Sometimes I wonder how a nobody like me can end up with such an awesome client base. I'm guessing that my humorous outlook on life has a disarming effect on people, because not only am I constantly floored by how awesome the people who call me are, I'm also constantly floored by the intimacy of the images I deliver.
No, you deve. I don't mean "naughty NSFW stuff" intimate. I mean "reveal the inner person" intimate. It's something I've been saying for years, and it's something I'll always strive to improve upon:
I'm not interested in capturing a moment. I'm interested in capturing an essence.
I recall my days as a music writer. I loathed the thought of an artist "sharing their feelings." Don't convey your emotions, I would think. Provoke that emotion within me. I didn't want to hear a singer whine about how anguished they were, I wanted their music to make me feel that anguish.
This is a similar idea. Anyone can take a picture of a bride getting her face did. But I think I did a little more than just that with this shot.
I won't get into lighting techniques, composition, exposure, and all that technical mumbojumbo because the shooter is expected to have all that stuff under their skin. If it's not second nature, make it second nature. Your job is to capture the essence of the moment between your clients. You have no time to waste fudging with your settings.
Of course, it takes more than people skills and photographic know-how to get a good image. I was fortunate that the staff at the San Fernando cathedral in downtown San Antonio were as gracious and as accommodating as they were. "As long as you're not a distraction and you're not standing on the altar, you can do what you want."
Awesome. I wish all churches were this flexible. The client deserves the best image you can deliver; flexibility is so key to that. So if the staff and honchos at San Fernando are reading this: thanks for being great.
Another plus to getting to know your client is that you learn how to read them.
I do want to say a thing or two about the making of next image. You want to drag the shutter, but not too terribly much. You want that ambient light, but you're firing a remote speelight, and you have to fire it gently because it'll kill the mood. The secret recipe here is high ISO (2000), slowish shutter (about 1/40), wide aperture (f/2.8), and a pair of speedlights firing at about 1/16 a good twenty feet away. Then, keep your faceholes glued to that viewfinder, never stop focusing on their eyes, and wait for the moment to arrive.