WHAT MAKES ME….WELL, ME! | FOR PHOTOGRAPHERS

This is one of those posts that really forces me to look inside and articulate what makes me “me”. What images represent my brand? What’s my differentiator from other photographers? Why do I pick one image over another to be featured on the blog? How do I tell a story with a single image? I thought the best way would be for me to select a few of my favorite images (some has never been shown before) and write about why I chose each image, also how I documented each moment…..ready? Set? Go!!

I took the above image of the groom walking out of his house to see his future wife for the first time in her wedding gown. They absolutely LOVE their dog, and the dog was part of the wedding ceremony. I knew I wanted an image of the dog, but I didn’t want it to be just one of those cheesy pictures of the dog staring at the camera. For the above image, I actually crouched down so I was eye level with the dog. I knew the planter to my right would create a nice perspective and draw the viewer’s eyes towards the subject. Utilizing rule of 3rd, I framed the dog on the left 3rd of the image. Wait for it…wait for it….BANG. Got the shot.

Camera Body | Canon 5D Mark II
Lens | Canon 24-70mmL
ISO 500, 70mm, F2.8, 1/200


The groom didn’t know how to tie a tie. Seriously. So he asked for help from his bestman. I love how the bestman’s hands came from the behind and ‘framed’ the image. I purposely slowed down the shutter speed just enough to blur the motion of the hands, which gave the picture a bit more movement. To me this image shows the bond & brotherhood between the groom and his bestman, LOVE it.

Camera Body | Canon 5D Mark II
Lens | 50mmL
ISO 320, 50mm, F1.6, 1/125th


For every wedding I cover, formal portraits are just part of the day. Some photographers hate shooting formals, but I always try to switch it up and make it interesting. I still get the ‘safe’ shots…you know, with everybody standing next to each other, shaking hand, smiling..you know the drill. But I try to get creative once in a while with my formals. For this shot, I asked the groomsmen to stand about 5′-0″ behind the groom. I opened up my aperture to create the bokeh so my subject (groom) is in focus. One can still make out the outline of the groomsmen in the background, but the focus is definitely on the groom. It looks like one of those gangster movie posters!

Camera Body | Canon 5D Mark II
Lens | 50mmL
ISO 640, 50mm, F1.4, 1/2000


Not too much needs to be said about this image. Bride & groom shared their first dance, and you can tell how ecstatic the bride was. I debated about turning this into a black and white image, but I like the red in the background. I shot this with a telephoto lens. I typically try to be as discreet as possible and let the moments unfold in front of me. I cranked up the ISO to 3200, so I can maintain a 1/200 shutter speed. I have noticed that if I go any lower than that, my image starts to get too soft for my liking. Plus with my 5D Mark II you can barely notice any noise!

Camera Body | Canon 5D Mark II
Lens | 70-200m IS L
ISO 3200, 185mm, F2.8, 1/200

Probably my favorite dance shot of the bride and groom so far. They were surrounded by their friends and family, the couple embraced each other in the middle of the dance floor while everybody cheered them on. It doesn’t get much sweeter than that! I shot this with the camera over my head, which I do probably 60% of the time during reception hour. You can’t tell from the picture, but it was fairly dark in the reception hall, I cranked up my ISO to 4000 and got this shot.

Camera Body | Canon 5D Mark II
Lens | 50mmL
ISO 3400, 50mm, F1.6, 1/160th

Hands down, favorite first dance shot so far. When I frame an image, I like to have a foreground, middle ground (usually the subject) and the background. It creates depth in the image and draws the viewer into the photo. It also creates the documentary style of wedding photography that I am drawn to. For this image, I went behind the first row of seating, got down to eye level with the audience and took the shot. It really puts the viewer (that would be you) in the picture. The viewer gets a sense of what it felt like to be there at that very moment.

Camera Body | Canon 5D Mark II
Lens | 50mmL
ISO 3200, 50mm, F1.2, 1/200th

So that’s about it. Whew, that was a long post! I hope you guys find it useful. Please leave me a comment and let me know what you thought of this post! Thanks.

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