a father and daughters first dance in a wedding reception
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July 2024 Favorite Image of the Month

When I'm shooting images, I look for a few things, and I've listed them below, depending on the subject matter, and use a combination of these techniques; some come consciously, and others are unconscious since I have learned them. L1005358 Edit 3
A father and daughter first dance during a South Asian wedding reception in Austin, Texas

July 2024 Favorite Images of the Month ~ It’s been another busy month here in the house. I’m learning the guitar—an absolute newbie, but I love it. With the scorching temperatures, we’ve been finding cooler air by visiting art museums with my girls. The Texas summer heat brings a slowdown with weddings, so with a little more time on my hands, I thought I would restart a series of monthly blog pieces on my favorite images of the month and write what I like about them.

I’ve been a professional photographer since 1992, and for the last 17 years, I’ve been a wedding photojournalist. Much of how I shoot a wedding is in real-time, documenting a couple’s day without being intrusive and annoying. I have a second shooter with me for most weddings, even if it’s a lower guest count, as this gives me the freedom to shoot as I want. The second shooter sometimes becomes the primary shooter, and since I’ve developed a strong relationship with my seconds, I can rely on them to capture the moments that are the bread and butter of a wedding. As I have developed my style over the years, I shoot for myself and my clients second. By that, I mean my clients are the couples who hire me, but they’re hiring me and paying a premium to deliver images of how I see the world. That is what drew them to my work in the first place. So, “shoot for yourself, clients second’. It’s the best advice for photographers to move beyond and find their style. Do not shoot for social media and likes; don’t try to emulate another photographer. Of course, educate yourself by exploring the works of artists and photographers, and you will subconsciously pick up and improve your work. Ignore negativity online; people will always try to drag you down. Success isn’t quantifiable – but happiness is.

That brings me to July’s photo of the month. The joy of shooting in real-time heightens my interest in capturing moments with soul and meaning and adds dimension to create unique images for the client. When shooting photos, I look for a few things, and I’ve listed them below, depending on the subject matter, and use a combination of these techniques; some come consciously, and others are unconscious since I have learned them. I love windows, reflections, and composing images using these natural frames with many layers.

  1. Identify the main subject – in this case, father and daughter
  2. The greatest area of contrast – squinting as one might when viewing a painting in a museum – where does the eye land first?
  3. Figure-to-ground relationship—a clear distinction between subject and background. Since I’m shooting without controlling the environment, this is a little hit-and-miss, but I try to capture it.
  4. Balance and gazing direction –
  5. Dominant diagonal – these strong lines can create a visual impact
  6. Dynamic Symmetry – usually at least two intersecting diagonals in my frame
  7. Edge flicker – compose carefully and avoid distractions at the edge of the frame
  8. Negative space – only to convey the story
  9. Shapes – triangles, circles, squares.

Let me know if you like what you see and if you have comments, feel free to leave them below. For more like this check out my other image of the month here.

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