Thursday, April 23, 2009

Contest Wins

I'm happy to announce that I picked up two awards in the fourth quarter of the WPJA contest.

This first image was from Leilani and Pete's wedding in December. I'd been waiting for a bride with to don one of these awesome birdcage veils. They always look great in pictures, they give off a sophisticated, classic vibe and Leilani rocked it with grace.

This pic was from Heather and Ben's wedding last October. It was a moment that I grabbed as we were finishing up portraits in Old City. These guys wanted to have a casual time getting pics of the wedding party in the city so we spent an hour just walking the neighborhoods around Old City. The light was awesome and this scene just emerged. It's one of those classic examples of a situation that I just know will yield a great image if I just sit back and wait and boom, there it is. Typically a picture would put the bride as the central focus, and most of the time that's definitely the case. But what I like here is that Heather's not the immediate center of interest but is the second point of interest in the image. For me it makes the picture a bit deeper as an image to explore and find the surprise, of sorts, of the bride in the shadows of the background.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Too much is too much

Kenneth Jarecke wrote a great post on his blog about the value of authentic imagery. He's a pure photojournalist but what he says in his post has a lot of value for work in the field of wedding photography as well.

The essential point he makes is

Photography and specifically photojournalism is a language. When you de-saturate, or burn, or vignette, too much (and this is the key, all of these are legitimate tools up to a point), you've destroyed the dialog with the viewer. You've twisted the common lexicon so much that it no longer has any meaning.

The idea that pictures can't be strong enough on their own and needs stuff done in order to hold our attention is rooted in a lot of insecurity. Either the photographer themselves relies on post-processing to make the image have impact or a designer doesn't feel that they're doing enough in their contribution if they don't change or affect or alter or "dress" an image in some dramatic way. The best pictures affect us on an emotional level. They allow us to linger and contemplate the moment or beauty, or hopefully, the two together that are captured in a single, still frame.

How does this apply to wedding photography? Surely all folks looking at having a wedding photographer at their wedding wants images that show them at their absolute best. Photojournalism, in it's purest sense, isn't so concerned about being flattering as much as it is about the truth of a situation – good, bad, indifferent. But when it comes to your wedding and the photographs, I believe it's important to concentrate on what's most valuable here and that's telling the story of two people and their most important inner circle of family and friends on the happiest day of their lives. The wedding album is an intimate family document that tells us a bit about who we are at our best and who stood their next to us as we made a sacred vow.

For some, I guess, it's about glamour and fashion but I like the comforts, truth and certainty of the real world and all that comes with it. To me, those images of real love, real happiness leap head and shoulders over all the technical whiz bang of those who rely on digital "magic" to boost a mediocre image into the sphere of "cool" but that often leave the viewer cold and left knowing little about the subject of the picture. In the end, it's not so much magic but just pressing a few buttons on the keyboard.

Frankly, capturing reality ain't so easy. Anyone can stand there and snap an image of what's in front of them and show what it is that a camera does. But to interpret a scene, handle the fast moving action and technically challenging environment and create a true piece of art, a document embued with a vision and takes your breath away, takes a connection to the heart of photographer and subject.

More from Jarecke....

It's the flaws, the capturing of reality that make a picture great. No, I'm not saying you have to act like you're recording a crime scene, and I'm not saying you shouldn't decide how to interpret the color of a scene, or the contrast, or even what needs to be burned down a bit, but I am saying you've got to know when you've crossed the line.

When you cross that line, you've destroyed your ability to communicate with your audience. That's the bottom line. If you can't show people what you've seen in a truthful way, if you don't have that credibility, why pick up a camera in the first place?

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Colleen & Brian | Philadelphia Wedding Photographer

Colleen and Brian finally had their big day March 28. Last summer the three of us ran around Center City and the riverfront doing engagement pictures so I knew their wedding was going to be a highlight of the year, and I was right. These two are the kind of couple all wedding photographers dream about. They're nice as pie, easy going and a blast to be with. Even the folks at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art thought they were the nicest couple they'd ever worked with.

Colleen wanted a special moment for her and Brian to see each other for the first time. So we planned to have Colleen and her sister waiting in the courtyard of City Hall for Brian to arrive. It was a great moment for all of them, we then took some pictures in the most gorgeous light ever and then went over to PAFA for the ceremony and reception.

It's rare that I am truly excited about family portraits. Don't get me wrong, I like doing them fine and all but they tend to be speedy, efficient affairs. But the Cast Gallery at PAFA is an extraordinary place. It was designed by the original architects of the school there and has the most amazing natural light for the life models that pose for students. It has this beautiful, raw feel to it unlike any other space in the city. I can't wait for another opportunity to take advantage of that space again, soon!

Here's the slideshow of their day.


All pictures posted on this blog are protected by U.S. copyright and are the property of Scott Lewis and can not be used without written permission.

About Me

I'm a veteran photojournalist with 20 years of experience telling stories with pictures.