Post-Production | An Article by Jack
Hey everyone! So, a little introduction for my first non-gallery themed blog post seems necessary. My name is Jack, I'm 24-years old, and I handle most of the post-production for Jack & Jenna Photography. My passions are photography (obviously), cinematography, good films, good music, and being madly in love with my other half. I'm sure you've gotten to know Jenna pretty well if you've ever interacted with us through our Instagram, Facebook, or over emails while setting up a shoot with us or just asking questions about our availability, etc. as she handles all of that for the two of us. Not only that, but she's been in charge of making sure her unique personality comes through our online presence and I'd say she's done a fantastic job of making us a very personable pair. I, on the other hand, am a much more reserved person than her, so I'm going to try my best to continue writing these small op-ed pieces on who we are, what we do, and why we feel it's so important to find a photographer who you're comfortable with and who you really connect with- which is why my first blog will be on...
POST-PRODUCTION (or, why you should always hire a professional with whom you connect)
Okay, so I'll start with saying that there is a place for every artist in every medium- every single person who chooses to create something deserves a place at the table we call artistry. Whether you're an absolute newbie who is binging Bob Ross on Netflix or if you've been a professional in your industry for 3 decades, your work is an important contribution to the tapestry of creativity. I'm not advocating you ignore photographers who are just getting a footing in their businesses; hell, I wouldn't be where I'm at today if I believed that. This will be more about finding the artist who best works with you. I will be the first to admit that our style is not for everyone- there are people who do not find our style to fit their tastes, and that's perfectly fine. But for the people who see our work and connect with it- that's what makes the 100 people who pass us by not feel like a loss. My job as an artist is to create artwork, but there is also a secondary goal to what I do, and that is to help people understand the nuance that takes place outside of physically taking your photos. Jenna and I may spend an hour or two shooting your session (or ten hours with you on your wedding day) but the real work takes place once we get home. In a typical session we will shoot anywhere between 250-400 photos and my job is to find the absolute best of those and to then turn them into something that is distinctly ours. I'm about to do something I never thought I would to, and that's show you our work SOOC (straight out of camera) so that I can help you understand that every professional photographer has a very distinct style and that style is what should move you to hire somebody.
One of the main things I always want to show in my photos is the authenticity of who you are. I don't ever change your physical person; who you are is lovely and it would be weird of me to want to change that. Now, sure, I clear up blemishes and pockmarks and (heaven forbid) you wake up the day of your shoot with a big ol' zit right on your forehead- yes, I can take care of that. But otherwise I try to capture who you are, and I try to capture the world around you as it is, this is a big reason we love to shoot outdoors. Our style is very natural, very raw, and very emotive. Much like the world around us, we embrace every ray of sunlight we can capture through our lens. If the sun is out, so are we. This is the philosophy behind who we are and the artwork we create. We love the colors that nature provides for us, we just provide the ambiance.
WEDDINGS (or why you should really, really, really hire a professional with whom you connect)
Weddings are a different beast entirely. Along with everything else I've said, weddings provide dynamic challenges ALL DAY LONG. You might start your day off in a dark hotel, before heading out into strong sunlight, back into a well-lit venue, then the lights will dim for the ceremony (more on that later), and then, you're shooting well into the night. We have a very strict no-flash rule that pretty much doesn't apply to your dance/party photos, but can be tricky to work with. This is where hiring a professional for your wedding day really tends to feel more necessary than recommended. Most venues will have different locations and you move between them quickly- any photographer will lament over having to keep their camera set up with the correct ISO, shutter speed, lens aperture, and white balance when you have 20 minutes to finish the bride's portraits and you need to shoot in a field under direct sunlight, inside a barn lit with bistro lights, and then in the shade of an old oak tree. More importantly, keeping your style in tact for an entire wedding's worth of photos is a challenge in and of itself. Consistency is key to who we are, and should be a reason for you to ask to see examples of an entire day's worth of wedding photos and not just 5 or 6 stand-out photos from different events. I'll show below what I mean by consistency throughout the day (and include the SOOC shots as well so you can see how wildly the environment can change throughout a wedding day). Each photo that I work on will feel like the photos that precede it, and help to tell the tale of your beautiful day- no interruptions, no wondering why this photos looks so different from this other one, etc.- just a storybook of artwork that is one cohesive statement of your love.
Romantic Lighting (or, why it's actually just bad lighting)
I'm not here to tell you how to light your wedding, in fact, just the opposite. My job is to make sure your photos look wonderful in spite of your lighting. When I think of a well-lit room or space to take photos in, I imagine white textured walls with long tall windows that face the sun and that might have white sheer curtains to diffuse the sunlight (you know, natural light). What usually ends up happening is I'm shooting in a wooden structure lit with candles or market lights and an odd lamp or hanging statement piece (...like a chandelier with candles). For photos, we'll go ahead and call this bad lighting (which is harsh- truth be told it's just not ideal, not great, and not preferred). Again though, what makes me a professional photographer is that I know how to deal with that- I know how to work around these impositions and I know that while I'm shooting I will be able to get the photos I NEED to create a storyboard of your love in post-production. I am never worried about the lighting in your venue, I am never worried that the clouds are out and it's a bit dreary, and I am never worried that your ceilings are too high to bounce my flash off of; I'm a professional because the product I deliver, time after time, will be consistent and the best it can be. Other photogs may take one photo in your dark venue and immediately pull out their off-camera flash or set up their strobes, but I continue to use the light afforded to me until I feel that it begins to negatively affect the final product (AND THEN I pull out my off-camera flash and set up my strobes.) It's the authenticity of your day that I am interested in, and it can be hard to capture the emotion on the groom's face as he sees you coming down the aisle if I have a bright light going off every couple of seconds. Photography, when done wrong(in my opinion), can be distracting. A badly timed or aimed flash can ruin a moment. It's for that reason that I look for couples who understand that a little bit of noise in their photos is not the end of the world, in fact, that noise can add to the ambiance of the photo. Film stock naturally has noise and grain- it's how light affects film and creates images. It is natural then too for digital photos to have noise and grain.
Thanks for sticking around to the end! Hopefully this helps at least one person understand this art form a little bit more, and enough to make a more informed decision about who they're hiring and why they're hiring them, which is so important as an artist.