Friday, November 29, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!! No break for me...

Happy Thanksgiving! No day off for me! For some odd reason today is a busy day for Japanese weddings. I had to shoot 2 weddings ...
First one was at 9am!! I hate the early weddings since I can never wake up..I had a nice easy couple, a nice small package... let me explain on our packages.
We have basically 3 different shoots.  A small one where they get like 40 shots, a medium where they get about 70 shots  and the large album which needs about 180 shots. Both medium and small are about the same. Just add in a few more closeups and few more group shots. And do a lot of the shots horizontally and vertically! The large albums are the ones that run you out of time quickly! To get the 180 shots you have to shoot almost 1,000!! try do that in an hour!!

Back to my 9am wedding.. easy couple a bit older then usual. Usually my couples are in their 20s prob average like upper? I get some young, some super young and older ones too. This couple was prob in early 40s. Nice couple but once we got to the beach, the bride stopped smiling and would just smile with mouth closed. Think the beach was too bright and it was hot! Only thing was she had one crooked tooth that showed when she smiled and you could only see that...

Long ago when I shot weddings, lots of the Japan girls had really crooked teeth. But it was cute to me so I never noticed by more lately, they've been going American? You know, straight white teeth. I have lots with braces etc.. And for some reason, they've been growing taller too. I used to tower over them and would have to bend down to keep my camera at chest level but now I have a lot that are almost as tall as me!! Oops, forgot to mention but I'm about 6ft with my shoes on. I keep telling everyone its because McDonalds came to Japan!!

My second wedding was at 2pm so I had a nice break to watch a little football before the wedding. Only thing about watching tv between weddings is you get into the show and right near the ending, the couple arrives!!! I missed the ending of so many shows, I don't bother watching tv at the church any more!

Second couple arrives and I notice my bride is pregnant. Usually on our fax it will be on there so I know that before hand because sometimes (most times) you cant tell at all. Japanese girls don't seem to show as much as American girls... This one was probably 7 months or so since you could see a bit of the tummy.  Im glad she didnt have morning sickness!! I've had sick brides before and its NO fun!!

I'll tell you about one of my worse ones. Bride arrived and wasn't feeling good. She had to go bathroom to throw up. Then we went outside to shoot a few shots before wedding and she threw up. Then during the wedding we had a garbage can just in case. During the after wedding shots she threw up!!  We had to get a beach photo session and I wasn't looking forward to it! She brought a bag just in case and .. yup she threw up. I had to shoot the pictures so I had to do something with the bag. I couldn't throw it away since she might need it so I had to tuck it in my back pocket and shoot!!! I was hoping I didn't get it on my hands or clothes!!!

Back to my 2pm wedding.. Everything went perfectly and during the outside shots, we always do a carry shot ie groom carrying the bride. So, since she was pregnant I asked the coordinator if they wanted to do a carry shot. Coordinator said NO. I said ask them because its a required shot. She still didnt want to ask till I told her again! Some of the coordinators drive me nuts lol And for some odd reason, they think if the groom carries the bride, it will somehow danger the baby or maybe squeeze the baby out? I have no clue so its always a battle to get them to just ask!!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

November 26 wedding

I'll start this off with wedding I shot yesterday. Nice couple with cute bride and really big groom! Usually the grooms from Japan aren't big guys. Don't know if its the diet or just heredity but most are shorter then me and weigh average. This guy was a big guy! My height but like upper 200s?  Pretty easy to shoot couple! Lucky me! Other day I had a bride who wouldnt stop blinking or looking at ground or looking at family! I swear she would look everywhere but at me!! I'd stop shooting and let the family take some shots and she was perfect!!  The groom just wouldnt look at me either or was blinking too!! They were the photographer's nightmare!! I'd shoot the same shot over and over telling them stop blinking, look at me, stop blinking LOOK AT ME!! lol Edit time Id look at first shot, bride blink. second shot, groom looking away, but bride open eyes! Next shot bride blink. forth shot perfect but my flash didn't fire since I was rapid firing..... Drove me crazzyyyy so when I got a nice easy couple, it was like a vacation!!

Only big problem was it was hot and humid!! I was sweating tons and my poor groom was dying! He was almost panting? wheezing? I kept asking are you okay and he said "its hot" lol...I told him you think this is hot? wait till we go to the beach !!!

Beach wasn't that bad luckily and it was a beautiful day.. Fun part was doing a sit down shot and the groom couldn't do that pose because his pants too tight so couldn't bend! Got lucky and the beach wasn't covered in broken sticks and seaweed. High tide and the beach looks like a trash heap with junk all over it.. The company I shoot for don't want any of that in the pictures! But I dont shoot that, they don't get any beach shots!!.. oh well.....

sorry no pictures (yet), the company I shoot for owns the pictures so I can't post them up. I'll try photoshop them so you can't tell who's in them and add a few...

10,000+ weddings and still going..

I'm a wedding photographer.... not your run of the mill, weekend wedding with 100s of guests, maid of honors, best men etc!! No way... I'm one of those photographer adrenaline junkies who shoot the hardest weddings known to mankind!! The ONE HOUR WEDDING!!!

What is a "one hour wedding"? Hmm i guess its a wedding that lasts for one hour? Not really, but its like the couple books a 1pm wedding. the will arrive at 12:15 or so and we start shooting. the actual wedding starts at 1pm (if we are on time). Ceremony finishes at about 1:20, then we shoot formals  and rest of the inside shots. Them from 1:30 till 2pm we have to finish the rest of the outside shots and send the couple on their way..

How did I get started shooting them?
Long ago my friend needed help with his night job at a photo lab. Since I didn't do anything at nights and the pay was good, I went for it.What we printed was group shots of Japanese tourist at the Pali lookout (hundreds of them every day!!) and we also printed up wedding pictures from Japanese weddings.
All the pictures had to be done that night since they had to deliver them that same night. Back then all the group shots were shot with 6x7 film (medium format) and most of the weddings were shot 6x6 (Hasselblads most popular camera). We had to develop the film, then print them up so the photographers could make their albums to deliver same day and the group shots had to be put in the folders and delivered to the tour groups.
After a few months of doing this, I was asked if I wanted to shoot the weddings since it was getting busier. I was like wow, thats scary but I'll go for it. Sounds like fun too!!
I got a nice shiny new Hasselblad 500cm with 220 back, 80mm lens and metz 45 flash. I was taught how to use the camera, what shots to get and errr I was shoved into shooting a wedding!!

Back then you had to be a 100% perfect professional photographer to do them!! We were shooting a 20 page album with one roll of 220 film! Thats 24 shots to get 20 for the album!! We had to shoot formal couple shots 2x and group shot 2x so you could make 2 mistakes and thats it!! No closed eyes, no guest looking away, no bad exposures, no camera failures, NO mistakes!!!  Thats how you learn to really pay attention to everything. Did that way for years and years until one day, one of our photographers shot a wedding and i swear he had like 17 closed eye shots out of the 24 !! So, from then on we shot a 220 roll and a 120 roll making it 36 shots!! I felt like "its cant get any easier then this!!"

Then the gods of photography decided that 35 mm was better then medium format!! I hated the change. The Nikon I shot with was just too small and light!! I felt like I was holding a feather lol. I used an F5 with 24-105mm lens. I still used my Metz flash since I was used to manual flash. Using autofocus was strange!! Just aim and wow, your picture is in focus!!  But, no matter what they said, I still felt the big negatives just had better color, focus was way sharper and you just looked more professional holding that big old camera!! Oh well......

Move ahead a few years and oh oh, now they thing that digital is better then 35mm!!! Again I don't believe it!! I thought digital is totally ripping off the customers since the output totally sucked. Not sharp, no contrast, color was horrible.. not one thing good about it except you didnt have to develop the film anymore.. Only way to "fix" the pictures was now we had to become professional photo editors! Photoshopping all night long trying to make those ugly digital images look like they were supposed to....

Okay, thats getting a bit long so I'll end here and I'll in the future try tell you what happens on my daily grind shooting my 10,000 ++++ weddings!! Oh, about that, A few years ago I was doing taxes and I had out my old schedule books and just for fun, I wanted to see how many weddings I shot over the years. Adding them up I came out to over 10,000 weddings. Thats a lot of couples.. Always wonder how many are still married, have kids, liked my pictures etc.....