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Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Comments

Mike, I like your taste in weirdness.

None of these are among the best wedding photos I've ever seen, but together they are one of the best wedding photo sets I've ever seen. There's a consistency of style, mood and quality makes the whole more than the sum. Two qualities come across vividly: that the photographer was often very close to--or in the midst of--the action, and that he had good rapport with many of the subjects. I like best the shots that show this.

Perusing the photos after reading Mr. Baines' intro, I wondered if, other things being equal, a photographer who's had his/her own wedding (or even multiple weddings) brings a little something else.

A great set of photos.This wedding photojournalism at its best. A good photographer who knows his medium, good looking couple who are relaxed and enjoying the moment, and a great location. It really shows what can happen when everything is going well.

Digital is overrated and nothing beats digging in the freezer for some film rolls in the middle of summer.

What a fantastic set of photographs. The B&W is beautiful, clean and classic and lends a very romantic feel. There many stunning individual shots, but the whole group is just so enjoyable to look at.

The shot with the veil blowing upwards, with the bride's left arm bent at 90 degrees and framing the celebrant, is amazing! Yes, very weird. As if her hand has just launched the veil into the air.

The long shot with them on the patio, slightly right of centre, he looking out resolutely to the left, she looking rather hautily at the camera, is a killer. Are they models? Did this shoot have an art director? Wow. In fact, ALL of the shots on the patio are fantastic. The vertical shot with the wall of leaves, her veil out to the left is also a real eye-catcher, and fun.

Evan also caught great moments during the reception dance.

Yes, a GREAT set of photographs. Mike, thank you for posting this item.

Who needs digital? I bet Evan didn't have to chimp even once.

these are pretty ordinary.

Kudos to Evan Baines for a job superlatively done. Lucky couple, to get wedding pictures like these. - Mike

Sweet, lovely, beautiful, once-in-a-lifetime memories were captured and imprinted in these great photos forever.

Congratulations to the couple, the whole big family and the photographer!

And many thanks to Mike to bring this beautiful random excellence to us all.

For those interested in wedding photography, and portrait photography in general, I highly recommend Laurence Kim's blog. Amazing pictures, and he also posts tutorials every now and then.

See
http://www.laurencekimblog.com/

The portfolio makes me physically sick with envy.

The photos are lovely.
Speaking as a first photographer (not a second), one of the very big disadvantages we have is the families total awareness of us as shooters.
Maybe there is a marketing angle for us to hire a cheap "main" shooter that everyone thinks is the real pro, and then step back and take the incidentals, and the memorable as-it-was photos.
I know I wouldn't be the only shooter who then took a completely different take on the wedding proceedings.

My brother's getting married in October and he's asked me to be his best man. He also had the cheek to ask me if I'd shoot his wedding at the same time! I told him one tough gig at a time. I'd not actually want to work for our kid as he wants a lot for as little as possible(eg the copyright).

I'll have my gear with me and I'll be a second shooter but I'll respect the working guy and not get in his way or distract his subjects.

I sent the link of Evans work to our kid and told him that that's how it's done

These shots have an OMG quality to them. Some are beautiful and some are sensational. Lovely. Thank you.

Another one bites the dust, but in glorious black and white.

Superb work that makes me feel secure in the knowledge that film will be around for a very long time to come!

I'm a sucker for good wedding photos. And these are very nice.

And I agree with you Mike that there is nothing better than B&W film for weddings.

Of course it helps some to have a bride and groom that look like they could feature in a fashion ad campaign.

Wow. He did a fantastic job. I love that he did it in b&w. He caught an awful lot of moments, but like you said, it helps having a bride who is expressive. Also doesn't hurt that he was in CA.

Thanks for sharing it with us.

First set of wedding photos I've ever bookmarked. I would shoot weddings if I thought I were capable of results like this with a crowd that had this attitude. It's pure yumminess.

Yunfat: you're evil; you might also be a genius.

Do not know other places but it seems a tradition here to see people taken video, set pieces indoors then go to different scenery places to have their shoots. Some flied to somewhere else to take their wedding sets (up to Europe from Hong Kong). It is so not real.

This is ordinary but that is great part. Each photo seems a snapshot but together it just works. Not another bride on Tsing Ma Bridge or under water or in the mountain Alps or what (in real or virtual make-believe) etc.

This is really great.

That's an interesting set, which, I think, does a nice job of showing what wedding photography is about.

The images vary from genius (e.g. #2, #13 -- cliched perhaps, but outstanding and #80) to eh with a few what-the-hell-is-that's (see #16 -- which would be excellent if it was in focus, and #61 which is just blah).

I assume the "bad ones" (ok, the "less good" ones) are obligatory shots -- this is the best photograph I got of the father of the groom, and, well, it's kind of out of focus for no particularly good reason. That's how it is.

I think this is an essential element of wedding work. You're gonna get some so-so work that you gotta print.

Lovely set of pictures, however..

comparing these with Jeff Ascough's black and white wedding photography (http://www.jeffascough.com/) clearly shows why he moved away from film and Leica M cameras to digital some years ago. The increased ability to shoot in low light with digital negates any theoretical advantage of film.

Sorry, I don't expect this will be popular.

An awesome set of photos, but I can't help thinking how much better they would have been in color, and how much less expensive this exercise would have been using digital technology. The photographer wouldn't have had to deal with bad scans, for instance. And if these wonderful photos had been shot in digital color, there would be many more options for presentation, including black and white.

I just can't understand embracing old technology, when superior, new technology is available. It's like driving a Hupmobile when a Mercedes is available (for less money ...).

In my opinion.

Thanks for the latest Random Excellence, Mike, I always enjoy them. These pictures are great and the photographer inspired.

I'm enjoying the predictable film vs. digital posturing even more than normal today, as the big brown truck will be here in a few hours with my new Zeiss Ikon. Can't wait to run some film through it.

For those interested, Mr. Baines made a well reasoned post in the ensuing discussion about why he uses film and what he gets in return.

My first thought was along the lines of "Anonymous" ... what a luxury to photograph the beautiful people getting ready in a Spanish mission ;) We have friends who own a late 1800's farm house and the wife does a great job on the interior decorating, and I almost can't fail to take great candids in that house. The backgrounds are beautiful everywhere; the walls are white, there are walls w/o windows, and even when you get windows, they're nice old windows letting in filtered light from mature shade trees outside. Throw in a fast portrait prime for shallow DOF and a knack for catching interesting moments and it's a formula for success. Not that I believe I could shoot a wedding. I have the luxury of being an amateur - there's no shot I "have to get" ! I like the PJ style for weddings. I like these because they don't look contrived.

Bill Rogers and Hugh Allison,

As Evan says in response to a similar question on Fred Miranda: the difference is in the printing. On a monitor, digital will look superior to the cheap noritsu scans. But when printed by a master printer, as the photographer plans to do, the digital stuff doesn't hold a candle to real silver.

A masterful display from beginning to end. Very inspirational.

"It's like driving a Hupmobile when a Mercedes is available (for less money ...)"

Or like playing a 300-year-old acoustic violin when modern electronic ones are so much more versatile, cheaper and easier to use. Go figure.

Great set of photos! Thank you for bringing this to our attention. It's always a joy to view great photography. Film prints seem to be rare today, it's a look and feel that digital can't reproduce well.

Further proof that excellent photography is just that, regardless of the genre. As a perennial bachelor, interest in strangers' wedding photos typically runs low, but these shots are compelling and wonderful to view.

By the way, am I reading that film is old technology and thus somehow substandard? Well then, painters should toss away their brushes and paints. Might as well throw in the piano and Stradivarius too.

I too have been asked to do weddings for friends. I refused citing I wanted to keep them as friends after the wedding. Said statement oftimes needed a quick explanation.

Which brings up the joke: young child is enquiring why the bride is dressed in white.
"because it is a happy time for her!"
Where upon the child asks if the bride is happy, why is the man (groom) dressed in
black?"

So nice to see some wedding photography on TOP. Not to take anything away from Evan Baines, but I'm kind of scratching my head as to why? Check out "The Image is Found", to see the next level.

To each their own.

"To each their own"

You're right there, Patrick. The Image Is Found is an ironic title for a site with so many obviously contrived images.

Like you say

To each their own

Evan's photos are superb!

David S.: "when printed by a master printer, as the photographer plans to do, the digital stuff doesn't hold a candle to real silver."

I wasn't actually bringing print quality into the discussion. What I said was "The increased ability to shoot in low light with digital negates any theoretical advantage of film".

When someone (Jeff Ascough) who is considered to be one of the world's top wedding photographers, and who has based his career around Leica M black and white film work, changes to digital, one would assume his prints are turning out OK.

Personally, I put 20 years worth of Ilford Galerie selenium toned fibre based 20x16 prints out next to my A2 Hahnemuhle Photo Rag prints (once I had learnt to print properly digitally). I looked at them for a very long time, then I threw out the darkroom prints, and closed the darkroom for ever.

Hugh,

I was simply repeating the photographer's own stated reason for shooting film.

I do think that comparing this guy's cheapo Noritsu lab scans to Jeff Ascough's post-processed-to-within-an-inch-of-their-lives selects is plainly unfair. The Noritsu scans are not the finished product, any more than Ascough's out-of-camera JPEG's would be. Moreover, the shots on Ascough's site are his selects from dozens of weddings, while Evan Baines is presenting us with a digital contact sheet from just one wedding.

But since we're comparing the two, I do find it ironic that you are making invidious comparisons between images on film and images that are, essentially, "pseudofilm", i.e. images processed with "Ascough's Actions" (buy yours today!) to look like film. If film is so archaic, so lowly, why go out of your way to try to make your images look like they've been shot on film? If digital is so wonderful that the judgment of anyone who uses anything else -- even once! -- needs to be called into question, why not just present images that look like what they are?

It's not just a matter of authenticity, although the "authenticity" of film is precisely what these actions are designed to appropriate. I think that these pseudofilm images are going to look pretty dated in twenty years.

It's as if, at the turn of the century, photography was considered artistically inferior to painting, so some enterprising photographer found a way to paint all over his images to make them look "artistic" -- i.e. like paintings. Or, to use another example, it's like using synthesized strings to imitate an orchestra in a movie soundtrack, which is done all the time: it's just convincing enough that the audience can never put their finger on what it is that makes the movie feel cheap.

By the way, I don't have a dog in this particular fight. I shoot film and digital, and I love both. But if Evan Baines wants to shoot in a given medium for any reason -- including just because he feels like it that day -- that's good enough for me.


wow. I've shot over 200 weddings and that is the best wedding album I've seen in a while. If the prints are any good the couple has no idea how lucky they are compared to so many victims of young hot-shot photographers these days.

It's as if, at the turn of the century, photography was considered artistically inferior to painting, so some enterprising photographer found a way to paint all over his images to make them look "artistic" -- i.e. like paintings.

I am looking at a portrait on my wall from my grandparent's wedding in 1910 (I presume that is the century whose turning you are talking about.) It is all hand colored - including a bunch of flowers and furniture that I believe were not actually in the photo. There is also a photo of me from 1958 at my first Communion. It is also hand colored.

I always just assumed that this hand coloring was driven by a desire for color. But your comments make me think this may have been an attempt for authenticity to mark important life events. For example, the detailing on the flower on my lapel clearly shows brush strokes. It is not an invisible attempt at adding color - the hand of the human artist is proudly apparent - and this style spans at least a half century!

What I actually said in my first post was "The increased ability to shoot in low light with digital negates any theoretical advantage of film".

I carefully avoided any print quality comments.

I'll quote Jeff Ascough on the Canon 1Dmark4:

"The camera’s performance is really quite staggering at higher ISOs, especially 6400 and 12,800, as the image quality is just gorgeous. There is little noise, no banding and, for a crop sensor camera, the resolution is very good. I have to admit that I probably wouldn’t use the H1 setting (12,800) on the 5D Mark II but I’d happily use 12,800 on the 1D Mark IV all day long.

The Mark IV’s low light capabilities have also allowed me to use a zoom lens throughout the day. In the past I would favour fast prime lenses to deal with dark conditions, but with the increase in high ISO quality I can pretty much shoot the whole event with a 24-70mm zoom, plus maybe a couple of other lenses to cover the bits and pieces which the 24-70mm can't."

http://cpn.canon-europe.com/content/news/jeff_ascough_blog.do

http://newsletter.canon-europe.com/Web/Locale/en-GB/2010_02/learn_from_the_pros/default.aspx

Andrew,

That's interesting -- the more things change, the more they stay the same. Initially I thought that an old photo would be ruined by having been painted on, but it probably adds additional interest and texture. It's a hybrid art form.

Perhaps that's how we'll come to see Photoshopped images. Obviously, images will continue to be manipulated in ways that are unimaginable today, but the effects used will date them to a specific era when certain styles (HDR, pseudofilm) were in vogue.

But your post reminds us that it was ever thus.

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