Category Archives: Technical

Off Camera Flashes on a Bride How to get it done

Off Camera Flashes on a Bride


Wedding Lake


Wedding Bride


Also posted in Wedding Tagged |

Use the Curve Luke!


The Curve Path

I guess that after a while, a photographer starts to see certain items or features when on a shoot.  These are features I know will always create a pleasing image if composed well.

2 of those items are in this photograph I recently took at a wedding in Illinois:  the curved path or road and light background.

I’d say that these 2 elements are really common in my photographs mostly because of the effect they create.

  1. Light background.  Ideally the subjects are in the shade. I really love how the dark and light contrasts in an image work together.  The light portion of the image seems to pull the subject to it which has a nice archetypal feel to it-  moving to the brightness as they start their new lives together.
  2. Rim light.  Another reason I like the brighter background composition is that it creates a rim lighting affect around the couple.  It helps them stand out and seemingly glow.
  3. The Curve.  Curves are appealing to look at.  The human eye is drawn to it more that say a right angle.    They help provide definition and shape to the subject.  I try to look for paths or roads that have the curve because as it bends away the eye is drawn to its shape.  There is also an element of the un known as it disappears off the picture.  This creates tension or drama while still balancing  the focus on the subject.
  4. The Metaphor.  And of course it’s a metaphor.  It’s their journey into the unknown-  it’s an exciting time as they start their lives together and are awash with hope and bright joy.

So, in the words of Star Wars-  Follow the Curve, Luke.

Also posted in Wedding Tagged |

Makeup Artists are Important


Studio Look


Studio Look

Makeup Artist is important-

While they don’t necessarily make or break a shoot, their impact cannot be stressed.

Makeup, whether it’s for a wedding or a headshot can make all the difference to the final product.

Hiring Artists is the same as hiring any vendor-

  • check references
  • check their portfolio
  • many provide a sample free or reduced fee for a trial run.
  • meet with them
  • check out the gear they use
Also posted in headshots Tagged |

Fun Posing Studio Shoots


St Louis Photography

Fun Posing in the Studio for great Shots

Simple is sometimes the best

  •  You don’t need wild and expansive backgrounds.  A clean background wall is usually best.
  • You don’t need a bunch of lights and reflectors.  One light positioned properly is going to work great.
  • You don’t need a model who is an expert at posing.  You do need a great rapport with the client to make them feel great about themselves to get that perfect shot.
  • They don’t need to wear couture and diamonds to look amazing.  They need to wear their style and be themselves.
Also posted in Portraits Tagged |

Illinois Fall Wedding


Fall Wedding


Fall Wedding

Illinois Fall Wedding


Also posted in Portraits, Wedding Tagged |

Photographing the Bride and Making her Look Amazing

Photographing the Bride so she looks amazing


The Bride


The Bride


The Bride

Photographing the Bride and Making her Look Great

Your photographer must take exceptional breathtaking kickass Holy Molly drop dead amazing pictures of the bride –  PERIOD!

It’s her day and she is going to look incredible so you better have a plan on how to capture her in all her glory.  This is one of those shots that you must get.

Here’s what I do:

1- Best case place to photograph her-  Photograph her in the location she is getting ready in-  I have no idea what the space she will get ready will look like.  But I know I can control in a lot more than say the church which will most likely be dark and cluttered.   Control is the key word.  I search for house or hotel room to find a room that I can clear of all the stuff and has good lighting.

The above is the spare room.  I took pictures off the wall and moved everything.  If something gets damaged?  Be careful and nothing will.  If it does?  That’s why you have liability insurance.

I like to do the first set of many pictures of her at her location because she still looks fresh and bright.  Fatigue has not set in.  Also, there is something magical about the bride when she is wearing her dress for the first time.  It’s in her eyes and body language and it lasts about 1 hour before the hectic flow of the day starts.

2-  Get the lighting right-  Open blinds, turn on lights,  bounce flash … do what ever to get the space bright.  Ideally you know something about light and how it falls and moves-  both natural and flash.  That’s what a professional means-  you know your stuff and make magic happen.  If you don’t know how to make it happen, give them their money back and stop booking weddings until you know.

I knew instantly this room was going to be it.  The white walls, large windows and blinds made for perfect lighting.  She would be backlit and I am bouncing light off the front wall the light her face a touch.  I over exposed by a 1/3 to blow out the light even more.  I wanted an airy feel to the shot.

How long did I plan this?  Days, weeks, hours?

It took  one  30 second look in the room and I knew.  The whole session in this space took 4 minutes after I moved everything.

3-  Posing-  Study fashion magazines.  I do it while I am waiting to checkout at Schnucks.  Other people pick the shortest line.  I take the longest line or even better the trainee cashier.  I want time to do my homework by scanning Cosmopolitan and Vogue.

For a woman, any woman, curves are appealing.

These are my instructions:

a-  push top of your head to the ceiling to elongate the body.

b-  pull your tummy or core in the show curves up top

c-  arch the lower back to create curves in the behind area.

d-  relax shoulders and pull them back to emphasize curves.

e-  Put all your weight on foot closest to me to create curves in behind area.

f-  Relax hand on hips or thighs and relax elbows away from body.  Hands are gentle in posture.

g-  Twist at waist a fraction to slim the waist down.

h- chin forward and down, relax the eyes.

I-  look over shoulder and down and then over shoulder at me.  And BAM!

All the above happens in about 3 seconds in a calm series of instructions.

I know the pose and picture before I take it and it’s just a matter of being VERY clear in posing instructions.



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Bridesmaids and their Photographs


Bridesmaids and their Photographs




Their Photographs

BridesMaids BridesMaids Bridesmaids and their Photographs

Some Photographers do not spend enough time on the bridesmaids.

They have just spent the morning getting ready and looking amazing.  Their makeup is spot on, their hair is looking amazing, and they have a lovely uniformity because of their dresses.  This is probably the most exciting group of ladies that are demanding to be photographed.

I usually will do a headshot set before we leave the location where they are getting ready.  I always feel that this a sanctuary and once we leave it it will be game on in terms of the pressures of the day.  Here they are at least somewhat relaxed.

I like to position them in a way that keeps the background lighter than their hair.  I try to place a lamp with a soft warm bulb in it behind them.  This is the ideal, but too many places now use the efficiency bulb which are much cooler in temperature.

Posing is really simple-

  • head is tall to lengthen the body,
  • chin is down and pushed forward to lengthen the neck,
  • head is turned slightly to camera so the nose is made smaller or less pronounced by their cheek,
  • Eyes are either at the camera or down
  • lips are slightly parted for a sultry look
  • and occasionally they can smile:)

I always give them a preview on the back of the camera.  They love this!  And more importantly I have now gained their trust and will totally work with me through the day.



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Processional Wedding Pictures

Photographing the Processional

Processional Picture Processional Wedding Pictures have an immediate impact.

The couple are seconds into their union-  husband and wife.

It is seconds into a process that for some has started years before. The Processional.

The release of emotions at the moment of the processional is spectacular.

This is a must have shot that all wedding photographers must get-  it’s on par with the kiss.

Capturing it is pretty easy to with the right gear.

A zoom is preferable because of the low depth of field and the ability to flatten the background.  This will help keep the focus on the subject.

A word of Caution.  You will be walking backwards.  So please be extra careful you dont trip or bang into something.  I have seen so many Youtube videos of photohs walking backwards and falling into something.

I love the various reactions you will get from the couple. They are either making contact with certain people in the church-  a wave or handshake, or they are stealing occasional glances at each other.

Regardless of what they are doing –  they are always beaming with joy.  These reactions are priceless.

These are tremendous pictures your clients will love.

St Louis Missouri Photographers


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Photographing Wedding Shoes

Photographing Wedding shoes and the details from the day.  It’s an important part of what a modern bride wants and should be photographed.



Photographing the Wedding Shoes is a fun and different shot to take on the wedding day.

I always look for different looks or subject matters on a wedding day.  Of course there are the classic poses and compositions that all wedding photographers should capture.

But the fun of the day is pushing yourself to look for different approaches or angles. The general rule is to make sure you get the safe required shots first.  If the shit hits the fan in the day –  and it will someday-  for example a storm blows in, you lose or break the gear, or some other crisis occurs-  at the very least you will have the safe shots to fall back on.  Get the safe ones first no matter what!

Once you have those then you can have fun-  push the envelop of creativity or just take fun shots.

The shots may not make their album or wall print, but they will make them giggle or have a reaction.  Maybe an AHH moment for them.


Reviews for Shari Photography



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Photography Scam- Family Portraits

Photography Scam-  Family Portraits

Watch out for this email for a scam :

And this is the Text:

“Hi, This is David Brandon Do you offer Family Reunion Photography and accept credit card? Kindly reply back if you do.

Thank you”

I get about 1 every 3 weeks now from some scammer trying to get me to make a transaction.

Sadly, too many photographers fall for it because of the need to book jobs.

The basics of the scam involves them making a transaction for over the amount-  say by $2000.  They then request they send the difference to back to them.

They are so shameless they will even call you and harass you and threaten to sue you because of some breach of contract.

In some cases you will receive a call from a USA number- Florida for some reason, from a guy with a heavy accent claiming to be an attorney for a legal firm who is about to sue you and “garnish your wages”.

I don’t think there is a lot you can do.

All I do is send the  following reply:

“Dear David,

I am available and would love to photograph your family.

I only have 2 stipulations as per my contract:

  1.  I am a Paternal Natrurist photographer which means you will need to be nude when I take the pictures.  It’s a way of symbolizing   your position as a head of the house-  this is a very popular style of portraits from France.
  2. In addition to the payment of $3000 to take 1 picture, my other requirement is that I will  have intercourse with your wife.

Just send me your credit card details and I will schedule you for early 2018-  my first available date.”

Don’t get sucked in by these guys-  do some research and know that if it is too good to be true-  then it is.


Here is a another website with the same warning :

SCAM Warning




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