Denver, Colorado, United States Photographer
http://www.josephmilton.com firstname.lastname@example.org 503-317-2215
For today’s ISPWP member spotlight, we feature Evan Baines, one of the few wedding photographers who shoots weddings with black and white film. Read on to find out about Evan’s unique approach to weddings.
Evan Baines Bio:
I was born and raised on the East coast, but moved to the south when I joined the military after 9/11. I earned my Green Beret and served in the Army’s 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne). Iraq was a nice place to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live there. Along the way I met a beautiful and talented woman with awful taste in men, and married her before she came to her senses. I started my photography business when I left the military, and have won a number of prestigious international accolades for my work. In addition to weddings, I shoot extensively for magazines and advertising.
How did you get your start and why did you chose wedding photography as a career?
I originally learned photography in the US Army’s Special Forces in the context of surveillance work, and it grew into a consuming hobby for me. When I left the service, my original plan was to attend medical school, and I started this little side photography business to help pay my way. After a year or so, it became apparent that photography wasn’t the side-anything for me, and I decided to pursue this career full time.
How has your extensive experience in wedding photography helped you in difficult circumstances on a wedding day?
There are few things more dangerous than a wedding photographer with ONE good wedding in his or her portfolio. There are certain lighting conditions and settings that can make it exceptionally easy to create pleasing photographs, even if your technical ability is extremely limited. However, these conditions are seldom present for an entire wedding day, if they are present at all. It takes a great deal of experience to reliably produce outstanding imagery under adverse conditions. I’ve shot weddings by candle light, in harsh midday sun, ceremonies that were heavily back-lit, and even certified natural disasters. You would have a hard time finding a situation that I haven’t dealt with, and found a way to produce great photographs.
What kinds of weddings do you love to photograph?
My favorite weddings are sincere weddings. When the couple wears their hearts on their sleeves, and the families are warm and open, I get to create what I consider my most meaningful work. “Showy” weddings are fun, but heartfelt weddings are why I do what I do.
What are your top tips for brides to help them get great photos on their wedding day?
Talk to your photographer as you plan your schedule! For instance, lots of couples these days want to get the portraits done before the ceremony… that’s fine, but if it means you’re planning on doing outdoor portraits at 2pm in the summertime, you may be giving your photographer fewer options to make really spectacular shots.
What do you find is the biggest challenge in wedding photography?
I think the single biggest challenge in wedding photography is making sure that the images are truly a reflection of the client and their values. So many of us photographers get caught up in our “look,” impressing other photographers, competitions, driving blog traffic, and so on that its easy to chase after “rock-star” images that while impressive, may not be as meaningful to the clients. The single most important standard for me is to create a body of truly meaningful photographs for each of my clients. Impressive photos aren’t hard to come by, but truly meaningful photographs, where the artistry facilitates vital content, are a real challenge.
What do you do for fun when you’re not shooting weddings?
I play lacrosse, mountain bike, and spend time with my amazing wife. We are both very serious about food and wine, so experiencing new restaurants is a big part of our social life.
How would you describe your style of photography?
The documentary aspect of wedding photography is the most important part of coverage to me. I would say that I’m heavily influenced by photography from the golden age of photojournalism, and also look at classic fashion/portrait photography for inspiration. In general, I want to draw upon work that has an established track record for timelessness.
What do you offer to clients that is unique? What is your Unique Selling Proposition?
I am one of the few photographers around who still offers weddings shot entirely on black & white film, and then create hand-made albums of individually crafted silver gelatin (fiber) prints. Lots of people these days apply “faux-vintage” looks to their digital files in photoshop. I offer the real deal.
Do you offer albums? If so, describe the albums you offer and why you think it’s important to provide albums.
I offer albums and prints, and I think one of the great neglected areas of contemporary photography is good printmaking. I’ve seen lots of great photographers settle for really mediocre prints, because the focus these days seems to be on making a shot look good for the blog. For digital, I make prints myself through a painstaking process involving multiple test prints or strips, experimenting with different papers… For film, I hire one of the greatest active printmakers in the country to carefully craft each print.
What (or who) inspires you?
I have countless books on photography, and study a great many photographers… but the ones who have been the most important to me are: Richard Avedon, Robert Frank, W. Eugene Smith, David Seidner.
What’s the best photography-related advice you’ve been given?
Abolish the word “formals” from your vocabulary. Rather, you should aspire to shooting warm-hearted editorial family portraits. Simply using the word “formals” dictates both your and your subjects’ attitudes toward them.
What would you say was the biggest reason for your success?
I am obsessive and stubborn.
What is the biggest challenge facing wedding photographers today?
It used to be that it took a great deal of training and experience simply to achieve proper focus and exposure under changing conditions, back in the days of film. Digital technology has made “technically adequate” imagery within reach of almost anyone with a camera. The fact is that technically adequate is good enough for MOST people getting married. Most people don’t really care about art: when was the last time the average couple visited an art museum for fun? Thus, I believe that wedding photography as a profession is going to become more like any other field for professional artists: the middle of the market will continue to fade, and there will be increased stratification between the weekend warriors at the low end and a small handful of very talented individuals at the top end who cater to a select group of clients with more refined tastes.
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