“So who’s photographing your wedding in Dallas?”, I casually asked an acquaintance of mine. “Oh, my roommate. He’s got a nice camera.” I cringed on the inside. A nice camera does not qualify one to be a photographer any more than a volt meter qualifies me to be an electrician. A good photographer can make you look great, a bad photographer, well… The following is a great example. Copied from the February issue Professional Photography Magazine, the article is about one couple that went to three different professional photographers for their engagement portrait. Though the article focused on the experience, I will focus on the quality of the photographs. (BTW: I did not take either image, so I have nothing vested in this.)
Let’s start with the left one. Pose: The way she is positioned in front of him, she looks larger. The way she is leaning on her forward leg (the one closest to the camera), she looks heavier. Her leading arm is smashed against her body causing to forearm squish out and it looks wider than her face. Clothing: At least they have solid colors; but she is brighter and therefor perceived [again] as larger. Light: The light is totally wrong. The hot spot coming in on her forehead makes it look like she has a receding hair line, the splash of light on her forearm increases – once again – its perceived size. Light should sculpt a face, not show off areas you don’t want emphasis. Focus: background is too sharp and the couple does not separate from it sufficiently.
Compare this to the image on the right. Pose: Nicely done. Even though she is in front, you can see him on both sides of her so he looks larger than her. Clothing: Nice choice. I always tell my couples to match your clothing – now you see why. The long sleeves helped too. Light: Perfect. This is what a properly lit face looks like. Notice how much slimmer her face looks on the right than the left. Focus: Nicely blurred background. The emphasis is on the couple.
Not all photographers – even professional ones – are created equal.
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