Franck Boutonnet is a France-based photographer and has been producing stunning images for his clients for over 15 years. His knowledge, skills, and work are amazing! There is a lot to learn from his pictures, but also from him. In a short video ShotKit created, Boutonnet gives us six tips to help us improve our craft.
Keep It Simple
Wedding days are more often than not stressful. They happen in changing and challenging lighting situations, many things take place at the same time, and there are many people to interact with… It can very quickly become overwhelming, and it is very easy to lose total control. Losing control makes it hard to create beautiful imagery for your clients, so as photographers we better learn to keep our stress levels in check!
Franck Boutonnet advises starting simple, with the basics first. Not only should you begin with effortless composition and pictures first, but also talk in a very understandable way and move with self-confidence. Show to the bride and groom, as well as to the guests, that you aren't stressed out – or at least try to convince them that you aren't. Keep it simple throughout the whole day.
This will ensure you get all the shots you need to tell the event's story, which in turn will reassure you and liberate your mind. It’s only with a free mind that you can come up with creative ideas, not when stressing out about taking the bride’s sister's portrait that you missed all day long. The necessary images are not the most compelling in terms of photography, but your clients will surely love them. Who doesn’t want a clean and simple shot of his family members?
Use and Improve Your Strength(s)
A strength is a huge advantage. Something that you have and that you can rely on, day in and day out. For some wedding photographers, it might be their social skills, for others their ease at capturing emotion, while for some it might simply be technical knowledge. Identify your strength, see if you have just one or more. From there learn to use it to your advantage, and take full advantage of it to stand out from the photographers' crowd.
Be sure to work on your strengths, and improve them. Don’t be content with just being good at something, strive to be better at it every day.
Bring a Second Shooter
Having a second shooter is usually an interesting debate amongst our community. I must admit that I really love Franck Boutonnet’s approach. He believes in having one assistant with him for every wedding possible, and he treats him as equal. He considers that respect between the two is paramount.
For him, the second shooter should be someone he can rely on, and that can capture the safe shots. This is an amazing way to free up your mind. Bringing an assistant along can significantly help with tip number one: keeping it simple and avoiding stress. Since another person taking the necessary pictures your clients ardently desire, you can concentrate on thinking out of the box and create beautiful, creative work.
Bringing two persons to document a wedding can also be a fantastic way to push your boundaries. Because let’s face it, no one wants his second shooter to have the best shot of the day, right? If you so passionately want to have the finest images of the event, you’ll have to push yourself and think out of the box! So consider your assistant as someone to rely on for safe shots but also for inspiration and motivation.
Play With Your Picture in Post-Production
By now, we all know it: retouching can make or break a picture. Digital files are a raw material that needs refinement. When playing with an image in post-production, try to find the potential each and every of them has to offer. The editing of your images can also be a great way to stand apart from your competition. Use it as a strength.
Attend as Many Workshops as Possible
Buying all the most expensive gear in the world won’t make you the best photographer of all time. At best, you will be able to capture faster, in darker situations, or have a more pleasing bokeh. But the camera and lenses alone won’t create the pictures for you. What will produce the images are your creativity and your knowledge. Both require practice and time, but instead of losing hours on your own, trying to figure everything out, go out and study from the bests.
Many fantastic photographers teach workshops, offer mentoring sessions, or have videos available. Learning from people you admire is a very appealing shortcut, one you shouldn’t hesitate to take as often as possible! You may end up gaining years of experience in a matter of hours. Sure it’s rarely free, but it’s well worth its price in most situations.
I even believe that you shouldn’t limit yourself to genres that you shoot, especially if you are a wedding photographer! A product photographer might give very technical tips in regards to lighting, while a portrait photographer may offer advice to help loosen up your clients. Both of which will vastly improve a wedding photographer skills. Furthermore, who knows, perhaps you will find a new source of interest along the way.
Last but not least: have fun. Tons of it! I couldn’t say it better than Boutonnet himself. Without pleasure, creativity can hardly be found. So keep being serious, because documenting someone’s big day shouldn’t be taken lightly, but find things that inspire you to preserve that fire burning inside of you.