It’s been a while since I posted any new photos from the Sony A7r from this year’s weddings, so I figured now was as good as time as any! Well, it has been pretty slow on blog updates in general around here as the busy season for weddings never seems to end =). You can check out my initial thoughts on using the Sony A7r for wedding photography (and thoughts on the camera in general as I have had it since release) on this post, and then my follow-up post is here with more thoughts on using the camera. So here we go with a bunch of sample photographs from my 2014 wedding season so far with the Sony A7r! I’m going to lead with some photos and then have some text in between so scroll down a bit past the first block of photos if you want to read the thoughts lately on the Sony A7r and wedding photography!
Ok not wedding related, but here is our son Miles during Chinese New Year =)
These next two photos were taken with the Sony A7r and using the Metabones EF adapter to mount the Canon 85mm f/1.2 lens on it:
Back to the regular format, which is the Sony 35mm f/2.8 ZA again:
Writing up the second half of this wedding from last year! Be sure to check out part 1 of this Hindu/Ismaili fusion Indian wedding with the Mehndi and Pithi celebrations at this link! Saturday was the big day, with Shai & D’s Nikkah ceremony taking place that afternoon at the Atlanta Ismaili Jamatkhana HQ and the reception later that evening at Gallery Events Atlanta. A really cool event hall that is literally a gallery, an art gallery that is, during the week. Thanks to DJ Jaz for providing the lighting and thanks to Atlanta Photo Booth for the entertaining photo booth in the back!
After a few months of letting it sink in I figured it was time to write a quick blog post about my experience at Jeff Newsom’s Atlanta workshop ATLMGDDN which took place at the Goat Farm in April, and what I got out of it. Another mostly rambling blog post with stream of consciousness thoughts, but I think I eventually get to the point…
TL;DR Workshop Review: Lots of technical information was given, realize I already know a lot of it, but come to the conclusion that Jeff taught me an important life lesson to continue being an artist true to yourself. Worth it, but took me a while to realize what I learned.
To preface this post, their is a saying “don’t meet your heroes” and after the workshop I was a little bummed out to be honest. Jeff is a laid back guy and honestly I can see a lot of myself in him in his personality and approach to wedding photography and life in general. Some of his creative wedding photos that everyone goes crazy over, are things I already know how to do. As a class we learned a bit of everything, from philosophy to execution, to some of the “magic” in the photos. Explaining some of the tricks behind others were interesting of course and did get my wanting to try and experiment more with some things like double exposures.
The ATLMGDDN workshop itself started normal enough, with Jeff talking a lot about his family and a bit about himself as a person. Everything is laid back, informal, and intimate with the small class size of 15. Anyone that wants to ask a question is more than encouraged and their was no pressure or expectations with the group. After the long personal stories, we looked at a bunch of photos and people asked how certain ones were made, and even quickly viewed a full wedding as Jeff delivers it to a client. We talked a bit about gear, and the minimalist approach to things rather than always needing more lenses than you can use. After the first half of the day and some amazing lunch at Yeah! Burger, we did a live photo shoot. Here are a few more photos I snapped randomly with the A7r.
During the shoot again I was rather uninspired that their was nothing really earth shattering Jeff was doing during the session. I guess once you’ve been shooting weddings enough everyone does really similar things. The approach to posing for a natural feel is slightly different than I do it, and everyone has their own approach to working with clients. Their was a pre-workshop email from Jeff that asked for questions you wanted him to cover, which I responded to asking for more philosophy and the thought process behind the photos, but then Jeff admitted that he doesn’t even read the emails his wife does so I guess he never got it. He did touch on a bit about shooting for the edit of course, and you can always pick up on things seeing how someone else would handle a situation versus how you would at the exact same time, so at least their was that. The shoot was rather short and to the point, just to show us a few ways he poses and interacts and then to get some photos to work with and process in Lightroom next.
The second half of the day was on the whole more informative when Jeff talked a bit about his editing philosophy, actually seeing the processed photos, looking at the full wedding, and some more light painting experimentation. After dinner Jeff did one of his light painting Gold Records, again seeing it in person sort of takes away from it, especially if you have any interest in light painting at all and know about making orbs (ball of light) and the variations of them.
So wow, what a negative post, right? I had a wedding the next day and was a little bummed after the workshop because honestly it was a lot of stuff I already knew. I’ve had an interest in light painting forever it seems, and incorporating it into weddings was always a goal. This light painting Indian wedding photo, a wedding in 2011…
Triple exposure photo with lights? April 2012…
Long exposure wedding photos showing the stars and Milky Way? I shot this in May 2012…
Then, it was in the middle of the 4-day Indian wedding that weekend when it finally hit me. What I got out of this workshop wasn’t technical know-how, I know how to do a lot of the “tricks” that make photos from people like Jeff Newsom or Sam Hurd that everyone seems to go crazy for. No, what I got out of this workshop was the personal philosophy that Jeff has, which made the workshop 100% worth it. It’s to stop caring about what other people thing, and stay true to yourself and your art.
Those photos from above are 2011 and 2012… but when have I really stepped outside my creative comfort zone since? Sure, I’ve been refining my posing, lighting, and post processing in these past years but I had neglected to really experiment and think outside the box like I used to. I guess it’s natural evolution in the life of a wedding photographer though, and as you focus on booking weddings like crazy and inevitably start comparing yourself to other photographers and try to “keep up with the Joneses” – you sort of forget the playfulness that you had when just starting out.
So, what does it mean? What was my double rainbow epiphany? Just to keep on keepin’ on. The important lesson I learned at the workshop is really just “be true to yourself.” It’s such a cliche thing to say, but it’s really tough to actually internalize it and do it. For some people, maybe it’s reading one of those motivational articles (like this “I hate wedding photography” one last week from Zack Arias’ DEDPXL collective) or for others, like myself, maybe it’s taking that workshop you always wanted to take before you realize what you need to do. So yeah that just means making better photos, and making better art, and not worrying about the wedding industry, because like the essay says “I hate wedding photography” too, but I love weddings and brides, and grooms, and families, and celebrations, and creating lasting memories. Also I was reminded, making more time for experimentation. Sure, still do all the normal photos we always take, the awesome portraits and candid photojournalist moments, but also to remember to have fun, like to play around with light painting like I learned from the light painting master, Dennis Calvert, when did I stop having fun with that? So that’s my resolve for the second half of 2014 and going forward: make time for myself and just keep making the photos I want to make without worrying at all about what other photographers are doing and what I “should” be doing as a wedding photographer. 100+ image blog posts? Yep, I think I’ll keep doing those. Epic portraits and light painting? I think that shall continue and pick up where I left off.
Remember this? 2011…
Ok, enough rambling on this blog post. To check out the actual photos that Jeff posted from the shoot head over to his blog post here: http://www.jeffnewsom.com/imported-data/days-of-ultra-past-atlanta-ga and view the main Jeff Newsom site at http://www.jeffnewsom.com/ .
Now let’s get back out there and continue making magic.
Here is another amazing wedding from the end of 2013, Shai & D’s fusion Ismaili/Hindu wedding which took place at Mughal’s Banquet Hall and Gallery Events of Atlanta! First up was the amazing Pithi and Garba night which was held at Mughal’s Banquet Hall. First was Shai’s pithi ceremony where her family and close friends feed the bride sweets and shower her with rose petals as part of the Ismaili Muslim tradition. Next up was the Raas-Garba for D’s side where the family participates in group Gopi dances and the guests use dandia sticks in the dance. The blend of both cultures was an amazing mix of energy and love in the room, now on to the Atlanta Indian wedding photos!
In case you missed the previous blog post, click here to view the first two events the Mehndi night and Garba/Sangeet which also took place at the Westin Atlanta Perimeter hotel. After dancing the night away everyone was up bright and early for the beginning of the Hindu ceremony in the morning, which was preceded by an awesome baraat where the groom arrived on a white horse, of course!
This amazing Atlanta Indian wedding started off with a Thursday Mehndi night event at home, and then Garba/Sangeet the next day at the Westin Perimeter. Saturday was the big day with an early morning Pithi ceremony followed by the full Hindu wedding ceremony at the Westin Atlanta again. I’m splitting this blog up into two posts just because their was so much going on over the entire weekend =). Thanks to Zahra with Fusion Event Planning for all of the coordination and Jay with Indaglow Productions for keeping the party rocking all night!
First up are a few photos of Mehndi and then the Garba. A little bit of music, a little bit of food, and a lot of fun with close family and friends before this Hindu Indian wedding weekend really kicked into high gear.
This past weekend, after a full day Hindu Indian wedding on Saturday, we headed over to the West End on Sunday for the latest iteration of Atlanta Streets Alive! Conveniently located right off the MARTA station, we jumped on our local downtown train and headed 2 stops to the West End to let Miles roam the streets in peace. Betty’s Mom is also here from China for a few weeks so it was a great chance for her to get out of the house and see some other parts of Atlanta besides the downtown area! Perfect Atlanta Spring weather meant this was an amazing event, can’t wait for the next one in May!
I’ve posted some previews from the actual Vietnamese wedding ceremony before, but I never actually posted some previews from the bridal session we did with Britney & Viet at Oglethorpe University in Atlanta! Despite the rather chilly temperatures we endured that day, Britney and Viet were great sports to get back into their wedding attire for some fun outdoor photos (with no rain this time)! Check back soon for more photos from their full Vietnamese wedding ceremony and reception at Happy Valley in a future blog post!
Such a great couple! Love you guys! Thanks for braving the cold with me at Oglethorpe for these fun photos and thanks to Lien for assisting us this day =)
Another full wedding from 2013 finally being posted to the blog! At least with our son Miles’ preschool schedule and Betty’s school schedule this semester, I find myself sitting in Dunkin Donuts much more frequently. Not that I mind the coffee of course, love some DD coffee, it’s just the bright lighting from the big windows is not very conducive to editing photos on a laptop with the glare even with a matte screen. Ah well, more time for things like blogging and other tasks where seeing perfect color is not quite as important. So here is Zeenat and Ayaz’s Mehndi night from back towards the end of 2013! Another awesome couple that I love to pieces (and not just because we went up to New York City to shoot their fun engagement session around Manhattan and Brooklyn). The Mehndi night which took place at Monarch Ballroom in Atlanta kicked off the wedding festivities, which continued the next day to the Imam Zamin and Nikkah ceremonies at the Jaffari Center of Atlanta. Mehndi/Sangeet night is always super fun with dancing and performances, and Zeenat and Ayaz know how to cut up a dance floor! Thanks to Events InStyle by Beenish for the awesome job on the decorations and to DJ Bobby with XtraHotDJs for providing the musical entertainment for the evening to set the stage for this awesome couple! On to the photos!
Another fabulous outdoor Hindu Indian wedding from last Summer which took place at Lake Lanier Islands! Thanks to Ribha Events for providing the beautiful decor and Jay with Indaglow Productions for keeping the dance floor hopping all night long! These New Yorkers really know how to throw a wedding! If you remember this amazing couple, we did their engagement photo shoot in New York City in the Lower East Side and the Brooklyn Bridge where Koel & Sanjeev first met and dated. View that amazing New York City Indian Engagement Session at the following link. Now, on to the wedding at Lake Lanier!