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Monday, November 28, 2011


This was the scene I saw from the above location

Over the years I have used a small stepladder and sometimes one a little bigger for use in weddings and other photography.

The ladders are lightweight aluminium ones.

They have uses in weddings for the following situations.

1. You need a bit of a higher viewpoint to capture a large group shot.

2. You want a different and higher view point particularly with taller couples.
 In a recent wedding, some of which results I hope to post up soon, there was a   
     lake and to shoot at ground level I would have had little of the lake in the   
     background.(see post on 9/12/11 re Barossa Valley Wedding)
By using my small stepladder I was able to create beautiful couple
     and group shots with water a feature of the background.

The couple are still on their honeymoon so I will not post any photos without them seeing them first.

3. You may be doing photos of sportsman best and fairest winners at your local sports ground.
In the background you may have ugly fencing or be surrounded by houses and buildings.
By climbing your ladder, and having your subject somewhere on the grassy playing field,  you can create a background of just grass all around your subject.

Similarly in weddings I always look for balconies in Churches to give a higher viewpoint.
I never use a ladder in a church and only use the balcony for part of the shoot.

If you don't have a ladder a chair can suffice but you will feel much more stable on a ladder.

The downside is you can look like a goose on your ladder but as far as I am concerned I don't care if it gets me the shot.
It is certainly a good way of getting attention when doing your large group shot.
Be careful on your ladder.

I often get my assistant(my wife) to hold the ladder if the ground is a little soft or uneven.

Of course now with cameras such as the Canon600D you have a flip out swivelling screen which can now be held above your head to give you some elevation for your shots.

I was once setting up a large group shot at the front of the Church and my best vantage point was underneath a gum tree.
I was using my taller stepladder.

In my eagerness to get the shot after setting it up, I scampered up the ladder and banged my head on a lower branch.

I made light of it and pretended to the group I did that to make them laugh.

However I had a bleeding head and a headache the rest of the afternoon after the bleeding stopped.
Fortunately I was not that injured that I couldn't carry on.
I usually tell  the couple at the preliminary planning meeting that I might bring a ladder so that they know what to expect.

NB. My photography career may never have started in my eagerness to get a shot.
On holiday in Tasmania in 1973 with my wife and our friends Anne and Dave, I stood on a log above a 150 foot drop to get a good shot.
Try standing still with your eyes shut and you will see how quickly you can lose your sense of balance.
When you hold a camera to your eye you are almost in effect doing the same thing.
I lost balance, the log was on an elevated car park with a view and put there as a barrier for cars.
There was a space of about 15inches on the drop side of the log.
I lost balance, and pitched forward towards the drop.
The Log-  Drop is on the other side

My foot landed just on the edge of the drop and my momentum would have carried me over but my wife who had already told me off for getting on the log in the first place managed to grab hold of my camera strap and check my fall.
So be careful.
(Footnote November 2019. This warning should truly be heeded in light of all the deaths of people taking selfies and falling to their death after losing balance.)
Without using the ladder I would not be able to show the water in the background.
Best and Fairest Pic giving plain green background by using stepladder
This is the only time I used a step ladder in the Church

I take no responsibility for anyone standing on a chair or ladder to get a photograph injuring themselves.
How to stand out in a crowd.

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