wedding photography

Inspiration: Vertical Images From History That Altered The Way I See The World by Bradley Hanson

To address my feelings about vertical photographs, to share some of my favorite vertical images from history, and to discuss why I regularly shoot vertical photographs with my wedding work, I’ve decided to create this blog post to provide additional insight. The four images above are some of my favorites from my wedding photography career. You can view my wedding images via the two galleries under “portfolio,” or you can view my favorite vertical wedding images through this link here.

With some regularity, I get messages from photographers commenting about the vertical images I’ve posted on Instagram (@bradleyhansonphotography) or on my website. Some of them ask about shooting vertical images at weddings, others are about vertical images in general or “how do I get started when I only photograph horizontally,” etc. I’m happy to share my thoughts as I am very excited about this format. I don’t talk about equipment much because it’s not a priority for doing good work, but to me, there is a sweet spot between 50mm and 90mm that lends itself well to vertical images. Normal to short telephoto focal lengths can assist the photographer in creating compositions that tend to make the vertical orientation easier to see. There are countless exceptions to this, of course, and some of them can be seen in the historical gallery I’ve created below, but I’m getting ahead of myself.

Square format images remove this consideration altogether. I photographed weddings for a few years with Hasselblad square format cameras and film. The format was easy to work with, and once you get into the zone with seeing in the square format, everything seems to fit. (The main challenge with weddings with that system was the slow f2.8 and f4 lenses in low light, not the format itself). When I make photographs with my iPhone, I crop them square as a separate discipline. I’ve also created a separate gallery for those, which you can see as a menu option from my portfolio heading on the upper right.

In 1987, I bought Ralph Gibson’s book “Tropism,” from the bookstore at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. I had seen vertical images before, of course. They are not new, and many of the images in the gallery below are from the 50s and 60s, most likely a Leica M3 camera with a 50mm lens. Still, there was something about Ralph Gibson’s high contrast vertical images that made them even more abstract and surreal. While paging appreciatively through the book, I discovered that one of my favorites, the glowing hand at the opening door, was an image I’d seen before on the inner sleeve of Joy Division’s classic 1979 record, “Unknown Pleasures.”

The simple act of buying this book changed my perspective on photography forever. I didn’t suddenly starting shooting only vertical photographs, but I often found myself seeking out compositions in that format and trying to change the way I saw the world to be open to this exciting format. The 3:2 ratio of 35mm film (aka “full frame” in digital format) also lends itself better to vertical compositions because it closely approximates the “golden ratio.” (Click here to read the Wikipedia page about the concept).

I’ve redesigned my wedding portfolio to feature my vertical images, something of an anomaly in this industry that appears to be 99% horizontal. I get it. Walk into a wedding reception and you see the tables spread out wide. Go to the ocean and you see width. Our eyes are side by side, not on top of each other. For these reasons and more, vertical images can be compelling as they are outside of our day to day perspective. Ralph Gibson referred to vertical images as having a “tension” in the way they can make it feel like the frame is compressed. He even had an exhibit called “The Vertical Horizon.”

To see more Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN portraits, wedding photography and weddings all over the world, visit my main portfolio on bradleyhanson.com or email me at info@bradleyhanson.com or call me at 206-393-8292 and we can discuss your wedding plans in detail.

WPJA Wedding Photography Contest Winning Image by Bradley Hanson

Although I am buried in the tail end of peak wedding season tasks (shooting, editing, uploading/downloading, backing up files, responding to client calls and emails, meeting potential clients, etc), I decided to enter the WPJA international wedding photography contest because I made my favorite photograph in a long time while at a wedding last month. The WPJA contest judges have worked as staff picture desk editors at major news publications or are working photojournalists having won the highest news industry awards.

As members, we are allowed to enter 10 per contest, but I decided to only enter one because I believed in it. It is good to know I am able to trust my gut…

WPJA contest winning image taken at St. Wencelaus Catholic church in New Prague, MN moments before the wedding ceremony. The church was built in 1907.

You can follow me on Facebook, Twitter, VSCO, Pinterest, Instagram, and LinkedIn through the links on the upper right.

To see more Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN portraits, wedding photography and weddings all over the world, visit my main portfolio on bradleyhanson.com or email me at info@bradleyhanson.com or call me at 206-393-8292 and we can discuss your wedding plans in detail. My speciality is shooting family portraits in an unposed, natural style and wedding photojournalism. I photograph weddings as they happen rather than direct the action, which is often referred to as documentary style wedding photography. I’ve photographed weddings in Minneapolis, St. Paul, Seattle and many countries around the world.

To listen to the bi-weekly photography podcast I do with UK photographer Ian Weldon, visit https://www.outerfocuspodcast.com or search for Outerfocus on Apple Podcasts or Google Podcasts.

New Work From July 2018 by Bradley Hanson

July has been a busy month, including a 4100 mile drive to and from a wedding in Washington State at Lake Quinault on the Olympic Peninsula. My son Miles assisted me at the wedding, and it was a great road trip with some fascinating audiobooks, sightseeing and restaurants. While I'm sorting out what's going in the portfolio and what's going to be featured on the blog and what's going to be submitted to magazines, here is an assortment of 23 random highlights from the month of July.

Clicking any image below will open it up at a larger size.

St. Paul, MN

Badlands, SD

Lake Quinault, WA

St. Paul, MN

Ocean Shores, WA

St. Paul, MN

Gillette, WY

Ocean Shores, WA

Livingston, MT

Minneapolis, MN

Ocean Shores, WA

St. Paul, MN

Stillwater, MN

Seattle, WA

St. Paul, MN

Minneapolis, MN

Minneapolis, MN

Stillwater, MN

Minneapolis, MN

Seattle, WA

George, Washington

Columbia River Gorge in George, Washington

Badlands, SD

You can follow me on Facebook, Twitter, VSCO, Pinterest, Instagram, and LinkedIn through the links on the upper right.

To see more Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN portraits, wedding photography and weddings all over the world, visit my main portfolio on bradleyhanson.com or email me at info@bradleyhanson.com or call me at 206-393-8292 and we can discuss your wedding plans in detail. My speciality is shooting family portraits in an unposed, natural style and wedding photojournalism. I photograph weddings as they happen rather than direct the action, which is often referred to as documentary style wedding photography. I’ve photographed weddings in Minneapolis, St. Paul, Seattle and many countries around the world.

To listen to the bi-weekly photography podcast I do with UK photographer Ian Weldon, visit https://www.outerfocuspodcast.com or search for Outerfocus on Apple Podcasts or Google Podcasts.

3 Winning Images In The Wedding Photojournalist Association (WPJA) Photo Contest by Bradley Hanson

The Wedding Photojournalist Association, created by David Roberts, a newspaper photojournalist, was started to give photojournalists who photographed weddings a forum and to give brides and grooms a resource to find photographers shooting in this reality based unposed style. I first became a member of the WPJA in 2002.

I hadn't entered a contest since 2009, and since I had an unusually busy winter, decided to enter. I was honored to have these three images recognized in the last contest, bringing my total to 22 WPJA awarded images over the years.

You can follow me on Facebook, Twitter, VSCO, Pinterest, Instagram, and LinkedIn through the links on the upper right.

To see more Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN portraits, wedding photography and weddings all over the world, visit my main portfolio on bradleyhanson.com or email me at info@bradleyhanson.com or call me at 206-393-8292 and we can discuss your wedding plans in detail. My speciality is shooting family portraits in an unposed, natural style and wedding photojournalism. I photograph weddings as they happen rather than direct the action, which is often referred to as documentary style wedding photography. I’ve photographed weddings in Minneapolis, St. Paul, Seattle and many countries around the world.

To listen to the bi-weekly photography podcast I do with UK photographer Ian Weldon, visit https://www.outerfocuspodcast.com or search for Outerfocus on Apple Podcasts or Google Podcasts.

Rachael And Josh's Downtown St. Paul Wedding At A'bulae by Bradley Hanson

Rachael and Josh didn't let a little November rain alter their mood. The light at A'Bulae in downtown St. Paul was in abundance, and we did sneak up to the roof in the rain for a couple moments. 

You can follow me on Facebook, Twitter, VSCO, Pinterest, Instagram, and LinkedIn through the links on the upper right.

To see more Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN portraits, wedding photography and weddings all over the world, visit my main portfolio on bradleyhanson.com or email me at info@bradleyhanson.com or call me at 206-393-8292 and we can discuss your wedding plans in detail. My speciality is shooting family portraits in an unposed, natural style and wedding photojournalism. I photograph weddings as they happen rather than direct the action, which is often referred to as documentary style wedding photography. I’ve photographed weddings in Minneapolis, St. Paul, Seattle and many countries around the world.

To listen to the bi-weekly photography podcast I do with UK photographer Ian Weldon, visit https://www.outerfocuspodcast.com or search for Outerfocus on Apple Podcasts or Google Podcasts.

Natalie and Nils Autumn Wedding In St. Paul And Reception At International Market Square by Bradley Hanson

Natalie and Nils were married at House Of Hope church on Summit Avenue in St. Paul, then we stopped at Irvine Park in St. Paul on our way to the International Market Square/Minneapolis Design Center in Minneapolis for their reception.

You can follow me on Facebook, Twitter, VSCO, Pinterest, Instagram, and LinkedIn through the links on the upper right.

To see more Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN portraits, wedding photography and weddings all over the world, visit my main portfolio on bradleyhanson.com or email me at info@bradleyhanson.com or call me at 206-393-8292 and we can discuss your wedding plans in detail. My speciality is shooting family portraits in an unposed, natural style and wedding photojournalism. I photograph weddings as they happen rather than direct the action, which is often referred to as documentary style wedding photography. I’ve photographed weddings in Minneapolis, St. Paul, Seattle and many countries around the world.

To listen to the bi-weekly photography podcast I do with UK photographer Ian Weldon, visit https://www.outerfocuspodcast.com or search for Outerfocus on Apple Podcasts or Google Podcasts.

Jess And Mike's Edina Country Club Wedding In Minneapolis by Bradley Hanson

You can follow me on Facebook, Twitter, VSCO, Pinterest, Instagram, and LinkedIn through the links on the upper right.

To see more Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN portraits, wedding photography and weddings all over the world, visit my main portfolio on bradleyhanson.com or email me at info@bradleyhanson.com or call me at 206-393-8292 and we can discuss your wedding plans in detail. My speciality is shooting family portraits in an unposed, natural style and wedding photojournalism. I photograph weddings as they happen rather than direct the action, which is often referred to as documentary style wedding photography. I’ve photographed weddings in Minneapolis, St. Paul, Seattle and many countries around the world.

To listen to the bi-weekly photography podcast I do with UK photographer Ian Weldon, visit https://www.outerfocuspodcast.com or search for Outerfocus on Apple Podcasts or Google Podcasts.

Jessica And Ben's Elegant Mill City Wedding In Downtown Minneapolis by Bradley Hanson

Jessica and Ben had me come to Chicago for their engagement session photos, and we spent a couple days together. We started feeling like friends, which was extended when they invited us to a Minnesota Twins game and party the night before their wedding. Nearly a year later, their beautiful wedding in Minneapolis at the Mill City Museum (elegantly transformed by the talented Amy Fuerstenberg), was even more elegant than I imagined, and my wife and I left the wedding feeling like family. 

You can follow me on Facebook, Twitter, VSCO, Pinterest, Instagram, and LinkedIn through the links on the upper right.

To see more Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN portraits, wedding photography and weddings all over the world, visit my main portfolio on bradleyhanson.com or email me at info@bradleyhanson.com or call me at 206-393-8292 and we can discuss your wedding plans in detail. My speciality is shooting family portraits in an unposed, natural style and wedding photojournalism. I photograph weddings as they happen rather than direct the action, which is often referred to as documentary style wedding photography. I’ve photographed weddings in Minneapolis, St. Paul, Seattle and many countries around the world.

To listen to the bi-weekly photography podcast I do with UK photographer Ian Weldon, visit https://www.outerfocuspodcast.com or search for Outerfocus on Apple Podcasts or Google Podcasts.

Assumptions, Photography And The Micro Four Thirds System Article In The Debut Issue Of Olympus Passion Magazine by Bradley Hanson

You can follow me on Facebook, Twitter, VSCO, Pinterest, Instagram, and LinkedIn through the links on the upper right.

To see more Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN portraits, wedding photography and weddings all over the world, visit my main portfolio on bradleyhanson.com or email me at info@bradleyhanson.com or call me at 206-393-8292 and we can discuss your wedding plans in detail. My speciality is shooting family portraits in an unposed, natural style and wedding photojournalism. I photograph weddings as they happen rather than direct the action, which is often referred to as documentary style wedding photography. I’ve photographed weddings in Minneapolis, St. Paul, Seattle and many countries around the world.

To listen to the bi-weekly photography podcast I do with UK photographer Ian Weldon, visit https://www.outerfocuspodcast.com or search for Outerfocus on Apple Podcasts or Google Podcasts.

Image Published In Current Issue Of Mpls St. Paul Weddings Magazine by Bradley Hanson

This wedding image, the kiss from Christina and Ben's wedding ceremony at The Bachelor Farmer restaurant in Minneapolis, was featured in the current issue of Mpls St. Paul Weddings Magazine's "Kisses We Love" section.

You can follow me on Facebook, Twitter, VSCO, Pinterest, Instagram, and LinkedIn through the links on the upper right.

To see more Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN portraits, wedding photography and weddings all over the world, visit my main portfolio on bradleyhanson.com or email me at info@bradleyhanson.com or call me at 206-393-8292 and we can discuss your wedding plans in detail. My speciality is shooting family portraits in an unposed, natural style and wedding photojournalism. I photograph weddings as they happen rather than direct the action, which is often referred to as documentary style wedding photography. I’ve photographed weddings in Minneapolis, St. Paul, Seattle and many countries around the world.

To listen to the bi-weekly photography podcast I do with UK photographer Ian Weldon, visit https://www.outerfocuspodcast.com or search for Outerfocus on Apple Podcasts or Google Podcasts.