xmlns:fb='http://www.facebook.com/2008/fbml' Welcome to the blog of international award winning wedding photojournalist Ian MacMichael: July 2012

wedding photojournalist

Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Mike and Holly's wedding, sneak peek.....

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Here is one from a lovely day with Mike and Holly....full post to follow soon.....

Listing on Queensberry web directories....

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We are pleased to announce that we are now listed on 2 directories of international photographers via wedding album specialists Queensberry.

Please check out the links.....




Queensberry produce arguable the best wedding albums in the world and approval and endorsement by them is very pleasing.

Saturday, 21 July 2012

Michelle and George's wedding...sneak peek 3....

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So here are a few more from Michelle and George's wedding a couple of weeks ago. We such a great day with them and their families and friends, we actually were made to feel like we were in the family! There was a lot of emotion on the day which we tried to capture as well as some dramatic portraits of Michelle and George.

We were at the stunning West Tower and, as usual, the team there did absolutely everything to make sure things went smoothly It's a pleasure to be associated with such a great venue and such a committed team of staff there.

We think we may have also uncovered the next generation of photographer in young Bradley! He tagged along to the portrait session we did and, it has to be said, got some great shots! Don't worry Brad, we have your present all ready for you!

As we were leaving, we had a quick chat with Michelle and George and they said "you have absolutely made the day! The way you guys have been there, making sure we're OK, sorting people out politely and making everyone laugh...we couldn't have asked for more!"

It was our pleasure, can't wait to meet up so you can see all the shots.......

Here is a small selection from our many favorites from the day.....

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Michelle and George's wedding sneak peek....

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On a more serious note than the previous post.....Fabulous day, fabulous couple and, we think, fabulous photographs! Here's a couple before a fuller post in a few days.....sorry George, Hazel made me put that other one on....!!!

Michelle and George's wedding sneak peek...sorry!

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Couldn't resist putting this on, we won't say whose idea this was will eh George.......?

Friday, 13 July 2012

Image of the week 2012, number 21

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Got this shot a few days ago when the sun and sky were out......imagine if we had a summer......

Lumix GF1 1/2500th, F3.5, EV-2, ISO 100

Thursday, 12 July 2012

George and Steve pre wedding stills and video....

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Well, we couldn't believe the weather we had for George and Steve's pre wedding shoot last weekend. It was really warm and sunny....and we headed down to the newly opened but old Liverpool Garden Festival site. I can remember it first time around in 1984!!

The park is really lovely with some interesting areas, lots of little bridges and waterfalls and great views over the river. George and Steve were a little apprehensive at first because there were so many people around, but were brilliant and were not phased at all by the crowds.

There were lots of areas of open shade which makes for really flattering light...but, as you would expect, we also wanted to do something a little more dramatic, and include the sky!!

It's is technically challenging to shoot in bright sunlight and to get a flattering image. Overpowering the sun with a flash is hard too as you need a very fast shutter speed, upwards of 1/400th of a second to expose the sky with some detail. The problem is that cameras are limited by a maximum speed that the shutter will work with a flash, usually 1/250th of a second...in or other words, way to slow for the brightness of the sky, meaning it will be completely white. Well, cameras have a function called hyper-sync, which means the flash can work at up to 1/8000th of a second, but there is a reduction in light output. For this to work, the flash is normally on the camera, which is generally not the way we want to shoot as it's quite flat and unflattering light.

This is where the Pocketwizard Flex system really excels. Using the TT5 transceiver and TT1 transmitter, it's possible to get hyper-sync performance and have the flash off the camera. The TT1 transmits the hyper-sync exposure data from the camera via radio signal to the TT5 which the flash is sitting on. This in turn means we can shoot at very high shutter speeds and still use the flash, amazing! Normally, we would use the flash in a soft box, but as the sun was so bright, we needed as much power from the flash as we could get.  It was as close to the couple as possible with out actually being in the shot.....

So this is exactly what we did for the shots of George and Steve in the bright sunlight. We set these up as 2 light shots with the sun as back/ rim light and the flash as fill. We are pleased with the results and the image below, before the video, is an example of an image shot using the sun as the rim light and the flash, via hyper-sync, as fill. To achieve the final look in Photoshop CS 5, a custom black and white  layer is used over the background image, then a little dodging and burning to finish off....

Equipment details: Nikon D800, 24-70mm lens;
Exposure: Manual; 1/8000th sec; f2.8; ISO 100;
Processing: Adobe Lightroom 4, Photoshop CS5

Please feel free to comment on the shots or ask questions...if you would like to learn more about shooting this kind of image, see the recent post about our photo walk training opportunity....now only 1 place left....

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

George and Steve pre wedding shoot sneak peek...

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Just one from our latest pre wedding shoot....more images and a video to follow shortly....for an explanation of how we achieved this shot, including lighting set up, equipment used, exposure details (camera settings) and post processing see the following blog post in a couple of days......

Monday, 9 July 2012

Image of the week 2012, number 20...very late!

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It's been so busy with weddings and pre wedding shoots over the last couple of months, image of the week has taken a bit of a back seat....and July is proving just as hectic!

Anyway, here is one from a few days ago, the sky was a really beautiful colour in between the rain down pours! It is always so difficult to capture that colour with a camera! I grabbed the little GF1 and got this shot... I purposely underexposed by about 2 stops what the camera was telling me was the "correct exposure" so I could retain the detail in those threatening clouds....I really loved the way the clouds were back lit by the setting sun giving them that pinky orange glow...the sky changes so quickly under these conditions and if you don't get the exposure right in time, the moment that caught the eye has simply passed away.

I think most people now are understanding my love of the sky as the BEST background for any shot. In fact, lots of our couples on their wedding day or on their pre wedding shoot will say "Ian, the sky looks amazing, you love that don't you?"

This is why we believe totally that learning to see a photograph and having a vision for what you want to achieve is far more important than the gear you have. One photographer I follow, David DuChemin says "gear is good, vision is better". We agree! Check out his work and his blog especially, he is an inspiring guy. This is also a plug for our upcoming photo walk training morning which i have just blogged about in the post before this one.....

Generally, the sky looks awesome, you just have to able to capture with the camera what you can see with your eye and also what you feel when you see. This is not easy and what makes photography such a challenge...you're always chasing that elusive "perfect" shot. We all know it doesn't exist, but let's not stop trying!!

Panasonic  GF1, Manual mode, 1/400th f 1.7, ISO 100


Photo walk update....

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Just a reminder about the photography training course we are planning to offer in the summer covering the basics of getting more out of your camera and turning your vision into photographs. We already have 3 confirmed attendees, so we're looking for 2 others to join us...we will be looking at:

Basic camera controls (what do the buttons actually mean and do?!)

Setting up your camera (getting consistent results from your gear)

Photographic vision (why this is more important than how good your camera is)

Composition (seeing a photograph before pressing the button) Exposure (including shutter speed, aperture and ISO)

Post-production and workflow (the digital darkroom)

We're thinking it will be around £25 per person for a maximum of 5/6 people, including a booklet outlining some of the areas we'll cover on the day and a lunch where we can continue to discuss all things photography.

Get in touch via comments here on the blog, facebook or twitter, or email ianmac7@me.com.....

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Sam and Greg's stunning wedding....

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We had a truly memorable day a couple of weeks ago with Sam and Greg. Ever since we first met up, we have got on really well, it actually felt like photographing a friend's wedding! Their whole day was at the stunning Thornton Manor on the Wirral.

It rained pretty much all day, but, like we say to all our couples, wedding photography is not about the weather, it is about family and friends coming together to share a celebration. This was the case for Sam and Greg, they didn't let the poor weather affect any part of their day. In fact, we were able to get outside and do some stunning portraits of them.

Hazel spent the morning with Sam and her party, while I was with the fellas. Things were pretty calm around the whole place to be honest, and there were lots of lovely personal touches around the venue to make it feel really intimate.

All the indoor imagery was captured without any strobes, only using the available light, apart from the first dance images. This is challenging given that Thornton Manor is, since it is a stately home, quite dark inside. We were using a Nikon D3 and D700s for the day.

For the outside portraits, we used our usual off camera flash set up with an SB900 in a Photoflex small Octadome triggered by the Pocketwizard Flex system.  We find this works really well and is super reliable in terms of triggering and consistency of exposure.

For the first dance images, we used an SB900 and an SB800 both triggered by Pocketwizard Flex TT5s with a TT1 on camera.

Since our style is predominately photo-journalistic, we did our best to remain unnoticed, and it was really good to hear from Sam a couple of days after the wedding that they were delighted with our approach on the day and that there had been so many positive comments about the photographers being "fun, easy going and not taking over".

We are delighted with the images from the day which we feel really reflect the whole atmosphere of a truly happy day. It has been really difficult job to pick just a few to show here, but here is a small selection.....