Category Archives: Technical

Photographing the Wedding Party


photographing Wedding party

Photographing the wedding party is one of the key pictures of the day.

One of the must have pictures from the wedding is obviously the wedding party. I like to make sure I give the couple lots of variations of the wedding party scene. We will do lots of fun ones , small group ones, and lots of interactions to show the friendships between the couple in the wedding party people.   After all members of the wedding party are close personal friends of the couple. So it goes without saying that they probably want lots of pictures with them.

One of the most have pictures is an official wedding party portrait. This picture needs to be balanced and everybody needs to be post in the symmetrical pattern.if you don’t get it right the picture looks off.

If you don’t get it right, the picture looks off.
The picture that’s off in this case would be if a couple of the bridesmaids had their flowers in a different location instead of all on there right hip bone.  Or for example if some of the groomsmen didn’t  have their hands in their pockets and some had their Arms folded.

it’s really important to have symmetry.

Everyone turning a certain way, all the men pose in a certain, way all the women holding flowers in a certain way. This is what makes the shot work.

There will be many other pictures that will be more candid and playful and spontaneous. This is not one of those shots. It’s about photographing the moment correctly.

in most cases the couple will print this picture or share this picture with their friends in the wedding party more than any other shot.

By the time this picture happens some wedding parties may be a little tipsy or fed up and ready to get to the reception. It’s really important to take control of the situation,to pose everyone specifically and to get the shots quickly. Three or four frames to make sure all eyes are open, three or four frames to make sure everyone is looking at you.

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Shadows and a Headshot Style

Headshot Photography Style

Shadow Style

Shadows and a Headshot Style

Even light on a face for headshots is important. It makers the client look trustworthy and that’s essential.  But to get the most style from a headshot –  try a little shadow.

We want to see the full face and eyes and the impression of someone we can trust.

On occasion we can also add shadows to the side of the face.  The Shadows need to be slight and not too dark and sinister looking.

Mild shadows on the cheek bone give the impression of the subject being regal, above the crowd in stature, royal.

But it’s essential you don’t let them have the look of contempt.  Then the whole look will backfire as the audience will perceive your headshot as some looking cocky and arrogant and aloof.

Regal and approachable yes-  a cocky know it all No.  It’s all about the Shadow Style.

So how to create this look.

  1.  put the reflector under their face, mid chest level.  This will throw light in their eyes and create lovely dynamic catchlights from below.
  2. place large softbox slightly to the right of the subject.  Feather the light so its just catching the nose
  3. place a large reflector, I use insulation boards from Home Depot, on the left of the client.  This will throw light back on that side of the face.
  4. Keep feather the softbox away to the right until you can see light shadows on the left cheek bone.
  5. Essential-  male they smile a wee bit or they will look arrogant.  Regal Yes- Cocky No.



Also posted in headshots, Portraits Tagged |

Veils and the Bride

Photographing Veils for a Great Picture.

Wedding Veils

Taking pictures of   veils is great fun.  There are so many options and they can all look great.

I remember the first one I did and it was awful.  The room was dark, I had no flash, and the 85 mm 1.2 was focusing so poorly in the low light.

I wanted the brides eyes in focus but at 1.2 all I was getting was the  material and not the eyes.  From an artistic shot, it was cool!  blurry eyes and sharp veil.

Now as a seasoned photographer I have a few tricks up my sleeve that lets me get the shot the way I want.

In the previous scenario, I would have used a fasted focusing lens, opened the app to F 2.3 and thrown more light in to get the focus around the eyes.

But the shot still worked even if technically I sucked!  I tend to spend more time on the veils to get a variety of different looks.  I especially enjoy capturing part of the veil and a body part-  so not the whole face or whole cloth.

So how to get the eyes in focus and the  soft?

Easy, have the bride lift it. lock focus on the eye closest to the camera, let her drop the veil and snap the shot.  As long as you have the focus point locked then you have the eye in focus and the Veil soft.
Makes for a cool shot.



Also posted in Portraits, Wedding Tagged |

Reception Party Time

How to setup the lights to get an even light through the reception photographs.

Wedding Collections

reception danceCapturing the fun and friendships of a wedding reception.   It’s the best part of the wedding day.

And this is not a time to b shy as a photographer and take the photo-journalistic style approach by hiding behind a lens in a dark corner snapping away.

The reception is where you should be in on the dance floor, getting down and dirty with the crowd.

What gear?  the 50mm or 35mm has got to be the 2 choices.  They are fast enough to get the action and short enough so as to not get them smashed in the scrum of the dance floor.

I’ll use a  synch cord to take the flash off the camera-  so I hold the flash in one hand, and the camera in the other.  It creates all sort of great effects.

Then I’ll pop the flash back on the camera and capture the madness with even light coverage.  The above picture has a strobe in the corner that is triggered with our PWs.

Don’t be shy at the Reception-

people want to be photographed and they will mug it up for you if you interact and get goofy.  You will get amazingly fun shots of the night.

Word to the Wise-  never post any picture of anyone who looks out of control or drunk or too sassy.  What goes on at the Reception-  Stays at the reception.

These folks have to go to work on Monday and they do not want their drunk faces splashed all over FB.  Protect your clients and their guests.


Shari Photography Collections


Also posted in headshots, Portraits, Wedding Tagged |

Photographing the Wedding First Dance Suggestions

First Dance and how to best capture the amazing moment

Wedding Collections

First Dance

Every wedding has a series of hurdles that you cannot screw up on because there is no do over.  You can always redo a portrait or wedding party pic.

The first dance is not a do over event.  You either get it right or you miss one of the most important moments of the day.

Usually there is very little time to prep and setup for the shots.  You have about 3 minutes to get dialed in and take a well exposed properly composed series of pictures.

Here are the steps I use:

1-  make sure the background is clear like a wall or ther are lights that I can backlight them with-  maybe the DJs lights.

2-  Settings-  I want ambient light so shutter is 1/60- 1/80.  App in a  low light situation will be 2.8 or 1.8.  I dare not go below 1.8 otherwise there is a chance one of the couples faces will be soft.  2.8 is my choice.  ISO at 800 to start. Off camera flash 1/4 bounce set at 1/8 .  Everything needs to be manual otherwise the picture will look like you took it with a point and shoot.

Seriously, if you don’t know how to shoot off camera with a flash in manual in a dark room then don’t charge people to photograph their wedding.

3-   I have 2 lenses with me so I don’t have to move too much.

the 70-200mm for tight shots and the 35mm  for wide room shots to give a sense of the occasion.  My preference is close in shots because the story is about the couple and not the room.

4-  Editing-  mostly color, but a few get the black and white treatment if there is a lot of emotion in the image.

Shari Photography Wedding Collections




Also posted in Engagements, Wedding Tagged |

Headshots – Business or Acting

photography business

Business or acting

The line between a business  and acting look   is getting a little blurred –  which I think is awesome!

The two forms go well together.  The traditional stale business shot is making way for exciting looks that can pass for a theatrical or commercial look.

What it does is allow the client to seem a lot more personable and human.

Still important is the wardrobe.

This link helps give suggestions on what to wear-  it really make a big difference to the shot.

What to Wear

This may be different to what you might wear for an acting headshot.

Regardless on the type of shot, the eyes and mouth are the key elements to a strong headshot.

The eyes tell the audience if you are decent sort of person.  That’s where a really good photographer comes into play.  They need to make your eyes sparkle- either in studio or in editing.

With bloodshot eyes it is unacceptable for the photographer to not clean those up in post editing.

Whether the headshot is for either business or acting, the key to getting the client to show their true self becomes important.  So to do that?

1-  get them to talk about stuff they love-  hobbies. family, job, pets.

That’s when you’ll get a great reaction.

We are proud to be the choice photographers for executive, corporate and acting head shots in the Midwest.

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St Louis Zoo Wedding


The zoo is a great place to take pictures. There are a lot of options.

Some photographers worry about the crowds.  Crowds can be a factor or you  can work them into the picture as part of the composition.  Ever see a crowd gawk or stand aside when a wedding party walks through!  It’s like parting the sea.

There are the animals as well that can be cleverly incorporated into shots.  I once  asked the couple to mirror the animals we were looking at-  totally hilarious series of pictures.

Inside the St Louis Zoo there is a very cool flooring.  Here I had the couple stand while the wedding party walked quickly around them.  It created a lovely and interesting picture for the couple.

Settings-  F 3.2 with focus point on couple.

1/15 ISO 400

and a good pillar to lean on for stability.

I over exposed by a 1/3 to make it pop a little more.

Regardless of the zoo-  there are many fun shots that are possible with the couple.

Shari Photography


Don’t be afraid to ask your photographer to hit the zoo-  you are paying them and if it fits the timeline, they should take you and have fun with it.


St Louis Zoo Wedding Saint Louis Missouri Weddings Bride Photography Headshot Portraits Clayton Ladue Forest Park

Also posted in Wedding

Balancing a Portrait Styles


Photography Headshots

Balancing a Portrait Styles

Always look to create a nice balance in a photograph by looking at lines.

The Styles you can create though balancing lines makes the image more interesting to look at.

Headshot Photographer St Louis Missouri Executive Theatrical Commercial

Also posted in headshots, Portraits

Streets of Granada Spain

Streets of Granada Spain

Love this city in southern Spain.  Granada is an amazing town with incredible food, culture, alleys, an history.  There is such a wonderful feel to this city.

Here is a selection of photographs I took on a recent trip in July 2015.  I love Alleys and this city provided many excellent opportunities to get lost and take pictures.

Wedding Illinois St Louis Missouri Photography Photographer

Spain Streets of Granada Spain Streets of Granada Spain Streets of Granada Spain Streets of Granada Spain Streets of Granada Spain Streets of Granada Spain

Also posted in Travel

Photographs on White Backgrounds

St Louis Photographs


Photographs on White Background

I really enjoy photographing headshots.  The time you can spend with a client in a 1 on 1 setting, event briefly is something I enjoy.

Headshots are about capturing the true personality of the client.  When you get the sparkle in their eye then I know I have nailed it.

The image above is of my daughter-  she  is getting better at helping me set up and try a new photo gear.

In this case I am trying out  a new backdrop that will be even more portable than my previous one.


85 mm 1.2 L is the only lens to use on a headshot.  It keeps the body in the right proportion.  Never use a 50 0r 35mm.  The face will look out of shape,


St Louis photography headshot wedding portrait photographer weddings corporate

Also posted in headshots