Anybody using Medium format for weddings? - Page 4
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Old 07-17-2010   #31
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Default Re: Anybody using Medium format for weddings?

I guess I cannot say for sure why my nephew decided to go with that type of pictures. That part of the family has money and nice stuff and can afford a professional. But with all the things I have been to with Baptism's and family events there has never been a pro photographer. It's just not something that they seem to want to do. However the pictures all look fine. More snapshot style but well exposed. When the teenagers got their hands on the disposable camera's they are not that shy and came up with some cool pictures. I suppose Johnny just likes the pictures on his camera's so that he can process the pictures in a manner that he likes. He is not a photo hobbyist but he has nice camera's. Back then the pictures would have all been film stuff.
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Old 07-17-2010   #32
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Let me give y'all some information from a professional point of view. Take it for what it is worth- this is not highly technical stuff or sophisticated marketing ideas, just plain old common sense.

After over 50 years in the business of photography I gotta know something.

I was fortunate enough to have started at an early age and received mentorship and apprenticeship with am experienced, talented photographer/businessman. One of the first things I learned along with f/stops and shutter speeds is the fact that, as a professional photographer offering a high end product, NOT everyone is going to be my customer. Some folks will not be able to afford my work, some can afford it but don't consider photography a priority at their weddings, not everyone is a aficionado of fine photography and some propel will appreciate my hard and fine work and will pay me generously for what I deliver.

Then there are the other hundreds of variables; some people wont like me, the color of my eyes, my Brooklyn accent, my race or religion, the way I comb my hair, my attitude or lack thereof or even my pictures. As long as I can seek out and find a good market for my work and establish a good reputation, I will have enough work and profit to be successful. This has worked for me.

I don't want to serve people who feel that photography is a waste of time and money but still want to hire me as a necessary evil, a frivolous expense or for some other obtuse reason. Theses folks do not cooperate with their professional photographers and tend to be uncooperative to the extent that they sabotage their own photographer's ability to preform well. Not a happy situation, besides many of theses reluctant customers don't pay on time and sadly enough try to stiff the photographer- that's because the just don't care!

If people are satisfied with images from a cardboard cameras, I have no issue with them. If people just can't afford professional work they have to make do with something. I have been known to work at reduced rates for great people in poor circumstances and I have been known to do some pro-bono work now and again but as a business operator, I can't do that all the time.

So far, in this post, I have no gripes with anyone or any concept- so here comes some complaints! Before I start complaining, let me preface my tirade with a fact or two. People do not shop for wedding photography every day. They shop for attire, groceries, small appliances, and various and sundry commodities and household and family needs all the time and it today's consumer environment, the public at large, collectively, are very savvy shoppers. On the whole, however, the average wedding clients is shopping blindly unless they are going to hire a photographer who is a known quantity by way of past preformance, word of mouth, and/or solid reputation in the community.

Many brides and grooms, quite innocently , make dreadful choices and end up with very poor work. Many of you have never been exposed to the wrath of a disgruntled bride- suffice it to say it is not in the least bit funny and nowadays that bride will drag her inapt photographer's butt into court and land a healthy judgment against him or her.

My gripe- If you are knowledgeable in photography but can not or will not shoot weddings, it is your business to help family members and friends who ask you for help or advice, to advise them to seek out the services of a qualified professional with experience and knowhow. If there is no way on earth for them to afford this kind of service, of course they will have to make do with whatever alternatives and resources are available to them. If good photography is within their means, y'all will be doing people a serious disservice by advising them to do it with cardboard cameras.

Then again, weddings that are not elaborate, in some people's minds are not deserving of elaborate photography, oftentimes a bad outlook. There are many good photographers who will provide a nice clean and goods job for smaller weddings. Going around and bashing professional because the charge money is bad as well. This is far from good advice and amounts to silly jealously, sour grapes and a myriad of negative things.

As to equipment! There are so many uninformed information on this thread- MAN! Listen folks- when I started out in wedding work it was all done with 4x5 press cameras on black and white film. Believe me, some awesome work was produced with that bulky equipment and would easily stand up by today's modern standards. Thats, all well and good but nowadays, I would not use that gear just for the sake of nostalgia. Although nowadays, digital photography is the most dominant methodology in wedding photography, medium format equipment is still quite viable for high quality and high end wedding work. It is a matter of choice as long as the material and processing remain available.

Now I am gonna brag- As far as speed and accuracy are concerned, I can shoot faster and more accurately with my old Blads than some of my young whippersnapper colleagues can with their top-of-the-line DSLRs. Wanna challenge me- come up for a visit and I will take you on my next wedding! I will leave my trusty D300s home and shoot with my Blads.

Hasselblads! Jamming!? I still have my first C body from the early 70s and it still works fine- since I have add 2 more CM bodies, An ELX and a Super Wide. They all work like the day I purchased them. If they jam it is because the photographer is cranking the film advance as if ti were a Model T Ford. If you are not careful when changing lenses, jamming will occur eventually. After of 30 years of using Hasselblad cameras and lenses I can tell you that those cameras are built like brick outhouses and have never let me down.. They are, however still precision instruments and need some care and maintenance in order for you to get top preformance and maximum longevity. With my Phase I back, I can digitize my 1970s Blad- that camera and all the rest of mu Hasselblad don't owe me any money!

I had one of the the first Mamiya C Professional TLR models that were made- the one with front legs and a wooden grip handle and I have use their 6x7 models in my studio, bolted to tripods, in my camera room for decades. I never took one to a wedding- the are just too awkward. Since those older TLRs and MF-SLRs had no auto-focus features, I did lots of scale focusing and areal focusing with normal and wide angle lenses for fast shooting. The Blads have accurate focus scales and depth of field scales combined with helical focusing mechanisms. The Mamyyas all have complicated chart like focusing scales combined with rack and pinion focusing mechanisms. Theses are impossible to use quickly and accurately. With normal and wide angle lenses, one would think that there would be great depth of field but theses lenses have very critical FLANGE FOCUS DISTANCES. If the hyper-focal distance can not be set accurately it it likely that out of focus images will result. If you examine the scales on the Mamiya gear you will note that the distances between the markings are infinitesimal and mistakes can easily occur.

Oh- Color negative film has much more latitude that digital systems especially in the area of overexposure and highlight detail. An experienced analog color printer can make a descent print even from a grossly overexposed negative- with digital- NADA! Color transparency film (slides and large format transparencies) have little latitude, so if you can make well exposed slides, you will do fine in digital.

Thats my view of the subject(s) Ed
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Old 07-18-2010   #33
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Default Re: Anybody using Medium format for weddings?

Well Ed, you know I did just that last week. This young guy I work with is getting married to a lovely girl. They are to be married in Mexico next month. I asked him what he was going to do about photography and he said that he was not going to have pictures taken. So I told him about how a wedding last a day but the pictures are memories and last a lifetime. So I told him to call a young part time professional that I know. He shoots weddings and works for a car magazine also. So he called him and they worked out a deal. The photographer agreed to shoot the wedding if Benito would pay for his flight (for two) and accomadations. So now Benito has a photographer that actually wants to go on the trip with his wife. He is looking forward to the adventure. I wish I could remember the city they are going to but I cannot. But I think it should work out as Patrick (the photog) and his wife are going to Mexico and Benito will get some nice photos of the wedding. We work in the operating room and for a week there will be a shortage of staff as half the operating room is going to Mexico.
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Old 07-18-2010   #34
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Default Re: Anybody using Medium format for weddings?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ;
Personally speaking, if you can't remember you own wedding, I don't see how pix will help.
Spoken like a true (youth, moron or imbecile), it is hard to say which, but I am going to say youth.

Once you have a few years on the planet, take a moment and look back on some pictures of your third grade class, your high school graduation and or your wedding day of 5-10 years past. See if those images don't help job your memory and allow you to recall friends and experiences that you enjoyed, but have slipped your mind.

Later when you are over 50, look at them again. Especially pictures of your family members who are no longer with you or children who have grown up. Then you will appreciate "pix".
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Old 07-18-2010   #35
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Default Re: Anybody using Medium format for weddings?

If you can't remember all the classes you attended, I don't see how notes or books can help.

If you can't remember all the phone numbers you've obtained, I don't see how an address list will help.

If you can't remember all the friends you had in highschool, I don't see how a yearbook would help.

...
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Old 07-19-2010   #36
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Default Re: Anybody using Medium format for weddings?

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Originally Posted by Arved View Post
The problem here isn't with the market. It's with how the photographer is marketing himself. There are a lot of wedding photographers who've risen above the "shoot to burn" crowd.

Everybody seems to want a fast, cheap burger. Yet, somehow, Ruth's Chris Steakhouse seems to prosper. Go figure! Ditto with motels - lots of people filling up Scottish Inns and Microtel Suites, yet Ritz Carlton seems to be doing just fine. Just because "everybody wants quick, cheap, and good" doesn't mean there's no market for the finer things in life, including fine wedding photography.

More to the point of the subject of this thread: I like one of Stephen Covey's 7 habbits of highly successful people: Begin with the end in mind. Now, if I was expecting to deliver hundreads of large wall portraits, I might consider shooting digital medium format. OTOH, my clients want albums (and yes, they want digital files, too). For a 10x10 album, my old D70s is overkill. Todays dSLRs should have no problem - any of them. I think Al Jacobs (the battery guy) was shooting weddings with a Nikon swivel lens camera - about 3 MPixels - when he went digital. That's just fine for a 10x10 album, and is also just fine for the MOB who wants a CD so she can use her coupons from CVS.

10 years ago, I shot weddings with a Mamiya RB-67, so yeah, been there, done that, use it as a paper weight now. And I look back and wonder - why? How many wall portraits did I sell? I should have used it for the formal portraits and the family group shots - those are the only photos that had any chance of being blown up bigger than an 8x10. The rest - I really didn't need a 6x7 MF negative for the table shots at the reception. OTOH, using different camera bodies - and different film formats - gives you yet another decision you have to make, and another shift in the way I'm thinking about taking images.

Boy was I a fool, but the one good thing was that the RB-67 sure got Uncle Charlie to step aside with his AE-1 so the pro could get his shot. It bought a lot of respect. It also built strong arm muscles. The RB-67 belonged on a tripod in the studio. I should have had something lighter, like an M645 for weddings, but in hind sight, my FM-2n would have done just fine.

Yes, MF was slower. Just because your dSLR can take a bajillion frames per second, doesn't mean you have to. Ease up on your trigger finger. You can work as calm and deliberate as you want to be.

Oh boy, and I look back at what my "pro lab" gave me for (proof) prints, and see how inconsistent the skin tones and wedding dress colors are - I certainly don't want to go back to that!
Awesome!!! Thanks a lot!


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