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Thread: Speaking of Jeff Ascough

  1. #1
    Shelby Lewis
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    Speaking of Jeff Ascough

    One of my all-time favorite wedding photographers... Marc mentioned him and I went to check out his blog for the first time in a while. There it noted he's doing another interview series at photo.net. He did one of these a few years back where people are allowed to post questions and he answers frankly and honestly.

    A great read: http://photo.net/wedding-photography-forum/00Tz2P

    If I may be so bold as to post my favorite part of the interview... and this coming from someone who struggles with keeping shots that aren't super crisp... When asked about getting crisp/sharp shots at slower shutter speeds in low light, his reply:

    Ben - My following comments are a generalisation, and not directed at you personally. This is one of my pet rants, so be warned!!
    I'm afraid one of the problems with digital photography is that people have become so anal about sharpness, to the point of it dominating everything else. Seeing an image at 100% on a 30" monitor is not living in the real world. The amount of wasted hours of rubbish spoken about sharpness across the internet is bizarre. Maybe if people got out from behind their keyboards, and took pictures instead of whining about them, they would understand that sharpness is not just about a lens.
    Admittedly, the current crop of sensors have immense resolving power, which will show up flaws in lens design especially at wide apertures. However, in the real world of prints and correct viewing distances, I doubt if anyone would argue that today's cameras and lenses are just incredible tools, capable of producing amazing results.
    Compare what we use now to what Cartier-Bresson had throughout his career. Or Capa, Winogrand, Brassai, Eve Arnold etc. We have never had it so good, and yet all we seem to do is moan about sharpness. Why?
    I was at a Don McCullin exhibition yesterday with my good friend George Weir. A lot of DM's images were 'soft' compared to what we try and strive for now. Did this softness make any difference to the power of the image? Not at all. Look at Capa's work; camera shake, out of focus images etc. and yet he is one if the most important war photographers of the 20th century. A lot of Cartier-Bresson's work is 'soft' but again who cares?? I don't. It's irrelevent unless you are simply looking at sharpness as a way of adding perceived visual value to your images. If as a wedding photographer you must have critical sharpness, and critical exposure, and critical flash exposure, etc then maybe you are missing the point of photography? Maybe you are missing the whole concept of what makes a picture? In my mind all that stuff simply distracts from finding images.
    In the real world of prints, an image that looked soft on a screen at 100% will look beautifully crisp and sharp at 10x7, so what is the issue?
    food for thought...

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    Re: Speaking of Jeff Ascough

    Thanks Shelby, I've always been a big fan of his. The sharpness issue has always been something I struggled with, and I think all photographers struggle with, but the rest of the world just doesn't care that much.

    One of my personal favorite images was absolutely shredded during a peer portfolio review by people that I generally respected because the focus was a little off. I loved it because the timing was perfect to the point that no one will ever re-create it. Everyone but photographers love it, it sold a bunch, I'm happy.

    Another image was responsible for teaching me a very important lesson, maybe two:
    1) Never show a client a proof of an image you wouldn't want them to run at 20x30.
    2) Sharpness is highly overrated.
    Perhaps I should explain. I did a shoot for a large home builder that included the ground breaking of a new housing development. After we discussed turn around time and anticipated usage I decided my 10D was the right tool for the job. At the end of the shoot, I grabbed a couple posterity landscape shots of the area before houses, all hand held about f4, 1/125, 200 mm. I thought they were cute and one showed a hawk in a tree in a wetland area (aka a black dot on top of a stick), so I tossed them on the contact sheet. The client ordered 20x30 prints of all the landscape shots to frame for client areas of their lobbies. I was horrified. I couldn't really say no since I put them in with the proofs. I tried to talk them down on size but they wouldn't have. Prints delivered, client ecstatic.
    Last edited by Bill_Green; 24th July 2009 at 20:42.

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    Senior Member douglasf13's Avatar
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    Re: Speaking of Jeff Ascough

    Really good points. I'm not a wedding photographer, but I think that Jeff's blog may be partionally responsible for me only shooting a 50mm for the last month or so.

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    Re: Speaking of Jeff Ascough

    Shelby, many thanks for pointing to this Q&A. Although I have no desire to photograph weddings (in fact, the very idea terrifies me) Jeff Ascough's insights -- technical, aesthetic, and business-related -- are applicable to many different forms of photography. I learned a great deal.

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    Re: Speaking of Jeff Ascough

    That was actually directed at me back in my photo.net days! Not a huge fan of Jeff. He's very popular but his work isn't actually that spectacular. I'd rate Marc's wedding photography higher to be honest. His attitude may work for a photographer who doesn't do family pics and has to be forced to do any kind of formal photos or portraits (like him in other words). I agree with him relative to 'capturing the moment' photography though I still think that a professional photographer should strive towards perfection at the very least. However as far as formals, portraits and family groups he is very wrong. If it isn't sharp, lit properly and well composed then the photographer has no right calling themselves pro.

    In these days when every wedding forum is awash with complaints about the huge influx of shoot and burn craigslist type $500 weddings, if a photographer can only capture a moment without doing it professionally and with quality, well there are many many out there who can also do it with their DRebel and cheaper and they will sink. What I see in the industry is that huge advances are being made by those working to stay at the top of the business - in lighting. The difference between some of the lighting been produced by some young photographers and the wannabees is incredible. Take a look over at the FM forums in the wedding section to see what I mean.

    Picture from this season, bride walking away from the chupa, not actually hugely sharp (focus is on the wrong eye @f1.8) but I couldn't care less, it's good enough not to make a difference. I wouldn't say that though about a portrait or family group though, if it wasn't sharp or in focus it's not good enough to show to the client because it means sloppy technique perhaps to be showcased to the world in a 20X30" for decades to come...

    Last edited by Ben Rubinstein; 28th July 2009 at 03:46.
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    Senior Member edwardkaraa's Avatar
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    Re: Speaking of Jeff Ascough

    Well, capturing the moment is what photography is all about, but I personally would rather have a sharp "moment"

    Content vs. technique is a long dated debate, but one should strive for both imho.
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    Re: Speaking of Jeff Ascough

    HI Shelby
    Thanks for that. Clearly we would all like all our pictures to be perfectly exposed, sharp and in focus (at least when we shoot them). I have a mantra:

    If the picture is interesting, nobody notices the technicalities.
    If the picture is uninteresting, nobody notices it at all.


    If the choice is between catching the moment and getting it sharp; you'd better grab the shot.

    Just this guy you know

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    Re: Speaking of Jeff Ascough

    I think we all gravitate to styles and approaches that come close to our own vision. Not everyone has the same vision nor wants the same approach, so opinions will be widely diverse ... as it should be.

    I have know of, and known Jeff for many years now and have taken one of his seminars. Regardless of whether the style or approach is one you favor, I can attest to the integrity and consistency of Jeff's approach to wedding photography ... IMO.

    One thing that he touches upon, that is also a pet peeve of mine in general, is the growing demand for copious quantities of wedding images. If anything drives me away from shooting weddings it will be this exponentially growing trend. Based on client expectations the post processing labor pains are getting to be excruciating ... and it is inevitable that the quality will suffer. It is mind boggling to me that some wedding shooters produce in excess of 3000 shots, of which they deliver 2000. What on earth would someone do with 2000 photographs? IMO, it has to be overwhelming ... but perhaps just another example of the Mc Donald's type consumer mentality ... "A Billion Served" ... and "Super Size Me."

    I also tend to agree that content is the key element and absolute technical perfection need not be the criteria for selection of an image. However, there is a line between acceptable or not. We are the ones that have to determine where that line is based on actual use.

    Forums like this sometimes lean toward technical perfection and gear refinements with less focus on content. Yet, the opposite is true for the end user in the case of wedding work. A poignant moment of a bride hugging her 90 year old great Grandmother may hold more sway than one perfect but less meaningful image.

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    Re: Speaking of Jeff Ascough

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    I also tend to agree that content is the key element and absolute technical perfection need not be the criteria for selection of an image. However, there is a line between acceptable or not. We are the ones that have to determine where that line is based on actual use.

    Forums like this sometimes lean toward technical perfection and gear refinements with less focus on content. Yet, the opposite is true for the end user in the case of wedding work. A poignant moment of a bride hugging her 90 year old great Grandmother may hold more sway than one perfect but less meaningful image.
    HI Marc
    I hope you know me well enough to understand that the reason for the mantra is an attempt to force myself to understand 'what it's for'.
    I'm very keen on getting things right technically, but after years of presenting people with pictures I've realised that the ones they really like have little to do with the quality of the image technically.

    I feel quite schizophrenic about photography generally, there is the techie who's interested in the kit and the techniques and the process. Then there's the 'artist'. They don't have much in common

    Just this guy you know

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    Senior Member douglasf13's Avatar
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    Re: Speaking of Jeff Ascough

    I hear you, Marc. I was going through my friend's wedding proofs the other day, and I though that 550 was an outrageous amount, honestly.

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    Re: Speaking of Jeff Ascough

    Was going through a wedding shot by a photographer here in Jerusalem. Me and another wedding shooter were going through the images. Not bad set, very well lit but just too many. It was 660 images over 6 hours and we both agreed that the proofs would be so much more powerful if he had cut them down at least by half. I feel that too many proofs dilutes your work. That said I did a 500 proof wedding recently, I hope you'll forgive me seeing as it was over 16 hours (no exaggeration) of wedding photography! Chassidic weddings finish at approximately 3-4am and this one started at midday! When you have that much ceremony you can't cut out that much before the only thing left is 'must have's' and non of your artisitic vision is left.



    To be honest I wasn't allowed to photograph the Chupa after this photo, family custom not to allow intrusion during the actual Chupa. Not that I minded, nastiest lowdown backlighting I've ever seen!
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  12. #12
    Shelby Lewis
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    Re: Speaking of Jeff Ascough

    Quote Originally Posted by Ben Rubinstein View Post
    Not a huge fan of Jeff. He's very popular but his work isn't actually that spectacular.
    wow, Ben... really surprised at this. Jeff (again IMO) provides some of the most thoughtful and artistically sensitive wedding work on the planet. Technically, he's amazingly consistent as well.

    Again IMO.

    All that aside, I work with a studio that consistently shoots in excess of 3000 images on an 8 hour day... RAW. That's BEFORE my images are added to the mix. I usually shoot between 800 and 1200, which already feels like too many anyway. Photography has definitely become a commodity, and it's totally why I've left shooting weddings for myself. I KNOW I could deliver less than 300 shots and have complete and sensitive coverage... but seeing that I only started less than 2 years ago, the "cat" was already "out of the bag"... and as a newbie in the market, why would anyone hire me with my measly 400 images if uncle bob would give them 1500 at a lower price.

    Wrong time to become a wedding photographer.

    Back to original post... the whole sharp/unsharp thing is something I struggle with. Given that, all the great documentary photographers seem so much more concerned with moment, composition, and light than technical accuracy. I look at Ascough, Nachtwey, Bresson, you name it... and I see such thoughtfulness in the design of the photograph. Can you imagine how sad it would be if some of those great moments were culled due to being unsharp.

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    Re: Speaking of Jeff Ascough

    Not a wedding photog, but at the shot-count some of y'all are mentioning, the B&G might as well just hire a documentary team and tape the entire process from prep to last stagger out the reception door.

    THE only wedding photos that get my emotional attention are the ones that capture the stolen moments, the emotions, the fun, the discrete, some would say 'sexier' shots (usually rendered in B&W) of the bride getting prepped, etc. The rest are a mind-numbing catalog of services we've all seen 1001 times before, of who had to show up to avoid upsetting Aunt Bertha and who drank away all your money at the open bar.

    From a technical perspective, for my taste, such shots need to, in order: be in focus, have bokeh that isn't distracting -- and, ideally, decent B&W tonality. Grain? Who cares? Nth degree resolution, 'micro contrast', color chart accuracy and all the other blah, blah we so often get hung up about praising/tearing apart/defending a given system about is moot. Zip. Nada. You're capturing what is hopefully a very crucial and emotional point in two people's live here - not doing art repro in the restoration department of the Louvre.

    Have a 'good eye', an agnostic 'it's just a bloody tool' attitude to your gear and anything above that is gravy. Problem is we all (some more than others) get so bloody hung up on the recipe for the gravy that we increasingly end up sounding like a bunch of gibbering, ill-mannered 23 yr old virgins (by gift of personality) at a sci-fi convention wasting oxygen viciously debating the proper translation of "Up Yours" in Vulcan.
    Last edited by robmac; 28th July 2009 at 13:58.

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    Senior Member simonclivehughes's Avatar
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    Re: Speaking of Jeff Ascough

    Quote Originally Posted by robmac View Post
    ...we increasingly end up sounding like a bunch of gibbering, ill-mannered 23 yr old virgins (by gift of personality) at a sci-fi convention wasting oxygen viciously debating the proper translation of "Up Yours" in Vulcan.


    Classic!

    Cheers,

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    Re: Speaking of Jeff Ascough

    Quote Originally Posted by robmac View Post
    Not a wedding photog, but at the shot-count some of y'all are mentioning, the B&G might as well just hire a documentary team and tape the entire process from prep to last stagger out the reception door.

    THE only wedding photos that get my emotional attention are the ones that capture the stolen moments, the emotions, the fun, the discrete, some would say 'sexier' shots (usually rendered in B&W) of the bride getting prepped, etc. The rest are a mind-numbing catalog of services we've all seen 1001 times before, of who had to show up to avoid upsetting Aunt Bertha and who drank away all your money at the open bar.

    From a technical perspective, for my taste, such shots need to, in order: be in focus, have bokeh that isn't distracting -- and, ideally, decent B&W tonality. Grain? Who cares? Nth degree resolution, 'micro contrast', color chart accuracy and all the other blah, blah we so often get hung up about praising/tearing apart/defending a given system about is moot. Zip. Nada. You're capturing what is hopefully a very crucial and emotional point in two people's live here - not doing art repro in the restoration department of the Louvre.

    Have a 'good eye', an agnostic 'it's just a bloody tool' attitude to your gear and anything above that is gravy. Problem is we all (some more than others) get so bloody hung up on the recipe for the gravy that we increasingly end up sounding like a bunch of gibbering, ill-mannered 23 yr old virgins (by gift of personality) at a sci-fi convention wasting oxygen viciously debating the proper translation of "Up Yours" in Vulcan.
    Not a wedding photog ...

    so the rest is easy for you to say

    While I agree that the less staged parts of a wedding (like "getting ready") offer great opportunities, I don't agree that "the rest are a mind-numbing catalog of services". Either you have the emotional apptitude to catch the defining moments and/or an artistic eye for interesting lighting or geometry "even during the repetious catalog of wedding services" or you don't. That's the only thing that fuels my doing this work. Without it, I'd just as soon shoot a catalog of car parts or jewelry and make more money without breaking a sweat.


    IMO, the nature of camera forums, especially ones dedicated to "brands" and so on, is that the gear will get discussed ... often to death. Are these important? Sometimes a little bit. Skin tones can be important. Color accuracy can be important if a Bride spent weeks getting a certain color for the Bridesmaid's dresses. A new camera that doesn't focus properly could be important. A camera that turns synthetic black tuxes into a clownish purple color may be important. However, I doubt any of the rest actually has much to do with reality of shooting. I am pretty sure they are totally separate endeavors.

    A few the the "same old shots" from the mind numbing catalog of "must haves" ... like the ceremony, recession, reception, posed work and cake cutting.

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    Re: Speaking of Jeff Ascough

    Quote Originally Posted by jonoslack View Post
    HI Marc
    I hope you know me well enough to understand that the reason for the mantra is an attempt to force myself to understand 'what it's for'.
    I'm very keen on getting things right technically, but after years of presenting people with pictures I've realised that the ones they really like have little to do with the quality of the image technically.

    I feel quite schizophrenic about photography generally, there is the techie who's interested in the kit and the techniques and the process. Then there's the 'artist'. They don't have much in common
    I don't think they have much in common when you are actually shooting.

    I tend to agree that it's fun to discuss the tech stuff of gear and processing. I like figuring out how to pull off something ... like wireless lighting and junk like that. But once it's figured out, it just becomes another aspect of shooting and moves to the back of the brain.

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    Re: Speaking of Jeff Ascough

    Marc - You're right on it being easy on my part, hence my lead-in comments.

    I referred to the frames that typically catch MY attention "...the stolen moments, the emotions, the fun.." the behind the scenes candids, etc - as a person viewing from 'over the wall', not as the paying customer with THEIR view as to what THEIR (or in many cases any) wedding photog should capture.

    As to 'the eye', I agree - it's an ability/attribute/talent/gift that exists (or not) regardless of what the cameras documenting - and it shows thru (or is glaring by it's absence) in ANY photo -- whether I, or any other detached party, happens to get an emotional vs. a simple 'that's nice' reaction from the image in question or not.

    Either way, such an image stands out from the pack; and as I'm reading here with _000 images/per wedding x weddings/yr per city, county, state (to use US references only) - that's a BIG pack.
    Last edited by robmac; 28th July 2009 at 20:06.

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    Re: Speaking of Jeff Ascough

    Quote Originally Posted by robmac View Post
    Marc - You're right on it being easy on my part, hence my lead-in comments.

    I referred to the frames that typically catch MY attention "...the stolen moments, the emotions, the fun.." the behind the scenes candids, etc - as a person viewing from 'over the wall', not as the paying customer with THEIR view as to what THEIR (or in many cases any) wedding photog should capture.

    As to 'the eye', I agree - it's an ability/attribute/talent/gift that exists (or not) regardless of what the cameras documenting - and it shows thru (or is glaring by it's absence) in ANY photo -- whether I, or any other detached party, happens to get an emotional vs. a simple 'that's nice' reaction from the image in question or not.

    Either way, such an image stands out from the pack; and as I'm reading here with _000 images/per wedding x weddings/yr per city, county, state (to use US references only) - that's a BIG pack.
    We're talking about to completely different sets of reactions. Weddings are very personal and are driven by private emotions rather than generic public ones ... even reactions from trained eyes such as yours or mine. The trick is to be aware enough as to what is important to the hearts of the participants, while staying true to your own artistic values.

    Yet even then there is a great equalizer. Most wedding albums are 30 to maybe 100 images for a coffee table type album, and that's it. So, the real task is to produce a much smaller amount of images that stand out ... among which are many "must haves" of the cliche rituals ... so you really can't kiss off the expected stuff in favor of the behind the scenes stuff and end up with outstanding wedding work for word-of-mouth public display.

    Personally, I would find that task difficult if shooting 3000 images or more. Not because I can't edit the stand outs from all that bulk, but because of the actual shooting involved ... to do 3000 shots means you are shooting relentlessly rather than looking for the shot and taking it. I've watched second shooters take the expected shots at a ferocious rate of capture, and then miss the "real" shot (like the guy licking his new wife's face posted above), as they mindlessly gaze at their LCDs to make sure they got the expected cake cutting shot.

    Here's a recent candid, as it happened shot, of the must have "Champagne Toast" so ubiquitous at weddings. Not the greatest B&W tonality because of the dark room, but a fun capture none the less. Part being in the right place at the right time, and part trained reflexes. Luck helps, but it's amazing how often you can get lucky if you pay attention

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    Re: Speaking of Jeff Ascough

    It is odd how spatial awareness and 'luck' tend to travel hand-in-hand ;>

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    Re: Speaking of Jeff Ascough

    Maybe, one should regard Jeff's Photo.net thread as part of his marketing campaign. I see it as about Jeff continuing his role play as the celebrity photographer.

    No doubt he's a class leading photographer, but what he writes is not what he does. Just note what is hype and what is practical wedding photography. Jeff shoots groups whenever they're wanted by the bride. He won't turn a fee down because a bride wants some formals, nor any other of his "I don't do this......".

    He changes his opinions and kit more quickly than anyone I've ever come across. I've read his posts since 2004 on several Forums. Go back into the archives of DWF, or photo.net and you'll quickly find that two years ago Jeff was shooting his Canons on Programme Mode, dual cards, AF, zoom lenses, big kit bags and 1,000 jPeg frames a wedding using auto bracketing, Australians are the only credible B&W printers. Now it's primes, RAW, manual focus, spot meters, printing done by the album maker ....... drivel !

    On the photo.net thread, one poster wrote:
    "To my knowledge, here's the kit you've (Jeff) gone through in the last 4 years:
    3 Leica M7's
    2 Canon 1D MkII N's
    2 replacement ditto
    2 1Ds MkII
    2 1Ds MkIII
    1 Leica M8
    and now ... 2 Canon 5D MkII's

    At one time, you swore that all that was needed was two zoom lenses and
    a dual card body as the essential tools for all wedding cameras. Now they're not ?
    On the software front, it's been iView, Photoshop, Lightroom, Photo
    Mechanic, Capture One and now Aperture 2."


    I live just 45 miles from him and know from local videographers that work with him that his outward approach is no different from any good wedding photographer - he poses the brides and groups. He just never shares that as it dispels his 'rockstar' Top Ten myth. p.s. the others never refer to their Top Nine ratings.

    Who else do we know that continually refer to their style being influenced by every great photographer ? It's as if, say it enough and the greatness will rub off on me. Ever met a bride, or more than one who knew who Erwitt, Salgado, Natchway ....... was, or cared. No, this is marketing to the industry via the user network.
    Last edited by Rolo; 29th July 2009 at 08:21.

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    Re: Speaking of Jeff Ascough

    Quote Originally Posted by Rolo View Post
    Maybe, one should regard Jeff's Photo.net thread as part of his marketing campaign. I see it as about Jeff continuing his role play as the celebrity photographer.

    No doubt he's a class leading photographer, but what he writes is not what he does. Just note what is hype and what is practical wedding photography. Jeff shoots groups whenever they're wanted by the bride. He won't turn a fee down because a bride wants some formals, nor any other of his "I don't do this......".

    He changes his opinions and kit more quickly than anyone I've ever come across. I've read his posts since 2004 on several Forums. Go back into the archives of DWF, or photo.net and you'll quickly find that two years ago Jeff was shooting his Canons on Programme Mode, dual cards, AF, zoom lenses, big kit bags and 1,000 jPeg frames a wedding using auto bracketing, Australians are the only credible B&W printers. Now it's primes, RAW, manual focus, spot meters, printing done by the album maker ....... drivel !

    On the photo.net thread, one poster wrote:
    "To my knowledge, here's the kit you've (Jeff) gone through in the last 4 years:
    3 Leica M7's
    2 Canon 1D MkII N's
    2 replacement ditto
    2 1Ds MkII
    2 1Ds MkIII
    1 Leica M8
    and now ... 2 Canon 5D MkII's

    At one time, you swore that all that was needed was two zoom lenses and
    a dual card body as the essential tools for all wedding cameras. Now they're not ?
    On the software front, it's been iView, Photoshop, Lightroom, Photo
    Mechanic, Capture One and now Aperture 2."


    I live just 45 miles from him and know from local videographers that work with him that his outward approach is no different from any good wedding photographer - he poses the brides and groups. He just never shares that as it dispels his 'rockstar' Top Ten myth. p.s. the others never refer to their Top Nine ratings.

    Who else do we know that continually refer to their style being influenced by every great photographer ? It's as if, say it enough and the greatness will rub off on me. Ever met a bride, or more than one who knew who Erwitt, Salgado, Natchway ....... was, or cared. No, this is marketing to the industry via the user network.
    Not my business to defend anyone, let alone Jeff Ascough.

    But perhaps you should have bothered to also post Jeff's response where he clearly stated that he does do posed/groups work if requested, but attempts to limit the amount of time devoted to that task. I try to do the same thing with my clients.

    Jeff has used various gear over the past 4 years. So what? He's a piker compared to some folks here on this forum ... including me and the owners of the forum. We all are enthusastic about what we're using ... until we change what we're using.

    He left film because processing became harder. So did I. Things change. Camera's get better. Obviously he makes enough money to do what he wants.

    Shameless self promoter. Perhaps. Again, so what? I should promote myself as well and maybe business would pick up a bit

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    Re: Speaking of Jeff Ascough

    LOL. Well said Marc
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

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    Re: Speaking of Jeff Ascough

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    Not my business to defend anyone, let alone Jeff Ascough.
    You're right, it's not.

    Read carefully and you'll see that he wasn't being attacked. I regard his work to be of a very high standard and I'm sure he's a nice guy.

    I was pointing out that there's so much marketing hype there and I think he's doing ever so well, but it's still hype and there's a lot of it.

    ps
    "He left film because processing became harder." No problem with that, but he did it within a few weeks of the release of the Wedding Masters DVD extolling his reasons for using Leica and especially film cameras. Wonder if I was the only newbie wedding sad B'd that laid out $7,000 in the meantime ? I didn't know it was hype then - too green. Wonder if any new starter today is reading his every word ? Ooops M9, ooops Nikon...... ahhh Hasselblad. Is there no responsibility with being a 'rockstar' ?

    The answer to that is, No.
    Last edited by Rolo; 29th July 2009 at 15:48.

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    Re: Speaking of Jeff Ascough

    Well he is not alone , there are many Internet so called guru's that can't shoot there way out of barn but they have there following. i won't even begin to name names but popularity is more important than any substance they may have in actually trying to learn from them. Again typical in the photo business , marketing hype wins the day on there popularity. Not speaking of Jeff here per say which is a good shooter but there are a lot of pig droppings out there.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: Speaking of Jeff Ascough

    Which makes me glad this is a hobby.
    Joe

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    Re: Speaking of Jeff Ascough

    Quote Originally Posted by Rolo View Post
    You're right, it's not.

    Read carefully and you'll see that he wasn't being attacked. I regard his work to be of a very high standard and I'm sure he's a nice guy.

    I was pointing out that there's so much marketing hype there and I think he's doing ever so well, but it's still hype and there's a lot of it.

    ps
    "He left film because processing became harder." No problem with that, but he did it within a few weeks of the release of the Wedding Masters DVD extolling his reasons for using Leica and especially film cameras. Wonder if I was the only newbie wedding sad B'd that laid out $7,000 in the meantime ? I didn't know it was hype then - too green. Wonder if any new starter today is reading his every word ? Ooops M9, ooops Nikon...... ahhh Hasselblad. Is there no responsibility with being a 'rockstar' ?

    The answer to that is, No.
    AhHah! the last paragraph reveals the root of it all. So your naiveté is someone else's fault?

    So, if I buy a (insert camera brand name here) I will be like (insert name of well promoted photographer here).

    Nothing new there. Been going on forever.

    I used Leica Ms for weddings before I ever heard of Jeff Ascough, and I still do. He likes the Canon 5D which is a camera I briefly owned and absolutely despised. Cameras are personal choices and have little to do with talent ... other than facilitating it.

    I take it that you never got on well with the $7000. worth of Leicas? To bad, great camera IMO.

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    Re: Speaking of Jeff Ascough

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    I take it that you never got on well with the $7000. worth of Leicas? To bad, great camera IMO.
    Actually, quite the opposite, but don't let that interrupt your point scoring.

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    Re: Speaking of Jeff Ascough

    Quote Originally Posted by Rolo View Post
    Actually, quite the opposite, but don't let that interrupt your point scoring.
    Point scoring? Odd attitude. I take it that any opinion contrary to yours is "point scoring."

    If the Leicas worked for you what's the beef? You made it sound like you were stuck with Leicas once Jeff moved on to something else.

    If you don't like the "rock star" system as you call it, that is a different discussion.

    Jeff Ascough is an aquaintance of mine, and we've exchanged a few mutually helpful e-mails over the years. I respect what he does, and having attended his seminar know for a fact that he is VERY intelligent and thoughtful in his approach. BTW, the use of famous photographers in his discussions is a wonderful reference point given to other budding photographers IMO, NOT a marketing ploy for consumer adoration as you seem to suggest.

    I've used the same reference points with my assistants over the years ... and have a modest collection of the "immortals" work myself along with hundreds of their books. All collected before I ever took one wedding image. I learned a lot from that experience. So, I don't grasp the beef you have with that either.

    What I do like about the "Rock Star" aspect that seems to irritate you is that he, and others like him, have helped bring up the reputation and respect for of wedding photography a notch or two amongst our peers.

    For that I'm grateful.

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    Re: Speaking of Jeff Ascough

    Quote Originally Posted by ecsh View Post
    Which makes me glad this is a hobby.
    Joe
    Yeah, but we get to deduct our gear costs off our taxes, and the answer to the wifey is that "I need it for business".

    Seriously, I'm grateful that I get to shoot weddings. It gives me pratical purpose and creative challenge. I LOVE doing it where others may tremble in terror at the thought of it.

    All the stress, politics and jealousy in photography is a drop in the bucket compared to my lifelong career experiences in the advertising creative business ... which more closely resembles French court intriques of the 16th century than 21st century business. Trust me, TV shows and movies on the subject only show the tip of the Machiavellian Iceberg. For me, photography has been a walk in the park on a sunny day.

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    Re: Speaking of Jeff Ascough

    "Point scoring? Odd attitude. I take it that any opinion contrary to yours is "point scoring.""

    Not the case at all. I commented on an existing thread about Jeff Ascough. You come after me for having an opinion on the subject, make wrong assumptions about me, but obviously want to put me in my place. That's scoring points, Marc.

    "If the Leicas worked for you what's the beef? You made it sound like you were stuck with Leicas once Jeff moved on to something else."

    That's what you read. I don't have a beef, just a point of view. Are you saying it's not allowed to have a different view to yours.

    "If you don't like the "rock star" system as you call it, that is a different discussion."

    That was Jeff's term, not mine. He was being critical of them, whilst at the same time applying that very approach.

    "Jeff Ascough is an aquaintance of mine, and we've exchanged a few mutually helpful e-mails over the years."

    ... and mine too, but I'm not in awe of him.

    "I respect what he does, and having attended his seminar know for a fact that he is VERY intelligent and thoughtful in his approach."

    I have too and bought his Actions. I respect his 'wedding work' enormously, as indeed I respect yours. You have a much wider 'gamut' than he, support newbies for the love of the image and understand equipment incredibly well. I trust what you say and do, but we do have a difference on this subject.

    "BTW, the use of famous photographers in his discussions is a wonderful reference point given to other budding photographers IMO, NOT a marketing ploy for consumer adoration as you seem to suggest. "

    I have a different opinion. Every reference he makes on all of these greats in his postings is about how it reflects on him. Nothing I've ever seen suggests that he's a Winogrand, an Erwitt, a Salgado, a C-B ..... Show me a single 'people' shot taken that wasn't paying for the privilege. Direct me to any collection of his images that show PJ or street photography.

    "I've used the same reference points with my assistants over the years ... and have a modest collection of the "immortals" work myself along with hundreds of their books. All collected before I ever took one wedding image. I learned a lot from that experience. So, I don't grasp the beef you have with that either."

    Me too, but see above.

    "What I do like about the "Rock Star" aspect that seems to irritate you is that he, and others like him, have helped bring up the reputation and respect for of wedding photography a notch or two amongst our peers."

    I agree with that, just don't understand why he would criticise others for doing what he does. He's playing the 'rock star' game big time and succeeding and I'm pleased for him, but I don't appreciate the way he contradicts himself with such regularity. Doing so demonstrates that his opinion is not well thought out and informed.


    Last edited by Rolo; 30th July 2009 at 02:51.

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    Re: Speaking of Jeff Ascough

    Come after you? Again, I find that odd. You took comments out of context without the benefit of also showing his response ... which is what I take exception to whether it's him or anyone else. That has nothing to do with opinion. It's stacking the deck in favor of an opinion ... IMO.

    For me to say someone contridicts himself, would be like the "kettle calling the pot black" ... so I avoid it even if it's true. But as you say, we differ somewhat on this subject, and perhaps best left at that.

    Frankly, I'm to old to be in awe of anyone Maybe you've reached that stage yourself?

    But I do (vaguely ) recall my newbie youth and being in awe of some shooters. One of them became a sort of mentor ... who is not a wedding photographer. I'm not in awe of him anymore (except for his fab NYC studio and income ) ... but we are still friends.

    (the Sony folks must be bored to tears with this discussion )

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    Re: Speaking of Jeff Ascough

    I still think the attitude expressed in his answer to me quoted at the beginning of the thread is only relevant to 'capturing the moment' type photography, especially given his examples and that is a rather narrow outlook on wedding photography as a whole and personally I feel the opposite of what should be taught to aspiring wedding photographers. Cartier Bresson said that the basics of photographic skill should be as subconscious as changing gears in a car as a prerequisite to achieving in photography. Ascough's statements seems to subscribe to the view that if the moment is good enough then the rest is optional.

    If he had said 'aspire to capturing the moment with good lighting and focus but if you don't, the moment is what is important' that is one thing. But he didn't. He maligned the concept of aspiring to shooting the moment, not only at the right time, but correctly too. I cannot respect that. I certainly cannot respect a photographer who lectures to an entire industry based on what is still a niche style of wedding photography that he happens to shoot. Critical sharpness and exposure are critically important for family groups and portraiture but he said:

    "If as a wedding photographer you must have critical sharpness, and critical exposure, and critical flash exposure, etc then maybe you are missing the point of photography? Maybe you are missing the whole concept of what makes a picture? In my mind all that stuff simply distracts from finding images."

    Wedding photography is bigger than Mr Jeff Ascough. Not sure if he realises it though.

    If a photographer doesn't at least aspire to getting the shot well exposed and sharp (in focus/no camera shake) then they're not a pro, they're a hack.

    But of course we live in the age of 'good enough' to the detriment of quality everywhere and in all walks of life.
    Last edited by Ben Rubinstein; 30th July 2009 at 03:41.
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    Re: Speaking of Jeff Ascough

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    Frankly, I'm to old to be in awe of anyone Maybe you've reached that stage yourself?
    Fortunately not yet. Still a young buck.

    BTW to be clear, I was stating that 'I' am not in awe of him, not suggesting for a moment that you are/were .

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    Re: Speaking of Jeff Ascough

    Quote Originally Posted by Ben Rubinstein View Post
    I still think the attitude expressed in his answer to me quoted at the beginning of the thread is only relevant to 'capturing the moment' type photography, especially given his examples and that is a rather narrow outlook on wedding photography as a whole and personally I feel the opposite of what should be taught to aspiring wedding photographers. Cartier Bresson said that the basics of photographic skill should be as subconscious as changing gears in a car as a prerequisite to achieving in photography. Ascough's statements seems to subscribe to the view that if the moment is good enough then the rest is optional.

    If he had said 'aspire to capturing the moment with good lighting and focus but if you don't, the moment is what is important' that is one thing. But he didn't. He maligned the concept of aspiring to shooting the moment, not only at the right time, but correctly too. I cannot respect that. I certainly cannot respect a photographer who lectures to an entire industry based on what is still a niche style of wedding photography that he happens to shoot. Critical sharpness and exposure are critically important for family groups and portraiture but he said:

    "If as a wedding photographer you must have critical sharpness, and critical exposure, and critical flash exposure, etc then maybe you are missing the point of photography? Maybe you are missing the whole concept of what makes a picture? In my mind all that stuff simply distracts from finding images."

    Wedding photography is bigger than Mr Jeff Ascough. Not sure if he realises it though.

    If a photographer doesn't at least aspire to getting the shot well exposed and sharp (in focus/no camera shake) then they're not a pro, they're a hack.

    But of course we live in the age of 'good enough' to the detriment of quality everywhere and in all walks of life.
    A bit harsh perhaps Ben, but points well taken.

    My take on Jeff's comment was that if you are obssessed with critical sharpness, etc., and it dominates your conscience approach, then there may be something to reconsider.

    But on the other side of the coin is that he's often talking to people who haven't yet mastered the functional aspects of camera use as a tool, and it isn't second nature to them yet even though they THINK it is. Avocating shooting available light at ISO 3200 using f/1.2 will land a lot of these people in deep trouble because they don't know how or when to do it. I cannot tell you how many relatively important 2nd shooter images I have had to delete because they shot wide open when they should have stopped down.

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    Re: Speaking of Jeff Ascough

    The impression I got from his writing and general attitude was that he says that it doesn't matter if you are shooting at your example of iso 3200 f1.2 oh and you miss focus - wedding photography is all about the moment and everything else is side issues detracting from the ethos of wedding photography. I disagree, I think that quality of imagery not just timing of imagery is important and what makes us pro's to seperate us from the crowd.

    The D-day photos are bad photos, their context makes that fact unimportant, same could be said for an awful lot of the examples that he's using. Cartier Bressons contact sheets are nothing to write home about and the same could be said for practically any famous PJ photographer but wedding photography has to make every single shot count. I don't think the context of a wedding excuses bad technique when there are so many who have mastered utterly amazing lighting, camera control, use of lenses, etc in making those captured moments truly incredible. Those are the people, many of them my age or younger, who I aspire to. Not photographers of a utterly different genre shooting utterly different subjects and who we only know for when they captured the moment, not for when they screwed up the moment but no one knew because the only record of the moment happening is in their memories and precious few others.
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  36. #36
    Johannes01
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    Re: Speaking of Jeff Ascough

    Thanks for share.The "moment" is moving.

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