Eric and Emily : Rainy Wedding on Minnetonka

It was supposed to rain all day on Emily and Eric’s wedding.  Not that I’d ever wish rain on someone’s wedding day, but when that happens I certainly get a chance to get unique shots… and you really just have to make the best of it.  And Eric and Emily really did… Their willingness to spend a few minutes out in the rain (some of which was umbrella-less in a deluge) was awesome.  It’s not often I basically get told “whatever, I don’t care if we get wet” by a bride on her wedding day….  I’ll post more some other time, but for now this image makes me happy.

It’s better larger.  Click for a bigger version.

Minnetonka Minnesota Wedding Photograph

For you photo nerds out there: The image was taken with a D800 on a tripod, f/3.2, 70-200 f/2.8 @ 70mm and a 1/13th shutter with a remote SB800 at full power* with a wide angle diffuser on a stand behind them (triggered with a radio popper PX signal from my SB900 on camera), this got me the majority of the image which was then composited with a few other frames/images taken at longer (1 second) shutters and deeper DoF (f/11) to fill out the scene and give it some depth. Mix (screen mode FTW) in PS to taste… obviously.
*the flash duration of the SB800 at 1:1 is 1/1050th … I think this is why the rain is slightly ‘comet-looking’.  I think a higher ISO and resulting lower flash power would get a much shorter flash duration (getting to 1:4 power gets you down to 1/2700th duration) and really get the rain to ‘freeze’ better..

Justin and Richard: Wedding Photographs

Richard was a roommate of mine about a decade ago in college; this alone would have made it a special honor to be selected to photograph his and Justin’s wedding. The fact he was instrumental in the legalization of gay marriage in Minnesota was just the cherry on top. The fact Justin rocks and has a laugh that can make the whole room smile was like the extra dollop of whip cream. 😉 These two are absolutely perfect together: Schrambom!
These two had a beautiful wedding, with, no joke, the best musical experience (Justin’s specialty) I’ve ever heard at a wedding ceremony. The outpouring of support and appreciation was truly a humbling site to behold. I’m not ashamed to admit, I took a few of these photographs while looking through tears.

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Metal Wedding Albums … say what?!?

Okay, the whole album isn’t metal, but the cover is printed on metal, then bonded to a polycarbonate backer… then the whole thing gets a protective UV coating to make it last centuries. It’s pretty slick… take a look:

And of course, is still made with the top-notch quality that I talked about in my blog post about what the physical wedding albums are like a while back. Check out the thick substantive pages, tightly molded and pressed spine, and the look of a full 24×9 spread (they went with a 12×9 album and oriented it horizontally — it certainly made the full spreads dramatic). I was also really happy with the choice Susan and Troon made for the choice of leather – it worked especially well with the tan suit Troon wore (before he jumped into the kilt, of course).

Prior to this, I’d never actually gotten a full metal cover, so I was a bit excited — I’m glad they decided to give it a go, it really gave it a stylish look that worked wonderfully with the tones in the cover image they selected. I personally feel that ‘crazy different’ tends to not be quite a timeless as something with a more subtle approach. This fits in perfectly with my ethos that your wedding photographs should be modern, yet not gimmicky – they must still retain a level of timelessness. The metal cover is unique – but isn’t ‘out there’ or something you’ll shake your head about in 20 years. It offers an almost subconscious, “that’s different” feel. I might have to add this to my sample set… 😉

I’m totally famous…

I just got interviewed by Shane from PhotoProofing’s* new “Business of Photography” section. I think that officially makes me a superstar… Or the only person willing to respond. Jury’s still out … :p

Anyway, if you want to get your photo-biz talk quota for the year (and a little history on your’s truly), go do some reading

It’s actually part 1 of a 2 part series of questions he asked about me and my business over email.  It’s all based around starting a new photography business and trying to give people starting out a little learnin’.  For the budding photographer, it’s a worthwhile site with experiences and viewpoints from many different aspects of the industry.

*I do not use nor endorse photoproofings products. Wait, that sounds bad… I don’t not endorse them I’m sure they are perfectly fine… I just don’t….  bah, this is going terribly…. this newfound big head I have is not working very well…. I’m going to go on time out…


Best part of this photograph…

The really happy bride? Nope. (though that is awesome)
The maid of honor busting a gut with laughter? Nope. (try again)
The family and friends all surrounding the bride? Nope. (love is great… but that’s not it)
The motion captured – dress flying, beads floating in the air? Nope. Nope. (fun, but sorry)

Check on the floor, to the right of the girl in yellow. Yep. A dog, chillin’ on the dance floor… how cool.

What do your wedding albums look like?

One of the more common questions I get is “What are your albums like?”.  I generally respond “Awesomeness in album form”, but that’s not very descriptive; so here is an attempt to actually help answer that question properly.

When you order an album from me, we start by talking about cover styles, number of leaves, size, etc — just getting a rough idea of what my constraints are. I, typically, am then left to my own devices to design the album the best I can to tell the story of the day.  When that first draft is done I send electronic copies of the album out; in a flurry of e-mails or meetings we swap in/out images, change designs and layouts, add pages, reprocess images, etc until we have the 100% perfect album for the client.

Then I go to production and the client receives their album in a month or two.  When it arrives, the 100% custom, handcrafted album is wrapped with handmade pineapple leaf paper, recycled mulberry ribbon, and a skeleton leaf as an accent.  The ‘true’ cover is actually protected by another thin layer of paper.  Check it out:

Great – so it shows up and looks sweet, but what about the actual album?

This particular wedding album is a 9×12 25-leaf album.  The cover is made with a metallic print bonded to the back of a beveled piece of cystal acrylic.  It’s hard to convey what a metallic print looks like – it’s one of those ‘must see’ things; it works awesome on the right image.  I also do covers on metal, canvas, leather, etc.

The back and spine is a textured leather, the pages are thick and stiff, and the binding is solid yet flexible.  The whole book reeks of craftsmanship – you are getting your wedding images to last for generations – your album should too.

The album innards are made of the highest-grade photographic prints.  The image can span the ‘crease’ – allowing dramatic double-page spreads and a ton of creative design options.  (check out the crease photographs below)  The prints, effectively, ARE the pages; this ain’t your grandmas slip-in-a-bunch-of-4×6’s album.  The pages are roughly the thickness of a quarter (yes, for those of you curious, that’s a Minnesota quarter in the image below… 😉 ).

This album has one of my favorite pages ever in it.  It’s relatively common that the last song of the night everyone sways back and forth to “Piano Man”,  but those that went to St. John’s University will understand this must be done with all the males pants’ around their ankles.  So, of course, I’ve got more than my fair share of photographs of Nate’s tookus. 🙂  As a joke on the last page of the first draft, I dropped in a “The End” page…  Nate liked it and it made the final cut.  I love my clients!


Custom Stoneware

Mindy Erickson, of Custom Stoneware, contacted me to do some product photographs of her cool pottery.  She makes some really beautiful pieces that I wish had found a way into my cupboards. 😉   It was a different job for me, but it was very interesting to do; the attention to every single detail of shadow, light, reflection, and color was significantly different than my standard ‘people’ and wedding photography – where those things are important, but can’t be ‘tweaked endlessly’ and also fall second to the main goal; which, for me, is emotion, connection, and the scene as a whole.  Remove the ’emotion’ and once-in-a-lifetime-ness, and suddenly the rest of what makes an image falls into stark clarity.

Spending an hour creating only a few images was a frustrating, yet strangely peaceful, zen-like, process.