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— PHOTOGRAPHY —

   A picture from a recent wedding at the Hale Koa Hotel.
 

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Probably the most important thing to consider when choosing a photographer is what their shooting style is.

Some photographers do a lot of "creating" the moment on a photo shoot, by giving people a lot of instructions on posing, and carefully controlling the lighting. Their pictures can look very elegant, but on the other hand their subjects can look stiff and the session can feel like a lot of work.

Others focus more on "capturing" the moment, with fewer instructions and less control of lighting, for a more relaxed, casual feel. Some photographers call this the "photojournalistic" style. Sessions are usually more fun and expressions can be more relaxed and candid, but there may be fewer "wow" shots. I am definitely this type of photographer.

Of course, for events such as a wedding ceremony where the photographer has little control over the posing and lighting, stylistic differences don't matter as much. But beware of a third type of photographer, the kind who will blast everything with strong flash. A surprising number of photographers will do this, mostly out of a desire to fill in the shadows and have everything evenly illuminated. The result is that yes, everything is brightly lit, but this kind of lighting can look very unflattering and artificial, the highlights are often "blown out," and new, harsh shadows are created.

A good photographer will definitely use supplemental lighting to fill in shadows, but will do it more subtly and rely on other techniques like positioning people so that the natural light is more flattering when possible, and using editing software to lighten shadows. There are some situations such as dark interiors where you have to use flash a lot, but even then a good photographer will do things like bouncing the flash off the ceiling for a more natural look.

But maybe you don't mind the strong flash look and that's ok! The point is that you need to take a good look at a photographer's portfolio and ask about their style. Here are some examples of my work; look on my blog for many more.

Another, somewhat less important thing to consider is what equipment a photographer uses. The main camera I use is the Panasonic GX8, which has the advantage of being smaller and easier to use than the Canons and Nikons most pros use, and the (very slight) disadvantage that the image quality, while excellent, is very slightly less good than on the best big cameras. See the articles section for a detailed explanation of why I chose Panasonic for both photography and video. Like most pros I also use a flash unit mounted on top of the camera which can be tilted and swiveled for more control; beware of a photographer who relies on the built-in flash! Other photographers, mostly the more high-end ones, use additional flash units and reflectors, but I don't, so if that kind of precisely controlled lighting is important for you, you should pick someone else.