Archive for January, 2009


Sunday, January 18th, 2009

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….The mother and bride laughed and cried tears of joy when they saw the photos I took. They kept saying, “When did you take this photo”?….

If and when a personal relationship finds it’s way to a marriage proposal more often than not it leads to an unrepeatable, unrehearsed special event called a wedding.

As a producer, by the time I became actively involved in wedding photography I already had some experience in the wedding industry as a freelance DJ. So I basically knew how a good portion of the wedding day was supposed to “go”.

I owned some medium format and 35 m/m camera gear that my girlfriend at the time borrowed in order to learn how to photograph weddings. I found someone to teach her and I went along with her to the classes. That’s essentially how I got involved with weddings as a photographer.

And when my girlfriend moved on in life I was left with great photography gear and some further specialized production knowledge very relevant to the wedding industry.

Meanwhile, one day soon after I received a phone call from a mother of a bride who knew me personally and who’s wedding photographer had cancelled on her daughter’s wedding. The wedding was only 6 weeks away and my time was available for that day.

I met with the bride and her mother and leveled with them, that even though I had some experience in the industry if they hired me to “shoot” their wedding it would be the first time I shot an entire wedding on my own.

The bride and her mom appreciated my candor and decided to take a chance on me and so they hired me.

My approach was this: I combined the bride’s input about her taste and the specific images she needed shot with my own sense of production value then shot the wedding as I saw it. I took standard issue and portrait photos (How to do that is what I learned at wedding photo school) as well as documenting the day as it actually occurred, sometimes called photojournalism.

Here was the outcome of the days efforts: The mother and bride laughed and cried tears of joy when they saw the photos I took. They kept saying, “When did you take this photo”? In short, my clients were extremely happy. What else happened?

- The church lady at the Catholic church said, “You are by far the fastest photographer I ever saw the way you coordinated all the group shots at the alter in 15 minutes”. I remember this because she also asked for a “handful of my business cards”.

Her comment about coordinating the group photos stuck with me and I found out as time went on that most wedding photographers sorely lack basic everyday production skills, skills that I find are reasonably easy to learn.

- At the reception held at a very exclusive private Men’s club, the banquet director also took a few cards and remarked, “I have a list of photographers that I don’t refer much longer than the list I do. I like how you try not to be noticed by the guests”. (When he found out it was my first wedding he nearly did a spit take in his ginger ale.)

- Two couples who were guests at the wedding and engaged to be married also asked for my card.

Thus, a new specialikzed aspect of my production abilities was born. What the people such as the church lady and the banquet director were responding to when they took my card even though they had not yet seen a single photo I took is, the way they saw me approach my responsibility toward the bride’s wedding day that went far beyond merely taking a photo…..

The key to success was in the details I gleaned from the bride about her day along with understanding basic “Production Value” of an unrehearsed, unrepeatable special event. I simply used these elements as my basis to cover the wedding day.

All of this is to say that a wedding photographer needs to possess not only the artistic and technical capacity to create images, but an ability to see how the people of the day act and react to the event as it unfolds. I captured the essence of that first wedding day and every wedding I shot there after.

If you have questions about the wedding industry or elements of your special day feel free to contact me I am the only one who sees that mail.

© Copyright Gary James 2009 all rights reserved.


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Friday, January 16th, 2009

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….if Obama can not jump start the debt machine mighty fast, his positive relationships with our culture will be fraught with problems, and because he is black, he is the Prime target to eventually be referred to as, “The Sub Prime President”…..

Since the election of 2008 the sheer type and intensity of issues that face our world leaders and population has rekindled my interest in searching for the bottom line or perhaps the “big picture” of what’s really going on for the sake of greed.

This time around my research has uncovered the true issue, the ground zero of why the international economy of which America is a big part crashed and burned. Here’s the scoop.

Our current demise actually began in the 1940’s when the bankers got together with a number of real estate people and literally, physically, built a wall that separated the City of Detroit, Michigan into two areas.

One area that was loan worthy to buy or build in (called prime areas) and those that were not loan worthy (called sub prime).

The epitome of what was called “redlining”, this maneuver (which is no longer legal to do) that began in Detroit quickly spread throughout the United States. Whereby, people and property who qualified for prime lending were treated to much better terms than property or people who were in the sub prime category.

Skip ahead….skip ahead…..skip ahead…..some 60 years later the culmination of this type of lending came when the concept was combined with two other concepts.

1) Bundling and selling sub prime mortgages as investments themselves on the open market and chiefly to hedge funds (people with plenty of money). And since it did not take much to rewrite the credit worthiness of the mortgages within the bundles as AAA grade, a great many bundles were sold to foreign investors who accepted the “safeness” of these investments at face value.

2) The variable rate mortgage. ARMs as they are called became the drill that burst the ever expanding “loan/investment bubble”.

With this over all trilogy of financial terror in play is it any wonder that it took only about 6 years to evaporate the whole bloody thing? I have read and listened to a huge pile of crap about mitigating circumstances that helped account for the financial mess we’re in but the above information sums up what really happened.

Meanwhile, Poor Ole President Obama can do nothing about it BECAUSE he is still stuck with an economy that can ONLY grow through debt expansion. In other words, we have to start all over again using the same principles and communication issues that got us into this mess in the first place. Hopefully this time it will be a bit more difficult for the banker’s et al, to engage the greed factor.

I predict that if Obama can not jump start the debt machine mighty fast, his positive relationships with our culture will be fraught with problems, and because he is black, he is the Prime target to eventually be referred to as, “The Sub Prime President”. I hated sharing this with you but that’s the way I genuinely see it. And since I am very rarely ever wrong about such things, I ask, who wants odds?

Stay tuned to this blog. I will eventually share with you what YOU can do in your everyday lives to come out of this financial crap pile “smelling like a rose” as it were.

BTW, in blogs like this I do not list any of my sources because most of them want to remain anonymous.

© Copyright Gary James 2009 all rights reserved.



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