Here is a short history of the wedding album, from the perspective of my family.
- The shoebox: One set of my grandparents got married in 1934. They were from Saskatchewan farming families, with not a lot of money. They have no photos from their wedding at all, and all of their early family photos were kept in a shoebox.
- The colourized portrait: My other set of grandparents was married in 1948. Having left their respective farms to work in the city, they had a little more money, and access to a photographer. They had about four posed shots done, each developed and hand-coloured. One made it into the family album.
- The traditional album: My parents married in 1971, and they had several wedding photos: snapshots, as well as professional pictures. They have a dedicated calfskin wedding album with vellum between the thick black pages.
- The professional album: I was married in 1995, and our photographer created a formal album for us. The prints were mounted and presented in a leather bound album.
- The scrapbook: My sister was married in 2000. She made a scrapbook of her wedding photos, complete with fancy paper, ribbons, and other decorative doo-dads.
- The photobook: My other sister was married in 2008, in the era of digital photos. She has photobooks of her wedding, full of professional and candid shots, all made by friends and family.
Each era reflects a certain time and look, and I’m sure nearly every Canadian family has representatives from each of these different albums.
Martin Chung talks about wedding photography, lighting, and capturing the details
My assignment this month is ‘wedding photography’, and I must confess I find it hard to take good wedding pictures when I’m either crying or balancing a glass and plate of food. So I turned to a pro to help demystify the process: Martin Chung is an award-winning Vancouver photographer who has a special eye for weddings.
I expected he would give me some tips and tricks, but instead, I got a fascinating peek into the creative process, the philosophy of wedding photography, and the importance of documenting the details.
Award-winning photographer, Martin Chung, has taken some stunning images. I selected a few that really stood out, and Martin told me how he created the look.
Martin was shooting a wedding at Vancouver’s busy Granville Island. To capture the bustle of the location, he took a photo with a long exposure and asked the couple to remain very still. The result is stunning: motion blur from the people walking by, which draws the eye directly to the couple.
Shooting video with a DSLR camera is one of the most exciting things to happen to home video since the camcorder. The reason is simple: the lens. Filming through a lens allows for the type of creative freedom you see on a professional production.
For example, wider apertures create a more shallow depth of field in video, just as in photographs. A shallow depth of field gives a soft, blurred background and foreground, which can make for lovely effects. Using a wide angle, telephoto, or macro lens will each give your video a unique look and feel.
Lighting has been a problem with DSLR video, however, and this limitation has restricted filming to naturally lit areas. The reason is that a camera flash is a strobe light, putting out a burst of powerful light for a fraction of a second. Video requires a continuous light, which until recently has required so much power that it is not practical.
Professional photography studios carefully control their lighting using a few basic principles. With a little planning and some strategic purchases, you can quickly set up your own home studio and take gorgeous portraits of your loved ones.
Studio Lighting Basics
When you look beyond the high tech equipment, a professional photography studio is simply a space with well-controlled lighting. Each lighting element has a specific purpose.
For the amateur photographer, controlling light is a little like hunting for pirate treasure. You have a sketchy map, landmarks to help you along the way, and tools to unearth the chest of gold and diamonds. And for the amateur, capturing your subject in the perfect light can be as elusive as finding hidden treasure, too.
Luckily, digital photography has made the process of learning about light accessible to the most casual photographer. And some key modern accessories can help you learn to control and manipulate light like a professional in a studio.
In the olden days, way back in the 1980s, colour film was in. You could buy black and white, but unless you were artsy and on a mission, you went with colour. The problem was that you had to choose before you shot your pictures, and you might miss a lot if you chose black and white.