Archive for the Ramblings Category

Cinematic Stories, the beginning

Posted in Ramblings with tags , , , , , on September 23, 2009 by Ron Risman

Since purchasing the EOS 5D Mark II late last year I have once again become hooked on video. Over the past 12 years or so I have been very much a photographer. First as a hobbyist, then as a reviewer and writer for – a site I launched back in 2004 – and now as a professional event photographer. While I was an amateur videographer back in the mid 80’s, the magic of video subsided a bit as my daughter got older. After all, how many hours of video was I really going to watch in 20 years.

With the introduction of the Canon EOS 5DMKII and its ability to capture high-definition (full HD @ 1080p) video, using it’s huge 35mm sensor, a whole new world of video has once again opened up, giving me the ability to capture video with a very cinematic feel to them.

Without going into details, the larger image sensors found in digital SLR’s, combined with the variety of fast interchangeable lenses, allow video to have a shallow depth-of-field (DOF) normally only found in feature films. Shallow DOF gives the camera operator a means to control the viewers eye, by determining which parts of the scene will be sharp and which will be blurred. This feature, along with the amazing low-light capability of the new DSLR’s, has once again turned me into a videoholic.

I have always used music and photographs to tell stories. Whether it was making a ‘mix’ tape in high school to let my girlfriend know how I felt or putting music with my photographs to help make the viewing experience more impacted and hopefully emotional. Regardless of the medium I have always wanted the viewer to feel something when they view my work. Now, I am taking cinema quality video and providing brides & grooms with more than just video from their wedding day.

Another professional photographer and I have teamed up to created a new company called Cinematic Stories. The company is focused on capturing weddings and engagements and we are off to a great start. Since launching the company a couple of months ago we have been fortunate enough to capture the love stories of some beautiful brides & grooms.


Wedding Photographer – Second Shooting – A Great Way to Learn

Posted in Ramblings with tags , , , on July 17, 2009 by Ron Risman

On July 4th I had the opportunity to photograph a wedding as a second shooter for Sage Photography in Manchester, NH ( For the longest time I have avoided shooting weddings despite it being the perfect opportunity to capture love and romance – two subject matters that I always seek to embrace in my work.

While shooting weddings has always intrigued me, the high liability of this once-in-a-lifetime event has kept me away. There are just way too many things that could go wrong:

  • Missing an important moment
  • Getting lost / arriving late
  • Car problems / missing the event
  • Camera failure
  • Flash failure
  • Battery failure
  • Memory card failure
  • Computer failure – losing Images
  • Being unprepared for poor lighting conditions
  • Not having the best lens for a given situation (See previous)
  • and the list could go on….

While most of the concerns listed above could be wiped away with proper planning and extra gear, Murphy’s Law still exists, and that is what has kept me from shooting weddings and capturing some of the most beautiful and intimate moments two people can share.

I recently decided that if I really wanted to photograph weddings I should do it as a second shooter. This would give me the ability to help capture the romance and moments of this once-in-a-lifetime event while having few of the stresses and worries of the hired photographer. A second shooter is also free to shoot a bit more creatively, as the hired photographer bears the brunt of responsibility for the ‘required’ shots. In the end, everyone benefits from a second shooter. The bride can rest easy that her wedding will be captured without fail and with a creative team that is sure to deliver spectacular imagery; the main photographer can rest a bit easier knowing that they have a backup to their backups; and the second shooter can gain the experience he or she is looking for while making some extra cash to help cover the cost of all the extra gear one should have when shooting weddings.

Even as a second shooter I will always treat each wedding as if I was the hired photographer – feeling the same responsibility for professionalism, artistry, reliability, and preparedness as the main photographer. I also know that it is not my name on the contract so in the end I am there to help and assist the main photographer in any way possible.

In a day where everyone with a nice camera thinks they’ll try their hand at wedding photography, they might consider thinking about their responsibility before thinking about any extra cash they could make. Are they really prepared NOT to screw up the photographs from this special day? Even if they have a backup camera, do they have a full understanding of how their gear works in all lighting situations? do they have the proper cameras and lenses to deal with a no-flash rule of a church of synagogue? what happens if their memory card fails 1/3 of the way into the wedding? Do they have a backup flash and an external battery for the flash to guarantee that it will recycle quick enough to capture those special moments?

These are the things I worry about and I believe that these are the issues anyone should be able to answer before deciding to put a couples wedding at risk for the sake of some extra cash.