It seems that everyone is in a hurry these days, not only in their lives, but in their approach to photography. I consider myself lucky that I started with comparatively simple tools that required a deliberate, measured approach, and rewarded patience. Everything used to be all manual: manual focus, manual exposure, manual advance and sometimes even one had to use an external, handheld light meter. This are now thought of as "obstacles" when they were, to me, teachers. The way that I learned to photograph has stayed with me through today: I find my composition and then I wait for the right moment. I will sometimes take a 2nd shot if I see something less than ideal happen during the first, but I never just hold down the shutter and think I'll pick out some gems while I'm editing in Lightroom in front of the computer. My goal is to get the moment right in camera, and that requires the ability to pre visualize the frame, and the ability to recognize moments and pleasing lighting and composition as it's happening. I had the good fortune of seeing this wonderful lecture on photography by National Geographic photographer Sam Abell called "The Life Of A Photograph," which was probably the best talk I've ever heard about photography. You can click a link to it in the previous sentence. It's almost 2 hours long, but it's worth it, and more substantive and life-changing than most workshops. Best of all, it's free. He discusses his way of composing, his history learning photographic lessons from his father, and with multiple examples, what makes a lasting photograph from his experience personally and shooting for National Geographic.
If you look at most photography blog sites and Facebook groups, the bulk of the discussion is almost always around equipment. "Should I buy this or that?" "Will this new camera finally be fast enough for me?" and "I couldn't possibly use that- not advanced enough for me." To read modern photography discussions, especially in an era where we have access of tools that the photographic masters of the 50s, 60s and 70s couldn't even *imagine,* photography is impossible without the camera that's just about to come out. I grew up on fully manual focus and manual exposure, so any autofocus to me is a treat when it's helpful. It's as though sports photographs from 50 years ago somehow arrived in print via magic. Despite the exponential advances in equipment to the point that ANY camera would be a dream for someone even a few years ago, it's still nothing but complaints out there: the focus isn't fast enough, the drive or buffer isn't fast enough. It doesn't do this or that. It's not weather-sealed! These are all nonsense, and are the particular focus of hobbyists more interested in photographing their own equipment rather than making images. Weddings are about moments, not poses. Photography is about communicating emotion, not about cameras, lenses, film and megapixels. "This isn't sharp enough" has never been a complaint as much as I wish I had moved a foot to the left or shot a split second sooner, etc. No one makes a bad camera or a bad lens. If you aren't getting the results you seek, that's on you!
"My new camera is so advanced, I don't even need it." - Steven Wright
There is no right or wrong way to photograph a wedding, but with the movement toward everything being "perfect," I'm more committed than ever to patiently and carefully making images as they happen rather than scripting the day.