caught me off guard... - Jemsite
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post #1 of 29 (permalink) Old 02-20-2008, 10:51 AM Thread Starter
 
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caught me off guard...

So i met this wedding planner at my house last weekend. she stopped by to view more work and talk in person. she is representing a couple. nice lady, early 30's, whatever. we sit down at the table and i ask if she has any questions before we begin. she is african american and the very first question without missing a beat...how experienced are you at photographing african americans? HA! ARE YOU KIDDING! IS THERE A DIFFERENCE IN PROCEDURE?! i said, yes, i have photographed a couple weddings. she said it is important for her to see those samples?! i didn't have any in the sample books from this year...i can't help who calls me and who doesn't but i have shot some. what does it matter? she loved my work but i'm sure she won't call back and i'm fine with that. sounds too sticky for me. although i don't get many clients a year, i have learned to turn some down that i think will be trouble and i think it is important to do that. i can see if it was an indian wedding where there are traditions they want to make sure i capture that i may not be familiar with, but there was more to it than that with this woman. it was wrong. if i was looking for a photographer and he/she was african american, i would never ask, how experienced are you at shooting white weddings! if the work is great and in my price range and i like you, i'm there.
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post #2 of 29 (permalink) Old 02-20-2008, 11:01 AM
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Re: caught me off guard...

here's my guess. lighting. with the older medium format film cameras people used to use. corlor and lighting was tougher to correct. but with modern high megapixie cams, the original lighting isn't quite as important. I know from usinf my older 6.3 dig rebel, you can take a seemingly black pic and increase the gamma and be amazed at the detail that's actually there in the darkness. so suppose that a pic that's pretty darn close to proper lighting would be easy to correct to perfection. let us know how it works out. this is pretty interesting stuff.
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post #3 of 29 (permalink) Old 02-20-2008, 11:42 AM
 
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Re: caught me off guard...

I'll second the lighting. Her saying that does strike me as a weird thing to ask but she sounds like a pro and it is probably a very good question to ask, all things considered.
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post #4 of 29 (permalink) Old 02-20-2008, 12:05 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: caught me off guard...

eh, she wasn't too pro. her talking sounded like she was reading from a script. wouldn't be surprised if she had less than 5 under her belt.
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post #5 of 29 (permalink) Old 02-20-2008, 12:30 PM
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Re: caught me off guard...

she might be a pro or a wacko, but she read somewhere to ask the question and imho it is a fair one. your portfolio needs to have a mix of races/colors so they can be comfortable with samples that should be an equal mix of your demographic. it's standard practice to hire models or stand-ins to get this done... glen
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post #6 of 29 (permalink) Old 02-20-2008, 12:32 PM
 
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Re: caught me off guard...

Darin I think hit it, I've seen photos of "African American" people just not come out as well. I am thinking she meant do you know how to compensate to expose the pics properly.

That question does sound like it would lead into something like: "As you know, African American people are hard to capture on film, they have supernatural powers that cause light to bend around them. Do you have the proper wavelength lenses to capture the light spectrum that they cannot bend?"

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post #7 of 29 (permalink) Old 02-20-2008, 12:40 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: caught me off guard...

Quote:
Originally Posted by bammbamm View Post
"As you know, African American people are hard to capture on film, they have supernatural powers that cause light to bend around them. Do you have the proper wavelength lenses to capture the light spectrum that they cannot bend?"

Awesome. why didn't i think of that. maybe you should sit in next time.
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post #8 of 29 (permalink) Old 02-20-2008, 12:53 PM
 
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Re: caught me off guard...

You have my number...
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post #9 of 29 (permalink) Old 02-20-2008, 01:37 PM
 
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Re: caught me off guard...

Now this thread has me thinking about political correctness. Are we European Americans?
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post #10 of 29 (permalink) Old 02-20-2008, 01:44 PM
 
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Re: caught me off guard...

It depends on how big a lobby you have, and if you can get Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton in your corner.
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post #11 of 29 (permalink) Old 02-20-2008, 02:08 PM
 
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Re: caught me off guard...

Quote:
Originally Posted by bammbamm View Post
It depends on how big a lobby you have, and if you can get Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton in your corner.
I can turn the living room into a lobby with a removable wall, eh. (laying on the "canadian accent"). Yes I know what you mean.
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post #12 of 29 (permalink) Old 02-20-2008, 05:08 PM
 
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Re: caught me off guard...

Hi there,

Not to be racist (I'm dark skinned myself), but it is extremely hard to capture dark skin, especially at weddings. White dress or shirt + dark skin can lead to many shots where all you see is the outfit, some teeth and eyes.

IMO, she was right in asking if you had any experience shooting african americans.
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post #13 of 29 (permalink) Old 02-20-2008, 05:17 PM
 
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Re: caught me off guard...

I dunno, we have a local funk band called Eon Beats who's singer (Evilyn Dupree) is a very dark skinned, um, African Australian I suppose, and all of their promo shots are pretty awful as whoever is shooting the photos just doesn't seem to be able to take account of how dark her skin is - so I can understand why she would have asked, based on how bad these particular photos are ......
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post #14 of 29 (permalink) Old 02-20-2008, 05:45 PM
 
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Re: caught me off guard...

Question.

Is it the norm in America to call Black people "African American" ?

I only ask this because in my country we just tend to call Black people British (or whichever country of origin they may be from, French for example) or if it's essential to describe skin tone, Black. It seems a bit daft to me to presume that all Black Americans originate from Africa.

Anyway just trying to learn a little bit about our friends from across the pond.


@ shredmaster,

I kinda see what your saying but I do think it would be beneficial from a business point of view to have the broadest portfolio you possibly could. The example of Indian weddings you made was a good one. I haven't been to an Indian wedding myself but a work colleague once showed me some photo's he took on his cell phone and the colours were amazing. I asked him if this couple had set out to make it an all out colour fest and he said no, both his sisters wedding were similar. From a photographers point of view I bet those kind of occasions would be brilliant to shoot.
A diverse portfolio would stop any potential customers feeling left out of the loop. I know when I was choosing a photographer for my wedding the fact that they had a good range was a deal closer.
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post #15 of 29 (permalink) Old 02-20-2008, 09:10 PM
 
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Re: caught me off guard...

Quote:
Originally Posted by wilch View Post
it is extremely hard to capture dark skin, especially at weddings. White dress or shirt + dark skin can lead to many shots where all you see is the outfit, some teeth and eyes.
It's not hard, you just need to use film. Certainly not harder than photographing the bride in a wedding gown next to the groom wearing a dark suit, assuming the photographer is a pro and the goal is to have highlight detail in the dress as well as shadow detail in the suit. What folks often do is they just meter for the face to be properly exposed which leads to the gown being blown and/or the suit being underexposed.

Take some FUJI NPS or Kodak Portra, spot meter for bride's face with proper exposure compensation (cameras are designed with caucasian skin reflectance in mind), and it all should come out just fine.
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