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Ryan Brenizer
265,219 followers -
NYC wedding photographer, expert for B&H, Adorama, and Amazon.com, popularized the Me Method
NYC wedding photographer, expert for B&H, Adorama, and Amazon.com, popularized the Me Method

265,219 followers
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Things I love about this time of year: Late fall/winter light. The sun never gets too high in the sky and there is a unique quality to it I adore.

Things I love a bit less: In the open the wind chill was about 16 degrees at this time. But Lauren was a champ, even toughing out an outdoor ceremony!
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A9, 50mm @ f/0.95, 1/1250, ISO 100
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I will shelter you.
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A9, 85mm @ f/1.4, 1/1600th, ISO 100
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Fun with Diana, Chris, and reception reflections.
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A9, Nikon 45mm PC-E @ f/2.8, 1/250th, ISO 125
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One of the nice things about working with flash is that, in a digital and mirrorless world where you can see ambient photos before you even take them, there remains an element of often-pleasant surprise. From how we positioned Mary and Vin , we expected the flash behind them to reflect back to the stone wall, giving a nice separation in a couple different ways -- but the amount and shape of spill on the door was a nice surprise, since the cool old door felt relevant to the composition.

No matter how many shoots you've done, it's important to retain a sense of play … both to keep experimenting with your photos and, of course, because weddings and love are supposed to be fun, so you should have fun with them.
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A9, Zeiss 18mm @ f/4, 1/250th, ISO 100
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As wedding photographers, our task is open-ended: "Here is this large block of time, just fill it with nice pictures as best you can." There are a million sub-tasks in any wedding day, but in the end we operate with a different sort of autonomy than a major commercial shoot, and it means that we bring our unique views forged over a lifetime of visual intake and a career worth of trial and error to each wedding. When you're working with another photographer, there are ways to play off each others' viewpoints with maximum effectiveness.

I practice this with Tatiana at each wedding, and we've worked out countless ways to play off each other, but we also have largely optimized our work for seamless similarity -- while I can see the differences, such as her preference for a sense of beautiful order in her dancing photos while I tend to mirror the chaos with ragged, claustrophobic edges to my frames, the differences are pretty darned subtle.

So it was really fun to have my good friend @kyleheppphotography second for me at Diana and Chris's wedding, since the way she sees the world is significantly different.

Here we had just a minute or two of portrait time before we were flooded with family members for group portraits. It's tempting for the main photographer to rush in at that time, but we were in a tropical mid-day with very stark lighting, which I know quite well is Kyle's favorite playpen, and had her take the lead in positioning.

She had Diana rock the sunbeam and Chris get into the shadows, and now here is where the important skill is observation -- how can I use this time to get something complementary but really fundamentally different than her shot? All too often when I'm shooting with newer photographers they just kind of shoot over my shoulder with the same kind of lens and same angle. There's no point to that.

I saw Kyle get in position with her 24 for a wide, environmental frame so I started from the opposite principle, reaching for my 70-200. The impulse with a long lens is to use shallow depth of field but I wanted to work against that and focus on the compression of telephoto lenses at small apertures, so I closed ALL the way down and manuvered myself into a pretty weird position to get Diana and Chris to line up the way I wanted.

The wind began to pick up and I waited for it … waiting … waiting … and then snapping as it started to play with her hair. Bam.

In less than a minute both Kyle and I had taken really, really different photos that we were happy with. Lessons: A primary photographer should be ready to temporarily become a second photographer at any time if there's an advantage to it, and photographers should always know what their partner is doing and complement it with difference. There are a thousand ways Tatiana and I try to do this, but that's for another thousand posts or workshop.
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A9, 70-200 @ 126mm f/22, ISO 100
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If you haven't risked personal injury, have you really worked hard enough?

(Note: do not take this advice seriously. Or at least sign a waiver first.)
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I don't think any social network would give me enough characters to express how meaningful it was to head back to my hometown and photograph my cousin Amanda's wedding. I was lucky enough to grow up surrounded by extended family in a way that is increasingly rare, and to see and share so much emotion with people I love dearly … to shoot a wedding in the chapel where my parents were married … to introduce Gavin to a whole new sea of people who love him … it reminds us how fraught with meaning each wedding is.

We came quickly to this location for portraits, and while I had technically scouted it before, that was in 1988 … so I had to refresh myself quickly. Working without an assistant or stands, I threw two flashes behind them as a "light grenade."

Of course, the real challenge can sometimes be making people comfortable when they know you in a very different set of roles. "You know, it's a bit weird taking these instructions from you," joked Charlie.

"You're telling me," I said, "I saw where that hand was going."

That loosened them up.
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A9, 18mm @ f/3.5, 1/250th, ISO 500
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In our experience, the only qualifying factor for a fantastic flower girl is exuberance. Age, gender, and even species all come a very distant second.
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Nikon D5, 70-200 @ f/3.5, 1/1000th, ISO 100
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A little bride/flower girl interplay to set the tone for the day.
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A9, 28mm @ f/2, 1/125th, ISO 320
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Ah, freelensing -- when creating that feeling of pleasant isolation is worth risking your camera, sensor, lens, and temporary peace of mind.
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50mm f/0.95 (freelensed), 1/800th, ISO 200
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