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Switching Gears: Goodbye Italy, Hello Weddings!

Coming back home has been an adjustment. I’ve gone from shooting hundreds of photos every day in beautiful locations back to the usual routine. There’s so much that I miss about Italy. The food. The landscape. The architecture. The food. After all that, I wasn’t sure how I’d do switching gears back into weddings.

Once I started shooting though, I felt right at home. This one was a small affair with a relaxed couple at my favorite San Diego location, Rancho Valencia. The bride didn’t want any getting ready photos so I had a drink with Tom, the groom, at the bar and shot some portraits.

My wife doesn’t like this photo. I think there’s something unique and a little dramatic to it. What do you think?

The officiant was also the groom’s stepfather.

Mindy, the bride, was running late due to hair issues. I went over to her hotel suite to check on things. She was in her bra so she asked me not to come in. I told her, “It’s okay, I’m gay.” She was okay with that so in I went.

Later, the catering manager, a friend of mine, let me know that she asked her, “Did you know that John is gay?” She laughed and let her know that I wasn’t serious. Whatever it takes to get the shot! (Not that there’s anything wrong with being gay.)

Shot the wedding with three lenses. I used to bring ten or more with all kinds of gear in the biggest bag that Tamrac makes. Nowadays, I like just keeping it all simple when I can.

In Italy, I really worked the off-camera flash using my little Speedlite. I’m used to using my big power packs with a variety of modifiers so using an itty-bitty flash was a bit of a departure. Still, the practice paid off. I shot this wedding on my own so I corralled a guest and had him hold my light.

The other thing I did in Italy was get to know Lightroom. Love that program. Spent a month perfecting my presets. Lightroom is finicky with presets - they all react differently based on the photo. So I created presets for specific lighting and subject matter. Works great; haven’t opened Photoshop in weeks.

With no one to hold the flash, I stuck it on a table. You can see it on the right.

It’s been awhile since I’ve shot a wedding. This one helped me to remember how much fun they can be.


2 Responses to “Switching Gears: Goodbye Italy, Hello Weddings!”

  1. Nick Says:

    Hi John. Just a quick note to say that I really enjoy your blog, and I really dig your style. Thank’s for sharing.

  2. Michael Shandro Says:

    It may have been awhile since you shot a wedding, but from what I’ve seen so far you nailed it this time!

    I like the challenge of working with minimal gear on destination shoots. On our last Mexico wedding I shot with 2 primes and a tilt-shift. I have a hard time letting go of my q-flashes though.


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