Couples in Australia and all over the world engage Ryan to turn their milestone events into epic imagery — and awesome memories. Ryan shoots up to 60 weddings per year and balances the rest of his time perfecting his craft and leading workshops all around the world.
On a recent photo walk along the High Line elevated park in Manhattan, Ryan and Rocco spell out the two things that aspiring wedding and portrait photographers need to pull off the job: a sense of confidence and the ability to use light.
These two are “seduced by light”, as they like to say. And on an early morning, with the Hudson River and iconic New York structures for a backdrop, it’s easy to get inspired by the possibilities of playing with light. Ryan tells his photo walk participants to “light expression first” and “work with shadows” — the high, middle and low ones.
“Shadows can add drama to an image; so learn how to place them,” he says.
Ryan and Rocco have lots of experience dealing with brides and grooms who naturally want a spectacular set of images. “Clients pay us to make their wedding look like a million-dollar event — even if it is far from that,” Ryan says.
To prove his point, the group moves to a crowded, noisy and less-than-ideal construction site. Working with light, shadows and a black jacket, the two demonstrate getting a shot using what’s available to them: poses, hands, expressions, and of course, light and shadows.
“You get one chance as a wedding photographer. So you’ll need to call on all sides of your skills as a fashion, family, portrait, editorial and product photographer,” Ryan says.
“Don’t try to save the world. Break things down into smaller things. Walk around. Change your perspective. Shoot fewer frames. And always, think about the story your trying to tell.”
The photo walk ends and everyone comes away with some great advice to take home and apply to their own work. Before the morning slides into midday, Ryan shares a shot of Rocco and his wife Tanya posed along the High Line. It’s really lovely. And so is the light he found.
To learn more about Ryan Schembri and Rocco Ancora’s workshops, please visit their web site. If you can’t make it to an event, take a look at their Virtual Assistant downloadable movie. It’s a great way to approach a wedding shoot. If you are heading to WPPI in March 2016, be sure to check out their photo walks and classes.