Don’t rely on your guests’ candid table shots of an abandoned bow-tie and some half-eaten petit fours. Geoff Lynn takes advice from an expert
WHAT IS THE SECRET TO GETTING REALLY RELAXED PHOTOS?
Most people feel uncomfortable having their photo taken, myself included. My approach is to be friendly and chatty. I always do a shoot before a simchah, so the family know more about what to expect on the day.
Often they find that they have so much fun at the pre-simchah session that they can look forward to being photographed on their big day, rather than dreading it.
WHAT IS THE MOST FUN ASPECT OF YOUR JOB?
I love helping clients to prepare for, then sharing and recording for them, what is one of the happiest days of their lives. And, of course, seeing their faces when I show them their photographs!
HOW DO YOU MAKE YOUR PHOTOS LOOK DIFFERENT FROM EVERYONE ELSE’S?
What sets me and other professionals aside is the ability to pose subjects in a natural way, so that they do not feel they are being posed — and to judge and control light, whether it is natural ambient light or artificial.
I also look critically at my work, and over time have evolved a style that is all my own.
CAN’T MY UNCLE TAKE MY PICTURES INSTEAD? HE’S GOT QUITE A GOOD CAMERA, I THINK...
Only if he can achieve consistently outstanding pictures throughout the course of the whole 12 to 14 hours that a wedding typically lasts (and isn’t bothered about enjoying the celebations himself).
Most people can take great holiday and family pictures, but it is very different undertaking the responsibility of a whole simchah.
It also helps to have the experience to anticipate what is going to happen next on the day and to be able to see the photograph in your mind before you take it.
HOW CAN I USE TECHNOLOGY TO SHARE MY PICTURES?
With Facebook, Twitter, Linked-In and YouTube, the world is a very different place now. Social
media is a fantastic way to share photographs of your function.
I see my role as the creator of the images for you to share as you wish — that is why I include a disc of highresolution images in all my packages.
I still produce fantastic coffee table books, if our clients want to have a more tangible record of the day.
I’M NOT SURE WHICH I PREFER, BLACK AND WHITE OR COLOUR. WHAT’S YOUR OPINION?
I like both, but they are suited to different styles. Colour in a photograph can be overpowering, whereas a black-and-white image can be more dramatic, classy and timeless.
When I am shooting, I have in mind if the picture is going to be colour or black and white, but technology allows me to shoot everything in colour and then make the black and whites in post production.
This means that my clients can still have colour photographs, even if I have presented in black and white — and vice versa.
HOW LONG AFTER THE EVENT BEFORE I SEE THE PHOTOS?
Usually it takes about 10 days for the complete edited set, but I also offer a preview highlight audio visual clip of approximately 75 pictures that I can post on to Facebook the day after the function.
DO YOU HAVE DIFFERENT CAMERAS FOR DIFFERENT SHOTS?
Good question — although it is more about the lenses. Some let you get in close without having to be too near the subject — great for candids; some let you shoot in low light — great for under the chupah or where flash would be too intrusive; and some let you get a lot in when you do not have much room to move — great for small rooms and crowded dance floors.
I LOVE THOSE INFORMAL SHOTS OF THE GUESTS HAVING FUN. HOW DO YOU MAKE SURE THAT YOU GET GOOD ONES?
By being fast. The trick is to get into the action, get the shot and get out before they have even noticed you. You also capture them by being aware of what is happening around you — it helps to have eyes in the back of your head.
Paul Lang first picked up a camera when he was four and immediately fell in love with the magic of photography. He has photographed more than 1,000 weddings and bar/batmitzvahs over the past 25 years, in all kinds of locations. With his son, Jamie, Paul also offers film-style simchah videos and short promotional films for websites
Sharp focus: an example in how to pose a shot
The backdrop is also crucial. All photos by Paul Lang