This past weekend I attended a photography conference in Seattle, OSP-W (Open Source Photo-West). It was great to see so many familiar faces in the crowd and some wonderful speakers flew in for the event. Overall I had a fantastic time and really learned a lot of "cool stuff" that I am going to spend some time processing in my brain and applying to my business. One of my favorite speakers was Kevin Swan, "Luxury Wedding Photographer" and co-founder of Kiss Wedding Albums. Random side note: Kevin Swan reminds me a TON of my older brother, John. You can just "see" the gears turning in his head as he thinks. He has a background in advertising & marketing and cuts right to the chase on a variety of topics. Simple is his thing. Don't believe me? His website which I linked to above has a SINGLE page. I was fortunate to be one of a handful of photogs who went to dinner with Kevin, Mike Larson, Shawn Austin, & Nathan Holritz after their Get Simple Seminar on Friday.
Inbetwixt the great speakers this weekend, were scheduled "Group Shoots." One or two experienced or well-known photographers would "Lead" the shoot, and the group would trounce around Seattle with a gorgeous, well moving bride model, (or engaged couple, senior, etc). Group shoots are a good opportunity to learn new techniques in shooting or posing, or shoot in locations or situations you've never encountered yet, with no pressure to produce any particular final product. Group shoots are a time to experiment, and for new shooters, it's an opportunity to build your portfolio with shots from the Group Shoot. However, personally, I usually don't like group shoots. Here's one of my favs from the Group Shoot.
I have even developed one personal motto regarding Group Shoots.
GROUP SHOOTING IS UNNATURAL!
Sure, it is possible to grab beautiful shots like this fashion-y one above of our model, Brittany, but want to see what the reality was like?
See all those photographers down there? That's what it's like! You can't really get JUST where you want to be, it's difficult to give the bride direction, and it's just too darn easy to start feelin' like Paparazzi and getting elbows and lenses in your shots! Not to mention, there's 25 other people out there with nearly identical images of the identical bride!
Luckily, I was in a great group of photographers, many of whom I already knew, so it was fun to talk and laugh as we leaned over each other, walked in front of each others shots, and generally enjoyed being together on a beautiful Seattle day with friends and mutual interests. I actually hadn't signed up for any group shoot but the schedule of events rearrangd a bit and I found myself on one anyway. I only had my 50mm 1.4 and my fisheye lens with me (my most portable lenses) which are coincidentally the WORST lenses for a group shoot! lol Luckily, I love challenges so grabbed what I could with the 50mm and enjoyed separating from the pack and documenting the experience from the outside with the fisheye. Sharing this perspective with you guys is way more fun than showing a couple shots and having to explain the nutty circumstances! A picture really does say a thousand words!