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Old October 8th, 2014, 11:58 AM   #1
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photogs kiling spontaneity, the worst kind

I like to work documentary style and try to capture the emotion as good as I can, my best trailers feature couples that are spontaneous and I hate it to stage things as they can come across as fake and I want raw emotions.

What I have noticed over the past years is that my best trailers also all include a photog that works the same way as I do, someone who lets the day unfold and assures he is captures the important moments when they happen, they are always very silent and only give instructions when absolutely needed. This does require a sixth sense to be aware of when you need to be ready and you need to scan your surroundings for any emotion or any indication something is about to happen.
I get a kick when I manage to capture facial expressions that can say so much more then words, a sigh, a certain look, a nervous tick, all very small signs that show how a person feels.

The only thing is, I can forget about all this if the couple hired a photog that is a control freak, someone who tells everyone how to stand, how to look, someone who wants to control every single part of the day because he is too lazy to be on his toes and be ready for it. Someone who walks up to the couple after every shot he did to show it to the couple on his camera's lcdscreen. Someone who constantly is babbling away giving instructions or just chatting with the family.

I absolutely hate it when they control the moment when the people trow rice at the front of the church, when they tell all to wait for his signal, then tell the couple where to stand and then start counting down, it's those kind of control freaks I am talking about, they absolutely kill any spontaneity leaving me no other option then to replace a lot of audio with music.

Does anyone here has the same issue with this and is there anything you can do about it?
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Old October 8th, 2014, 12:10 PM   #2
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Re: photogs kiling spontaneity, the worst kind

I agree though I also understand. From my point of view, casually staging a few moments is a lot less work than constantly filming *hoping* to capture a genuine moment. However, I still prefer the real thing - I just have to charge accordingly.

I understand a photog who stages things during portraits. The rest of it, though, like the rice (?!), that is a whole other thing.
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Old October 8th, 2014, 02:45 PM   #3
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Re: photogs kiling spontaneity, the worst kind

I think that is part of their job description. I saw parts of Robert Scott Lin & Roberto seminar at creative live. They both revealed that those candid money shots that they do are in fact staged.

" Girls make the bride laugh" snap a picture. " Bride try reaching for your shoes" snap a picture." dad fix your tie. Bride look at dad" snap picture. Looks candid but staged. Their reason is if you look for that money shot it will never come or it might never come.

Now showing pics to couples on your lcd screen every time you take a photo is overkill.
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Old October 8th, 2014, 09:15 PM   #4
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Re: photogs kiling spontaneity, the worst kind

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Originally Posted by Noa Put View Post
I like to work documentary style... I absolutely hate it when they control the moment when the people trow rice at the front of the church, when they tell all to wait for his signal, then tell the couple where to stand and then start counting down... they absolutely kill any spontaneity leaving me no other option then to replace a lot of audio with music. Does anyone here has the same issue with this and is there anything you can do about it?
Hey Noa, could you treat it as pure documentary style and document the photographer also? I mean, do you have to cut out the audio of them doing a countdown? What would happened if you left all that in?
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Old October 8th, 2014, 09:35 PM   #5
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Re: photogs kiling spontaneity, the worst kind

For this very reason, when I do my stedicam shoot I take the couple away from the photog and do my own thing with them but now and again I get some bright spark photog who is intent on following me so what I do then is do a 360 around the couple and then (with a HUGE sigh) tell the couple in a loud voice that the photog was in the shot so now we will have to do the entire sequence again. The couple normally glare at the photog who very quickly slinks off with his tail between his legs. Works a treat.

I really cannot see any point in shooting the photog taking stills of the bridal party in posed positions. They never appear in my videos.

There is a simple answer of course ... do the photography too. My wife does our photography while I'm on video like during the ceremony but once that's done I normally switch to my Nikons and do the photoshoot and since I'm wearing both hats it's physically impossible for the photog to walk into my shot and I decide on poses too. Best of both worlds!

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Old October 9th, 2014, 08:19 AM   #6
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Re: photogs kiling spontaneity, the worst kind

If it wasn't for the photog darting in and out of my frame, I really wouldn't have to edit anything at all, as I shoot only what is relevant and don't repeat takes. I would then just do dissolves and fades, add a song or two, make a few menu chapters and it's off to the burner. Sometimes I intentionally leave the photog in, especially in the aisle area of the ceremony, just to show the bride just what she hired and later on can show that photographer just how the back of his head looks in the video. Especially when his head covers a good part of the bride walking down with dad.
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Old October 9th, 2014, 08:34 AM   #7
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Re: photogs kiling spontaneity, the worst kind

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What would happened if you left all that in?
I often leave those things in as "part of the day" but I don't want the photog to become the centre of attention or to dictate how events unfold, for a photoshoot with the couple only I can understand but for any other event throughout the day I don't. I usually find that the more control they want the less experienced or insecure they are, or perhaps just lazy. By staging about any important part they secure that they do have the shot, well framed, sharp, good exposure and have the couple nicely smiling and looking towards the lens, to me that's as fake as it gets but some couples seem to like that approach. The real experienced ones capture real emotion and that requires a highly skilled and alert person.

3 Out of 5 trailers on my website are with the same photog, he has a high asking price and he appears a lot in my cameraview because he is all over the place, but never while trying to control a situation, he let's it happen and sees to it that he can capture that raw emotion just the way like I try to do, in that way I don't mind to see him a lot in the film because I at least can capture the mood like it is and get spontaneous reactions which makes all the difference for my film.

Last edited by Noa Put; October 9th, 2014 at 09:16 AM.
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Old October 9th, 2014, 09:05 AM   #8
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Re: photogs kiling spontaneity, the worst kind

Noa, I'm totally with you. If I'm your wedding photog you aren't getting formals. I don't do them. I shoot with long lenses and I rarely use a flash. I never show up in the wedding video.

I went to a good friends daughters wedding a couple of years ago and watched the hired photographer miss all the special moments because they were so caught up in where they were going to pose everyone. I shot the wedding as I would any other. The hired gun was on the front row darting around in front of everyone, flashes going off everywhere and I was standing near the back on a chair with a 200mm lens. At the end of the day I handed the parents a CD with all the photos on it. A few weeks later I get a note from my friend telling me how much they loved the photos I took and how much less happy they were with the photos from the hired photographer. Hm..

People love my photos because they are of the REAL people at the REAL event. I look for opportunities to show you who these people are and how they are feeling at that moment. You never get that from police lineup style formal photos that are all too common in wedding photography.

Oh.. And I hate formals. In case that wasn't already obvious. ;)
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Old October 9th, 2014, 09:49 AM   #9
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Re: photogs kiling spontaneity, the worst kind

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Does anyone here has the same issue with this and is there anything you can do about it?
Yes, we can roll with it.

Letting the day unfold means exactly that, letting it unfold and going with it whether it fits my idea of how it is "supposed" to be or not.

If the photog is posing people, that is part of the day. It might not be what I think it should be, but it is what it is.

Is there really anything that can be done? The only option I can see is we could try and control the situation and force it to be other than what it is, thereby doing what the photog is doing, trying to control things.

Some brides, and a lot of parents, want formals. So what? Who am I to dictate taste and style? The photography police?

I do what I do, the way I do it, and so does everyone else. I often don't like the way others do it but I'm happier when I accept it and roll with it.
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Old October 9th, 2014, 09:55 AM   #10
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Re: photogs kiling spontaneity, the worst kind

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I do what I do, the way I do it, and so does everyone else. I often don't like the way others do it but I'm happier when I accept it and roll with it.
That's the feeling I had when was working 9-5 in an office job :)

I know that you can't do much about it but I do get a much greater job satisfaction when I don't have to work with a photog that wants to control the world.
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Old October 9th, 2014, 10:08 AM   #11
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Re: photogs kiling spontaneity, the worst kind

Some say, Noa, that the key to happiness is acceptance and letting go. For me it has never been truer than with the wedding business.

We have so much control in most aspect of our jobs it can drive us extra nuts when things don't go our way. We are spoiled. I say let the control freaks control all they want. It only causes me frustration to fight it and complain.

I understand your complaint, but you knew the answer before you posted, you just wanted to vent, right? We all understand.
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Old October 9th, 2014, 10:12 AM   #12
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Re: photogs kiling spontaneity, the worst kind

Even though you're annoyed ...

When has a client ever got back to you saying they're not happy with the film because a shot was ruined by someone in the video? Never.

It's a part of their day ... they just want content. If you have a sufficient amount of eye candy in the film, they can accept a few hiccups along the way. That is the nature of filming live events and your contract states this.

And would you want that couples family / friends etc seeing a completely immaculate video where everything went perfectly only to have the brides cousin sister, or friend or whatever book you expecting their film to turn out the same? course not. Because it might not turn out the same ...

I say be happy, when the client gives you the thumbs up after receiving the video. Everyone is trying to carry out their job and bring home some money.
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Old October 9th, 2014, 10:22 AM   #13
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Re: photogs kiling spontaneity, the worst kind

Ofcourse I knew the answer, you can't change photogs behaviour, unfortunately.
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