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Educational Series: Connecting with Your Photographer

Can you define love?
It’s not so easy to do is it? Google it if you want and you’re going to get inundated with definitions and philosophies. Love isn’t easy to explain, but it is possible to observe. Hopefully, you’re one of the lucky people who can see love in the eyes of your partner. There’s no doubt when we see people in love; there is just something that radiates from them. Photographing weddings and people who are truly in love has been the honor of my life. It has always been my goal to capture couples in photographs that will serve as a testament to love for the rest of their lives. Understanding a couple is crucial to being able to capture those moments. A photographer can’t just show up on the wedding day and hope to get lucky. If your wedding photographer hasn’t spent time getting to know you as a couple, how are they possibly going to know what to look for on your wedding day. The connection with your photographer is one of the most important parts of preparing for your wedding. At JSPStudio it starts with our first meeting, but it continues with our Editorial Engagement Sessions.
The engagement session is the first time that I get to observe a couple through the lens of a camera and I learn invaluable things about them. Each session is unique for the couple and represents some aspect of their story together. Seeing them in a relaxed, meaningful environment teaches me what to look for on their actual wedding day and, just as important, gives the couple a chance to know me and get comfortable being in front of the camera. My brides and grooms are always amazed at the photos from their engagement sessions and their wedding. Without the connection that we form together, none of it would be possible!

Educational Series: Q&A with Jonathan Scott

In this week’s blog post, Jonathan Scott talks about some of the current trends in the wedding industry, his favorite creative touch and what he sees people focusing on for the photography of their weddings.
What are the Top Trends that you are seeing right now? 
“Couples are getting more and more savvy. The same-old, same-old just doesn’t cut it anymore. I try to be ahead of the curve on trends and the big thing that is trending is editorial-style engagement sessions. An engagement session is very important because it gives us a chance to really see who the couple is. A portrait-style shoot, where the couple is told where to go and arranged in posed positions is getting tired. An editorial-style shoot focuses on telling the couple’s story. You find a setting that defines them as a couple; something that’s important to them and then you tell their story. It’s unlike anyone else’s on the planet and it should reflect that in the photos from the engagement session. Anyone can be photographed in a field somewhere that has nothing to do with them. That isn’t right. There is a story there and couples want to tell it. Editorial-style engagement sittings allow the couple to do just that”
What is your favorite creative touch?
“This is difficult to answer because for me every image is different. Every bride, every ceremony, every reception, every family, every bridal party, every location is unique. The photographs I shoot depend on factors that I don’t know about until I’m standing there with the camera. Each image speaks to a different creative inspiration. The situations change every time. The sun is in a different place in the sky, or the flower girl skips down the aisle instead of walks, or the bride’s father starts to cry as he gives his little girl away. There isn’t one style or shot that can be used for all of that. The creative touch, I suppose, is that there is no specific creative touch. Whatever that moment calls for is what it gets; just hope that you have a photographer who can capture them as they come.”
In wedding photography, what do you see couples focusing on or willing to spend their money on right now?
“A full day engagement session. It may sound like a lot, but it’s worth it. From sunrise to sunset, you’re with the couple. You can shoot at more than one location and you really get to see the couple and how they interact. People are different apart than when they’re together. Do they reach for each other at the same times? Do they hold hands in the car? Does he brush her hair out of her eyes? Does she put her hand in his back pocket? During a full day, you learn all these things about them and you get a chance to capture all their mannerisms and who they really are together. A full day engagement session also helps me understand what to look for on their wedding day. Knowing how they interact fully is a huge advantage for capturing the truly special moments they will share with each other on the day when everything can seem to go so fast.”

Educational Series: Basics of Color

Color. What would life be without color? Think about how important color is to all of us in our daily lives. We all have our favorite colors. We decorate our homes, create wardrobes and even buy cars based on color (well, some of us may buy cars based on color). I’m sure that one of the first things you think about, and questions you’re asked about your wedding have to do with color. What colors are the bridesmaid dresses going to be? What color flowers are going to be in the bouquet? What are your wedding colors? Color is one of the most important aspects of photography. Even in black and white photographs, the original colors can play an important role. It is important to understand the aspects of color. Here are some terms often associated with color that you should be familiar with:
Hue- Your main colors: red, green, blue, and yellow. Colors with the same hue base are described with adjectives (sky blue, light blue, etc.).
Spectrum- The visible spectrum refers to the colors that the human eye can see. Most of us know them as the colors of the rainbow.
Intensity- refers to the purity and/or saturation of the color in an image.
Warm Colors- Yellows, reds and oranges.
Cool Colors- Violets, blues and greens.
Objects in space reflect and absorb light. When we see colors it is because the surface of a specific object absorbs all colors EXCEPT the color we see. In other words, a red ball absorbs orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet, but it reflects red light. That red light travels to our eyes and we “see” it as red. Colors can be brilliant or subdued, harsh or soft. Your photographer’s possession of a keen eye for color and an understanding how it interacts with light are crucial abilities for them to possess.

Educational Series: Photography is an Art

Some people believe that an expensive camera and photography equipment make a photographer. I have had friends who walk into Best Buy and purchase a nice camera, go out and expect to have their pictures hanging in an art gallery by the end of the week. They will call me and ask, “Why don’t my pictures look like yours?”. All of the expensive, or inexpensive, equipment in the world does not make a photographer. True, there are many technical aspects of photography that one would need to have an understanding of before they were able to take decent photographs, but even then there is more to it . . .  much more. Photography is an art form. Like any other artist, a talented photographer sees the world differently than others. Light, backdrop, setting, atmosphere, angle, color, and distance combine to form the palette with which a photographer creates a photograph. It is the balance and understanding of these ingredients that make a work of art and it is the photographer who imagines how they all come together. When hiring a photographer for your wedding it is important to find someone who you can trust to capture these elements beautifully and as they happen. No two photographers see these ingredients the same way. For me, personally, I would ask you that in 20 years, do you want to remember your wedding that way it actually happened, or the way a photographer posed it to happen?  I’m an expert in capturing the essence of what I see. Trust nothing less.


Educational Series: Engagement Sessions

Engagement sessions are becoming more and more popular and they are extremely important in the telling of a couple’s story. When choosing a photographer for your wedding and your engagement session consider some important points:
-Your engagement session will give you a chance to work with your photographer before your big day. Your photographer will be able to learn about you and your partner in a deeper way during the session. You will be able to get to know your photographer and understand how they work and get a feel for what you’ll experience on your wedding day.
-Pick a location that is relevant and important to you both. Remember, we are going to be telling a story about the two of you. Here is Jessica & Eric enjoying a day at Jaxson’s Ice Cream Parlor. After our consultation, we decided on that location because of it significant role in their relationship. They had their first date there and also named their dog Jaxson! You can see the images below.  We’ve also done sessions on airplanes, boats, picnic settings an on trains.
-Be honest and forthcoming with your photographer. Remember, this is the opportunity to spend good time together and for me to learn about who you are as a couple. I’ll be able to see and learn things about you that will help me capture the perfect moments on your wedding day.
At JSPStudio, we consider the engagement session an integral part of the experience with us. Our Editorial Style Engagement sessions incorporate many components of photographic skill to ensure a unique set of images that both visual dazzle you and emotionally capture the essence of the chemistry between you. Our pre-session consultation lets me draw from your hobbies, experiences, likes and dislikes to create a set of images that are unique to your chemistry by collaborating with you to define the atmosphere of the shoot and by paying careful attention to location, wardrobe, continuity, and of course passion! It’s all in the kiss…

Educational Series: Capturing the Moments

Most women imagine their wedding day as little girls. When the day actually comes, a moment that has been decades in the making can pass by in a flash. There is so much going on that I have often heard brides say that they hardly remember a thing. I often ask my brides, “Years from now, when you’re looking at your wedding album, do you want to remember your wedding as it actually happened, or how a photographer staged you?” Picking a wedding photographer is a crucial decision for a bride. It is one thing to find someone who will take the shots that you think are important; it is quite another to find a photographer who understands you, your family and is capable of capturing the joy of a beautiful moment as the celebration thrives. Every wedding is different. A wedding shot at The Breakers is going have a different feel from a wedding that takes place in an orchid garden. What may be a classic photograph in one won’t necessarily work in the other. The most important thing is finding a photographer who knows the difference and understands how to capture the unique feel of your special day. I have shot many weddings and I can tell you that each has its own personality. That moment the groom first sees his bride at the end of the isle, the moment when the bride’s parents give her away, or that moment when everyone is jumping on the dance floor . . . a wedding is all of those moments and each one should be remembered as they happened. When you’re making your decision on your wedding day, don’t forget to ask yourself: “What do I want to show my children when I’m sitting with them years from now and they ask me what that day was like?” Look at the work of JSPStudio. The decision becomes simple after that.

Educational Series: It’s All in the Kiss!!

Many important pieces need to come put together to have a successful engagement sitting for a couple. I have shot countless engagement sittings and I can say, without a doubt, that there is one thing on which everything else depends: the kiss! It’s all in the kiss. The kiss is, for me, insight into the couple’s soul together. Through the kiss, we get to see their chemistry, how they interact and ultimately, their passion for each other. There is an Art of the Kiss and it’s absolutely crucial that it is understood during an engagement sitting. A couple may think that they will have no problem with this, but they’re often surprised; it’s one thing to kiss each other in privacy and it’s quite another to have a camera pointed at you while you’re getting close. At our engagement sittings this is the area where we spend the most time and energy because it’s so important. At JSPStudio we don’t want you to worry; we’ve got you covered. Some people are natural in showing their affection for each other. Others can struggle with it, but that’s normal. We work with our couples to make sure that they are comfortable enough to let their love show through their kiss. Here are a few tips that we share with our couples during the sittings to make sure they get it right:
Tip #1: Focus on each other- Don’t think about the camera. Pretend it isn’t there. Look into each other’s eyes and remember that first time you kissed. Think about the times since then. Don’t be afraid to get close and feel each other’s energy. Hold each other and let everything else just drift away.
Tip #2: Be Confident- If you’re at an engagement sitting you’ve both done this right at some point! Whoever takes the lead be confident. Exert that power, but be gentle. Again, you’ve done this before and chances are that your sweetheart goes week in the knees every time you kiss. You didn’t get there without confidence in the past; don’t let it leave you now!
Tip #3: No tongue! Seriously! You want to be sensual, not sexual. Show your chemistry. You’ve got nothing to prove here. A nice, PG rated kiss is much more powerful for your significant other and for the camera.
Focus on each other, be confident and keep it sensual.
It’s easy!

Educational Series: White Balance

In a previous blog post, JSPStudio talked about natural lighting. A most important aspect of lighting and its impact on photography is something known as white balance. White balance is the technique and ability for a photographer to remove unrealistic lighting effects from a photograph and rendering the objects that appear white in reality as white in your photograph. In other words, it’s making sure that your beautiful, white wedding dress appears white in a photograph instead of some horrible shade of red, orange, blue or some other color. Pure white light contains all of the colors of the visible spectrum (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet). White surfaces reflect all of the colors of the spectrum into our eyes and we see that surface as white. A surface that absorbs all the light instead of reflecting it appears black. Our eyes are extraordinary in seeing white objects as white; cameras don’t always have the same ability. You may have noticed this when you take a picture somewhere and it comes out with shades of different colors. This is due to the kinds of light in your environment. The difference between natural sunlight and artificial fluorescent lighting can be dramatic for a photograph. An outdoor wedding ceremony on a Miami or Ft. Lauderdale beach may be fine to shoot with your camera, but once you’re inside the wedding reception, it’s a different story. White balance is the ability for a photographer to understand the different lighting factors in the environment, account for them and capture the photograph with the truest white balance possible. Again, it’s making sure that the white wedding dress appears white in the photograph. Ensuring that the white balance is achieved guarantees that the other colors in your photograph are as real as if you are seeing them in person with your own eyes. Hiring a photographer, like those at JSPStudio, who understands how to control factors such as white balance is essential in making sure that your most valuable moments are captured purely for you to enjoy forever.

Educational Series: Natural Light Photography

The most important aspect of photography is lighting. Without light there would be no photographs. It’s a simple reality of physics: A camera, like your eye, needs light for images to be seen. Light, from any source, travels through space and hits objects in the world. That light then bounces off of those objects in all directions. When that light hits the lens of a camera, or your eye, we “see” the objects in their physical space. Most people don’t know that there are different types of light that come from different sources. In photography, we spend a great deal of time dealing with natural light and artificial light. In this blog post we are going to talk about natural light. Natural light is the light that exists in the world as a product of the natural environment. The greatest source of this light is the sun. Natural light cannot be controlled in all places and it is important for a photographer to understand how this light will affect a photograph, especially in a circumstance such as an outdoor wedding. Natural light plays a significant role in candid shots and photojournalism. While the light source can’t always be controlled, a trained and talented photographer understands the different aspects of light such as warmth (light temperature), tone, contrast, etc. and can make sure that the photographs truly capture what the eye sees.      A professional photographer, like those at JSPStudio, using professional cameras can adjust the camera settings to best capture the existing light. Many people who take pictures with camera phones or digital cameras can understand the importance of natural light and the fact that it can ruin a photograph just as easily as make for a great one. Anyone who has ever tried to take photographs at night vs. the day or with the sun glaring in the background understands that a careful balance and care for natural light is very important. The photographs below show natural light when it is captured with a perfect balance of tone, contrast and warmth.