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David Johnson

The Blog of an Ottawa Photographer

Hands down, the most fun I’ve ever had at a wedding. The brides were stunning, the venue was fantastic (Strathmere Inn, North Gower)… and the rain held off until we were all inside for dinner!Photographed for UnionEleven Photographers (www.unioneleven.com)Strathmere InnOttawaAugust 31, 2014

Hands down, the most fun I’ve ever had at a wedding. The brides were stunning, the venue was fantastic (Strathmere Inn, North Gower)… and the rain held off until we were all inside for dinner!

Photographed for UnionEleven Photographers (www.unioneleven.com)

Strathmere Inn
Ottawa
August 31, 2014

Five Levels of Skill to Learn in Wedding Photography

BEGINNER: Shoot in manual mode. Learn it, I don’t care. Consistency in exposure is extremely photogenic. Also, learn how light works. No one likes ugly/intrusive shadows and under-exposed images

INTERMEDIATE: Stop taking pictures OF people. Take pictures that tell stories. Instead of taking a picture of Uncle Tom smiling, take a picture that includes both him smiling AND what he’s smiling at. Also, why are you so terrified of getting in close with your subject? Wide(r) angle lenses (24mm - 50mm) tell stories that feel like they’re “in the moment”. They give you depth and action-style storytelling. Ditch the telephoto and get RIGHT UP IN THAT ACTION. You’re not intruding (unless you’re somehow idiotically oblivious) and you’re paid to be there. (in some cases, don’t ditch the telephoto, because it’s actually very valuable if you want a single layer of depth / feel in a photo. Example: use a telephoto for family formal photos. One family, all in a straight line, with a decent background, looks infinitely better on a telephoto than it does a wide angle). ALSO, digital cameras are a blessing. If you find some look that you like, take a bazillion pictures of it before you move on / change scenery. Chances are, there will be one photo in that bazillion that will be PERFECT for everyone’s smiles, facial expressions, reactions, poses, etc…. instead of taking 3 photos of the moment and realizing that at least one person is blinking / got an insane double-chin. You can composite the image in photoshop using the ‘best of all the shots’ but what’s the point. Get it right in the camera the first time.

PRO: Negative space AND get low. Clutter shows itself pretty clearly in photos, and no one likes a picture frame / tree branch / window that somehow grows out of a subject’s head. Move around or even move your subject (ask nicely) until they’re face and gorgeously endearing smile is clear and obvious… not the ending of a maze of confusing clutter in the frame. Messy bed while the groom is getting ready? get low and shoot up. You can’t see the clutter. BOOM. Eye level shots are boring. Get in the moment and be low.

EXPERT: Off camera lighting. If you don’t do this then what are you even doing. A bounced flash is a start… but all the pictures look the same. Great for candids and dance floor, but it’s not art. It’s a photojournalistic look. Stop telling stories with pictures. Tell stories with art. Put a wireless flash / spotlight on the bride & groom on the dance floor, and trigger it. Why do all concert photos (taken even with iPhones) look amazing? Because they have spotlights on them. The light is not coming from 1/2 inch above your camera. Off camera lighting casts weird shadows though. Make sure the light is always on the subjects face straight-ish on. Then move around, find an angle that works, and paint a picture with that beautiful camera & lens of yours. ALSO, no more “that would be cool if we got a shot doing this”. DO THAT SHOT. Lie down in the mud. Hop that fence. Get that shot, instead of thinking “lol wouldn’t that be sick ah well too lazy bruh haha feel me”

NIGHTMARE MODE (God Mode Disabled): Only shoot using Instagram. Be confident enough to shoot an entire wedding using only your iPhone. Make art happen. It doesn’t do it on it’s own. The tool relies on you, not visa versa.

Today’s wedding rollout is a bit heftier than usual.

3 x rogue 45 degree grids
6 x 600 EXrt speedlights
2 x canon 5d3
1 x canon 5d2
135mm f2.0
100mm f2.8 macro
85mm f1.8
60mm f2.8 macro
50mm f1.4
40mm f2.8
35mm f1.4
24mm f1.4
16-35mm f2.8
70-200mm f2.8
Video light
3 x stands
28” Apollo softbox
60” photek softlighter

Not pictured: backup backpack
1 x canon 7D
85mm f1.8
2 x 430exII speedlights.

Shooting at the Strathmere in North Gower today with two beautiful brides on their (hopefully not rainy) wedding day. Second shooter is jamiedean5. Gonna be a good day!

Today’s wedding rollout is a bit heftier than usual.

3 x rogue 45 degree grids
6 x 600 EXrt speedlights
2 x canon 5d3
1 x canon 5d2
135mm f2.0
100mm f2.8 macro
85mm f1.8
60mm f2.8 macro
50mm f1.4
40mm f2.8
35mm f1.4
24mm f1.4
16-35mm f2.8
70-200mm f2.8
Video light
3 x stands
28” Apollo softbox
60” photek softlighter

Not pictured: backup backpack
1 x canon 7D
85mm f1.8
2 x 430exII speedlights.

Shooting at the Strathmere in North Gower today with two beautiful brides on their (hopefully not rainy) wedding day. Second shooter is jamiedean5. Gonna be a good day!

Ottawa Sunset - I’m continuously blown away by how good the iPhone’s camera is. iPhone 5 + PicTapGoOttawaAugust 28, 2014

Ottawa Sunset - I’m continuously blown away by how good the iPhone’s camera is.

iPhone 5 + PicTapGo
Ottawa
August 28, 2014

Ottawa has some nice cathedrals.Notre Dame CathedralOttawa, CanadaAugust 16, 2014Shot at a wedding for www.unioneleven.com

Ottawa has some nice cathedrals.

Notre Dame Cathedral
Ottawa, Canada
August 16, 2014

Shot at a wedding for www.unioneleven.com

Low-profile/lightweight wedding kit for today:

2x5DmarkII
6D
2x600exrt flash
430exII flash
Rogue 45deg grid
Yongnuo transmitter
70-200 2.8 IS
24-70 2.8
100 macro
17-35 2.8
35 1.4
85 1.8
135 2.0
50 1.8

Hoping the thunderstorm holds off for a few photos in the national gallery garden, but who knows. At least were shooting in the Notre Dame Cathedral!

Low-profile/lightweight wedding kit for today:

2x5DmarkII
6D
2x600exrt flash
430exII flash
Rogue 45deg grid
Yongnuo transmitter
70-200 2.8 IS
24-70 2.8
100 macro
17-35 2.8
35 1.4
85 1.8
135 2.0
50 1.8

Hoping the thunderstorm holds off for a few photos in the national gallery garden, but who knows. At least were shooting in the Notre Dame Cathedral!

Boop!OttawaApril 8, 2014

Boop!

Ottawa
April 8, 2014

Louise takes a bath

Long exposure fireworks - Refocus during exposureTutorial on the methodFull Album on FlickrSound & Light ShowLac Leamy, Gatineau, QuebecAugust 2013

Long exposure fireworks - Refocus during exposure

Tutorial on the method
Full Album on Flickr

Sound & Light Show
Lac Leamy, Gatineau, Quebec
August 2013

Painting with fireworks.

Shot taken while refocusing AND panning the camera around erratically.

Lac Leamy, Gatineau
August 2013

Top of Franey trail, Cape Breton, NS

Top of Franey trail, Cape Breton, NS

Trying to climb the side of the waterfall without slipping in is a lot harder in flip-flops!Mary Ann FallsCape Breton, Nova ScotiaJuly 9, 2014

Trying to climb the side of the waterfall without slipping in is a lot harder in flip-flops!

Mary Ann Falls
Cape Breton, Nova Scotia
July 9, 2014

Skyline TrailCape Breton, Nova ScotiaJuly 10, 2014

Skyline Trail
Cape Breton, Nova Scotia
July 10, 2014

mussicaphotographs said: What type of camera do you use to capture the pictures you have? And do you have a preference of settings as they are impeccable! Truly beautiful.

Thank you so much! I use a Canon 5D Mark 2 with an assorted set of lenses, mostly primes. As for settings, I always shoot in manual mode, so they tend to vary quite a bit!
Cheers :)

Joy & Jovi, againOttawaJuly 23, 2014

Joy & Jovi, again

Ottawa
July 23, 2014