Weddings, Wedding VenuesShari Wedding Photography, Best Wedding Photographers in St. Louis - 2013 Bride's Choice Award Winner
Weddings, Wedding Venues
2012 Bride's Choice Awards | Best Wedding Photographers, Wedding Dresses, Wedding Cakes, Wedding Florists, Wedding Planners

Saturday, August 17, 2013


I have moved this blog to my new web site which is better linked into my blog:

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Photographing Veils

Shari Photography 
Veils on a  bride look amazing.  I love the different ways to can photograph them to create powerful and creative images.  The one area that a photographer needs to be aware of is to not lose details of the veil by over exposing the image.  If you over expose or expose for the skin, then the veil will lose all its details.  And if you lose the details, then what is the point of taking the picture?  
I will under expose the veil by 1/3 stop just to ensure the details don,t get lost. 

Canon 5D mark 2
50 mm 1.2 L
F 2.2 1/ 250 Iso 1200

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Details and placement

There is always an interesting place to compose detail shots.  Look for anything to hang the rings or jewelry items on and they will look great.  Shoot at a shallow depth field for an even stronger and more dynamic image. 

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Golden Hour Backlight

Shari Photography-  Back light.
Golden hour is 1 hour before sunrise or or sunset.  The light is perfect.  Anytime you can photograph during this time-  do it!  The light is exceptional and well worth the effort because your images will look incredible. 
There is a lovely golden hue to the images.  This is especially true if you can back light with the sun.  Also, there is a softness to the light that creates a spectacular effect on the skin tones  Shadows also can play a role in the composition in a way that adds a third dimension.
I always try to plan my couples portraits during this time.
Canon 5D Mk2
16-35 f2.8 L
f8 1/1200

Friday, July 19, 2013

Over expose it - it's ok!

Shari Photography exposure-
Not enough photographers over expose- sounds a bit naughty.  
I tend to over expose by a 1/3 stop in most images.  I think it makes an image look brighter and adds a lift when I post edit.  This is especially true as I add more black to an image. The contrast of the slightly over exposed whites and the boosting of the blacks adds density to the images  I like.  
For portraits, this works as well by brightening faces which is a very appealing look.  Look at the previous blog post of a Headshot to see what a 1/3 stop over exposure looks like.  
In this scene, I want the whites of the walls to be much brighter so as to contrast the dark shadows of a high midday sun. 
And if you look carefully, you can see me:)

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Ideal Portrait Lens?

Shari Photography Headshots.  
Easy-  85 mm.  
All other focal lengths will distort the face.  The exception being 100mm.
My favorite lens is the Canon 85 mm 1.2 L.  It will set you back $1800 and change.  But what a beauty!  I can focus on an eye lash at 1.2 and blur the rest of the face in a gentle drift. 

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Lonely Beaches

Part of the Shari Photography brand is the look I try to create with a majority of my images.
I love looking for photographic opportunities that deal with single image focus-  in other words subject matter that isolates 1 main idea-  the English Romantics called it a Sublime  experience-  one where the size and magnitude of 1 object in the scene (like a tree or mountain) would become the central focus of the experience.
These beach shots try to bring that sublime focus on a single object.
Canon 5D  Mk2
16-35 L  f.3.2  1/200
Lightroom enhanced-  mostly the sky.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

The Hands on the Dress

Details and hands go together.  
While taking an isolated shot of a shoe ora bracelet  is important and can look great if photographed properly, it is important to include a human touch to key moments of the day.  
At Shari Photography we always take time to photograph the dress for example in many different setups-  hanging on a pretty door, or draped on the bed.  We focus on the intricate features of the dress as well with a macro lens.  All these shots can look fantastic.  
However, the image that always stands out, is the one when the dress is being handled- usually by the maid of honor or the mother of the bride.  As a photographer, I anticipate this moment because the hands take on a gentle and respectful feel to them.  The Dress is handled in a very gentle manner and it is this moment that makes it so special to photograph.
None of these moments need to be staged-  we just let it unfold.  
I always keep my background in mind for these shots-  look for a light of window to provide a nice backlighting effect.  I would avoid a dark background as you need to have a separation from the subject- in this case the dress.  
Without the graceful hands gently putting the final touches of the dress together, then the image would not look the same.  
Canon 5D mk2
50 mm L  f1.8 1/200
Speedlight facing backward.  
Lightroom 5 editing.  

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Great Wedding Dress and Gown Website

If you are looking for a wedding dress, or gown, brides maids ideas, or just interested in the current trends,  Pre Sun Wedding -      is the website for you.

It is a site full of great ideas, great prices, and very easy to navigate.  There are so many choices to review and with terrific comments about each dress.
A quick visit and you will see why it's one of my fav wedding sites.

Beach at Night

Night photography is a style I have  always enjoyed.  Shadows and highlights make a scene look totally different when photographed at night.  As always, shutter speed or the ability keep the camera steady to create sharp images is a must.  I can hold a camera steady at 1/30 consistently if I control my breathing and keep my upper body tight during the shot.
A fast lens is also a huge help.  When I travel, I leave the 50mm 1.2 behind and take my 50mm 1.4 instead.  As rugged as the 1.2 is, I am a little paranoid about ruining a $1500 lens when I travel.  The 1.4 is a fantastic lens for about $400.
Photographing in high ISO is also helpful.  The Canon 5D MK2 does a great job of working in the 2500- 3000 range with good noise control.
The choice of color or black and white is based on the warm tones in the image.  If there are warm colors because of the light, then I keep the final edit in color.

 Color Images-
Canon 5D MK 2
Canon 50 mm  1.4 1/30  ISO 1800
Canon 5D MK 2
Canon 50 mm  1.4 1/30  ISO3200

Monday, July 1, 2013

Thames & Stuff

What a glorious site the Thames is at anytime. Photo opportunities everywhere! For this shot I wanted something in the foreground to give the image balance. The big boat did nicely.
River Thames with Big Ben and stuff. Dec 2012.
Canon 5d Mk2. 50 mm 1.4.  f 5.6  1/500
Edited Lightroom.
Shari Photography

Action Photography- Get on their Level

I've taken action photos of professional sports like water polo, rugby, soccer, football, and basketball.  Being a sports fan, I love being a part of the action and the camera has allowed me to do that.  Thankfully I have a daughter who loves sports which gives me an opportunity to photograph her and her teammates.  Sharing the images with the other parents is really gratifying.  And it beats having to fight the deadlines. 
  In all these sports, the best advise I can give is get on the level of the athlete.  I see too many parents shooting from the stands.  The action is in the eyes, expressions, and physical movements the athletes create.  If you are positioned above the subject you miss all three elements.  Get on the deck, grab a chair and shoot.  Don't worry about ho many pictures you are taking.  Anticipate the movement of the ball and fire off 5- 10 frames at a time.  The 5th or 6th frame will be the best ones from each sequence.   

Another essential element is the zoom.  You want to be able to isolate the athlete as much as possible.  I have used both the Canon 70-200 IS 2.8 L Mk2 and their 300mm f2.8.  Both are amazing, but for sharp images the 300 is spectacular.  I avoid having to post edit crop- with so many images get it right in the camera.  Fill the frame and fire away. 
Finally, a fast enough shutter to freeze the action is a must.  This can be tricky in low light gyms.  But with the 5D Mk3s I can shoot comfortably with an ISO at 20,000 and not worry about the noise.  This has been a huge game changer.   To freeze the athlete, I try and maintain a 1/500 or faster shoot at f 2.8-3.2.  With an L lens, wide open is still amazing. 
Canon 5D Mk 2
Canon 70-200 IS 2.8 Mk2
ISO 20,000
f.2.8 1/500 

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Holding Tight

One approach I use with posing couples is by having my clients position their arms in specific ways around each other. This creates a lovely intimate pose that is not static. I avoid the "stand next to each other pose" because it's so boring.
My favorite word when directing clients is "envelop" - envelop each other- to surround and bring in. The expressions will also match that intimate and bodily pose. 
And it works with all ages. 
Canon 5d mk3
85 mm 1.2
F4 1/500

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Gen - Headshots

Gen wanted some different looking headshots for her portfolio-  something with a little more spice and attitude.  It was not hard to come  up with some beautiful portraits of her. 
The 85mm is the best portrait lens because it keeps the face in perfect dimension.  I rarely shoot a portrait at f.18,  but in this case I wanted to create the soft blur that drops off the focus point which is the eye closest to the camera.  The effects are really amazing. 
Canon 5D mark 3
Canon 85mm L 1.2
Left image at f1.8, 1/200
Right Image at f 2.2, 1/180
Flash fill on camera left.  Speedlight 600.  

Who Loves a Big Cloud

Photographing the sky as a part of the composition of a picture can be tricky. 
If the image is not exposed correctly, or the sky is flat, then you end up with a boring white space. That's why, if you look through my work, I rarely include the  sky. 
In this case, there were these great big clouds but it was still a really bright sky. this would make it all white. I under exposed the image by 2/3 stops to bring out the clouds more.
In post editing, I used split toning to bring out the clods and blue a little more. 

Canon 5d mark 3
16-35 l 3.8
F 9 1/2000

Friday, June 28, 2013

Show Me the Hands!

I love focusing on hands during the wedding day.  They say so much about what is really going on inside a person or between a couple.  Too many times, a face can fake a smile or a loving feeling-  but the hands never lie. 
Some of my most dramatic shots have been from photographing the hands of a couple during the first dance, the fingers of the groom as he awaits his bride at the altar, the father of the bride as he holds his daughter for the last time. 
I always tell my second shooters to respect the hands.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Create Your Wind- the wind in the veil shot

How do photogs get the classic veil blowing shot?  
In the absence of wind- use the mechanical approach.  Standing to the side or directly behind the bride create the best results. 
Canon 5D Mk3
70-200 L 2.8 mk2
F5. 1/500
ISo 400

Friday, June 21, 2013

Backlighting to create powerful images.

I try to backlight my clients whenever possible during the course of a wedding. The effect is to create a glow around their shoulders, arms and head. This creates a floating sensation as the subject is separated from the background with a gentle wall of white light.  
When I can, ill bounce a light off a wall behind me to throw a little on their faces. 
 In this image I underexposed a 1/3 stop for the white dress.  This helps maintain details in the dress. 
Black and white editing always look classy with this effect. The dark jacket is contrasted with not only the white dress but  also the glowing white background. 
Canon 5d mk3
50 mm 1.2 L
F 4.5 1/500

Thursday, June 20, 2013

The First Dance- technical stuff

I noticed the bride had her fingers crossed in a relaxed way with the rings placed perfectly.  With the dark suit and cream colored wall as a backdrop, it was a perfectly balanced picture.
I bounced flash off the wall behind me to fill.
Canon 5D Mk3, 70-200 IS 2.8 Mk2, IOS 2000, flash aimed off back wall.
2.8, 1/200

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Friday, May 31, 2013

Love Long Lines

Long Lines-  I have a thing for  them.  For some reason my eyes are drawn to sequences that include lines.  They make for a lovely balanced picture.  

Forest Park Weddings

A beautiful day in one the great urban parks of the U.S.  Forest Park has so many amazing locations and settings.  There are the usual spots as seen in these pictures.  But, try looking around the fringes of the park-  especially the KingsHighway side so really cool pastoral scenes.  Plus. there are fewer crowds in that part.   

More Details

Details- I love them

Wedding details are some of my favorite shots to take.  I use the Canon 100mm f 2.8 L Macro lens.  
The detail this lens pics up is stunning-  not to mention the Macro feature.