"Get Shot by a Pro"


Installment Number 3 Wedding Photography / Are you really a pro? Crooked / Angled Photos:

Today’s point of “Are you really a pro?” will be focused on Crooked / Angled horizons.
Facebook offers a great resource to photographers of what is being shot in general. Let’s face it seeing what others are doing helps keep a working photographer current on trends in wedding photography. 
Wedding Photography is pretty much cut and dry though. It is formatted, predetermined, scripted, AKA boring! Yet they are necessary for lifetime of memories. A creative Photographer can add something different to the repertoire of the classic standard shots. Setting  up with some signature ideas. This is where it gets tricky and can make or break the photographer.
Crooked / angled horizons in the image is what I am referring to. If your wedding portfolio consist of a majority as samples of your work…, you need to find new work. A few of these, (but not a majority to all) can be considered artistic. A difference maker. If done good to great that is.
The propose of crooked horizons is to create a tension in the viewer’s eye. It also can be used to lead the viewer’s eye to something “big” in the composition of the photo. So as you can see why it can work with wedding photography. It can fail miserably too! However a portfolio constructed of these crooked horizon shots most time can be perceived as a show of a lack of awareness of the camera being level. In relationship to the main subject in the wedding photo. On the other end, perception of your post work. Your edit program is not good enough to correct it or you have no idea how to use it.
I find for myself staying away from the purposeful intent to use this style. When I shoot a wedding I do not want to create tension in these type of photos. Tension leads to a divorce in a marriage. Why would I want to imply that this union is doomed? I try to keep my wedding photography in the contexts of the tried and true, with what has worked for years upon years. I am not saying to never try it. All I am saying is little is more. personally if that is the majority of your work, I find it as a cheep gimmick and shows a lack of imagination by the wedding photographer. In its continual use it is a way of  hiding a lack of creativity or knowledge of a good photo on the part of the wedding photographer. If you want to add gimmicks I suggest that there are other good gimmicks available to a wedding photographer that will make your work stand out. Make your Photos stand out.
Investment in a filter system like: star filters, Multi-image filters, Center spot Filters, fog filters. CPL filter. The understanding and use of them will make your work timeless more so than crooked horizons.

Point; Wedding photographers in the day of film photography, before digital ,used and mastered the use of these filters. A word of advice to those that came along after the invention of Digital Photography. Use and learn the real filters. Do not rely on the digital ad on filter programs form the various edit programs. They look off, not real.

Second Installment Wedding Photography / Are you really a pro? Poor Flash Photography:

The difference between an amateur and a professional photographer in most cases can be seen in their ability of the photographers control of artificial light, or simply put flash photography. Any Pro that tells you that they work in only ambient light because flash creates a harsh and unnatural look is a nice way of them saying…”I don’t know how to control a real flash and I am not qualified to do your job.” That statement or any variation of it is a red flag that you should avoid.
If the photographer you engage only works with the built-in flash on their camera, chances are you are working with a shutter bug and not a pro. If the samples they show you have harsh shadows chances are this is not a real professional also.
All Professional photographers worth their pay can and do control the flash. In general they work with an external flash on a bracket that is attached to the camera body. The flash is on a cord that attached to the camera hot shoe. Some of these brackets are shaped like the letter “L” or the letter “C”. These brackets also allow the removal of the flash and hand hold it as needed for different lighting effect on the image.

In today’s day and age with the equipment that is available there is no excuse for not having an external flash that has the ability to move the light head. AKA the bounce flash. This simple tool allows the photographer to change the direction of the artificial light coming from the flash. The ability to redirect the flash to be used to disperse and diffuse light evenly over the subject at hand.
Let’s step back for a moment. I believe the worst invention ever created is the onboard flash that comes with every DSL (Digital Single-Lens Reflex) camera on the market. Thus creating the “False Photographer”. Hey they spent the money on the gear (camera, bag, tripod and an extra lens or two). I’m going to become a photographer because I paid the price of the gadgets. If only it was that easy.

The onboard flash is a nice convenience but not a very good tool to work with for the pro. They were meant for the general consumer and not the Pro. I find that people who only use an onboard flash only, have less than desirable images. Redeye (that demonic look), flat unnatural looking images, harsh / hanging shadows and uneven light saturation. (overexposed and under exposed) areas in the same photo. When trying to capture a larger area than what the output of the onboard flash can handle.

Pro’s work in any conditions that can call for the necessity of more light! The best portable solution is an external flash with a bounce head. The bounce ability allows the photographer to control the direction of the needed light. These light sources also allow you to dial back the output to create a more natural look with out the overblown high lights or loss of detail in the image.

The sad thing is I have seen poor flash images as examples by new pro wedding photographers in their portfolios. Clearly this type of photographer does not understand lighting or how to use it to their advantage to create a more desirable image. Sometimes it is not only about the gear, but in who’s hands the gear is in.

First Installment Wedding Photographer / Are you really a pro? White Balance:

If your shutter release takes longer than developing your photo you are not a photographer.
Being a photographer has many facets in practice and action. Your legacy so to speak is in direct proportion to but not limited to the following:
Composition of the image.
Knowing your camera and how to bring the best out of it.
Developing the image in post adding light taking away light, contrast plus or minus, saturation when to boost or take it back. Noise removal ability. And mostly white balance!

As I review other photos by “pro’s” on Facebook, I see the following mistakes with white balance. It is so bad that you swear that the people in the wedding photos suffer from jaundice or are wearing too much copper tone lotion.
Blown out high lights that you can not see the details in a wedding dress. In a large portion of their work.
These are people who have no idea what it is to be a photographer. They let the camera dictate the image and have no clue how to impose a proper image from the camera. They are nothing more than shutter bugs with equipment that is beyond their abilities or comprehension. A photographer can understand and implement his or hers knowledge to make an image that will last. Photos that will stand the test of time.


More on choosing a Photographer:

Why Should I Pay you to be my Photographer?

Simply put, you get what you pay for! (Please let me elaborate.) The reason Photographers fees seem high is based on experience. It is no different from  getting an oil change. You pay less for the lower grade oil and it is not as good as the more costly grade oil. Uncle Fred or this guys friend has a camera and will do it for Cheep! Yes they will! I ask you do you want these memories and precious moments in their hands? Will they get the “money shots”? Will they understand that lighting in the church, banquet hall are as different as outside lighting? Are they knowledgeable and be able to adjust the camera’s flash as needed? Will they be able to review the photos and correct the images as needed? Auto settings are nice on the camera, they are a nice feature for the novice to use. However auto settings will not work for everything in all situations. Review Uncle Fred’s photos, will they stand up to a pro’s work? (If Uncle Fred is a pro by all means hire him.)

This guy just got out of school and will do it for cheep!

Remember again you get what you pay for. This is a better choice than the first one. At the least he or she understands everything listed above. The risk?  Never created lasting memories for anyone and is learning on the job. This person needs to intern or assist a pro to gain that valuable experience and to learn from his own mistakes under the watchful eye of a working photographer.

It is extremely rare but not impossible that a person using Uncle Fred or a friend of a friend that has a camera will get Great photos! Think about this for a moment. At a wedding for example it is not unusual for a pro to shoot over 500 photos. Under option one, you will be reviewing 500 photos and hope you get some that you will like. With a pro the 500 should be about 450 really good to great photos. The odds would be on your side to hire the pro. Now once in a while they get lucky and they will give you a satisfactory shoot. Is satisfactory what you want? Is your Important Event that time they get lucky? Can they deliver the goods when it matters? I would feel better with someone with a consistent track record of providing that service for me. If you would like a quote to “GET SHOT BY A PRO” ? Contact me for a free consultation.

A little bit more about me, WNY Hitman Photography:

How did you come up with the name WNY Hitman Photography?

Someone said to me: “Boy you shoot a lot when you are on site.”As an off the cuff remark I jokingly said, “Hitman Photography, I’ll Shoot anything!” A few people over heard that and started to laugh, me too. That night was when a Light bulb went on. The name stuck in my head ever since. A little massaging the title until it became what it is now WNY Hitman Photography.

Hitman Definition: “a contracted professional who shoots his target.” (AKA, Trigger man & shooter)

The terms used for a Photographer and /Hitman are remarkably similar. Contracts to sign for a professional shoot. The fact that I am aiming my camera at you, my target to get that special shot seemed interchangeable to me and struck me as funny.

Why in the world would you name a Photo business “WNY Hitman Photography”?

I wanted a name and logo that caught your Eye and to let you know with this Guy I get two things for the price of one:

First off the humor behind, “Get Shot by a Pro”! How many people can smile and say “I got shot by a Hitman and have that mean a good thing? (Ironic funny) Or a mom saying “Yeah I hired a Hitman to shoot the kids.”

Next, I will be serious as a Hitman and “Get” what you paid for.

What If I like your photography but I do not want to hire a Hitman?

No problem, WNY Hitman Photography is an owned property of D J Ruggiero Imaging and that can be engaged (at the same rates). Sorry there is no D J Ruggiero Imaging .com, only wnyhitman.com, they would be the same samples and same photos. BORING!

Any other Questions that you have feel free to drop a line to WNY Hitman Photography.

3 Points in Choosing a Photographer.

First, search for a photographer that you enjoy their style of photography. There is a variety of styles to choose from:


Photo journal / Contemporary.

Traditional is about doing staged poses with few or no candid shots. Everything is scripted for maximum effect in a formal showcase for you.

Photo journal or Contemporary is more about capturing, spontaneous emotion and expression that tells the story as it happens with little photographer involvement.


There is a difference between candid photos and true photo journalistic images. Seek a photographer that evokes an emotional response from you with their work. (If they can reach you on an emotional level with the photos from a stranger’s event, just think what they can do for yours!)

Second, find a photographer that you “click” with personality wise. (Make sure it’s someone you can have fun with on your special day.)

You need to MEET with this person so you know exactly who you will be spending your day with. (Don’t spend it with someone you really don’t care for just because they are cheap!)

Third, when you have narrowed down your choices of those that meet the above two requirements, then shop for price and package options.

Create a budget on how much you want to invest in your event, (don’t be afraid to go slightly over or under).

Selecting the best photographer is based upon points one and two, your images will have the longest lasting impact on your Event memories over your lifetime.

In reality the day of your shoot is… “all about you“! I can help you Achieve those special Image’s on your most important day!


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