Tag Archives: St Petersburg Times

Shooting The Bieber

    OK, I admit it.

    I came down with a touch of Bieber Fever last night.

  The kid’s a 16-year-old cultural phenomenon, boosted to dizzying media heights by legions of  Bieber-Feverish fans and media outlets always looking for ways to sell newspapers, magazines, web site hits and photographs.

    My Fever was borne of the latter, but truth be told, I also just wanted to shoot this kid. 

Justin Bieber, December 20, 2010.

     There’s no telling if his talent or popularity will sustain.  Twenty years from now, will he still be drawing large crowds like the 20,000 that packed the St Pete Times Forum to capacity last night or will he be more like former teen icon Leif Garrett whose current appearances are on “Celebrity Rehab”?

  I hope it’s the former.  I hope Justin Bieber matures and grows as a performer, keeps his celebrity status in check and has a very long and successful entertainment career.

   St Petersburg Times music critic Sean Daly inferred very strongly that Bieber lip-synched much of the show.    I couldn’t tell and I was right in the front of the stage.  Of course, I’m not a critic.     I don’t photograph a lot of concerts and, when I’m shooting, I’m in a zone of focus, thinking about light, apeture, shutter speeds and capturing the moments that make great images. 

    Most times, I cannot even recall afterwards what songs were performed while I’m shooting a concert.  I can say that that was not the case last night.  Media photographers were allowed to shoot the first three songs of his show before being ushered out.  One of those–“You Smile, I Smile”–did permeate my masculine veneer somehow.  I’m suprised I’m admitting it.

Justin Bieber performs December 19, 2010.

           From a photographic standpoint, the show was outstanding.  Press photographers were allowed to stand right at the front of the stage.  The lighting added a nice ambiance to the images.

"You Smile, I Smile"

    

Justin Bieber performs December 19, 2010.

    There’s no doubt the fans loved the show.  Without a doubt, it was the loudest concert I’ve ever been to.  I had to cover my ears in the moments as the lights lowered and Bieber got ready to take the stage.  The cheering voices were piercing. 

  Justin Bieber had arrived.

Bieber Fever arrives in Tampa.

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Florida Wedding Photography Made Simple

It was a busy few days. 

In the previous post, you saw a preview or Ryan and Julia Roeling’s wedding photographs from Saturday night. 

 On Friday, I had the pleasure of photographing the preparations, ceremony and reception for Lindsey Smith and Adam Johnson.  And, it was a pleasure even though it was the largest, most detail-oriented and specific wedding shoot I’ve had in a very long time.  Adam and Lindsey even insisted I bring a second photographer to the shoot, which is something I’ve always resisted.

  Why?

  The standards I set for photographs that are delivered to the couple are incredibly high.  I didn’t think I could find anyone who had the same  photojournalistic backround and experience and was willing to shoot a wedding.  For various reasons, many true photojournalists won’t photograph weddings. 

   I reached out to a former St Petersburg Times photographer I met and bonded with while shooting portraits of John Travolta and Kellie Preston.  He said yes.  We’re still editing the photographs, but I am impressed  by his credentials, personality, interaction with the couple and their guests and most importantly:  The Power of His Pictures.

    That’s the  focus of this blog. 

 How to make Wedding Photography simple:  Deliver great images.

  I believe in the Power of the Picture. 

  It must have impact, technical perfection, mulitple layers of interest, lighting that’s appropriate for the scene and evoke an emotion.

  Simple, eh?

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Lindsey's Pre-wedding Preparations

  It can be simple as you can see from Lindsey’s preparation photograph above.  It’s an incredibly simple composition and shot, yet it’s an incredibly complex, complicated moment as she sits in the chair having her makeup done, amid organized chaos inside the hotel’s Bridal dressing room.  Only she knows what, exactly, is on her mind at this moment.

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Bridesmaid's Luscious Lashes

  Again, a simple composition, a true un-posed, unguarded moment amid the organized chaos of a Bride’s dressing area before the ceremony.  It’s also a striking image with power, beauty and drama.

  I always encourage brides to allow me to document these pre-ceremony times.   Often, these are very emotional times, with great opportunities to photograph unguarded moments that help to tell the whole story of the day.

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Wedding Rings on Wedding Dress in Extreme Black and White

 

  Simple, yet dramatic portrait of the wedding rings amid the details on the back of Lindsey’s wedding dress.  Yes, I flexed my artistic interpretation on this shot.  Yes, in case Lindsey  doesn’t like the extreme nature of the photoshop finish on it, I’m including a clean, very white version of it as well.

 

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Veiled Bride in Thought

  This is also from Lindsey’s dressing room as she had her veil placed on her and adjusted.  Simple photograph, simply-lit, but with a power about it because of the undeniable beauty of the bride, the woman in the backround (also veiled) helping adjust it, but primarily because of the gaze in her eyes.

  What must she be thinking, feeling?  I have no idea.  That’s Lindsey’s private, simple secret. 

    The simplicity of wedding photography goes beyond simple set-ups and compositions.  Those, sometimes are very complex and detailed, but never, ever time-consuming.  One of my roles as your wedding photographer is to make sure that the time spent posing for/with me is minimal.  Time spent with your loved ones and friends is always more important.

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Simple set-up, Simple Lighting, yet elegant portrait of an elegant bride

  That’s Lindsey before she left the hotel to get to the Church on time.    Due to the late arrival of Lindsey’s hair stylists, which pushed everything back,  the time we had to do pre-bridal glamorous portraits was cut down to three literal minutes.    We shot several simple set-ups in that time with the results being…..beautiful.

    I wish I would have had more time to do elegant bridal portraits around the breathtaking lobbies and lands of the hotel they were dressing in.  I didn’t, but I have enough experience with wedding photography to know that flexibility is one of the keys to staying sane and staying calm when no one else around you is.

  This is one of Adam’s portraits shot post-ceremony.  For this set up, I always put the bride in the front with the groom in the back (which I did before shooting Adam in the foreground).    This was the first time I ever brought the groom to the foreground and I truly like the finished product.  I am still learning, experimenting and growing.

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Firefighter Adam Johnson on his Wedding Day

    Adam is a firefighter, a manly-man who rushes into burning buildings and puts his life on the line to save yours.  I wanted to do a portrait of him that is extreme in it’s finish and, as always, powerful in its presentation.  (I am including a softer, cleaner version of it in the final delivery of images in case Adam doesn’t appreciate this interpretation.)

  This photograph has depth, mulitiple layers of interest, dramatic lighting and a fantastic main subject. 

  This photograph is Adam’s chance to be in the spotlight.  It is with a specific intent that you cannot make out Lindsey’s face, only the dimly-lit white of her wedding dress.  It is with specific intent that you can see the iconic presence of Jesus watching over the two at the In Carnation Catholic Church in Tampa.    It is with specific intent that Adam’s face is somewhat in shadow, bringing out the power, drama and masculinity of this Groom.

  Total set up and shoot time for this shot.  Probably one minute.  Perhaps two.    Complex Simplicity.

  (Experience pays off when hiring a wedding photographer in ways that you probably may never realize until the wedding day)

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Lindsey's Light

  I call this photograph “Lindsey’s Light” for two reasons.  One, the incredible, natural light that’s adding a little drama and beauty to this simple, photojournalstic moment at the reception.  Two, because of the joy in her smile and her gaze as she talks with the real Light of her Life, Adam,  during their first moments at the Rusty Pelican reception.

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Tipping the Bride during a First Dance

  Lindsey and Adam had obviously practiced their first dance a few times.  It was slick and smooth with twists and turns.  It was this portion, however, of their first dance that I was shooting  for.  It’s one of the moments when their eyes lock on one another like no one else even exists or is present.  It’s the electric connection between them that makes this photograph powerful. 

    It’s an important image that truly captures a special moment between them.  I tell my couples that you CAN  capture emotions like love and romance in a photograph.  This one does just that.

    It’s also simply-done when you have a photographer who truly knows photojournalism and values, above everything, The Power of the Picture.

  Throw in a great-looking, loving couple, adoring parents, siblings, friends, fellow firefighters and a few bubbles and you have the makings of  heirloom-quality, wedding day memories and images.

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Bubble-infused departure.

  Thank you Lindsey and Adam for trusting me to do this for you.

  Thank you for reading!

(Ask about discounts for active duty military men and women, firefighters, police officers and others who place their lives on the line for people they don’t even know.  I am available to travel Nation and worldwide for assignments)