Shooting my First Wedding.

Last month, I shot my first wedding.

I wanted to use this as an opportunity to write up a three-part series, starting with an instructional post about how to prepare for a big photo shoot. The second post was going to be a raw, stream-of-consciousness reflection written the day after the shoot. The final follow-up post explaining what I had learned was going to come a month later, when the job had settled in and behind me.

But, things didn’t quite work out that way. It’s a month later now and that first post was never written. Instead, you are stuck with one long, meandering, disorganized post covering everything.

Before I begin, I will give you some of the relevant details:

1. Some of my very close friends were getting married.
2. I’ve never shoot a wedding before, and I don’t have all the fancy gear.

Because of these two factors, I’m obviously going to cut them a deal.

A meeting between myself and the Bride is arranged.
I talk with several other wedding photographers about rates, work-flow, gear, expectations, etc. So I can walk into the meeting with honest industry rates in my area.
Weeks before the big day, The Bride and I work out the details: The shoot is going to be done for next-to-nothing, but the prints will be sold at the regular rate.
In addition to prints, I will design a wedding photobook, and make it available through a print-on-demand service. Information about the book will be given to all of the guests. Hopefully, all of them will buy 300 copies each and I can retire.
We have a deal we are both happy with.

As the wedding draws nearer, I realize that having some sort of plan is probably a good idea. Ignoring my own advice, I make plans going forwards, rather than backwards (meaning I started with ‘step 1’ and worked my way forward. Planning backwards, starting with the final step and asking “what do I need for that to happen?” always seems to give me far more reliable and realistic results).

The Plan:

Research “how do I shoot a wedding” (1 day)
Shoot wedding (1 day)
Sort photos. (1-2 days)
Edit photos (3 days)
Design book (1 day)
Estimated turnaround: one week

I’ve got my plan! I’m all set.

“This is going to be easy.”

I will take this opportunity to make a little digression: Whenever the phrase “this is going to be easy” is uttered, that person is just minutes away from being spectacularly wrong.

“This is going to be easy…”

Continue reading Shooting my First Wedding.

Wedding Photos

It’s been a while. I know…

Three weeks ago, I shot my first wedding. I was really hoping to present a 3-part series about wedding photography, but stuff came up, time ran out, and now I’m a week behind schedule getting these photos together. I’m taking a big risk with this shoot, trying something a little new. I am looking forward to telling you all about the process and the results.

Unfortunately, getting stuff done takes time, so it’s going to be a while before I can write this series of posts. Things have to happen before I write about the results.

Illuminated Landscapes: Sodium Series

While the Abstract collection was almost entirely my photography, The sodium series is almost entirely Brad’s. (except for this one photo below, which is my only entry into this set)

Kyle Clements: Illuminated Landscape #74

We call it the sodium series because of the deep orange glow in the sky. Although we were shooting these in the wilderness, we were only an hour away from several cities, and the warm glow from those distant sodium streetlights bounced off the clouds and filled the sky with an unexpected orange light.

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Illuminated Landscapes: Single Focus

As I mentioned in an earlier post, organizing and picking a select few images out of hundreds of photographs can be a daunting task.

Our first method consisted of going through the folder in waves, sorting the pictures into separate folders: Bad, OK, Good, Better Best. This left us with a very disorganized and inconsistent collection in our “Best” folder, so we changed our approach. We picked a theme, and selected the images that were the best fit for that category.

We found it helpful to sort the photos into several groups of similar images.

None of these category titles appear in the book, since text was kept to a minimum.

Instead, I will sort these images right here, in a series of blog posts.

This folder was titled “Single Focus”, and the shots in this folder made liberal use of the shallow depth of field our f1.8 lenses made possible.
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Illuminated Landscapes: Abstract

As Brad and I were organizing the images for inclusion in Illuminated Landscapes, we were initially intimidated by the large number of images before us. We found it helpful to sort the photos into several groups of similar images.

We each came up with a few general categories. The working titles for these groups were pretty bad, it was just the first thing that popped into our heads, nothing too deep or poetic, but the idea to sort them like this was a tremendous help.

A single folder with 200 images can be very overwhelming go through, but when I had 10 folders with 20 images in front of me, I stopped seeing the image as isolated things; I began to see them as part of a series. This made sorting much easier. It wasn’t about the image any more, it became about what images worked best together. What could have been days of beard scratching was reduced to a few hours of work.

We didn’t title any of the sections in the book, since we decided to keep text to a minimum. Other than the opening blurbs, this is just about images. No captions or quotes; just text.

Over the next little while, I plan on using this place to present the groups of images.

I will start with a group of photos that is pure Kyle; not one of Brad’s shots made it into this folder. This folder was simply titled “Pollock”, and when you see the images, the reason for this name should be fairly obvious.
Continue reading Illuminated Landscapes: Abstract

Illuminated Landscapes Has Arrived!

Last night, the first copy of Illuminated Landscapes arrived in my mailbox, and I am proud to say that the book passed it’s inspection. The print quality matches our expectations and the project is now officially ready to go live!

It’s kind of strange to think that I now have a book out and on the market.

I don’t have a lot to say with this post; instead, I will offer a virtual tour of the book.
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Illuminated Landscapes: Free PDF Version Available Now.

If you are a regular here, then you’ve probably heard about Illuminated Landscapes a series of photographs by my friend Brad Blucher and myself.

I’ve hinted about the project three times before. But no more vague teasers!

We’ve edited down the huge archive of images into 80 photographs. These 80 photographs will appear in our new 80-page photo book Illuminated Landscapes, which will be available soon.

While we are still waiting for the hard copy version to arrive so we can apply our seal of approval and put the thing up for sale, the free digital version is available now!

That’s right, the free version is out before the “must pay for it” version!

The free digital version contains the same set of 80 images that appear in the physical version, and is presented as two separate PDFs. (one portrait, the other landscape)

To receive your free version of Illuminated Landscapes, all you need to do is send off an email to:

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Illuminating Landscapes

On Saturday night, I stumbled through the front door at 4:02am.

I wasn’t returning from a night of hard partying. I wasn’t stumbling due to any sort of intoxication. I was simply exhausted, both mentally and physically.

Why was I so exhausted?
Well, 18-hour work days will do that to ya.

Since 10:00 am Saturday morning, Brad and I had been working on a little project. We call it “Illuminated Landscapes.”

I talked about the very first photo shoot of this series in a previous entry, Painting with Light, but I didn’t explain what we were going to do with these images.

This is what we’ve been working on:
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A Tired Kyle is a Useless Kyle

I am not a morning person. It takes me a while to get myself warmed up and ready to go. My usual routine is to wake up, turn on lappy, make coffee, open some web pages (twitter and reddit have really reduced the number of sites I go through on my web surfing routine, all my boingboing, slashdot and techdirt headlines are aggregated and combined on one page)

It’s only after an hour or two that I’m ready to actually do anything. And being a full time artist, once I’ve reached this point, I can usually ignore the clock and just keep on working until my hand-eye coordination degrades to the point where I know I need more sleep.

I had a break from this routine over the weekend, and this break provided me with a good reminder of just how useless I can be in those first few moments after waking up.
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The Painting Process: Captured on Video

As a painter, I’m very interested in the painting process.

Painting is what I do, and I have to go through a painting process to get the finished painting. Whole movements and styles of painting have been dedicated to the process of painting. As much as I love abstract expressionism, I really, really don’t like the term “process painting”. I don’t walk into a gallery to see the verb form of painting; I’m after nouns. I want to see a well-executed finished piece.

Eventually, I will post a rant about my dislike of the phrase “process painting”, but this is no that occasion. On this occasion, I will be talking about what I think is a much better way of capturing and exhibiting the process of painting. I will be talking about video.
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