Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Wedding Photography and the importance of little things...

I'm still catching up from the three Tampa weddings that I photographed on the last month. I wanted to talk a little about jewelry and shoes because I was reminded of just how important these pictures can be to many brides.

Scott and Katie were married at the Bayanihan Cultural Center. I've shot there many times and it's always a pleasure because there's no travel involved. We photographers love it when everything takes place in one spot because we only have to unpack our equipment once.

Katie had mentioned that she wanted a picture of her shoes and jewelry but I didn't realize how important it was to her until I arrived and she handed me the shoes the minute I walked in the door. Ten seconds later I was on the floor with a long lens getting this shot:

I think that most people don't really realize all the "atmosphere" shots that a wedding photographer has to take. What's even less widely known is how difficult these shots can be to do well. It's easy to take a picture of a cake but not so easy to take a great picture of a cake. For the shot below I had to use a second flash on a tripod with a radio remote because the cake was in a dark area with no walls nearby (except the one behind the cake) for me to bounce my on-camera flash. It may look like a simple picture but it's actually quite involved.

Another good example of a shot that can involve more work than is apparent is the ring shot. You can't just toss the rings on a table and snap a picture. First you have to find a good location and figure out a creative way to show the rings. Then you have to get the rings to sit correctly (this can be a fine balancing act). Then, you have to light it or, in some cases, use a tripod so you can shoot a long exposure using available light.

On the surface these pictures may not seem that important but they are, especially if you are designing large, custom wedding albums. You can't devote a great deal of time to taking fine-art style wedding pictures only to surround them with poor quality "atmosphere" pictures. My goal is always to make each shot magazine quality. That way, the entire album is raised to the level of art.

For more wedding photography shot in St. Petersburg visit my website.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

How to take better pictures of children

I've already blogged about composition and how it can help you take better pictures. Now I want to talk about "angle of attack," which sounds like something a fighter pilot would say but can be roughly translated to mean "where do I stand."

Once again I will be using my own daughter for this little demonstration as I feel that one should never miss an opportunity to exploit one's own family. Also, one should never miss an opportunity to refer to oneself as, "oneself." It just sounds cool. But I digress...

In order to prove my point, I have taken a few snapshots with my Canon 40D. I set the camera on "Auto" (I can hear the collective gasp from any pro's who are reading this) and I used the built-in flash (What! Are you insane!). Also, I haven't retouched the pictures at all except to watermark them (at this point, I'm only talking to the amaeturs because the pro's have passed out from disbelief). My point is that I'm just taking snapshots that anyone could take with any camera.

So, armed with my camera, I walked into my daughter's room this morning to find her busy preparing breakfast. I took a few steps back and snapped a picture:

Not a bad picture but it could be better. With kids the thing you need to remember is that their world looks very different from ours. When you stand above them, they look small and well, childlike. This angle of attack can be fine but sometimes it's more interesting to see the world the way they do. So, I dropped to the floor and took another picture:

Look at the relationship between the subject and the kitchen. In the first picture she is a small person in a big world and now she is suddenly a commanding presence. The kitchen is much smaller in relation to the subject. She has gained power in the image. Instead of being a small part of the scene, she is the driving force. Also, in this shot you might notice that she is offering me a plastic cookie. I eat about twenty plastic cookies a day. Not too tasty but great fiber.
Let's take one more picture:

Now she's no longer the focus of the scene. It's all about the plastic bologna (oddly, tastes just like real bologna). You'll notice that I tilted the camera so that she would fill the space from one corner to the other. This sort of shot is so easy to do yet people don't do it because they are in the habit of taking pictures where everyone is visible and inside the lines. You're not taking a family portrait, you're trying to convey to the viewer what was going on and this picture clearly shows that my daughter was all about daddy eating some plastic bologna.

Mmmm, that's good plastic bologna!

It doesn't matter that her face is cut off or that she's a little out of focus. The closeness of the picture serves to put the viewer in the action. You feel that you are there as opposed to just observing from a distance.

Now, go back and look at all three pictures. Taken together they bring the viewer into my daughter's world: first as an adult viewer, then as a child on her level and finally as a participant in the scene. If you look at my work as a wedding photographer in Tampa, you'll see the same sort of angles. Some of the tricks that the professional photographers us to take incredible pictures are actually very simple and can be used by you everyday to take better pictures of your family.

So, now we come to the last little nugget of photography goodness that I'll leave you with today:
Less is more.

I have always hated that statement. More is more, not less! But there's truth to the statement when it comes to snapshots. Take all the pictures you want, take hundreds.... but don't show them all. With the digital age in photography came the ability to take hundreds of pictures without any cost at all and so people have gotten into the habit of showing them all.


Pick out the best ones, the ones that tell the story, and just show them. You don't need to show 100 pictures of your trip to DisneyWorld. There will probably be some great pictures in there but they will not stand out among the deluge of mediocre shots. People will pay more attention to your pictures if they come to believe that you never take bad ones. Your pictures should be a treat to view, not a chore. When I shoot a wedding I throw out half the shots, then, I assemble the wedding album from about 10% of what's left. One of the problems facing the wedding photography industry today is that many couples don't get an album anymore. They just want all the pictures on a CD. You can't tell a story with 600 pictures, it's too much (but that's another post).

That's it for today. Go take some pictures. :)
Booray Perry is the best wedding photographer in Tampa. Just ask him and he'll tell you...

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Tampa Wedding Photographers will love this venue

I recently shot a wedding at Twenty-Eight Twelve in Valrico, FL. If you're a wedding photographer in the Tampa Bay area and haven't had a chance to shoot this venue then you are missing a great opportunity for some nice images.  Wedding Planner WCG Events ran the show and did a great job!

The venue itself is an old house with a large backyard. The interior is very nice with wood floors and a big staircase, victorian furniture, grand piano... tastefully done all around.

It's not big. The ceremony itself is held outside (reception, too) but there are so many great places to take pictures both inside and out.

Shooting outdoors can be tricky on a bright day but on a cloudy day it's a dream. I used a Canon 70-200mm f2.8 IS lens for most of the ceremony with no fill-flash necessary. This enabled me to shoot with wild abandon with no worries about harsh shadows. Of course, a cloudy day sometimes means rain and we were forced to stop the ceremony and move under the back porch eventually but as I told the bride, "These are the things that make a wedding memorable."

The thing I really loved about this venue is the variety of backgrounds that were available to me. There aren't many places where you can shoot the bride (through a chandelier) reclining in a well-appointed room and five minutes later shoot the wedding couple in front of a barn!

There's great texture there as well (bricks, etc) and they have fountains in the pool which are nice for shoot-through.

Let me warn you that if you have a cute daughter in your wedding she will be photographed almost as much as you. As the father of two girls (3 and 5 years old) I'm a sucker for little girls in white dresses. :)
It was great fun shooting there and my bride and groom were very accomodating every time I would grab them and ask for "one more shot."
Visit my website for more of my tampa wedding pictures.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Wedding Photography Tampa - Selective Color

One of the things that you see quite a bit of on wedding photography websites is selective color. Selective color pictures are the ones where the image is black and white but something in the image is in color (typically it's the flowers). It's a style decision that each photographer makes (along with a million others) as to if and when a photograph should be modified that way. Personally, I stopped thinking about it years ago because I never seemed to come across an image that I felt would be better with selective color. If a client requests it I'll do it but I can't recall the last time I did it by choice.

Then, last week I was working on a recent wedding that had a picture that seemed perfect for selective color. The reason it was a perfect choice was because it already looked like selective color! The picture below hasn't been modified at all... it just so happens that the tie is green and everything else is black or white. More Tampa wedding photography available on my website...

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Naneu Camera Bags

Wow! What a weekend!

I shot two weddings this weekend, one of which was stopped halfway through because of rain (we moved under a big porch). In addition to the pressure of photographing back-to-back weddings in Tampa and Valrico, I was also breaking in a new bag.

Yaniv Haramaty is the President/CEO of Naneu Pro in Orlando. His company makes a full line of bags for photographers. One of the unique things about their bags is they are actually two bags in one. There is an inner shell/bag that holds all your camera gear and an outer suitcase/backpack bag that holds the inner shell. It's a unique concept because it allows you to remove all your gear from the bag simply by removing the inner shell, leaving you with a fully functional backpack/suitcase for whatever you might need.

I met with Yaniv today after using his bag all weekend and I'm happy to say that it was a great experience. I was a little worried about working from a new bag but it wasn't a problem at all and I was able to move my equipment around much easier than with my old setup. I was surprised to discover that I could fit all my gear into the bag despite it being much smaller than my old case. It's much more convenient.

Meeting with Yaniv and Ed (Marketing Director) was a great experience too. You really get the sense with these two that they are trying to get it right for us photogs. It's tough to make a bag that fits the needs of every photographer because we are so varied in our specialties (weddings, nature, journalism). Yaniv asked me a lot of questions and really seemed interested in learning what I thought would make a good bag. Who knows, maybe one day you'll be able to buy the "Booray Perry Limited Edition" Wedding Photographer Bag! :)

I've got two weddings to post-process and I promise I'll have pictures online soon!

Booray Perry is a wedding photographer in Tampa Florida. See more of his work at

Thursday, September 3, 2009

CSI - Booray

From an email I received yesterday:

So on another note your photos came in very handy for some detective work I had to do. Haha. Here’s the story. Jared’s black blazer went missing that night and we came home with someone else’s that had been left instead. I had sent a note with the thank you notes to no avail. So, I used the pictures on the website last night to narrow down the possible “culprits” It was so funny- my prime suspect had the wrong buttons on his sleeve… So I finally narrowed down to 2 kids and 2 adults. But the adults left early and never took jackets off. My 2nd call to a parent landed me Jared’s jacket. Hooray!! He needs it for cousin Raquel’s Bat Mitzvah in Maryland on the 12th.
So thanks also for the unintended police help.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Tampa Bat Mitzvah Photography

Shooting portraits for a photo guest book I noticed the charm bracelet that Rachel was wearing.
"I bet that's pretty special," I said.
"It is, " she said, "my Grandmother gave it to me...."

More Tampa Bay Bat Mitzvah Photography on my website...

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

You never know who you might run into...

I was shooting family portraits for a client following the baptism of their twin grandchildren when I was reminded of one of the great things about this job.

While taking a picture, someone said, "This is the California contingent."
"Oh," I said, "Did ya'll come all the way from California to Tampa?"
"I lived in San Jose when I was a kid. I went to August Boeger Middle School," I said.
A woman in a blue blouse said, "I went to August Boeger too, but only for a few years."
"Me too, "
"I was there in 77' and 78.'"
"That's when I was there...."
"When did you you graduate high school?"
"Me too!"

One of the great things about all the people you meet when you are a photographer is that you might end up taking a picture of someone who was in your class at August Boeger Middle School, 32 years ago, on the other side of the country. :)