Before we get to the “Grail”, What makes taking photos at a wedding a breeze? From a wedding photographer’s perspective, shooting with a secure hand strap with a light camera, gives freedom, fast reactions, and less kit. Right? Let us examine the pros and cons.
- Free to move around as you wish and snap away.
- React quickly to changing situations and grab that candid.
- Great for Candids! see 2.
- Every shot is different and from a slightly different perspective, more choice variation for the wedding couple.
- No tripod to tie you down, trip over or wrestle with.
- Less kit
- Every shot is from a different perspective, heights and angles change too.
- Less likely for consistency
- Faster shutter required in low light
- May need to use flash (not an issue really, fill in flash is so important) but if you are not allowed to use flash, what then?
- Maybe you’d be inclined to carry lighter, shorter focal length lenses for ease. Wider apertures too! As discussed in previous posts, short lenses give less of a “pro” look and more “budget kit” lens feel.
The last one is a huge one and one you may not have thought of when considering the Holy Grail of wedding retouching…
So let us examine the last one. Why is “free shooting” so much of an issue when editing. Here is a scenario. You are happily free shooting and you come to end of a set and about to move onto another location. You have no time to redo and you spot some issues with the photos. Perhaps there are objects you want removing or you didn’t move the vase or coffee tray from the background? But…
“It is ok that can be all be done in post-processing…”
This problem can be fixed in post processing but you’ll pay an arm and leg for it. Here is why.
When shooting a “set” of photos in one location, you are moving around, shooting portrait/landscape, changing position etc. If you had a tripod and just got the subjects to move instead, the background stays in one place. This is advantageous for you because if you make a mistake the perspective, angles and lighting all stays the same.
“so what!” you say. “you’ll still be editing them, so it makes no difference”.
It makes a huge difference. If the background remains constant by using a tripod, it can be used to a retouchers advantage and yours. Once the unwanted object has been removed, that same piece of background is now “edited” and can be used again for the next shot and remove the object again. Simple cut and paste and mask. If you move around and change the perspective, zoom the lens or change the height of the camera, the constants have been removed. The work has to be done all over again.
“The Holy Grail of wedding retouching”
If you had the hindsight to take a test shot before the wedding party were ushered into the scene even better. This is the master image. The Holy Grail of correcting any mistakes you make. If you have this, your photos can be saved so much more easily and cost-effectively.
If you miss a group shot, the master background can be used to cover over guests you don’t want in the shot and any guests you do want can be edited in with relative ease.
This is similar to shooting RAW. RAW contains all the photographic elements in algorithmic form just waiting for you to change them to what you want. If you shoot a background first, we can then edit the photo the way we want. One extra shot on the memory card could save you hours of editing.
If you wish to continue to shoot “handheld” then just bare this in mind. It could cost you dearly.