Capturing the Moment at a Wedding: Great tips From Calgary Wedding Photographers

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Jeff & Heidi WeddingBeing asked to photograph or video record a wedding is a huge leap of faith. You are being asked to capture the most important day of someone life to have as a memory forever. Take that honor seriously and make sure to do everything you can to shoot pictures that convey the love and joy being expressed at the event.

I recently spoke with a great group of Calgary wedding photographers who offered me some wonderful advice on how to shoot for weddings. One of the first things they mentioned was that if at all possible, you should offer your services as the couple’s engagement photographer as well. This gives you time to get to know them under less stressful circumstances and see what their personality is all about.

Besides being an engagement photographer as well, the Calgary wedding photographers also offered me the following tips:

Have a list of shots: Plant this seed in the bride and grooms head as early as possible so they have time to think about it. Couples always have certain shots that must be included, like the cake bite or first dance. Make a list and mark it off as the day progresses so that you don’t miss any.

You need a family member on your side: Preferably of the mom variety that everyone is going to listen to. There are lots of group photos and shots needed where you are going to need an ally to get the players all rounded up and into position.

Know the locale:  A day or two before hand, check out the location to find great areas and backdrops to stage your shots. Make sure to go at the same time as the wedding so that you will see how the spots look in the same lighting.

Have backups of EVERYTHING! The wedding photographers from Banff could not express this enough. This is a once in a lifetime event for the couple. Don’t mess that up by not having a good memory card or dead batteries.

Small details make a big difference: The rings sitting on top of the cake, a shot of the back of the wedding dress as it is lowered onto the floor. Even the tiny berets used in the flower girls hair. These are the small details that the couple will forget about unless you capture the moment. Plus, these types of non-people shots help to round out the wedding album.

Don’t Delete as You go: You might be getting rid of photo gold if you delete before having the chance to see it up close. Remember, you can crop and manipulate during processing to create an interesting shot from one you thought was garbage.

Most Important – Have fun! The people are going to react to your image when you shoot them. A wedding is a joyous event, if you are showing that in your face, your subjects will show it in theirs.

I learned a lot from the Calgary wedding photographers and would love to talk more with them in the future. They offered solid advice and tips that I believe can help make any amateur photographer a great wedding photographer.

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Simple Photography Tips for Beginners

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downloadIf you are passionate about photography, but do not know much about how to capture the different kind of images more effectively and perfectly, not to worry at all. You just need to keep the given photography instructions in mind when using your camera. These easy to follow tips provide great help to the beginners in becoming wonderful photographer.

Use of Camera in Night

In case of photo shoot at night, it would be good to turn on your flash to capture the photo with much better clarity. You can also use front-curtain and rear-curtain depending on your need. Front curtain helps you to first capture the subject, foreground and then everything else in the background, while rear-curtain is available to first capture the background and after that illuminate the subject and foreground. It completely works on the camera’s shutter movement.

Child Photography

In order to capture that innocence moments of your child, you always have to get ready with your camera when magic happens. It would be better to click their photos in natural poses. Let them do whatever they want. Children do not stop at one place. They keep moving. So, do not miss the opportunity to imprison your child’s cute faces, poses and movements in your camera. You will gradually learn the tricks of how to make your sweetheart’s childhood memorable for lifetime.

Product Photography

In case, you are developing an e-commerce website offering range of products with all necessary information. You have to add your offered products with attractive photos that let visitors to get familiar with the actual look of the products. Suppose you are going to sell variety of electronic cigarettes to the online customers. The things you need to consider are the perfect lighting and position of the cigarette you are planning to sell through your website. Just buy the quality camera in order to take the perfect photo that can grab the attention of visitors and turn them into potential customers.

Landscape Photography

Photography of landscapes requires little creativity and love for the nature. Taking true snapshot of the beautiful places such as water, garden, mountains, greenery etc., simply require using your camera with better capturing techniques. You have to pay attention to the light source, shadows, foreground, background etc. You must focus on taking a perfect picture that attracts the viewers’ eyes. Put concentration on catching the interested view in the center of the frame.

Wedding Photography

Wedding is the biggest day in the life of bride and groom. You have to capture that special day in a way that gives couple an enjoyable precious memories in the form of album whenever they view it in the future. Take pictures of the guests, relatives and couples during all wedding occasions. You can gift something special and creative to the couple for the generations to come.

You are advised to take photos in the day time. Photos taken in the natural light give life to your clicks. They look more realistic, natural and clear when you use your camera in much better way. Beginners are advised to learn the techniques of creative photography with the help of rightly chosen camera.

Top Tips For Product Photography

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Are you trying to setup an eCommerce site? For sure you’ll going to need some great looking photos to present what you’ll be offer. Ideally, a professional photographer would be the best way to go about this. However, if you are working on a small budget, or even if photography is a hobby of yours and you just enjoy it, you can always try to do it yourself first. Follow some of the tips highlighted below.

For these example’s we got permission from one of our clients to use them as a case study. Their product is in the airsoft gun industry and their main focus of their service is having  free printable targets  that customers can download and use as targets.  Their main product is the sales of various airsoft guns.


Natural light will always work the best for any photo, and should be used as much as possible.  Typically, the best time to take a product photo is during the day, when the sun is at its best. What matters most is not only quality of the light, but also the distribution as well.

Soft shadow vs. hard shadow.

Hard shadows happens when  the size of the light source is a lot smaller then the size of the object. Soft shadows is the opposite, it is created when the light source is bigger then the object. For the needs of our client,  as their airsoft gun product photos needs to show a lot of detail, we used soft shadow.

As you can see from the example below, the picture is better when the light is more spread or diffused on the object, and shows greater detail. You can create a flash diffuser by just taking a white plastic bag or white tape and attaching it to the camera’s flash point. When you do so, the light of the flash will then be distributed in a more even and softer way, rather than being centered in just one spot.

 Show your product in its Natural Environment

shooter_headerTaking pictures in its environment will help the people relate to it more in real life. For example, we wouldn’t put an airsoft gun next to the ocean, because to an airsoft enthusiast , that wouldn’t really make sense to them. It would if the product was place in a jungle or a playground of an airsoft arena.  Using props can help bring out features of the photo; for example, we have a picture of someone in action using an airsoft gun. Doing so helps the person relate better to the product.


Professional Photography For Web Page Design

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On-line advertising has become the it thing now, with every business imaginable taking to the web to try and increase sales. This has caused our phone to ring a few times with people looking to use our wedding photography skills to help them capture compelling images for their web sites. If you are looking at a career in photography, and don’t want to spend your weekends at weddings, then this is something worth looking into.

Taking shots for web pages covers a whole line of different types of photography. You could be asked to do stills, puppies running around, people, places and inanimate objects. Your skills need to be well rounded in order to make sure that you can handle whatever they throw your way.

For example, a Canadian business associate wrote to me the other day and told me how he was asked to get some nice shots of an auto repair in Calgary for a business page they wanted to set up. He wasn’t sure how to proceed, so he just started shooting like we do during wedding receptions. In the end he said he got some great shots of the guys working at the Calgary auto shop and the owner was thrilled. I checked out the page when it went up and I have to admit, I was impressed too.

The point to the story is that you have to make the best of the situation and think fast on your feet if you have hopes of making any money this way. Remember your basics, such as lighting techniques, but beyond that just try and capture the moment the best you can. In many cases you might find that the end result is even better than what the new client had hoped for.

Get creative and have some fun with the subject. With the Calgary luxury used car dealer my friend used different angling techniques to show the mechanics faces while they worked. The effect is really cool when you see a grease stained face looking up, focused on the underside of a car.

mechanic under car

The sky is really the limit on how you photograph and what, so long as the picture is able to tell a story about the website.

Should You Advertise?

If this is what you are looking for career wise, then by all means add the service to your own site with some references to the work you have done. Like I mentioned above, we have never promoted this service but still get inquiries weekly. This is something that people are looking for to increase traffic to their site. So you know that the demand is high right now for versatile photographers who can create a compelling web page image.

We wedding photographers have our slow times, and are actually about to start one soon. If you are thinking about branching out this type of opportunity could be what you are looking for.

Your Own In House Studio in 6 easy Steps

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Need nice looking product photographs for your personal websites, amazon or ebay auctions? With a little know how and the following tips, you won’t be needing any expensive camera, lighting or a studio. And certainly you won’t need to call any professional photographer to help you. Follow along as I take you through the steps of how I get one of my client’s product, website ready.

If you’re more visual you can watch this video instead of reading!


My client is from Ultimate Archery HQ, and their main line of product deals with outdoor archery, like compound bows, crossbows and English longbows. Now, because of the detail that these types of products have, it’s really hard to capture it correctly if you don’t get everything right.


Step One

Make sure your product is very clean. This is one of the easiest steps, but somehow it’s the step that everyone misses. Today’s cameras can really bring out the detail of a product. That means if there’re any dirt mark or smudge, it will show through the photo. Just because this is an outdoor product, doesn’t mean customers wants to see them dirty.

Step Two

Be outside for the best lighting. You’ll be in luck if that day there’s an overcast. If its not an overcast day, go to a more shaded area. Some place that’s open to the sky, but not directly under the sunlight. You never want to have sun shining down directly facing your setup.

Step Three

Get a plain white paper and put your product on it. Make sure to get a big enough sheet so your product doesn’t overlap the white paper. As for my example, I had to use two very big white papers to cover my crossbow.

 Step Four

Use a tripod, this will help with stabilizing your shots. By using your hands, your pictures can get blurry. If you don’t have a tripod, use a book, stack up high and place your camera on top.

Step Five

Move around your products, getting your camera at the correct angle with the right distance is key. Generally: far enough and zoomed in would be ideal. Having a flat undistorted perspective is better then an artistically distorted close up. As for my crossbow, I had to get a pretty high angle because of the length of the item.

 Step Six

  • Getting your camera’s setting correct is also very important.
  • Make sure the flash is turned off since you are using natural light
  • Setting your white balance to shade or cloudy will help you when you are outdoors
  • Setting your aperture settings. All SLRs and DSLR Cameras and even some compact cameras should have this setting, but if you do have a compact camera that don’t have aperture mode, you can try using macro mode.

Try out these tips I’ve outlined above and you’ll be on your way in creating beautiful product photos.

The Best Video Camera for Weddings

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We have had the opportunity to try out a number of different types and styles of video cameras over the years and just recently got a hold of the Sony Professional HVR-A1U CMOS. This turned out to be a great video camera to have to get all of those important wedding moments. In fact, it is so good that we felt compelled to give it proper accolades right here.

There was very little training needed to figure out the workings of the camera. In less than an hour I had the whole thing figured out and was ready to start shooting. Other cameras I have worked with in the past required a degree in mechanics in order to figure out just how to zoom in on the wedding cake. The instructions were clear and easy to understand, not like some others I’ve seen that have rivaled the size of “War and Peace.”

Despite the small size, the picture quality of the video camera was amazing. Crystal clear images and sound that made editing all of the footage a breeze. There was no buzzing in the background or fuzzy faces in any of my shots. It even has the option to take stills while recording which is a great perk I can add to my wedding videography package price. Plus it’s light compared to other cameras I have owned, which is a big deal for me considering that some weddings I shoot go on for hours.

The only downside I found was that the stock battery it came with did not provide me with enough time to make it through a wedding. Upgrading to a stronger one was not a problem though and well worth the expense to get to use the camera. I also invested in some Sony 63 HD video cassettes to go along with the camera and a professional tripod for when I am recording the ceremony. There is also no built in flash, but since I am mainly shooting video this is not an issue. I already have the lighting equipment I need.

While this is considered to be a professional camcorder by Sony standards, they have still managed to make it very user friendly as well as affordable. This is the best camera I have ever encountered in this price range.

Other features that stand out is a large 16:9 widescreen, making it easy to focus on what I am recording while still looking around to see what my next shot is going to be. The microphone stalk is extended too, making those table interviews so much easier to conduct. I have had to use hand held mics in the past, and you know what happens with Uncle Stan, one too many martinis and a microphone in his hand.

I don’t typically extol the virtues of products publicly like this, but this really is a video camera worth talking about. Whether you are using it professionally or just to shoot a youtube video, it is going to easily serve your purpose.

Using Light to Capture Reality

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When shooting live video, the quality of your picture is going to depend heavily on the amount of lighting you have. The more natural light you use the better the pictures will look, but when that is not possible you need to know exactly how to place the artificial light source to get the most realistic picture.

Even with wedding videos you can use lighting tricks to enhance the images and make your video more compelling. How you use light will control the mood of your video. Since a wedding is a happy occasion you always want to project that good mood with bright lighting. You can also use lighting to direct the viewer to the main subject of your video. This is why we focus lights on the bride and groom during the ceremony. It sets them apart from the guests and other members of the wedding party, putting all the attention where it belongs.

One of the first steps in using light to capture reality is by controlling its direction. If you already know a little bit about videography than you may have heard the term three point lighting. This refers to the three main directions that you can source your light from.

If you direct light to the side of your subject, you are going to create a dramatic effect. This is a good tool if you want to create texture in your video as it allows the focus to be on the side of the target. This type of lighting technique has little use in wedding videography as we are more interested in creating a realistic look to our videos.

Back lighting is a technique that is used to create silhouettes. With a light directly behind the subject, you don’t see many of their features, only the outline of their form. While we don’t use this type of lighting often, we will sometimes use a floor back light that gives the bride an angelic effect.

The most often used lighting techniques of a videographer for weddings and other occasions is front lighting, as it best highlights the beauty in the face and looks the most natural. We strive to get this right during recording. Trying to add the right lighting during editing will enhance the picture, but not at the same quality then if you had used the light the right way in the first place.

Using natural light as much as possible will also add reality to the video. The soft hues of sunlight can not be replicated by a lamp and a smart videographer will try to use that softness as often as possible. You can see the difference for yourself if you watch an interior wedding ceremony and then compare it to one that was shot outside in the open. This type of lighting cannot be reproduced during the editing process.

To save yourself time in the editing and production of your videos, get your lighting right during the shoot. If you strategically place your lamps in front of your subjects and use natural light as often as possible, you will have no mistakes to amend during editing.