Just a Moment in Time – Priceless

Many artists agree that there is beauty in life’s candid moments.

Unposed people, just interacting, conversing and enjoying each other’s company often makes for the most interesting images.

Many years ago I learned an important lesson about capturing the beauty of the candid moment.  Look behind you, because stuff is happening there too.

I photographed this image recently at a backyard party. Everywhere you look in this image, there is something happening.  Small groups of people having conversations, laughing, some discussing more serious subjects, some are looking away, ready to move on to the next group and their next discussion.

So, even though this image is dark and grainy (shot at ISO 32000!), it caught my attention. You see, it’s not always the image with the perfect exposure and perfect pose that makes it precious, but the contect of the image itself.

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Dan Busler Photography is a full service Boston-based professional Portrait, Live Performance and Event photography studio located in the historic Hogie Bear Building – East Walpole MA.
By the Artist, for the Artist.             781-352-4863 http://www.danbuslerphotography.com

Each Event Can be Spectacular

An Event by definition is an occurrence, a happening, a phenomenon. And it’s something that may only happen once.

I photograph family, corporate and charity events. Even though there are similarities they each take a different approach.

Family events might be a weddings, family reunions or when your Child becomes a bar or bat mitzvah. It’s a blur of lots of people running and in the case of weddings, tight scheduling and yes, tension! But after the formal part, it’s a party.

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Corporate events are quite different. They’re typically formal affairs with people who may work together but really don’t know each other outside of the office trying to party, but if clients are there … then the employees are “still on the clock” … always be selling.

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Charity events are often galas with speeches, awards and dancing. Although I do photograph charity hockey/baseball/golf games each year.  And then the food and fun.

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Many people choose to hire a professional event photographer to capture their once in a lifetime events because they’re trained to see the important moments as they unfold and usually they’re not emotionally involved. Although it is true that we do cry at weddings. You would to if you were watching the Bride and Groom and all the emotion at the alter through a telephoto lens!

So when you’re tying to decide if you should have Uncle Charlie photograph your wedding or the kid from the mailroom to photograph your trade show and the Big Event Gala you’re holding in Las Vegas you may want to re-consider and let Uncle Charlie be a guest and enjoy the wedding.

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Dan Busler is a full service Boston-based professional Portrait, Live Performance and Event photographer with studios located in the historic Hogie Bear Building – Walpole MA. By the Artist, for the Artist. 781-352-4863 http://www.danbuslerphotography.com

The Boston Marathon – It’s So Much More than a Race – Video

For the past few years I’ve had the honor to photograph the Boston Marathon for Travis Roy Foundation. Each year dedicated supporters of the foundation run the 26 mile 385 yard course and I am there to get some images of them as they pass the 25 mile point where Travis waits on the sideline to greet them, cheer them on and inspire them.

This year marked the 120th Boston Marathon.  By the time I started photographing the race, the elite runners had already passed and had won the race hours before. As exciting as seeing those first runners pass is, I find the next wave of runners to be more exciting.

Yes, it’s their costumes or banners or the fact that they are not running to be the fastest that makes them most interesting to me. They run up the sidelines and slap hands with the cheering crowds, some cry when they see family and friends because they are of course so happy to see them, but also because they are proud of their achievement. Often they are running in support of a charity or a cause.

And then there are the iconic runners, they are survivors of the marathon bombing or in wheelchairs or now older, they have run the marathon for many years.

26.2 miles is a test of endurance, a show of support for a charity, a chance to experience a legendary event. It is much more than a race.

I shot hundreds of images of the runners, here are just a few.

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Dan Busler is a professional portrait, performance and event photographer with studios located south of Boston in Walpole MA. You can see more of his work at http://www.danbuslerphotography.com

The First Look – Must it be at the Alter ?

Weddings are all about tradition. The white dress, something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue. And never may the bride and groom see each other before the wedding.

In some cultures it is traditional for the bride and groom to not even meet .. at all before they meet at the alter.

Like this case;  I recently photographed a man from India (here at my studio near Boston MA) who was looking for a wife. The process as he explained it was much like the dating sites we have here in the states. He puts his pictures (and family background, work and financial information) on a site and the Parents (of his potential bride) look through this site for the perfect man for their Daughter to marry.   I’m guessing that the girls are also looking through the site and bookmarking their favorites. Easing the tradition a bit!

I agree that  waiting until that magical moment when the doors to the church open, a beautiful angelic glow washes over the bride as she walks down the aisle .. seeing the eyes of her groom fill with tears of love and joy as he first sees his bride in that wedding dress does produce some pretty darned epic images.

But to be candid,  it is at that moment when for the couple their love and commitment becomes real. And what they’d like to say to each other , at that moment, a milestone in their lives together which will never – ever be experienced again can’t be said because  they are standing in front of family, friends, co-workers, the clergy and some guy they hired to sing an aria.

It’s still epic, don’t get me wrong.

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I always propose an alternative. When the couple meet some where secluded,  15 minutes before the ceremony begins for a “first look” . The bride walks up behind the groom, taps him on the shoulder, he turns and sees his bride for the first time in her dress, her perfect makeup and hair and she sees her groom. They share a moment, a dance, a laugh, a kiss, quiet conversation. All the things that most won’t do standing at the alter in front of the masses. It is epic and it is magical every time.

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Does a first look ruin everything? The beautiful scene as the doors to the church open and that angel walks down the aisle?  The tears of joy in the eyes of the bride, her Dad, their family and friends  and in the groom ? The beautiful moment when the Dad presents his Daughter to the groom ? The moment when the bride and groom hold hands at the alter ? Not as far I’ve seen – I believe that it makes the ceremony better, But that’s just me.

It is key that the first look be known to very few people … it’s just the bride, the groom and their photographer … with a zoom lens. You see, my job is to capture the moments which can never be recreated, never repeated so that my clients can have them to enjoy for generations to come.

Dan Busler is a professional portrait, performance and event photographer with studios located south of Boston in Walpole MA. You can see more of his work at http://www.danbuslerphotography.com

Dragging Your Flash Can Be Enlighting !

The light from your camera’s flash travels a further than you might think. So why is the background pitch black in some of your photos and nicely lit in other photos that you photograph?

Now before we go any further, I am referring to photographing in an environment where the background is not brightly lit by the sun or room lights, but there is still some sort of lighting (sunset, buildings, table lights) . So think of when you photograph indoors at a church or party or when outside at dusk and you want to have some of the room or background behind your subject lit. 

First let’s look at two things:

  • What controls the light on your subject ?
  • What controls the light behind your subject ?

It is after all the same light from your flash – but it’s two different settings in your camera which controls it.

For those of you who use the automatic setting on your camera you are basically letting the camera make all the decisions for you regarding how the subject and background will be lit.

If you want to better control this there are three main setting that you can make

  • Aperture – this is how much the shutter opens
  • Shutter Speed – this is how long the shutter is open
  • ISO  – this is the speed of the film (although in a digital camera it controls how sensitive the camera’s digital sensor is to light.

A light meter is a device you see the  photographer hold in front of the subject and then test the flash. The meter tells the photographer approximately how to set their camera for a correct exposure.

OK, so let’s say that the meter  says that the light on the subject is perfect at ISO 100, 100/sec (shutter speed) and F8.  You set your camera to those settings and take the shot. The subject looks great, but the background is pitch black.

The technique to allow you to extend how much of the background is lit is called “dragging the shutter”.  It simply means setting the shutter speed to a slower speed (try 50/sec) , allowing the shutter to stay open longer and the camera’s sensor sees more of what is behind your subject.

Aperture controls the light on your subject and shutter speed controls the light seen behind the subject. So we didn’t change the aperture, we changed the shutter speed.

But you don’t have a flash meter !  OK, you’ll have to do a bit of trial and error. Give this  a try. Set the aperture to f8 and 100/sec and take a flash picture. If the subject looks great you now know the correct aperture setting.  If the subject is too bright just change the aperture to a larger number .. like F11 and take another picture.

The next step is to set the shutter speed so that the background is lit the way you want it.  If it’s too dark at 100/sec, go to a smaller number like 50/sec More of the background will be lit because the lens is open longer and it’s “seeing” a bit of the ambient light (filtered sunlight, table lights) . To make the background darker do the opposite and set the shutter speed to 200/sec and like magic the background will be darker.

So let’s start you with lighting the subject and a bit of what’s behind them by dragging the shutter .. OK?  You do that and your photography will be take a huge leap. OH YEA!

Here are some examples of dragging the shutter – in every picture the aperture is F5 – which correctly lit the subject (the sign).

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This shot was done at an aperture of F5 and a shutter speed of 200/second – the background is almost black ( and and when I shot this there was filtered sunlight on the background)

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This shot was done at an aperture of F5 and a shutter speed of 100/second – Half the shutter speed of the picture above – The background is a tiny bit brighter , but still too dark

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This shot was done at an aperture of F5 and a shutter speed of 50/second – This is half the shutter speed of the picture above – but remember, the aperture has remained F5. The background is even brighter

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This shot was done at an aperture of F5 and a shutter speed of 25/second – the background is very bright, but because of this slow shutter speed it is best to use a tripod.

 

Dan Busler is a professional portrait, performance and event photographer with studios located south of Boston in Walpole MA. He also offers camera instruction for the new DSLR user. You can see more of his work at http://www.danbuslerphotography.com

 

What story do your pictures tell?

Every vacation, school concert, awards ceremony , religious  event or family get together … we take pictures. Sometimes they’re funny or blurry or maybe they’re incredibly solemn. But everyone of them may one day be priceless.

The subject of these pictures are of course … the people in them. Actually it might be your cat or car or cow .. but they’re the subjects of the picture.

One way to improve these images is to include the environment. You’re at the fair, show the ferris wheel in the background, at the Grand Canyon or in Paris step back / zoom out  and show the place. It adds to the story that your pictures tell. You were there, you experienced it and you captured a picture of how cool it was.

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The engagement session – after the proposal

But then there are times when you can add some interest or value by including a sign or something that helps explain the picture.

Your spouse or child is speaking or performing  at an event – show the crowd, signage, the massive room. If we only get that close up shot we soon forget how epic the night was.

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And then there’s theater – the sets, the signage, the costumes and the performance.

Zooming out allows us to see complimentary staging and props that add to the picture of the actor(s).

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Of course we all zoom in for that portrait, but there is more to the picture that you may also want to capture.

Dan Busler is a professional portrait, performance and event photographer with studios located south of Boston in Walpole MA. You can see more of his work at http://www.danbuslerphotography.com

The Walk Down the Aisle – With Your Dad

If you’re in the planning phase for your Wedding Day you’re thinking about the venue, flowers, photography, music, food, transportation and it’s totally overwhelming isn’t it ?

That day will be one of the biggest milestones of your life when you look back. And it might also be a blur of tightly scheduled “get dressed at this time”, “be here at this time” , “cut the cake now” and then someone says “We’d like to thank you all for coming … let’s have another round of applause for the new Mr & Mrs …” and you look around and wonder what you missed in all the chaos.

After photographing so many wedding days the one thing I see that seems to get lost in the chaos is Father – Daughter time [or just insert the person here who’s been your rock] .  The one time you’re truly alone with your Dad on your Wedding Day is when you’re standing together at the venue waiting for the doors to open and walking down the aisle.

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As the doors open you see the church, all those friends and family, it is a magical moment which unfolds and develops and grows as you walk down the aisle. At first Dad is smiling and being strong. You’re holding on to him. And then you both realize how momentous this walk really is. You hold each other closer; tears of joy and pride and happiness well in your eyes as you walk slowly together. You remember all those days growing up and the times you’ve leaned on him, relied on him. And I’m doing my best to capture these moments which will never be repeated as I tear up.

So as a Dad who has walked his own Daughter down the aisle … and who doesn’t remember a single step of that walk, I’d like to suggest that you also add some time to that crazy busy wedding day planning schedule to hang out alone with your Dad the night before the wedding and not try to squeeze it in that morning .. when bridesmaids and florists and photographers and wedding planners all want your attention.

That way  you can both privately share with each other how happy you are that this day has come and also spend a moment remembering your lives together and not have to do it as you’re walking down the aisle. But bring a whole box of tissues …

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The Groom – smiling at the sight of his Bride

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The hand off – Both Dad and Groom smile as it all becomes real

 

Dan Busler is a professional portrait, performance and event photographer with studios located south of Boston in Walpole MA. You can see more of his work at http://www.danbuslerphotography.com

Always Look Behind You – Especially If You’re a Photographer

Photographers (meaning both professional and well, everyone) typically capture what’s in front of them – portraits, landscapes, wildlife, candids. Because that’s what we wanted to photograph.

But when you think about it, isn’t there also something going on behind you?  Think about it, you’re at the beach with the family and the kids are playing in the water, it’s a great fun family shot, so we grab it. But when you remember to turn around we see so much more – one of the other kids sleeping or reading a book or picking their nose .. or what ever and we never get that shot. … because we just don’t think to turn around.

As an event photographer I’ve learned that there is something interesting happening everywhere. So I am constantly scanning the room for people talking, laughing, dancing romancing, posing, taking selfies.

In this shot I had posed the Bride and three of her friends for a “buddy pose”.  As usual, I had a large group of cell phone photographers behind me!

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After I got my shot I noticed that the Bride and her friends continued to pose for the cell phone bunch, so I ran around and took this shot from behind them.

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This is the shot that became more popular. It’s more unusual, more artistic and more interesting. For me seeing their arms around each other is an expression of their love and friendship.

So just remember, if you only photograph what’s in front of you or what’s normal, you’ll miss everything else that is happening behind you, in the other room, around the corner and over the next hill.

And never, ever, no matter what, put your camera (cell phones included) away until you’re sure that no one is going to do something interesting or you’ll miss an epic shot. (I should know, I’ve missed a million epic shots because I wasn’t ready). In other words .. you must have your camera ready at all times !

 

Dan Busler is a professional portrait, performance and event photographer with studios located south of Boston in Walpole MA. You can see more of his work at http://www.danbuslerphotography.com

 

 

 

 

Boston Charity Beanpot Challenge Photography by Walpole Event Photographer, Dan Busler

Eleven Seconds – the book by Travis Roy about his life and his accident during his first shift of his first ice hockey game for Boston University.

A few years ago I got to meet Travis at one of his speaking engagements that i was photographing for Dell Computer. Since that day as one of Travis Roy Foundation’s volunteers I’ve been lucky enough to photograph many of the events the  foundation holds throughout the year.

The Charity Beanpot Challenge is a hockey game .. well actually two hockey games held each year at BU’s Agganis Arena. The teams are made up of ice hockey players who skate each week and some who may only skate a few times a year. But they are all there to honor and help support the efforts of Travis Roy Foundation. Some went to BU with Travis and some are from the corporate world.

Travis watches from the sideline and the players flock to spend time with him before, during and after the games.

I’ll let this slideshow  video give you a better look at the games and the day.

Dan Busler Photography is located south of Boston in Walpole MA. Specializing in portraits, low light performance photography, headshots and events. Call 781-352-4863 for more information http://www.danbuslerphotography.com