Light is Everything!

Wedding Photography

First Wedding of 2014

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Hitched in a Blizzard!

Well I had the first Wedding of 2014 on the 3rd of the month. It was a very special wedding because it was Parishioners of mine who asked me to take a few photos after the ceremony.  It was a very small gathering with only the couple and their witnesses present – which is just fine. Everyone thinks a wedding needs to be a big deal with metric tonnes of frills. It doesn’t. It can be a small, humble event, as this wedding was. And in all truth, it became one of my all time favourites! :cool: Hubert and Audrey were so excited to seek the Lord’s blessing on their relationship which is such a cool testament to their faith. At 80 plus most people would simply think living together would suffice. But nothing beats good ol’ fashioned marriage! And a good ol’ fashioned marriage deserves a good ol’ fashioned camera!

I brought along my old film Leica FujiFilm X100s. The photos were going to be all posed portraits in the church sanctuary and I took a couple of candid shots afterwards. But I figured I could get it all done with the Fuji and it worked great. I brought along a very simple Off Camera Flash setup of 2 stands, 2 LP180 flashes and 2 umbrellas, triggered by Pocket Wizard PlusX units. Very simple and very effective, no nonsense kit. I carried the camera, triggers, gels and flashes in a small lowepro bag about the size of a milk carton. Who doesn’t love that?! We did lots of the typical “nice” photos everyone wants, then I had my lovely wife assist me for a shot with more dramatic lighting which turned out to be my favourite of the day. I LOVE the Fuji’s black and white JPGs with the yellow filter! :)

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But I also love the Fuji’s rendition of colour. Just look at that candle smoke. The subtle blue is out of this world! It just nails colour every time, even in weird mixed light environments. Ahh, Fuji, is there anything you can’t do? ;) All the best to the latest Mr. and Mrs. Freitag! May God give you many years!

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George, Paul, John and Mike

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Way back in October I went to my cousin’s wedding in Saskatoon. My dad was the official photographer on the job. But I became a conscript shooter. No problemo. Because doing the gig got me the chance to use the epic Nikon 24mm f/1.4G. Dad’s friend Ham just happened to not be using this gem and wondered if I could put it to good use. One word: YEP. :D  It’s near optical perfection. Unbelievable glass. I still love my 16-35 f/4 for events, but this 24 rocked the set. I slapped it on the D800, did a test shot for focus and used it for all the formals and the group work. Coupled with my 70-200 f/4, it was a dynamic duo. So it was a lot of fun from a photographic stand point.

But from a family stand point, it was even better. My cousins are insane! And this party was off the hook! It was a metric tonne of fun. :cool:

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Now, as for the Beatles-esque post of the title, it never really hit me until I thought about it later. George was the bride’s last name. Paul was the groom’s last name. John was the groom’s brother. And Mike was the groom. Sorry Ringo, you just got ditched. ;) So cheers to both Chelsea and Mikey! God grant you many years! It was an honour taking your pics!

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Lewis & Clark

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I am not making this up! A true blue wedding between a Lewis and a Clark! And what an adventure! First of all, we got lost on the way to the shoot. Twice. Nearly got hung up in sinking cesspool of iniquity muddy road. No cell service. Barely made it out alive! But, in our process of getting lost we stumbled across the most incredible yard full of red leaves. We made a mental note and knew we’d be back later. And we were super glad we were. It was incredible. We had a great time photographing Lewis & Clark making history. Congrats to Justin and Kelly, you guys rock the set! :cool:

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And, as one final note at the end of the night, we got to play with sparklers. Everyone loves sparklers! ;)

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My Favourite Wedding!

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Everyone loves poses from 1985

My brother and his beautiful fiancé got hitched in Moose Jaw last weekend and I hitched ‘em!  If I open a catering and decorating business I could do everything! hehehe… ;) It was my esteemed honour to officiate at my little brother’s wedding and to do the formal photos too. I’m not gonna lie, it was as nerve wracking as it was exciting. For family, you want everything to be a notch above.  And I did my very best to pull out all the stops.  We had two great locations in Moose Jaw. Crescent Park was absolutely beautiful and we also got to do some cool shots at Sahara Spa. We were very blessed to have 2 other shooters take photos all day of the pre-service stuff, the ceremony and the reception! Thanks again to Jimmy and Ham for their great job.  All the best to Ryan and Tristin, the latest Schultzes on the block! :cool:


Nice Day for a White Wedding

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Riley and Taybrey had a beautiful day for a wedding back in August. It was a little blustery at first but the blue skies came out in full force and made for a lovely day.  Here’s a couple of my favorite shots from the day. I’m also partial to this cool bridal party shot featuring  a beautiful blue Pontiac. :cool: Total of 5 flashes. I earned the Joe McNally Jr. award for it! ;)

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The Knot is Tied in Moosomin

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We had a super great time taking some wedding pictures for a fabulous couple in Moosomin a couple of weeks ago. Normally I’m second shooting for Susan at weddings, which I love doing. But on this wedding, I was the chief cook and bottle washer.  ;) It was really cool to be on the other side of the wedding coin, and by that, I mean editing the whole project. I normally (happily) leave that for Susan to contend with. But as I edited the photos and put them all together, seeing how the second shooter shots completely compliment the first is near magical. Both angles of events are covered. What one shooter misses, the other gets. And when you put it all together, it makes for such a better end product for the clients. It’s awesome! :D

So here’s a few shots from Leighton and Brandy’s big day. I included a few BTS pictures of us in action too, just for fun. ;)


Kenosee Wedding

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We shot a wedding on Saturday up at the beautiful Kenosee lake. I was a little worried to say the least when we got there and it was down pouring with that relentless “I’m gunna wreck your outdoor wedding” kind of rain. Thankfully, it let up just in time for the ceremony that took place at the visitor centre overlooking the lake. 1931 fieldstone has that amazingly beautiful and classy look no matter what kind of weather. It truly was a glorious spot! Corey and Kelly rolled with the weather punches with poise and grace and everything turned out beautifully. And, we got to make some really cool images. :cool:

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One of the very last shots of the day was this glorious enchanted forest spot down by the lake. We were able to light it to further enhance that sweet golden light filtering through the trees. I shot this with the 70-200 f/4 at 175mm and f/4. With the compression from the longer end of the telephoto lens it really smooshes everything into a bokehlicious wonderland! :cool: All in all, we had a great time with a wonderful bride and groom in a glorious location! :D


The Jumpy Bride

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My good friend Susan Hill, South East Saskatchewan’s premier wedding photographer, has convinced me to join her in the wedding madness. I’m a self proclaimed non-wedding shooter, but I can handle it when I join the Hill Team. :) We had an awesome time in Redvers on the weekend, despite the insane weather that required some quick location juggling to get the photos we needed. Josie & Tyler are an awesome couple and they were up for pretty much anything. When we saw the trampoline, both Susan and I immediately knew that awesomeness would soon entail. Josie was a super trooper to put up with our crazy photog ideas! :cool: The whole day went extremely well, we made some super images and had a blast doing it. We got to play with some cool lighting setups and put Scott to work on the “Gandalf-Stick”.  What could be better? Oh yeah, Susan photobombing the caterer! :D


Here comes the Fuji!

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The Fuji in Action! f/2.8

Finally got a chance to use the X100s in a real world scenario. My good friend Susan from Susan Hill Photography had a wedding gig lined up and I asked if I could tag along as second shooter to really try out the Fuji. She graciously obliged. Not only was I using the X100s, I also got to try it out with my new pocket wizard plus x triggers. I’m happy to report that everything worked amazingly well. :D I confess though, that I’m naturally a telephoto-eyed shooter. So, I couldn’t leave my D800 at home. I had it with my 85mm f/1.8 on a black rapid strap as well as the Fuji. It truly was a dynamic duo as you get a pretty nice 35mm equivalent FOV from the Fuji and decent telephoto from the 85mm. And, the Fuji is so nice as a second camera because it is super lightweight. You can carry it around all day and not get played out. So all in all, it was a sweet mix. I just swapped the pocket wizard trigger back and forth from camera to camera as I needed to. I was using a simple one speedlight rig in a Photoflex octodome NXT XS on an ultralight LumoPro stand. It was a perfect on the move, versatile lighting setup. :cool:

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X100s at f 2.8

I really wanted to push the Fuji on this gig. So I tried to use it as much as possible and it didn’t disappoint. Despite being a wide-ish angle lens, you can really get some nice subject isolation with it. The colour and skin tones are amazing. I shot everything in RAW and JPEG but the images on this blog entry are all JPEG – they are simply that good. And, they tweak very nicely in post.

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D800 f/2.8

Some stuff though is just made for telephoto and I did find myself swapping in the D800. I still believe that people look best shot with telephoto focal lengths. But the variety of having both cameras and not having to change lenses (hence lugging around WAY less kit) is pure awesome.

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X100s f/2.8 1/500, 3 stop ND filter on, full Pocket Wizard Sync. Boo ya!

This wedding session was all formals with some candids with the big family at the end. We setup in the Carnduff golf course because after all, it’s May and there is still snow lying around… shudder. :roll: But, we did our best. So we found this little tranquil spot and knew we could do something with it. When I got home and looked at the file, it struck me. This image looks fake! It looks like my 1985 kindergarten portrait studio backdrop! I think it’s attributed to the being able to nuke the sun with the deadly combo of the Fuji’s built in 3 stop ND filter and higher sync speed. This one was f/2.8 at 1/500 via Pocket Wizards. Sweet sassy! I’m gonna like that capability more and more me thinks. :mrgreen:

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X100s f/11 1/30

The other killer thing with a small, lightweight camera is that you can hand hold slow shutter speed shots no problem. There were a metric tonne of kidlets around for the big family photo and I thought, lets get them buzzing around the bride. With the ND filter still on, I cranked the aperture up to f/11 and dialled the shutter down to 1/30s. The bride is sharp handheld, the kids are pleasantly blurred. My only regret is not popping a wee bit o’ flash on the bride. It would have made for a stellar image. But one gets caught up in the moment. :oops:

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All in all, it was a super fun 2 hours on duty with the Fuji. I love that it’s small, lightweight and ready for anything – like when all the kids in the family decide to start rolling down a goose crap encrusted golf course hill. :lol: It’s just there and ready to rock!


Winter Wedding

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Ah, winter. We live in it the majority of our lives in Canada. Why not get married in it?! :cool: No reason not too, other than heinous blizzards, sketchy travel conditions and . . . it’s cold. Usually. But not February 9th of this year! It was an incredibly beautiful day. Blue sky, frost covered trees, mild temperatures, no wind! I was truly blessed to be part of a winter wedding with some amazing folks from the Alida area.

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And not only was doing a winter wedding a new thing for me, so was being a second shooter. My awesome photog friend Susan Hill from Carievale found herself in a last minute health bind and needed an extra lens on the wedding. I was glad that I was available to help.

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It was a metric tonne of fun to watch how another photographer handles a wedding but also to see how truly complimentary it was to get two perspectives on the same moments and events. By both of us taking pictures, it was actually less stressful overall. I knew that whatever I wasn’t getting, Susan was, and vice versa. What the client ends up with is double coverage of the event and double the amount of stellar images from the big day. What’s not to love?! ;)

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I thoroughly enjoyed the experience – even though I don’t normally shoot weddings. ;) I got to shoot some off camera flash stuff which I love. Strobist skills came in handy as the sanctuary where we did the formals was very, very dark. Dark wood ceiling and brick walls and dark flooring chewed up the light. We through up 3 speedlights in umbrellas which made an impromptu studio. Bouncing the light would have been nicer, but it wasn’t an option. Solving problems on the fly is mandatory stuff for wedding photogs. Having another photographer there made it less scary and easy to deal with as Susan has a tremendous eye and great compositional skills. She lined the families up, got everyone ready and all I did was press the shutter.

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The snow was FEET deep back by the grotto, but we braved the soaked socks and frozen feet to get the shots. We nearly killed the poor bride and groom, but they were amazing! They went full speed ahead for all the shots and didn’t tell us to go jump in the frozen lake! :D

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We wound up the night at the reception which was one of the best I’ve ever attended. It was heartfelt and more importantly, didn’t drag on forever! ;) It was truly a blessing to help capture a young couple’s memories of the big day. Susan and I had a blast and I certainly hope to be able to work with her again on future projects. If she can put up with me… :cool:

Susan gets the Rembrandt, I'll take the split!

Susan gets the Rembrandt, I’ll take the split!


Gettin’ Hitched!

July 28th 2012. It’s the day two wonderful people made their vows and promised each other forever. It was also the day I became a wedding photographer photographer who took wedding photos. :cool: Although, with a twist. I also officiated the wedding in my Pastoral capacity. Now, if I only did the catering and the DJ stuff, I’d truly be a jack of all trades. But as it was, the service and the photos were enough. Where to begin?! I thought I would elaborate on the experiences from the day a little bit in this blog post. First of all, as I mentioned it was my first wedding for photos. I did research, as I always do. I went to Manor to scope it out prior to the big day. I’d never been there before and I needed to know some locations. Also, because the wedding was in the evening, the photos needed to be taken care of first. That meant starting at 1PM when the sun was high. And, we had to capture the critical moment of the Bride & Groom seeing each other for the first time. Normally this happens at the ceremony, but with an evening wedding, the need to still capture those moments is key. We setup a little surprise for Kayla and it worked! Lucas caught her unaware and photos captured it all.

Seeing each other for the first time!

From there, I took several more photos of the couple together in the moment. It made for some really great candids. After a few minutes or so, my awesome assistant Michelle helped do some run and gun lighting setups. Nothing fancy, just 1 light in a medium softbox. It gave us a fantastic result and allowed us to keep moving quickly getting a wide variety of shots in the short time we had.

One technique I was dying to try out was Cliff Mautner’s signature lighting setup. No flash was used in this photo. And it was taken at 1:35PM. By turning your subject so that the sun is directly behind her, it gives you an evenly lit face and front. Juxtaposed against the dark backdrop, this technique works awesome. You have to shoot in Manual Mode to get it though as your camera’s meter is next to useless for getting this photo. The camera sees all the white and all the dark and goes “AAAAAHHHHHH!”  You have to override the meter and chimp it to make sure your exposure is bang on. You could use spot metering for the face, but that’s too easy. ;) I love the result of this technique. Long lenses, wide apertures and awesome lighting. It’s the recipe for pure awesomeness. Thanks Cliff!

Cliff Mautner’s Style

Speaking of Cliff Mautner, another shot he’s famous for I also wanted to try. It’s the “elevated perspective, shallow depth of field, mad-lens compression, way cool beauty shot.” Putting the focus cursor right on Kayla’s eyelash gave me this photo. I love it! It’s nearly angelic and royal, which is exactly what bride portraits should be.

“elevated perspective, shallow depth of field, mad-lens compression, way cool beauty shot.”

After the bride and groom photos were wrapped up, we had the group shots to contend with. Fortunately for us, we lucked out with the beautiful location and the 3PM time slot. I knew that the sun would be lower by then so some nice north facing shade was perfect for getting everyone uniformly lit. Then, we used my typical group lighting setup with two speed lights & umbrellas to brighten the scene and add some much needed catchlights. I had Kayla make up a list of family shots she wanted in advance so we burned through the group shots in no time in an orderly fashion. I shot all the group stuff with my 50mm prime which ultimately looks better than a wide angle for groups.

A split second after we finished the family group shots, it started raining. Boo! Hiss! :( But, it didn’t stop us. We ducked for cover and made the most of it. Having Michelle with me was vital for getting these photos because she held the light and we burned around quickly and got all the bridal party shots we needed. I really like this technique of framing the bridal party members around each other for a portrait.

Then we finished up the bridal group photos and everyone was wiped, including me. That took us to 5PM which is what we budgeted for, allowing us a nice break to get prepared for the ceremony.

I got my thoughts together for the ceremony and gave my camera to Michelle. She nabbed some ceremony shots for me as it would have been a wee bit awkward to stop the ceremony to do photography… heheheheh…. :cool: But before we did the ceremony I also wanted a shot of the wedding bands. We framed up a macro shot, making use of what was on sight and in theme with the wedding.

After the ceremony there was the party! The rest of the night was candids of the moments that unfolded before us – which in many ways is easier. The shooting gallery is before you and the moments just happen! It’s awesome.

The couple’s first dance

Like any hall, we always are faced with the problem of poor lighting. So to combat that, I put a flash on a stick and had Michelle keep her eyes on where I was going. It worked like a charm and made for some really cool, dramatic lighting as well as just some nice, evenly lit photos too. It was great to have that control and versatility at our finger tips.

Way cool rim light!

So, all in all, it was an awesome day, albeit exhausting. I don’t think I will sign up for the “whole meal deal” again anytime soon, although not many other photographers can do your photos and your service! hehehhehe… ;) It was a really fun day and the couple was a dream to work with. I was thankful for the opportunity to try something I’ve never done before and I am very happy with the results. Thanks again to Michelle Needham for being an awesome assistant! And, all the best and God’s blessings to Lucas & Kayla! You guys are amazing! :D


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