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Wedding Storyteller, Volume 1

Book Description

In Wedding Storyteller, Volume 1: Elevating the Approach to Photographing Wedding Stories, photographer and educator Roberto Valenzuela delivers what so many of his readers have been asking for: a book specifically dedicated to helping photographers improve their wedding photography. A wedding photographer himself, Roberto built his business from the ground up based on high-quality imagery that tells a compelling and beautiful story of his clients’ most important day.

This is not a standard wedding photography book. In Wedding Storyteller, you will not find a collection of “looks,” which neither inspire nor teach you anything. You will also not find a wedding shot list—at least not in the traditional sense. Instead, this first volume of the three-part Wedding Storyteller series goes beyond the superficial and dives deeply into the truly important topics, themes, and subject matter you need to learn about in order to drastically elevate your wedding photography. Most importantly, Roberto stresses the crucial role that storytelling plays in creating compelling, meaningful, and unique photographs for your clients.

In this book, Roberto has created a unique approach that anyone can learn to implement. Roberto’s “wedding storyteller skill components” system is divided into four sections:

    Foundation Components: Location Techniques. Learn how to conquer the locations you encounter as a wedding photographer. Roberto teaches you how to work with light, context, clutter, walls, depth, and other compositional elements such as frames and reflections.
    Foundation Components: People Techniques. Weddings are often high-energy, high-stress environments; your attitude and behavior have a huge impact on your ability to succeed as a photographer. Roberto discusses the crucial people skills you need to know and also teaches his unique approach to “situational posing” and group posing.
    Storyteller Approach Components. Roberto discusses the five approaches he uses to build a “wedding story” for his clients. These five approaches are: photojournalism, interactive photojournalism, stylized aware posing, stylized unaware posing, and story development.
    Expert Components. The final section builds and expands on everything covered in the previous components, as Roberto addresses such topics as Emotionally Valuable People (EVP), lens choices, helper light, posing patterns (and when to break them), capturing “peak action,” achieving a unique perspective, and creating multi-layered stories within a single photograph.

At a wedding, each photograph has the opportunity to convey a special moment and contribute to the rich, visual story of your clients’ most important day. As the photographer, you are both the director and the documentarian of that story. With Wedding Storyteller, Volume 1, by your side, you finally have a book that teaches you the skills you need to learn in order to create amazing images and craft masterful stories filled with beauty, emotion, and meaning.

Table of Contents

  1. Part One Becoming a Wedding Storyteller
    1. Chapter 1 A Very Difficult and Risky Decision
      1. Decision Time
    2. Chapter 2 Overview of the Wedding Storyteller Skill Components
      1. Photo-Maker and Photo-Taker
      2. Explanation of the Three-Part Skill Components Program
        1. Foundation Components
        2. Storyteller Approach Components
        3. Expert Components
      3. Foundation Components
        1. Location Techniques
        2. People Techniques
      4. Storyteller Approach Components
        1. Approach Techniques
      5. Expert Components
        1. Expert Techniques
  2. Part Two Foundation Components: Location Techniques
    1. Chapter 3 Circumstantial Light
      1. Circumstantial Light Indoors
        1. Working Around the Light
        2. Proximity to the Light Source
        3. Strategic People Placement with Circumstantial Light Indoors
        4. Reducing Wrinkles with Circumstantial Light
      2. Circumstantial Light Outdoors
        1. Comparing a Photo with Proper Outdoor Circumstantial Light with a Photo that Completely Ignores It
    2. Chapter 4 Showing or Removing Context and Clutter
      1. Properly Dealing with Clutter
      2. When, How, and How Much Context to Show in a Scene
        1. Removing Context with Light
        2. Compressing the Scene to Remove Context
    3. Chapter 5 Depth and Walls
      1. The Pros and Cons of Using Depth
      2. The Pros and Cons of Using Walls
        1. Simplicity
        2. Walls as Light Modifiers
        3. Monochromatic Color Palette
        4. Contrast Through Colors or Size
        5. Graphic Elements Through Either Decor or Shadows
    4. Chapter 6 Compositional Elements
      1. Key Compositional Elements
        1. Framing with Objects
        2. Framing Through Structures
        3. Double Frames
        4. Pointing
        5. Reflections
        6. Repetition
    5. Chapter 7 Luminosity Levels and Contrasts
      1. Distracting Luminosity Levels
      2. High-Contrast Luminosity Levels
      3. Even Luminosity Levels
      4. Reference Point Luminosity Levels
  3. Part Three Foundation Components: People Techniques
    1. Chapter 8 Breaking Down Defensive Barriers
      1. Joining the Festivities
      2. Meeting the Wedding Party for the First Time
      3. Protecting the Space
      4. Making Jokes to Break Down Defensive Barriers
      5. Managing Barriers with Several Cultures and Generations
    2. Chapter 9 Expert Confidence and Trust
      1. Everyone Is a Professional
      2. Your Attitude Is as Important as Your Photographs
      3. Have a Plan
      4. Familiarize Yourself with the Timeline
      5. Be Decisive
    3. Chapter 10 Being Flexible, Likable, and Professional
      1. Egos and Hired Help
      2. Handling People Who Tell You How to Do Your Job
        1. Photo Ideas
        2. Location Disputes
        3. Bride Getting Dressed and Privacy
        4. Difficult People and Avoiding Drama at All Costs
        5. Uncooperative Groom or Wedding Party
    4. Chapter 11 The Situational Approach to Posing
      1. Lighting Considerations
      2. Location Context Considerations
      3. Mood and Expression Considerations
      4. The Situational Approach to Posing
      5. Examples of Failed Situational Poses
      6. Examples of Successful Situational Poses
    5. Chapter 12 The Mechanics of Group Posing
      1. Wedding Party
        1. Failed Wedding Party Group Posing
        2. Successful Wedding Party Group Posing
      2. Family Groups
        1. Failed Family Group Posing
        2. Successful Family Group Posing
      3. Guests
  4. Part Four Storyteller Approach Components
    1. Chapter 13 The Storyteller’s Approach
      1. Photojournalism
      2. Interactive Photojournalism
        1. Team Interactive Photojournalism Examples
      3. Stylized Aware Posing
      4. Stylized Unaware Posing
      5. Story Development
      6. Wedding Storyteller’s Style Development
        1. How to Use These Approaches to Develop Your Unique Style
  5. Part Five Expert Components
    1. Chapter 14 Storytelling Expert Techniques: Emotionally Valuable People (EVP)
      1. EVP Framing
      2. EVP Reflections
      3. EVP Opportunities and Balance
    2. Chapter 15 Technical Expert Techniques: Lens Choice and Helper Light
      1. Isolation and Priorities Through Lens Choices
      2. Lens Choice Based on Major Wedding Segments
      3. Lenses for the Bride or Groom Getting Ready and for Portraits
      4. Lenses for the Ceremony
        1. Indoor Ceremonies
        2. Outdoor Ceremonies
      5. Lenses for Family and Wedding Party Portraits
      6. Lenses for the Reception
      7. Helper Light: A Wedding Run-and-Gun Approach
      8. Reactive Vs. Active Helper Light
        1. Reactive Helper Light
        2. Active Helper Light
    3. Chapter 16 Posing and Expression Expert Techniques
      1. Creating and Capturing Movement to Achieve a Sense of Spontaneity
        1. Method 1: Notice and Change the Pose to Remove the Mirroring
        2. Method 2: Add and Capture Movement to Remove the Static Feeling of Mirroring
      2. Capturing Peak Action and Achieving Naturally Engaged Expressions
        1. Contagious Energy
        2. Create Anticipation
        3. Create Concentration or Focus
        4. Recognize a Highly Emotional State
      3. Increasing Affection Through Touch and Energy
    4. Chapter 17 Composition Expert Techniques
      1. Unique Perspective and Higher Skilled Composition
      2. Creative Cropping
      3. Story Framing and Meaningful Object Placement
      4. Multiple Stories Captured Within a Single Photograph
  6. Part Six Execution of the Wedding Storyteller Skill Components
    1. Chapter 18 Putting It All Together to Become a Master Storyteller
      1. Foundation Components
      2. Storyteller Approach Components
      3. Expert Components
      4. Applying the Wedding Storyteller Skill Components to Your Own Weddings
        1. Badly Executed Photojournalism
        2. Overly Staged Posed Portraits
      5. Skill Components Training Exercises
        1. Example 1A: Bride Standing in Front of a Window,Straight Out of Camera—A Failed Approach
        2. Example 1B: Bride Standing in Front of a Window, Straight Out of Camera—A Successful Application of the Wedding Storyteller Skill Components
        3. Example 2A: Young Ring Bearer Walking Down the Aisle During the Ceremony—A Failed Approach
        4. Example 2B: Young Ring Bearer Walking Down the Aisle During the Ceremony—A Successful Application of the Wedding Storyteller Skill Components
        5. Example 3A: Groomsmen Group Photo with Son—A Failed Approach
        6. Example 3B: Groomsmen Group Photo with Son—A Successful Application of the Wedding Storyteller Skill Components
        7. Example 4A: First Dance—A Failed Approach
        8. Example 4B: First Dance—A Successful Application of the Wedding Storyteller Skill Components
      6. On Your Own Exercise Photos
  7. Conclusion