The State of the Industry – Part 1

Catch me in a candid moment, and I will rant and rave about the direction that the professional photography industry is headed. Occasionally I will find others making similar comments. From the June 2007 issue of Rangefinder:

‘Digital can make you a sloppy photographer,’ warns Sterling [Hoffman]. ‘..it is easy to take a lot of images hoping that one of them will be good. The option of “FISP-ing” the image (fixing it in Photoshop) is leading to a generation of photographers who do not pay appropriate attention to white balance, exposure, expressions and extraneous things that should have been removed.‘” – Page 50, Avoiding Digital Disease by Mark Zucker.

“‘That means photography is changing at its most basic level. It means that every photographer is now looked at as a Photoshop person. Meanwhile, successful photographers have worked extremely hard to train themselves to see light, to understand exposure, to work with camera perspective and lenses, and so on – and that just doesn’t happen in Photoshop‘” – Page 131, Joseph Meehan: Embracing the Future with a Mindful eye on the Past by Michelle Perkins.

There is more to photography than picking up a camera and firing off a few hundred – or thousand – exposures. Photography is the art and science of capturing an image in a camera. Not the art and science of correcting your mistakes later.


Sara Smiley and Aaron Southerland

If the times fall just right, I will photograph two weddings in a day. Today would be such a day. Photographing two weddings in a day is always a challenge, but driving from Oklahoma City to Ardmore would make it a greater challenge. Everything went smoothly and we got to Ardmore 30 minutes earlier than we thought we would.

Health care is their future. Aaron and Sara are both attending the Health Science Center in Oklahoma City. Sara is pursuing training to be Registered Nurse while Aaron works in Dentistry.

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Merideth Dibert and Eric Lindaman

Ah, the State Capitol. Beautiful building. Architecture, art and grand vistas. What more could you ask for? How about air conditioning? Sure, the offices and conference rooms are cold, but the common areas get rather warm on an August day like this one. It was hot. Not the hottest I’ve seen it, but it was still uncomfortably warm. Fortunately I found an unlocked conference room that we used to let the bride or the groom cool off in. Tuxedos and wedding gowns are not designed for 90+ degree heat! In spite of the conditions, the wedding was beautiful and the photographs were wonderful.

It was after the ceremony and we were taking the creative photographs of the couple. I was barking out orders to my assistants like normal and mentioned that the image we were creating was the silhouette shot. Merideth became excited and exclaimed, “I seen this one. I love this picture.” I replied to her, “And you’ve been waiting you’re whole life for it.” She paused slightly and responded, “Yes, I have.”

Credits: Wedding Coordination by Cathy Johnson Weddings. Flowers: Little Surprises Designs. Reception: Skirvin

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Danielle Jones and Zach McCain

Danielle will be nominated for the “most organized bride” award. Always on top of things. She was early getting the engagement and bridal portraits taken and got her WEPAN information turned in ahead of the deadline. This kind of attention to detail and due dates pays off with a wedding that runs very smoothly.

The After Shoot. This is something more couples need to do. After we left the reception, we met up with Danielle and Zach at the Myriad Gardens for some nice, creative, intimate images of just the two of them. There’s no time pressures to get to the reception and there is less concern about the dress picking up a little dirt. It only takes about 20-30 minutes and a some advance planning. The results are something that is completely different than what you get at the wedding location and it makes for a really nice addition to the wedding album.

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Sarah Ellis and Matt Worden

Ballet dancers make wonderful models. You teach them the basics of posing, and they’ll get it right every time after that. Sarah is pursing a Masters in ballet at OU.

Sarah wanted outdoor photographs. She wanted them at the bridal portrait, and because of a rain earlier that day, we were restricted to staying on the sidewalks. (Though we did get a great sunset!). At the wedding, she wanted to go outside at Walnut Creek. An uncooperative limo driver prompted as to leave the the chapel before that could happen. The next thought was to get some outdoor images before going to the reception; but we didn’t have enough time before the couple’s entrance. Sarah still wants her outdoor photographs and I want her to have them. Plan C: Eat fast, and then while the rest of the crowd is finishing their meals, we’ll walk from the Sheraton Downtown (where the reception was at) to the Myriad Gardens, get our photographs and return before they are missed.

The results were worth the extra effort.

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Melanie Carter and Daniel Lewey

Where did the tradition of decorating the couple’s get-away car ever come from? It’s like the decorators turn into animals sometimes making the car unsafe and occasionally doing damage to the car.

Somehow Daniel gained a reputation of being ruthless in his car decorating, so of course, there were several people who looking for a little pay back the day he said “I Do”. He claims this is all false accusation and that he actually restrained the last crowd he was in that was decorating a car. His mistrust of his groomsmen turned out to be reasonably well founded and their lack of access to the car thwarted some of their grander plans (like putting the car on jacks). They left him a message about their displeasure on the windshield.

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Amanda Smith and Tyler Shipley

In 20 years of wedding photography, I have never seen more hype and publicity about a date than July 7, 2007. It seemed like everyone was talking about it and then of course, everyone wanted to have weddings that day (at 7:00, of course!) If I employed additional photographers, I could have kept each one busy that day. There appeared to be no end to the demand. Amanda’s would be the only wedding I photographed on “Lucky 7s”.
Ironic thing is, that when started planning the wedding over a year in advance, she had didn’t realize that her wedding day was 7-7-7.

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