For those of you that visit the blog regularly, you know that Kevin has been a regular supporter through his kind, thoughtful, and well, supportive comments for the last few months. We all know that reading blogs of others and commenting there is a good way to not only learn but to also generate traffic for your own interests.
Well, this week I am calling Kevin out, because he definitely is worthy of your traffic. Kevin Mullins is an outstanding photographer, based out of Malmesbury Wiltshire (that’s in England, across the pond, or the UK for the geographically challenged…) He’s had reviews done by friend-of-the-blog, Jason Moore, and most recently has launched a photography website for his wedding photography. So, first off, welcome Kevin, and thanks for agreeing to come on the Thursday Thoughts Series.
Thanks’ very much for inviting me on here Jason. It’s a great privilege.
Q: I don’t know why people keep saying that, but thanks I guess. It’s just fun to be learning from everyone thus far that’s been willing to contribute, yourself included. But anyway, I digress…starting things off, I’d like to talk a little about your Wedding Photography – as you stated on your blog, wedding photography is your passion, and that is evidenced by the work you have put in thus far. With so many areas to choose from, why did wedding photography stand out for you as a career path? Well, it kind of “just happened”.
A: I have been taking photographs for a long time but around two years ago I knew that I wanted to make a career from photography. I’ve often looked at wedding photos and thought “I could do that”, or, more often “If I was taking that shot, I would do it like this…”. The interest continued to grow and I started forming my own style of shots in my head. Contemporary artists such as Crash Taylor and Jeff Ascough really inspire me and I am in awe of the way they deal with light and composition in a wedding shoot. Having your own style is key, and whilst those guys inspire, its building my own style that is really important to me. I really want to give the bride (and groom) some photographic memories that they will cherish and will become a family focus point for years to come, but don’t just look like all the other photographs out there.
Q: You have a definite journalistic flair in how you create your images, specifically as evidenced by the series from Andrew and Katherine’s photos, as well as those from Marie’s wedding (I love that shot of her under the arched trees). You’ve mentioned Cartier-Bresson, Crash Taylor and Jeff Ascough as inspirational sources. Any particular insights you’ve gained from these folks?
A: Cartier-Bresson’s imagery is just astounding. His use of geometry and shape in photography is out-of-this-world. I have read his biography recently and to get an insight into his thought process is intriguing to say the least. The “modern masters”, such as Crash and Jeff are the people I look to now for inspiration and technique. Both of them run very informative blogs with great great images that people like me can look at, disseminate, and learn from. They are somewhat different in styles themselves so I look to Jeff’s work more for the documentary and natural-light experiences, and Crash for his awesome signature portrait shots of the bride and groom. There are so many talented photographers out there and the internet opens up such a huge avenue for learning from them.
Q: So, how have you adapted techniques from these resources to come up with your own “look”? Or, better yet, do you have any particular images that you feel uniquely define your approach and/or style?
I aim to develop my own style of wedding photography and the new 5D MK II helps me do that to some extent. I’m using purely natural light (the high ISO capability of the modern cameras lends to this type of photography.) and I try and use my 85mm lens as much as possible. This lens is so sharp and the style I am trying to achieve uses a lot of depth of field. This lens is f1.2 at its widest point and so it really helps in that respect. Here are a few of my favorites:
Q: As a fellow member of NAPP, how much have you developed your style from the support content and materials in sites like NAPP and other photography communities?
A: To be honest, whilst I am a member if NAPP, I don’t use their forums as much as I should. It is a great resource though, and the magazine and techniques online are very useful – especially when new versions of Adobe software come to the market. I do use Kelby Online Training and I think that is a great resource. I try and put aside an afternoon a week to “train myself” – although this isn’t always practical as I also run my own web development firm. I find the POTN (Photography on the net) forum useful when researching gear and also for keeping an eye on other peoples work. I also find the SWPP forum in the UK extremely useful as there are a lot of very knowledgeable people there too. I really find most of my inspiration from trawling the net and finding great wedding photography.
Q: I already know the answer to this, but I would imagine the readers may want to know – what kind of gear do you shoot with?
A: I was lucky enough to get a Canon EOS 5D MkII back in December last year. It arrived on the 2nd December just in time for a big family birthday celebration which was great as I got a chance to practice with it. I have a number of Canon and Sigma lenses too but my favorite lens of them all is the 85mm f/1.2. It is simply magical. I also have a 100mm macro, 16-35mm, 24-105mm and 70-200mm which hopefully covers all my bases. I haven’t really looked at the HD video on Mk II yet, but I am beginning to see some “fusion” wedding photography out there which is a mix of video and stills and this is something I would like to look at in more depth as the technology progresses. That said, stills will always be my No1. priority.
Q: Since your style journalistic in nature you obviously will take a large number of photos during any event, whether pre-wedding or the actual wedding day. What kinds of numbers do you typically return from an event with? How do you handle your post processing? (Computer/software/etc.?)
A: I actually did a wedding shoot recently and I took in excess of 1500 shots, of which I will probably sift down to 250-300. I would expect the Bride and Groom to select anything between 50 and 150 for their package. I do all my first phase processing in Lightroom now. It’s such a good tool for cataloguing and doing bulk adjustments. Anything more detailed such as spot removal I will still do in Photoshop. I would love to see Adobe integrate Lightroom and Photoshop to truly marry the non-destructive workflow experience. I am off to a two day seminar with Jeff Ascough at the end of the month and hopefully I will gain an insight into his post-processing workflow as I know he uses Photoshop heavily to create his stylized shots.
Q: Could you also explain a little more about the idea behind the “pre-wedding” shoot you discuss on your website?
Pre-wedding shoots are quite common here (I’m not sure about in the U.S). Typically you spend an afternoon or so with the bridge and groom a couple of months before the wedding taking some natural portraiture shots of them. The idea, really, is to get to know the couple more. The last thing anybody wants on the big day is for any uncomfortable scenes between the photographer and the bride and groom. The pre-wedding shoot gives us a chance to get to know each other more and also to go through some ideas of poses and how to work in front of the camera. It gives me a chance to identify what types of shots I can encourage them to do on the day, and what will be the limits. Some couples are outgoing and excitable in front of a camera and some simply want to get the process out of the way so it is important to gain that knowledge well before the big day. If we can, I intend to do the pre-wedding shoots at the venue of the wedding. That way, we can all scout the area together and look for great places and light at the venue and, essentially, rehearse for the big day! The pre-wedding shoot is part of the wedding package, but if the bride and groom want to buy any prints or a frame or even a mini-album after, then even better!
Q: Oh, and since we talked about photo gear and computer/software preferences, I would be remiss if I didn’t ask this: Chocolate, Vanilla or Strawberry?
A: Chocolate every time. My wife bought our nieces some Easter Eggs and they lasted less than 24 hours in our house. We ate them and will have to buy the kids more now!
Q: We all know you’re a regular contributor to Canon Blogger – what about other online resources? Are there any that you find particularly useful that you’d like to share with the blogosphere?
A: I”ve mentioned a few in the article already, but I think some of the sites that are great are:
- Crash Taylor Interviews
- Kelby Training
- Damien Lovegrove’s blog is an excellent resource both business and photographically
I have quite a few blogs in my reader (such as Canon Blogger, Michael Palmer, Jen Rinaldi etc), that I like to visit each day. I comment when I think it’s appropriate and appreciate it when people comment on my blog too. All of these blogs are part of the fabric of my learning and I’m always on the lookout for other blogs that inspire and keep me focused.
Q: Last but not least – any final thoughts you’d like to share on the state of the industry, thoughts on the future of photography, or other “words of wisdom”?
A: Well, I rely on others to give me wisdom, but if I had to look to the future I would say that we will be seeing a lot more video and still fusion work going on over the next five years or so. The latest Canon announcement (the EOS 500D) will bring HD video to the consumer level DSLRs which infers that it is here to stay. Oh, and I definitely recommend moving out of London to the countryside! It has a great effect on your well being 😉
Excellent advice, thanks Kevin! That about wraps things up here so don’t forget to stop over at Kevin’s blog.to see and enjoy his particular vision and style of work. In the meantime, tomorrow might be another “no-blog” day because I am doing a little bit of travelling – depends on how soon I can get home. So, happy shooting all, and if I don’t get home in time for another post, have a great weekend!