Thursday, August 18, 2011

Raw Talk: Fashion Wedding Fusion

In a recent interview with Vogue, famed fashion photographer RANKIN says he might scrap his no-weddings rule if Kate Moss asked him to photograph her nuptials. "You don't say no to Kate, but she'll probably get Mario(Testino). If she did ask though, I'd tell her to get back up as well, as I'd be so nervous, and not just because it's her - for anyone it's a really special day. There's too much pressure surrounding weddings. I'll always set up a studio on the day but I won't take pictures all day. You don't want to mess it up." Read more to see how totally different skill set are required for these two types of photography, and how Testino used elements of fashion to create remarkable pre-wedding shots for Kate.

What happens when one of the best fashion photographers shoots a wedding for one of the supermodel??

Well, what you get a really slick Engagement-session spread on the pages of Vogue...

(psst.....notice the Photoshop mishap in the fingers of Lila Grace in the image below...)

 and of course, the cover too!

View the entire slideshow of her wedding day here. It starts with her E-session for Vogue shot by Testino, followed by some pictures from the press and Testino's photographers.

It is interesting as i was writing about the transition from fashion photography to shooting weddings, the nuptial of Kate Moss headlined. When i learnt Mario Testino is shooting her, i wanted to see how the worlds best in fashion photography, shoots a wedding. Mario is not new in shooting E-sessions for high profile celebrities. The recent one was for Prince William and Kate. The slick E-sessions were as i expected. But that is the most creative part of wedding shoots, and can be planned and executed like a fashion shoot....which in this case, it actually was.

What i really wanted to see was how he handles the high pressure shoot on the D-day. As i expected, this is him shooting himself on the main day...

...with a fabulous pocket point n' shoot camera!

And who really did shoot her day? Probably a few unsung assistants of Testino with nerves of steel.

So what is it about shooting weddings that cracks up the best guys in the industry like Rankin and Testino to take the easy route of shooting  the wedding with a point n shoot or setting up a studio, and leave the high pressure stuff on someone else?

The answer is 'CONTROL'....or rather lack of it. When they are shooting on location for magazines, they are fortunate to shoot with a film crew, holding  huge scrims, reflector, battery powered lights, wind machines etc. to give you total control over the situation. Half the time, they don't use all the stuff, but it is always carried with them. Now imagine a wedding photographer, the lone ranger with his two cameras and a couple of lenses trying to get a picture in the same situation, how would he pull it off. Expectations are the same from a pro photographer, no matter what you shoot. When the going gets tough, the tough get going!

It's not easy to come out of your comfort zone if you are used to using all kind of lighting equipment with assistants to carry and set it up anywhere, and the best models who know to pose the least, along with best talents in hair/makeup. You just need an idea to begin with. These days, even that is being resold in every magazine. Even though I love the work of all the God like photographers i have mentioned in the past, I have a voice inside me saying that photography wise, i can pull it off if i was in their place having the same kind of talent who work for them. I know my limits and i know Iwill be able to perform very very well in that situation. 'To be the best you have to work with the best'. While that holds true for fashion, if i were to fill the shoes of a wedding photographer, it would be just me...and for my work to shine...I need to be the best.

Patrick Demarchelier is another of my idol who loves shooting with an Octabox as his main and sometimes only light source. When you master to use this light and know where and which angle exactly to place it in different situations, you don't get to be can only light as good as him. What makes him different is probably Giselle Bundchen in front of his camera, styled by the best people, retouched by the best people and his work seen in Bazaar by millions of people.

Take a look at this really nice wedding shoot from UK based fashion photographer Drew Gardener, who recently shot the wedding of his niece here. There are actually just 3 images posted, but it is a good read about his experience to shoot a wedding after 30yrs.

Wedding and Fashion are two different and opposite approaches. To me, a good photographer always has strong vision, poses and lighting. It's true most wedding photographers don't use or know much about studio lighting and pro models and fashion world. Some are beginners. What I can say is that they are both exceptionally hard to do well and incredibly easy to do badly. Certainly, coming away from a wedding with 300 very good photographs is incredibly hard to achieve. That compared with coming away with one exceptional photograph in fashion is just different - not easier. To do well, they fundamentally require a different skill set, so to say that the wedding photographers have "less skill" is just wrong. Many fashion photographers couldn't do the wedding job well and many wedding photographers couldn't do the fashion job well. High end wedding photographers are extremely skilled and deserve every penny they are paid. They can spot a good shot a mile off, before it's even happened. There are as few at the top of the wedding market as there are high end fashion photographers. However, since fashion is paid for by business and advertising, the top end salary for fashion is WAY higher than the top end salary for weddings. That doesn't equate to less skill though. Basically, they both have skills. Just different ones.

Fundamentally with weddings you can't reshoot and that does change the mindset and gives a massive challenge. You have to create images that the bride has been dreaming about since she was a child. Shooting in such varying conditions and needing to produce a massive amount of beautiful photos is tough. But, knowing the couple are so happy really makes it worthwhile.

1 comment:

  1. love this! it helps and motivates a lot and very inspirational! thanks for sharing!