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Friday, July 1, 2011

Introduction to wedding photography by Geoff Thompson
Justin and Zoe

Introduction to wedding photography by Geoff Thompson

My photographic journey had it’s roots in the mentorship of my Dad Glen Thompson who was a keen amateur photographer and home movie enthusiast.

I got hooked on Photography in 1970 while living in  Darwin in the Northern Territoty of Australia. I was using my dad’s old folding Retina 35mm pocket camera that I still have and occasionally put a film through it.

Dad was a Catalina Pilot during the 2nd world war and he took the camera everywhere with him. We have some family heirlooms amongst his collection and another project is to digitize his prints and negs that are still ok from those days.

I did my first wedding for family members in January 1975 and my second one a week later.

I had begun a long love affair with Wedding Photography.

I talked to many professional photographers in those early days and I soon found that many very competent photographers gave weddings a wide berth because of their fears and perceived or real stress to themselves.

Not that they weren’t very good photographers.

I started off with a Pentax Spotmatic 2 film camera(totally manual in spite of it’s name), one standard 50mm F1.8 lens and a totally manual portable Soltron flash that sat on the hot shoe.

I had no wide angle lens and a very flimsy cheap tripod.

I used my Mum’s Pentax Spotmatic 500 as a back up camera.

My rellies were happy with what I did and it moved on from there with soon people at our Church becoming customers and then the wider community.

For a time I worked for a studio as well as having my own customers concurrent.

By no means did I consider myself professional and as far as charging a fee. It was. “The cost of film and processing and a free feed at the reception.”

As I got asked to do more and more I started to think I should set a fee for my troubles and added $50 to the above. Even then I was reluctant to charge that.

The rest is now history. I ended up since that time photographing many weddings in the ensuing years and mainly sticking with Pentax equipment but have also  a canon digital slr these days that I use now as a back up to my Pentax KX and pentax KR.

I used on occasions for the whole or part of the wedding a medium format Pentax 645 system which is a brilliant camera that was way ahead of it’s time. I on a few occasions even used a Pentax 67 medium format camera. My pentax MZs is a great film slr which was the last top of the range film Slr that was made by Pentax.

The new pentax 645d looks a great camera but only on the wish list at the moment. I believe it is compatible with all my manual 645 lenses. 

I still have these and most of the cameras I have purchased over the years and many film cameras I have “inherited”.

I am planning as indicated in an earlier blog going to present through this blog my wedding photography course that I started teaching in 1992. This was after taking a redundancy from my day job at the time.

I am pleased to say that I have over the years  trained about 70 people in wedding photography and “discovered” some very talented photographers who have really made names for themselves.

Many of my course participants I offered to come along on weddings as paid assistants and this really helped them and myself.

I still do the occasional wedding and these days my wife comes as an assistant although she does not like photography in the sense that it is  an obsession with me.
 Something I am not good at keeping in check.

None the less she gets right into it on the day  and is a big help.

So this is a venture that may be helpful to some and is a creative outlet in some ways for myself.
“Nothing ventured nothing gained”

I have made many lasting friendships through my photography.

I will be posting titles taken from my Intro to Wedding Photography Course.
You will need to have a basic understanding of SLR photography to benefit most from this course. If any happen across this course at any time in their web surfing I welcome your questions so they can be addressed.
I f I get run off my feet then it could develop into a forum as such but there are already other very good forums out there.

Remember it’s not just about the camera and photography.
Geoff Thompson  Adelaide South Australia.

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