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Archive for the ‘Weddings’ Category

Shooting The 5D Mark III

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Canon EOS 5D Mark III + 50mm f/1.2L | 1/160 sec, f/1.2, ISO 200 

I was honored to have been invited by my cousin and best buddy, Josh Liba, who flew all the way to San Francisco from Medellin Colombia, to help shoot a fantastically beautiful wedding yesterday as his second shooter. I helped cover the event using Canon’s new 5D Mark III, a very impressive camera. The new auto focus system in particular is a significant feature for the series. If you’re a Mark II owner, you’ll really notice the vast improvement in auto-focus performance with Mark III. Vast. Improvement.

Here are just a few frames I grabbed as I went throughout the day, trying to point my camera at whatever Josh wasn’t shooting:

Canon EOS 5D Mark III + 135mm f/2L | 1/2,000 sec, f/2, ISO 200

Canon EOS 5D Mark III + 135mm f/2L | 1/200 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200

Canon EOS 5D Mark III + 135mm f/2L | 1/2,000 sec, f/2, ISO 200

Canon EOS 5D Mark III + 135mm f/2L | 1/600 sec, f/2, ISO 200

Canon EOS 5D Mark III + 35mm f/1.4L | 1/30 sec, f/4, ISO 100

The shot above was taken using  a couple of Canon’s new Speedlite 600 EX-RTs, one on camera, and one behind the couple on the other side of the dance floor providing some rim light on my subjects. The cool thing about this new flash unit is that it has the ability to radio trigger other off-camera units. Very, very cool.

You can see Josh in the background at the edge of the frame to the right taking a shot from the other side. His on-camera flash is actually pointed at that wood-panelled wall right next to him. He fired his camera at the same exact time I did, washing light off that wall and providing my shot with some very welcome background detail. Yeah, uh, we totally meant to do that 😉

Canon EOS 5D Mark III + 50mm f/1.2L | 1/8,000 sec, f/1.2, ISO 100 

Canon EOS 5D Mark III + 50mm f/1.2L | 1/6,400 sec, f/1.2, ISO 100 

Canon EOS 5D Mark III + 50mm f/1.2L | 1/3,200 sec, f/2, ISO 100 

Such unique experience, shooting a wedding alongside your best bud. It was probably the most fun either of us have had on a gig.

Written by Jonathan

May 20, 2012 at 9:57 pm

Shannon and Enrique: A Preview

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Shannon and Enrique are two of the nicest people I’ve ever met. I’ve actually known the bride since kindergarden, and we’ve gone to the same schools all the way through 12th grade! Talk about going WAY back.  It was an honor to photograph the wedding of these two beautiful people yesterday. Here’s a little preview:

(the following spread is very large and my not load on portable devices)

The entire event was refreshingly short, simple, and laid back. Wonderfully so, in fact. This was easily one of the best weddings I’ve ever been to. I especially loved grabbing shots of people crowding around a little make-shift photo booth the bride and groom set up:

They told us to give it a try to…how could we not? =)

Congrats you two! May you have a wonderful, happy life together. And now to process the rest of the day’s images o_O

See this preview along with a few more images in high-resolution on my website’s gallery page:

Written by Jonathan

August 22, 2011 at 6:58 am

Small Flashes Love Dreary Weather

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The wedding I shot this past weekend was a wild ride. Some unexpected circumstances arose that forced us to cancel our original plans for some on-location formals between the ceremony and reception. With the reception rapidly approaching, and no time to travel anywhere beyond a couple of minutes from the reception hall for some portraits, we scrambled to find a place that would work.

Fortunately, my wonderful wife located a small community park tucked away in a neighborhood a few blocks from the reception hall. We all headed there, not knowing what to expect. Gotta be ready for anything in this business!

As it turns out, the park didn’t look very promising, at least at first. As I entered, I was greeted by some rusted old fences, areas under construction, and a tattered restroom hut. But as I pushed a little further, I found a long stretch of grass with some nice trees far in the distance.  Good spot to hunker down and quickly work through the formals. Moving fast was key. The entire family was there along with the bridal party, and it was cold….and the reception was to start in like 20 minutes. Yikes!

The weather was bad at the park. The late afternoon was foggy, dark, cold, and the lighting was completely flat. Some in the group were concerned about how the scene would impact the pictures.  Indeed, it was easy to look down range at this field and just see a dark, dreary scene. As I pulled my SB units out of my bag, however, I saw an outdoor studio.

Hot shoe flashes thrive in dark, shaded areas.  I was able to shoot the top two images wide open on my 70-200 2.8, and the resulting shutter speed pushed the remote SB-900 flash that I was using as my main light into hi-speed sync. This dramatically cuts the unit’s power, which was already being cut by running the flash through an umbrella. But since I didn’t have a strong amount of ambient to compete with, the strobe didn’t struggle to give me adequate output. Sweet!

Three lights were in play for most of the shots: An on camera SB-900, used as a commander for two remote units and for on-camera fill, set to TTL. The main light is a single SB-900 through a 42″ translucent umbrella, also set to TTL. A third SB-900 is zoomed to 200mm and firing at my subjects from behind for some rim lighting, set to a different CLS group (Nikon speak, sorry if some of these acronyms are not making sense), firing manual at…hmm…I think it was 1/8th power or so. All of this lighting came together to give my final series of images the clarity, punch, and dimension that the scene wasn’t giving me on its own.

It was  all over in a flash (har-har), and it would have been great to work the location even more than we did, but we still came away with some great images for the family…images that I’ll be really busy processing over the next few weeks.

Congratulations to the beautiful newly weds, Michelle and Rodney!

See these images in high-resolution

Nikon D700 | Nikkor AFS 70-200mm f/2.8 VR II

Custom Photo Book: Sweet!

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I received two copies of a custom, hard-cover book that I put together for a couple whose wedding I recently shot. I’m pretty pleased with the presentation! I chose the boutique packaging you see above, offered by my lab, to add a little class to the order. Very cool.

This is an 11″x8.5″ book. The client chose the image above as the front cover.

The pages are made of 100# press paper. They’re plenty thick, giving the entire photo book a very high quality feel.

Photo paper obviously gives you the best possible print quality, but clients on a budget appreciate this highly affordable alternative to a traditional album.

The back cover, like the front, can be plain, or ordered with an image covering the entire surface. Sweet!

For more information on the products and services I provide, please visit

Images: Nikon D700 | 24mm f/1.4G

Written by Jonathan

January 16, 2011 at 9:19 pm

Wedding: Dennis and Anna

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I’m posting this from my seat on a flight from New York back to San Francisco right now. In-flight wifi is a beautiful thing! It was a short, crazy, whirlwind of a trip, and the first order of business was to head from the big city to Patterson, New York to photograph the wedding of a very good friend of mine and his new bride.

I haven’t started processing these photos just yet, but I wanted to post a few that I really liked from that day since I pretty much have 5 hours to kill here on the plane. Here goes!

Met with Dennis (top) and his lovely bride Anna in a small country home in upstate NY this past Saturday. The quiet, humble couple preferred to keep the “getting ready” shots to a bare minimum, so we instead focused on covering other moments in the house as they happened.

Just a quick plug for my second shooter. I worked this wedding with my cousin and best buddy, Josh Libatique. He’s a portrait and wedding photographer from New York, and his experience and skills were very welcome that day. Here he is, getting ready to go at the bride’s house:

Josh and I grew up together, and have always shared the same hobbies and interests, so go figure here. We had a blast shooting the wedding as a team!

Here’s Anna meeting Dennis for the first time in her wedding dress. Such a happy looking couple!

Anna’s parents are very sweet people. Took this shot as the couple exited the house on their way to take a few images before the early morning ceremony got started. There was so much emotion on the parents’ faces as we departed.

We only had around 20 minutes or so to get some formals of the couple at a nearby park, but I was able to get some fun images anyway:

Rush rush rush! After a very brief shoot in the park, off to the ceremony (which was also very brief), then the reception at a small but pretty italian restaurant. (Haven’t processed any of the ceremony images yet)

The reception was brief but fun. Great tasting food, and friends I haven’t seen in forever. It was like a big happy reunion!

It was never difficult getting an amazing smile from the bride!

Of course, watching image slideshows of the couple when they were dating always makes for fun expressions from the observers:

The bride and groom did a meet and greet with every table, of course:

Did the whole take-a-picture-of-each-table thing, but of course I’m not posting all of them! Dennis and Anna also paid a visit to our table:

Though our work ethic reflected otherwise, we were actually guests of the bride and groom, not just photographers. Since Dennis is such a close friend to me, my wife, and Josh, we shot the wedding as our gift to him. Here we are at the “photographer’s table,” Josh’s parents seated to the left, and mine to the right. Handed my main camera to Josh to get this one. Half the time, the table had more camera gear on it than food and decor. =)

Handed off my second body to Josh while I took the table meet-and-greet photos. Apparently he took a moment to catch me and Bridget in action!

Then, the dancing started:

Got some really fun images of friends really getting into it!

At the very end of the wedding, a bunch of us old friends got together for a final group shot. We’ve all been really close since childhood, and [almost] all of us are married now! I set up the shot and handed the camera to my uncle, whose sense of humor easily got us into a goofy mood for the shot.  =)

That’s all I got for now! It’s going to be a very busy week as I process the gazillions of other images I took from the day. Just wanted to get a few highlights out there.

Also, on my last post, I wrote about my first impressions of the new Nikkor 24-120 f/4 VR lens I just acquired. I used it extensively for this wedding as well as in the streets of New York in the days that followed, and I continue to be impressed by it. It certainly made an excellent wedding lens! Sharp and quick focusing. Love it.

Camera Specs:

Nikon D700, Nikon D300s // Nikkor 16mm f/2.8 FE // Nikkor 16-35mm f/4 VR // Nikkor 24-120 f/4 VR
Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 VR // Nikkor 50mm f/1.4G // Lots of other stuff

Jonathan Fleming Photography

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One camera and one 50mm lens is all I had this past weekend. I always bring something that takes pictures with me at all times, because hey, you never know.  Drove three hours out of town on Saturday to attend the wedding of a young couple. Both the bride and groom are beautiful people, inside and out.

The bride is a very close friend of Bridget that she hasn’t seen in years. Many in attendance were old friends that the wife used to know back in her years of living in LA, so this wedding was a really big reunion for her. It’s actually been a while since I’ve been to a wedding that’s so full of energy and excitement. The event helped me reflect an awful lot about how special my own wife is to me. So I followed her around and started taking pictures of her instead of the bride and groom. Hey, wasn’t my gig!

The reception was held on a farm. Literally, a farm. Driving out to the location, I thought we’d gotten lost. But in amongst the miles of farmland was a small, magical place set up for a perfect wedding reception. Stole the wife away during sunset and we walked together down a lonely road, surrounded by acres of farmland in every direction.

Another thing I that weighed on my mind after the wedding… It’s been a long time coming for me, but for a photographer, it’s inevitable that at some point people who know you start asking if they can make use of your skills.  A portrait session, class photos, a wedding etc. I often get asked “do you shoot weddings? Can you shoot some photos of my toddler?”


Why not? Time for this camera here to start paying for itself, right? So, with the goal of working with others to capture life’s memories, I’ve set up a new photography page on Facebook. Check it out! And don’t forget to click “like.” =)

I’ve also made updates to my website at to include a pricing and contact page. A typical photo session with me will set you back $129. What?! You can’t afford NOT to hire me!


Images: Nikon D300s + Nikkor AFS 50mm f/1.4G

Written by Jonathan

September 7, 2010 at 6:34 pm

Wedding = Workout

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This past week has been crazy. No time for blogging, flickr, or photography. On Saturday, though, I photographed a wedding for the first time. A long time friend of the family was getting married, and I agreed to shoot the event from start to finish as a gift to the bride and groom. Yep, for free. Ouch!

The Groom

Nikon D300s + Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 VC at 22mm f/5.6, ISO400 1/30 Second

I suppose it’s inevitable that if people know you have a pretty nice camera, and they see that you love photography, that eventually a friend with a limited budget will ask you to take photos of their wedding. I’ve had a keen interest in land/city scape photography as of late, so the thought of portrait/event photography had me a little nervous. After all, these are two completely different crafts. A landscape stays put while I fire away. It doesn’t have anywhere to go or any one to see. If I mess up during one session, it’s ok, I can come back tomorrow. Not so at a wedding. You get one chance to capture key moments, and that’s it!

That’s why the fact that I was doing this pro bono did not mean I didn’t feel any pressure. For example, the photographer who covered my wedding missed the kiss. Yes, our very first kiss as a married couple only exists in our memories, because apparently our photographer was doing something more important at the time (sleeping?). We were pretty upset! So I really wanted to stay on top of the ceremony, because these memories needed to be recorded.

I tried to arrange get to the event super early to scout the location out and take some test shots, but it didn’t work out that way, unfortunately. The place wasn’t open until within an hour before the start of the wedding, and I soon as I arrived, I needed to get shots of the groom and best man. This is pretty much how the entire day went: very hectic, fast paced, and seat-of-the-pants photography. I loved it and hated it all at the same time!

I didn’t get a lot of help from the actual location of the wedding either. The interior was lit solely by low hanging, fluorescent bulbs. The walls were pinkish-purple and the carpet was green. Yikes! Instead of trying to overpower the available lighting, I tried to work with it. During the ceremony I used a single, camera mounted SB-800 flash with a fluorescent (green) color correction gel taped on. I oriented the head straight up and attached a Lumiquest 80/20 light modifier to the speedlight. It really helped to stop the action while sending enough light forward to fill in the shadows cast by the overhead lighting.

After the ceremony ended, I spent about 5 minutes following the bride and groom around and snapping photos of guests greeting the new couple. Then came the worse part of all: Photos of the family. Multiple competing “photographers” surrounded me, often bumping right into me. I had to work fast and get it right quick. I survived to say the least. I’m just glad they came out ok! I’m thinking that I’ll be able to direct things more smoothly after I get a few more weddings under my belt.


Nikon D300s + Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 VC

The reception was nearly 50 miles from the wedding ceremony location, in some remote spot that was very difficult to find. My GPS took me to the wrong spot, so we consulted the directions that came with the invitations, which were wrong as well! We ended up on location after the bride and groom, who wanted to take more photos before eating dinner. This meant I had to jump right out of the car and get to work without having a chance to really think things through. Oh well!



Nikon D300s + Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 VC

The longer I do this, the more I’m going to work with posing. This time around, I sort of let the couple do their thing. While I intend to study traditional posing technique more, I did like the natural and comfortable look to the photos that came from just letting the two pose themselves, so I definitely feel there should be a balance in how much the photographer intervenes in this respect. Though I had a ton of different ideas in my head for portraits of the bride and groom, they seemed a little more interested in relaxing at the reception, so I literally had less than 5 minutes to produce a few formal portraits at the reception hall. Fortunately, at this point of the day, I was used to fast pace!

The reception hall interior was an interesting place to shoot. The tungsten lighting inside was so warm that I had trouble making a full color correction, even with an orange gel over my flash. But I ended up liking the warmth of the room. Even my own two eyes perceived the warmth of the ambient light, so no sense cooling it down! Below is the best man with his wife. Aren’t they photogenic!? They look like a pair of movie stars:


The craziness died down as dinner began. I just relaxed, shooting small details in the reception hall and playing with the exposure I’d need for the rest of the indoor events. While the family insisted that I eat, my mind was too busy and anxious, so I chomped down on a clif bar and kept moving. Soon after, the dancing got started:

First Dance BW

Nikon D300s + Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 VC

Dance floor

Nikon D300s + Tokina 11-16 f/2.8, SB-900 Camera left, SB-800 Camera right triggered via CLS

I have several images of the bride and groom dancing that I’m pretty happy with, but of course, I can’t post all of my favorites here.

The image of the entire interior from above was fun to capture. The scene is much darker than is shown in the photo, so to brighten things up a bit at cast some cool shadows, I bounced light off the wall on each side of the room using my two strobes.

One of the things requested of me was a shot of the bride and groom at each table. I wasn’t particularly looking forward to these shots. Group photos are tough enough, but throw in some really low interior lighting and now you’re sweating bullets. I think I was able to manage OK with these, though, using one flash as a main light and the other dialed down for fill:

The Group

Nikon D300s + Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 VC

In the end, the groom primarily requested and expected coverage of the ceremony and maybe a couple of snaps of the reception. But for some reason, I kept shooting till the end of the event. I was exhausted afterward, but I think it was worth my time. The experience was a great way to break into the crazy business of wedding photography, and give my current skill set a real run for its money. I learned a thing or two by throwing myself into it I think, and can definitely see how I can make refinements. Who knows, maybe I’ll say yes to the next gig too. =)


Nikon D300s + Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 VC

A few more notes:

My workhorse glass for this wedding was my Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 VC, paired with my Nikon D300s, though I brought most of the lenses I own to the event. The VC kept the background steady at slow sync speeds down to around 1/15th second, especially during the reception, were I relied on rear curtain to burn in ambient light into the exposure. The Tamron had no problems focusing quickly and accurately, and especially at f/5.6, the images were tack sharp. I found the focal range to be extremely flexible for wedding coverage as well.

In all, I fired off about 800 frames during the relatively short event, and it probably would have been a lot more if I was with the bride before the wedding (I didn’t even get introduced to her until AFTER the ceremony).

Ok, this post is way too long….I’ll talk about other aspects of the wedding in later entries. Special thanks to Bridget for being my brave and tireless assistant throughout the 7-8 hours we worked!

Congratulations to the new couple!

New Couple

Nikon D300 + Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 VC

Written by Jonathan

November 3, 2009 at 4:30 am