create a free account by clicking here.

Building Relationships

September 1st, 2014

Building Relationships

Building Relationships

No matter what you’re shooting, if you’re building a business, it’s going to be built on relationships. Consider everything you think you know about marketing and branding, and start thinking about building relationships—with your community, clients, vendors and other photographers. The success of your business, right down to the quality of your images, is built on the strength of these relationships.

“Your customer doesn’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” –Damon Richards

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Controlling Natural Light

September 1st, 2014

Controlling Natural Light

Controlling Natural Light

As we lighting geeks often say, “light is light.” Readers of this column know I’m a big believer in the importance of knowing how to use artificial light from strobes, speedlights and constant light. But through my involvement in several online forums recently, I realized I’ve been neglecting the very important and fundamental subject of controlling and shaping natural light.

Forums are a great place to take the pulse of the community and find out what people are thinking. After posting questions on several Facebook group pages asking what lighting challenges people needed the most help with, I was surprised by how many were asking for tips and techniques to help control natural light, specifically how to shoot in harsh sunlit conditions. It dawned on me that I’d totally forgotten to address these basic natural-light skills and had instead been focusing almost entirely on strobe techniques. The other common thread was that people wanted recommendations for tools to control natural light that were portable and affordable, and that would allow them to work without assistants.

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20 Ways to Make Marketing Fun

September 1st, 2014

20 Ways to Make Marketing Fun

20 Ways to Make Marketing Fun

Marketing can be scary, but usually it’s not so much the marketing itself, but rather having no idea where to begin. I hope that a couple of these ideas will give you a good head start. Just choose two or three ideas from these 20 that feel good to you. You’ll be surprised that if you can just get the ball rolling, it will grow and grow—just like a snowball. You might even decide that marketing is fun.

These are my favorite 20 ideas for getting (and staying) in front of the right clients and keeping them coming back.

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She’s Got the Glow: Quick Bridal Retouching

September 1st, 2014

She’s Got the Glow: Quick Bridal Retouching

She’s Got the Glow: Quick Bridal Retouching 

If you shoot weddings, you get paid to make your bride look like a million bucks on her wedding day. That’s no easy task. Through all the tears, flower-girl temper tantrums, crazy parents and wedding planners, the day (and your mission) can easily become unattainable. If you aren’t blessed with the perfect wedding-day scenario, in which all aspects of the big day miraculously come together, read on for some tricks that you can do after the wedding day that will help you make your bride shine in her portraits.

I love adding a subtle glow to a bride to give her that dewy look, kind of like she’s lighted from within. Let’s use this beautiful bridal portrait that Greg Gibson took as our first example image. I’ve done some slight skin smoothing and a few touchups so we can get right to the glow effect.

Want to read this photography training article? Log in and launch this free photography training magazine // September 2014 issue or create a free account by clicking here.