Potok's World Photography
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Engagements

Have you ever looked at a stunning wedding or engagement picture and wondered how the Washington, DC, wedding photographer took it? If you are not a shutterbug yourself, perhaps not. At least, the chances are that you have not thought much about the technical aspects behind a great photo. You could probably not care less about which lenses we chose or what f-stop settings we went with. You want unforgettable snapshots of your marriage celebrations, plain and simple. How your DC wedding photographers create them is not something you want to have to worry about.

We certainly understand that point of view. To be frank, we always want our clients to trust us to create the kinds of pictures they will treasure forever. We want you and your future spouse to feel so certain that we will give you unforgettable wedding photos that you just relax and enjoy everything about being engaged and getting married. The last thing you should be worried about is how your Washington, DC, wedding photographer is doing their job.

As you flip through the portfolios of different DC wedding photographers, though, you are almost certainly going to wonder how they can recreate some of the images that you see. When you identify shots that you particularly like, it is natural that you will want similar photos for your wedding or engagement. And though you might not care much about their technical specifications, you might be interested in the conditions necessary to do them.

Take this image, for example. Perhaps you like the look and feel of it, and would want something similar during your engagement photo session or couples portraits. If so, here is a bit more information about how we created it.

If you do like this image, you are most likely drawn to its colors. The key to getting all those vibrant hues in the portrait was obviously the location. We took it during a summer destination engagement session in Hannover, Germany. These lovely young fiancés were natives of that part of the country and wanted photos that incorporated recognizable elements of their hometown. As it turned out, our time in Germany coincided with the annual Schützenfest. The latter is one of the biggest carnival-like festivals in Europe and an event that attracts a huge number of local and international visitors every year. As you can see in this photo, it is also a feast for the senses. Delicious smells permeate every corner of the fair. The sounds of live music and people laughing (or screaming on the rides) fill your ears. And of course, the colors of the ubiquitous flashing lights dazzle the eyes. They also make a great backdrop for bright and colorful couples portraits. So if those are elements that you like and would want in your portraiture, give a thought to scheduling a visit to a fair during your wedding or engagement photo session.

In our opinion, though, the vibrant hues of a carnival are not enough to make a portrait something special on their own. Though beautiful, they do not communicate the swirl of motion and activity that you find in a setting like that. Obviously, your photographer cannot transmit the blare of noise through a picture. But they can quite easily and accurately convey the movement and kinetic energy of a carnival ride. To accurately capture that, a photographer needs to use some more advanced photographic techniques.

The best way to show the frenetic motion of a carnival ride in the background of a couples portrait is to slow down a camera’s shutter speed. That way, the ride is moving faster than the shutter and appears blurred in the resulting image. One problem with this technique is that everything else in the picture can get a little blurry as well — including the subjects! Because no couple wants a portrait in which they look like something out of a horror film, the photographer needs to employ some additional techniques to eliminate that effect. By aiming a flash or other powerful light source at the couple, we can effectively “freeze” them — provided the speed of the flash is sufficiently fast. That allows us to create a portrait like the one featured here. It is an image with all the motion, energy and color of the ride, but also with the tender affection of the couple displayed clearly and sharply.

Location: Schützenplatz, Hannover, Germany.

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