My 9 Best Time-Sink Photos

The more comfortable you get with your equipment and anticipation of events, the easier aspects of shooting a wedding become. And ease is death for creativity. Because there are things I *know* will work – set up my light here, use this lens, say these things – I know they will produce good results. As you trim away the opportunity for poor results, you also trim away the transcendent accidents. And so you have to play around even more to bring in those challenges – finding new places to shoot, less intuitive ways to use your lighting, more challenging techniques.

All of that is to say, I spend a lot of my days editing weddings and putting together complicated panoramas and flash composites that most people never notice. I do this for myself as a creative person, and I do this for my clients so they have something unique and unexpected, and I do it for the wedding community, which continually pushes everyone to adapt or be made obsolete.

So, in no particular order, where my time has gone, as expressed in 9 photos:
(note: I have put most of these in as *large* photos for retina displays, so they might take a while to load. If you don’t have a fancy display, it is worth clicking to view the full sized images)

Wisconsin Capitol Engagement

best engagement photos Madison WI
This is made of 105 images stitched together. Because of the detail of the architecture and the strong lines, getting this to like up correctly took several attempts and basically stopped my computer from processing anything else for about 4 hours. Time shooting: 10 minutes Time processing; 4 hours

Dino wedding crasher

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I don’t plan to add dinosaurs to any other wedding photos in the near future, but this was a special occasion. After I layered in the dino, I still spent an hour thinking “would a dino get closer? would a dino be smaller?” Time shooting: 10 minutes Time processing: 1 hour

LED light painting

Minneapolis photographer using led light painting at night
This image was created with a pixelstick (a programmable LED light wand). Not only did it take time to set up the image correctly for use in the pixlestick, but I needed 2 other photographers (one to hold a flash to illuminate the model and one to run with the pixelstick to create the skyline backdrop). This was a 5 second exposure, but took hours to create. Time shooting: 2 hours Time processing: 20 minutes. Special Thanks to Katrina (from Studio Laguna) and Jeannine (Jeannine Marie Photography) for their grace, humor, and time.

perfectly looped liquids

animated gif of distilling proces through copper pipes Norseman Distillery Northeast Minneapolis
This is an animated GIF (cinemagraph) of Norseman distilling using dozens of still images animated to create a moving photo. The largest challenge is having the images loop correctly, particularly with 4 streams of moving liquid. Time shooting: 20 minutes Time processing: 2 hours

Night tent

Backyard tent at night for this engagement session. Playing around with long exposures (even with the tripod, I couldn’t eliminate all camera shake from the trees) but ultimately worth it for the stars and warm sky lighting. Time to shoot: 40 minutes Time to process: 20 minutes

Boom island panorama

best minneapolis wedding photographer panorama of bride and groom on bridge
This is 99 images stitched together. Making panoramas with architectural elements is something I regret as soon as I sit down to my computer to correct lines and eliminate bowing, but something I am happy for as soon as it is done. Time shooting: 10 minutes Time processing: 5 hours

Perspective shift

best minneapolis wedding photographer panorama of bride and groom in fall
Another panorama on Boom Island, this time with more foliage. 100+ photos merged together. I took versions of this setting with a wide angle lens, and the depth of field and perspective make it feel common – the bokeh panorama brings out the magic in the light through smaller depth of field.

Tight spaces

best destination wedding photographer madison capitol panorama
This is another perfect use for a panorama – there isn’t enough space between the stairs and the wall where I was standing to use anything but a fish eye for this image, but by stitching 30 + images together, I can bring in the entire staircase. Time to shoot: 10 minutes
Time to process: 2 hours