Sandra + Jon In High Park: The Preview


I’ve been shooting like a madwoman lately, which means the next stage is editing madness. I even thought I’d already posted a few preview pics of Sandra and Jon’s engagement photos in High Park the other Saturday, but it looks like it sat in the queue while my internet was down.

< tangent alert! >

I often shoot weddings of people who are on the shy side and not used to having their picture taken. (In fact, these are the kinds of people I enjoy photographing the most.) The e-shoots go a long way towards making the wedding day more relaxed. Engagement shoots are stress-free, casual, and I take this time to build a rapport with the couple and get them comfortable around the camera and me. I also talk about their wedding details and everything I learn helps me to make all those on-the-fly decisions that happen on the wedding day. It can be very fast-paced at certain points and there simply isn’t time to mull over anything. People get bored and restless if you’re not quick on your feet. While I’m shooting the engagement photos I get ideas, take mental notes, that sort of thing.

When people warn me, “I’m not photogenic!” it’s my cue. I hear it all the time, especially from women, while (most) menfolk seem to give little attention to whether they are photogenic or not. It’s my job to convince people they deserve photos of themselves that they like, and it’s my job to take that big lens and turn it into a kind of mirror… the kind which reflects them in a way that makes them say, “Hey, I look good!” I don’t rely on trickery to achieve this, it’s not smoke-and-mirrors… I do play around with settings in editing programs, but not to distort people. When people say they aren’t photogenic, it’s because they see snapshots that are taken rather than photographs that are made. There’s a difference.

One of the hardest things about portraits actually has nothing to do with working the equipment, it’s putting people into a good mood (if they’re not already there) and making them feel relaxed. I can Photoshop certain things, although I avoid it when I can, but I can’t (and won’t) Photoshop expressions. If someone is feeling stressed I have to put down the camera and work a different kind of magic to get the results. I like to make people laugh to release the tension, but this can be harder than it sounds! It’s the ultimate compliment when a shoot goes well and the couple remark that it went better than they’d expected, because it means the vibes are good — and that part has nothing to do with the equipment.

< / tangent >