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Performing from muscle memory

     Wedding Storyteller, Volume 2: Wedding Case Studies and Workflow by Roberto Valenzuela, Rocky Nook, US $49.95, Pp 414,      March 2019, ISBN 978-1681983547

Weddings are very special occasions for most of us. They are packed with joyful moments. A lot of action is going on weddings most of the time. In Wedding Storyteller, Volume 2, Roberto Valenzuela teaches us how to capture these memorable moments with your camera. He says that a wedding is a highly emotional occasion that requires a photographer with a very fine-tuned awareness of their surroundings in order to capture them. He says that the most memorable moments are usually not the obvious ones. The reason is when people feel the presence of a photographer pointing a giant camera and lens in their direction, they unknowingly put their guard up and try to rearrange their facial expressions so that they can artificially smile. Rarely will a person let their guard down and express deep and vulnerable emotions when they know they are being watched by a giant telephoto lens pointed at their face. The nature of weddings is very unforgiving. It is important to perform through muscle memory while photographing a wedding.

Moments that are deeply important to your clients happen quickly, constantly, and without warning. And they happen only once. Roberto Valenzuela compares wedding photography to dodgeballs. He writes, “But instead of trying to just dodge the balls, it is your job to catch every single ball coming toward you from every direction. When you catch one ball, there is no time to celebrate. You must quickly free up your hands because the next ball is already on its way at full speed. You are lucky if you happen to look behind your back and catch the ball.” He continues and says that once you catch the ball behind your back, almost immediately there are three more balls coming at you. Each missed ball symbolizes a moment you should have captured. Each captured ball is a beautiful memory that your clients can relive in their head and hearts for the rest of their lives.

Roberto Valenzuela says that beautiful moments of vulnerability are often captured by skilled photographers who perform from muscle memory. Their cameras are truly an extension of their eyes, and operating all the camera buttons, settings so intuitive, so second nature, that it is almost as if the camera magically changed to provide the photographer with the perfect combination of settings to best capture fleeting moment. In the first volume, he introduced you to the Wedding Storyteller Skill Components while, in the second volume, he offers a well-rounded approach to photographing weddings with an elevated skillset. Some of the important situations he covers in this volume include bride bridegroom preparation, wedding party portraits, and ceremony action/reaction.

Wedding Storyteller, Volume 2 is a long overdue volume for both professional and amateur photographers who photograph weddings. In this volume, Roberto Valenzuela covers the topics he didn’t cover in the first volume or expands on the topics he has covered in the first volume. If you have already read and mastered the techniques from the first volume, it is time to further improve your photographs with the second volume. If you have not read the first volume, you should have both volumes. If you are an amateur photographer, your photographs will start having professional quality. If you are a professional photographer, you will see significant improvement in your photographs.

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