WATCH: Rangefinder 30 Rising Stars of Wedding Photography Panel Discussion, WPPI 2018

These days, it’s not enough to have a unique aesthetic or signature look; you also need solid business, branding and networking skills to build a profitable brand that evolves and grows over time. And we get it—making your mark in an over-saturated market can be overwhelming and frustrating, to say the least.

Rangefinder editor-in-chief Jacqueline Tobin brought together a panel of hardworking industry creatives at WPPI in Vegas this past February to discuss not only how to get hired by brides and grooms, but also what type of wedding imagery wins competitions and receives accolades from industry leaders and peers alike. 

Two of the 2017 Rising Stars, Mantas Kubilinskas and Cami Grudzinki, joined wedding photojournalist Kevin Mullins and Art, Life, Business branding expert Blair deLaubenfels to discuss inspiration versus imitation, how to submit a strong, cohesive 30 Rising Stars portfolio rather than a collection of images that fail to deliver, what catches a photo editor’s eye and why, what to consider in naming your photo business, how to be your own best editor on your website, and so much more. 

(A big thanks to our 30 Rising Stars sponsors, Fujifilm and ShootProof!)

By Jacqueline Tobin

WPPI Speaking Announcement!

Wppi 2018 Mantas Kubilinskas

XoXoXo!!! I'm so happy to announce that I'll be speaking at WPPI the biggest wedding and portrait photography conference in the world! With amazing lineup Jacqueline TobinBlair DeLaubenfelsCami Grudzinski and Kevin!!! Come to see me at Rf 30 Rising Stars Panel 🏋️‍♂️ P.s Register through this page to receive a free expo pass OR a 15% discount on Photo Walks, Plus Classes and Master Classes: https://l-v1.feathr.co/v1/wppi-mantas-kubilinskas-m 

Can't wait to see you !!

Photographer Spotlight Interview with Mantas Kubilinskas Photography – Washington, D.C.

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All Photos © Mantas Kubilinskas

With recognition from a plethora of photography publications, an incredible five winning images across four different Junebug Weddings Best of the Best contests, as well as a Rangefinder Grand Prize win, it would be easy to believe Mantas Kubilinskas had found his photography comfort zone. Yet, Mantas finds happiness by continually studying his art, discovering new techniques, and experimenting stylistically. Each of those winning images is so different from the next, whether it be a long shot from dozens of feet above to a super intimate black and white portrait. Still, his work has such a distinctive personality much like his own: something of bold artistry, daring compositions, and an overall jovial charm.

Give us a classic, ‘First Day of School’ introduction of yourself:

Born and raised in Lithuania, I found my way to the US about ten years ago. After working various short-term jobs, I finally decided to pursue my true passion – photography. Currently based in Washington, DC, I specialize in creative photojournalism with an editorial flair. With each wedding, I strive to document the complete essence of the love story from start to finish – to capture the spontaneous and unexpected moments as they unfold throughout the day. I believe that this unique approach is a representation of my character, my past, and my journey to where I am today.

Is there an aspect of wedding photography that you find consistently challenging?

I feel that each wedding is challenging and unique. That’s what inspires me and continues to drive my search for new techniques, skills, and methods. I turn this challenge into an opportunity to capture something in each wedding that perfectly depicts the mood and personality of each couple.

What aspect of your job never ceases to give you butterflies or make you excited?

Simple – people.

Describe an average day for you.

No day for me is average! But typically I have a morning or early afternoon engagement session, then editing of prior sessions or weddings, work on emails and marketing, and end with an evening meeting with clients. One thing I never miss is an evening walk; today is day 170 in my goal to walk each night.

What is your favorite moment or tradition at weddings?

When I am able to capture the first moment of the couple after the ceremony; the first few moments of them as husband and wife. There is an amazing change in their aura and emotion full of happiness, relief, and bliss.

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What is your favorite image that you’ve taken?  Can you describe how you created it? What is it that makes it different?

The image of the plane shadow over the couple on the paddleboards comes to mind. I laugh when I remember how many different scenarios I received from friends and colleagues suggesting I used drones, Photoshop or other unusual techniques. The story is that I stood on the Key Bridge as I was capturing an engagement session. My plan was to photograph them laying on the boards looking at the sky. Since I was up so high on the bridge, they could not hear my directions and so I just continued to take pictures. I remember at one point everything casting over with a shadow but I never realized what caused it. A few days later as I was working on the session and going through the images, my jaw dropped as I discovered the airplane’s perfect shadow projected in the photo.

In your opinion, what is different about wedding photography in comparison to other forms and categories?

Wedding photography to me is about human emotion. There is no staging involved, like the look in the groom’s eyes when he sees his bride coming down the aisle or a father’s hug to his daughter after their father/daughter dance.

Wedding photography also incorporates at least seven categories of photography. It is challenging yet rewarding, as I have to be knowledgeable in other categories (such as photojournalism, portraits, landscapes) in order to deliver a complete product to my clients.

If you could capture anything else, who/what/where would you love to be able to photograph?

Stars! As challenging as it is to capture human emotion, being able to capture images of stars and galaxies is one of my long-lived dreams.

Have you made any life-long friends within the industry?

YES! Many of my daily interactions are with people I met while attending photography seminars such as Mystic Seminars, the Fearless Conference, and the Canada Photo Convention, just to name a few.

What is your favorite thing to do when not working?

As funny as it may sound, outside of work I enjoy learning about photography; learning about new techniques and about the latest equipment. I enjoy meeting new people and getting to know them. Maybe that’s why I don’t see photography as work. 

Since I do a fair share of traveling I have come to enjoy outdoors. I do a lot of hiking, kayaking and walking. I find it gives me a great opportunity to learn a new place and also spend time with my thoughts.

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What do you feel most grateful for about your career, in its current state?

I am grateful for the success I have been able to achieve in what seems to me such a short period of time. I feel that I have been very blessed with the professional connections and amount of work I continue to obtain each day of my career.

We love learning the history of photographers and the motivation that keeps them going. Thank you to Mantas, who we couldn’t be more proud to have as a member and consistent contest winner. To see more of his award-winning imagery, please head to his Junebug portfolio!

Junebug Best Engagement Photography Of The Year Award

Wohooo!!!! I'm So happy to announce that this year three of my images was selected The Best of the Best Engagement Photo Contest as winners 👏🏻🤓

These collections of the world's best engagement photos were chosen by the Junebug Weddings team for their quality, beauty, technical excellence, and distinctive personality. They raise the bar for wedding photographers and inspire photo aficionados everywhere, while celebrating the true art of wedding photography. Enjoy each and every one and stay tuned for more in the year's ahead. The stunning work featured above was photographed by Gabe McClintock, MANSANO FOTOGRAFIA, Nordica Photography, and Andreas Feusi.             

  The 2016 Best of the Best Engagement Photo Collection

The 2016 Best of the Best Engagement Photo Collection – Honorable Mention Winners

Curating the top 50 best engagement photos in the world is close to impossible, which is why we love curating our honorable mention images almost as much as the collection itself. Getting to recognize a few additional images on top of our set 50 is not only fun but rewarding. Our honorable mention winners this year showcase the creativity, emotion, and technical skill that make up a truly compelling engagement photo, and we cannot wait to show them off! A big thank you to our star judges Phil Chester, Samm Blake, and Hendra Lesmana of Cheese N Click Photography for helping us to curate this year’s collection. Enjoy!

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TOP WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHERS GIVE THEIR BEST PIECE OF ADVICE TO BEGINNERS

With experience comes wisdom along your journey in photography and life; You’ll make mistakes. You’ll learn from them, grow from them, and your work will be better for making them. Hopefully, one day, you’ll pass along these parcels of  earned wisdom to someone who can learn from them as well.

We’ve turned to some of the top wedding photographers in the world to share with us their best piece of advice for a beginner photographer and here’s what they had to say.

To see our entire list of Top 100 Wedding Photographers from the U.S. and Canada and our Top 150 Best International Wedding Photographers, check out these articles:

1. MANTAS KUBILINSKAS OF MANTAS KUBILINSKAS PHOTOGRAPHY

Mantas’ Best Piece of Advice: Many beginners make the same mistake I did when I started my photography business, we get very excited about everything photography and begin buying things we will rarely use. We buy new gear without mastering whatever already we have.

My biggest piece of advice is to become a guru of your gear. Get one camera, two lenses and one flash.  Once you master those, then begin adding new things to your camera bag. If you buy two cameras, ten lenses, and ten flashes right from the start, I believe it will take eight times longer to become an amazing photographer.

See more of Mantas’ work on his website: www.mantasphoto.com

2. ANDREA BAGNASCO OF ANDREA BAGNASCO FOTOGRAFIE

Andrea’s Best Piece of Advice: Be prepared to work hard and never give up, even when it seems like the obvious thing to do.

3. VLAD LODOABA OF VLAD LODOABA WEDDING PHOTOJOURNALISM

Vlad’s Best Piece of Advice: Find photographers you trust and respect, reach out and offer to assist/second shoot for them. You will likely get told “no” a lot (don’t take it personally), but you will eventually find someone. Learn from their experiences and their mistakes. Assisting allows you to get a good feel for some of the challenges of a wedding day, and second shooting allows you to improve your technique or experiment without the stress that comes with being principal photographer. Then when you shoot your own weddings, you will have valuable practical experience and be better prepared to do a great job.

4. GARY EVANS OF GARY EVANS PHOTOGRAPHY

Gary’s Best Piece of Advice: You can do all the planning you want prior to the wedding but there are things that can blindside you, including the weather. Don’t be afraid of things you can’t control, embrace them and go with it.

5. YVES SCHEPERS OF YVES SCHEPERS PHOTOGRAPHY

Yves’ Best Piece of Advice: Reach out. Reach out to the wedding photography community in your area/country and create a network around you. Start to see them as colleagues instead of competitors. Whether it is to get honest feedback on your work, to share jobs when you’re overbooked, to get some support when you’re going through a rough patch, or just to hang out and have some fun, it will help you get your business going so much faster.

6. KEN PAK OF KEN PAK PHOTOGRAPHY

Ken’s Best Piece of Advice:  Put your personality into the frame. Get closer to the subject; balance between mundane, untraditional angles, and compositions. Don’t be afraid of experiment. Look out for the unpredictable, and  serendipity will find you!  Enjoy your learning process.

7. JESSE VAN KALMTHOUT OF JESSE VAN KALMTHOUT PHOTOGRAPHY

Jesse’s Best Piece of Advice: Confront your inner demons and fight them. Every single wedding photographer makes a ton of errors for every great shot or award. It’s about failing and then failing better. So infuse your personality and keep going, because there is no way around failure, only straight through it.

8. NICOLA TONOLINI OF NICOLA TONOLINI PHOTOGRAPHER

Nicola’s Best Piece of Advice: Get it out of your head that this is the easiest job in the world. If you want to stand out from the crowd, you have to work, work, work, work, work!!!!

9. DALLAS & SABRINA KOLOTYLO OF DALLAS KOLOTYLO PHOTOGRAPHY

Dallas & Sabrina’s Best Piece of Advice: Keep your love for photography and your creativity flowing by maintaining balance in life. If you love what you are doing, you are naturally going to put your heart and soul into it and you will end up producing work that has soul, and that you love. When you are producing work that you really love, it will attract like-minded clients and at the same time give you the opportunity to continually refine your craft.

10. CHRISTINA OF CHRISTINA ZEN PHOTOGRAPHY

Christina’s Best Piece of Advice: It’s in our nature to follow other photographers. We look at them and get inspired, but don’t just follow and try to emulate. Don’t just fawn over how they shot something. Instead, dissect their work. Study it critically to see where their light it, how their pose is in the minute details. Look at and break it down so that you see the components of the images you admire, not just an overall look you want to copy.

Doing this helps you bring those components into your own work without mimicking, and allows your personal aesthetic to come alive. Take those ideas and do the same with your own work too. Break down what you did well and what you struggled with, and fix it. The best photographers are the ones that never stop learning or striving for better.

11. WAYNE LA OF WAYNE LA PHOTOGRAPHER

Wayne’s Best Piece of Advice: Don’t pigeonhole yourself into particular styles and techniques at the beginning; learn everything. Be a natural-light ninja but advance your flash lighting. Train to pose like a master painter but learn to see moments before they happen. You’ll find your authentic voice soon enough, but you won’t know until you’ve sung many songs.

12. DAVE PAEK OF DAVE PAEK PHOTOGRAPHY

Dave’s Best Piece of Advice: Don’t be afraid to get your feet wet. I’m not necessarily referring to underwater portraits here but more about taking shots that take you beyond your creative comfort zone. The more “fall back” shots and gimmicks you rely on, the more you’ll become complacent in what you do and, in turn, you will stunt your own creative growth. If you shoot safe all the time, inevitably, photography will become more of a mechanical chore rather than something that inspires you.

 

13. NICOLE CHAN OF NICOLE CHAN PHOTOGRAPHY

Nicole’s Best Piece of Advice: Never stop learning. Create a multi-faceted educational plan for yourself with specific tasks and timelines. Learn through podcasts, books, YouTube tutorials, webinars, workshops, and magazines. Also, don’t forget about non-traditional learning – assisting other photographers, 2nd shooting, personal projects, etc!

14. CRYSTAL STOKES OF CRYSTAL STOKES PHOTOGRAPHY

Crystal’s Best Piece of Advice: Take the lens cap off……just kidding. Continuing education is undoubtedly the best investment you can make as a new photographer, or as an experienced photographer! This is often overlooked or dismissed  because we want to spend money on the tangible; a fancy new DSLR or a lens or lighting equipment. However, if we aren’t equipped with the information we need to give our clients our absolute best, those shiny new toys won’t matter nearly as much! Invest in YOU!

15. MARIUS TUDOR OF PHOTOCHIC

Marius’ Best Piece of Advice: Always be ready for the most intimate moments. Being ready means to be there all the time even when ‘nothing’ is happening.

16. ALESSANDRO IASEVOLI OF ALESSANDRO IASEVOLI PHOTOGRAPHER

Alessandro’s Best Piece of Advice: Be focused. Figure out where you want to go, where you want to be in 3-5-10 years from now. Define your goals and never let the day by day workload distract you from them. Do not take any job just to make money, but always try to define and target the clients you want to work with, the ones for which you think you can be unique, and look for them only! You may need to say ‘no’ many times, but it will pay off in the end.

Full Article: https://www.slrlounge.com/top-wedding-photographers-give-best-piece-advice-beginners/

BEST LENSES FOR WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY ACCORDING TO 13 TOP WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHERS

BEST LENSES FOR WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY ACCORDING TO 13 TOP WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHERS

It’s all subjective of course, the question of which are the “best” lenses for wedding photography. Aside from different camera systems and different glass, everyone has a different shooting style. But like with their children, everyone secretly has a favorite (just kidding), and we’ve polled SLR Lounge’s Best 100 Wedding Photographers to see which are the absolute best lenses for wedding photography. There was one lens (and focal length) that came up more than once; can you guess which?

Here’s what a few of them had to say.

1. MANTAS KUBILINSKAS OF MANTAS KUBILINSKAS PHOTOGRAPHY

Check out more of Mantas’ work on his website.

Manta’s Pick for Best Lens for Wedding Photography: My favorite lens at the wedding is Sigma 35mm 1.4 Art. I love this lens, because it makes me and my clients feel that you are there at that moment, in that image. Working with this lens is so fun and it pushes you to be as close as possible to your clients. The closer you are with your subject, the better the image you will get. Do not be afraid to step in and you will be rewarded.


2. KENNY KIM OF KENNY KIM PHOTOGRAPHY

Kenny’s Pick for Best Lens for Wedding Photography: Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L IS USM Macro Lens – This is an essential lens for all wedding photographers. I see so many wedding photographers trying to get away without one, and you can see the quality difference. It probably gets used only about 20 mins during the wedding day, but it will separate the quality of your work from others.

It’s perfect for capturing studio-like quality detailed photos for your clients. The body is extremely light for an L-series lens, and it can also be used for shooting portraits. This is a very affordable L lens offered by Canon. My second shooters have seen the difference that it makes, and I know some of them went out and bought one for themselves the very next day.

3. DAVE PAEK OF DAVE PAEK PHOTOGRAPHY

Dave’s Pick for Best Lens for Wedding Photography: My single favorite lens for wedding photography is the Nikon 35mm f/1.8G for its size, weight, and cost.  However, I found myself using the Sigma 24-35mm f/2 more and more because of its versatility, fast AF, and sharpness – especially in tandem with my Nikon D810, which resolves beautifully. Firstly, the 35mm is my favorite focal length not just because it’s a “storytelling” focal length but because I think photographically in terms of 35mm as my base focal length.

For the above scene, I used the Sigma 24-35mm.  I wanted to have the ability to go wider as it was shot in a small and shallow lap pool. Since space was a bit constricted, as this pool was only about four feet deep on the shallow end (which is where we were standing), I decided to go in closer at 24mm to create the illusion of a deep and dark abyss with some help from an off-camera strobe. Lastly, I love the way this lens’ contrasts and the way it renders color – although those are highly subjective points.

4. SEAN LEBLANC OF SEAN LEBLANC PHOTOGRAPHY

Sean’s Pick for Best Lens for Wedding Photography: One of my favorite lenses for wedding portraits is the Nikon 200mm F2. The lens offers incredible compression, razor sharp images even at F2, lightening fast autofocus, smooth bokeh, three-dimensional look to my images.

5. ASHLEY FISHER OF ASHLEY FISHER PHOTOGRAPHY.

Ashley’s Pick for Best Lens for Wedding Photography: My favorite lens is the Nikon 85mm f1.8. It’s inexpensive, lightweight, fast focusing, and creates beautiful portraits. If I could only have one lens without a huge budget, it’d be this guy.

6.  CHRISTINA BLANAROVICH OF CHRISTINA ZEN STUDIO

Christina’s Pick for Best Lens for Wedding Photography: I love my 80mm Zeiss lens for my Contax. I shoot with it for 80% of the day. I love the intimacy I can achieve with it and the bokeh; the way this lens creates such depth is to die for. My images are very much about the emotions of the couple on a wedding day, so this lens allows me to get close enough and still maintain a softness that draws the viewer in.

7. JD LAND OF TWISTED OAKS STUDIO

JD’s Pick for Best Lens for Wedding Photography: I absolutely love my Sigma 35mm Art.  It is super versatile for me on a wedding day.  It allows me to be in close with my couples and not have to worry too much about distortion on the edges of my frame. It is also wide enough to allow me to step back and tell a more complete story with my composition.  In a bind, I could shoot an entire wedding with this lens.

8. SCOTT & MELISSA HOPKINS OF HOPKINS STUDIOS

Scott & Melissa’s Pick for Best Lens for Wedding Photography: I love my Canon 70-200 f/2.8 L IS II. The focal range has always been my favorite; it allows me to remove myself from the scene so I don’t interfere.

9. JAY & SANDI CASSARIO OF TWISTED OAKS STUDIOS

Sandi’s Pick for Best Lens for Wedding Photography: I like to stick to just 3 prime lenses on the wedding day, the Sigma 35mmNikon 85, and my favorite lens that I tend to shoot throughout most of the day is the Nikon 58mm f/1.4G. I love the 58mm focal length; it’s perfect for how I see things, and the bokeh from this lens is just ridiculous. Jay likes to shoot a little wider, so the 58 is also a nice compliment to how he shoots.

10. EASTON REYNOLDS OF LUREY PHOTOGRAPHY

Easton’s Pick for Best Lens for Wedding Photography: The Nikon 24-70mm f2.8 is one of my favorites. It’s so versatile and I love not having to move to get the perfect crop. It allows me to capture the exact comp I have in my head without having to reposition myself. This is key for me to make sure I am not missing moments.

11. CRYSTAL STOKES OF CRYSTAL STOKES PHOTOGRAPHY

Crystal’s Pick for Best Lens for Wedding Photography: My fave is the Sigma 35 Art. I believe it’s the lens that is the closest to how we see the world with our eyes. However, it is when we step in close to our subject that it truly shines. It allows us to share a very unique version of an otherwise ordinary perspective, and invites the viewer into the moment.

12. TREVOR DAYLEY OF TREVOR DAYLEY PHOTOGRAPHY

Trevor’s Pick for Best Lens for Wedding Photography: I love the Canon 90mm Tilt-Shift because I can create some interesting effects, drawing the viewer’s eye to certain areas of the image.

13. CHRIS LIN OF LIN & JIRSA PHOTOGRAPHY

Chris’ Pick for Best Lens for Wedding Photography: This is a tough question because I love different lenses for different scenarios. I love wide lenses for stunning beach scenes and sunsets; 50mm and 85mm primes for intimate portraits, and 100mm Macro lenses for jewelry and rings. But If I had to choose one, I would go with the Canon 70-200mm f2/8 II.

This lens allows me to stay unobtrusive throughout the day for great candid moments. It’s also consistently my reliable lens when it comes to sharpness and focus performance. The compression and bokeh when you’re fully zoomed in at 200mm is difficult to duplicate with any other lens.

 

What are the 6 MUST-HAVE lenses for wedding photography? Check out this article to find out.

If you are a SLR Lounge Premium Member, be sure to check out our Wedding Workshop for more wedding tips.