Two styles of wedding photography are fashionable today: portrait and photojournalism. Scott Robert Lim, of Scott Robert Photography in Los Angeles, has built his studio by blending the styles to create his own brand of in-demand “prompted reality” moments.
“If I waited for ‘the moment’ to happen, with everything perfect—the lighting, the couple’s expression, the way their heads are positioned, the body lean, etc.—I’d still be waiting for it! So I’m like a movie director, setting everything up for the couple and giving them easy instructions that will create amazing photos.”
When discussing posing with his couples, he tells them why it’s important. For example, when asking the groom to lean forward he explains that it defines his chin better and creates a slimming effect. “If you give them tips on how to look better in front of the camera, they remember it and try to do it all the time. Soon your clients begin to pose themselves,” Lim says.
“Like a good floral arrangement, a great photo needs someone to put everything in place and many times that is my job.”
Concentrating on the bride, Lim creates a few shots where she looks absolutely stunning and could grace the front page of a wedding magazine. “If the bride likes what you do, then the groom will like you because you are making his wife happy—which, most of the time, is all the groom ever wants to accomplish on his wedding day. I also take a few portraits of the bride and groom together to capture their intimate relationship. This is where portraiture excels over photojournalism; you can get the imagery you need to make your clients happy.”
Web Site As Learning Center
A well-designed website is vital for today’s photographer. It is today what a business card was years ago.
“The easiest and most professional way to design your website is to buy a professional-looking flash template, or hire a professional with html and design skills. Just because someone is proficient at writing code doesn’t mean they know design and layout. Remember, your client is the bride, so make the site attractive to her, while maintaining your own style.”
Lim knows his website needs to draw people and keep them interested in what he’s doing as a photographer. “I have created RSS feeds (simple news feeds) that people can subscribe to. This allows them to receive email updates of everything new I do—any image I post to my site (scottrobertimages.com) or any photography tip or journal entry on my blog (scottrobertjournal.com).”
He has even created a podcast link, so people can download client slideshows and information about choosing a wedding photographer through iTunes. Wedding guests from any part of the world can download a slideshow of a wedding they attended.
“I have created a learning center for photographers interested in learning pro photography tips, phototools123.com, as well as a music broadcast that will play royalty-free music. Any song can be downloaded from my custom music player. I also offer the code so others can put this player on their website, blog, etc. My sites all generate approximately 1,500 page views per day.”
Teaching other photographers has become a passion for Lim, especially since that’s how he learned.
“The fastest way to get where you want to go is to learn from someone who has been there,” he says. “My studio took off when I started applying the techniques I learned from some of the best photographers in the world. It was the best investment I ever made. They gave me the tools and confidence to raise my pricing. Now I book at twice my previous rates.”
Using the Right Tools
Lim’s website serves another useful function. Visit scottrobertgallery.com/mygear.htm and you will find descriptions of equipment he owns and recommends, with links to Amazon.com, should the visitor decide to make a purchase. In addition to offering his opinion about the products, he suggests what to purchase first, and when to use certain gear.
“Lighting is everything and knowledge of how light interacts with your camera is paramount to good imagery,” says Lim. “I find soft natural light works the best for portraiture—an open door, window light. If I can’t get enough natural light, I go to reflected light; if I can’t get that, I go to my on-camera strobes. If I use my strobes, I try to make the light look as natural as possible by using the best light diffuser, in my opinion, Lightsphere by Gary Fong.” (See Lightsphere Review).