Category Archives: How To

Venus Transits the Sun 2012

I don’t pretend to be an astronomical photographer or anything, but this was the second chance for a solar event in the past few weeks. Last time I took pictures of the solar eclipse. Today was Venus transiting the Sun. Today’s event was quite a bit more rare than the solar eclipse. Solar eclipses happen yearly (or so). The Venus transit of the Sun happens in pairs eight years apart. The last one was in 2004, but the next pair won’t be until 2117 and 2125. So this was the last time any of us will ever see this event.

If you saw my post on the solar eclipse, you will see that my shot was way overexposed and that I vowed to have a stack of neutral density filters next time. Well, instead, I just took the eclipse glasses that we had and put them over the lens to cut down the light to a manageable amount. Worked like a charm.

Venus Transits the Sun 2012

Table Shots

In case you don’t know what “table shots” are: They are the photos of all the guests at their table. They are usually taken at the reception as the bride and groom walk around chatting with each table.

I’ll let you in on a wedding photographer secret: most of us don’t like taking table shots. Seriously.

Partly because it’s not exciting and takes a ton of time, but mostly because we are going around interrupting your guests while they are trying to eat. Plus: if you want all the guests from a table in one shot, then they have to get up and all move around to one side of the table. From your guest’s point of view, it’s a bit intrusive. And then there’s the issue of “Oh, Uncle Bob just went to the bathroom. Can we wait until he comes back?”

But, hey, I understand. You want pictures of all the guests. And sometimes a table will have a group of, say, college friends who haven’t been in the same place at the same time since college (and probably will never be in the same place at the same time ever again). You want to capture that moment.

So while I understand why people want table shots, I also think they are a very inefficient way to get pictures of the guests, and they result in photos that aren’t as good as they could be.

So how do you get pictures of all the guests without taking a bunch of time, without being intrusive to your guests, and getting the best pictures possible?

I have a solution:

Set up a location for portraits of the guests with (or even without) the couple. If the couple has a “sweetheart table” (table with just the couple) at the reception, you can have each table of guests come up to the sweetheart table and pose for a quick photo or two before they get in line for the buffet. No sweetheart table? Pick a spot on the dance floor (or wherever works). Having a sit down dinner? Have each table come up for their photo before they get served dinner. Or before they get served desert. Or whatever works for you timeline.

Doing these shots this way takes much less time, results in much better photos, and is much less intrusive on your guests.


Another nice moment captured by Eric Desch Photography. Except for the green spots on the couple’s faces! This is what happens when the DJ uses lasers during the dancing. Don’t get me wrong, I like the nightlife. I like to boogie. But for all you future brides out there: trust me when I say you don’t want the lasers on during any important photo opportunities; ask your DJs to keep them off during the first dance and all of the other important photo opportunities. I ask DJs to turn off the lasers during the first dance(s) and keep them off until the dance floor really gets going later on in the evening. When I ask, they usually comply. But if you ask them, they will always comply.

Yes, I can often fix the photos in Photoshop. But sometimes I can’t. It is always better to avoid the problem in the first place.

Unless, of course, you like having green spots on your faces…

Frickin' Lasers


This is the Spider Pro Holster and, so far, I’m really digging it. Usually I only have one camera on me at a time, but there are times (during the ceremony, first dance, etc.) when things happen too quickly for me to swap lenses and not miss anything. So I would have two cameras on my shoulders during these times. It worked, but was cumbersome and I had shoulder aches at the end of most weddings.

The Spider Holster allows me to carry a camera on my hip; this has two benefits: it allows me quick access to the camera and it takes the weight of the camera off my shoulders. Both of these things are good things.

And if, like my wife, you are concerned about the camera dropping: don’t be. There is a safety switch to keep the camera in the holster unless I flip the switch to take the camera out. There is also a safety tab on the belt buckle to keep the belt itself from opening unintentionally.

All in all, a great piece of gear. I’ll let you know how it works in the field. With my calendar for the upcoming wedding season well on its way to being completely booked, I’ll get plenty of chances to put it through its paces.