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Jeff Ascough , May 17, 2007; 01:38 p.m.

Hi guys,

Mary has asked if I would do a Q&A session on this forum for you all.

I'm pretty much open to answer anything to do with wedding photography although I can't promise to answer all the questions posted.

I know plenty of people already know me on here, but to give some of the newcomers to the industry a little insight into my photography and me?.

I?m a pro wedding photographer from the UK. I've been shooting since 1989 and have covered over 1000 weddings in my time. I shoot exclusively as a documentary photographer on a wedding. 99% of my images are taken as they happen without any prompting or interference from me. I am also passionate about shooting by available light.

I was featured in the first "Masters of Wedding Photography" DVD. American Photo has just voted me one of the ten best wedding photographers in the world. My work has also been featured in the Washington Post, Professional Photographer, the BJP etc.

More info can be found on my blog at jeffascough.biz and on my website jeffascough.net

I?m pretty sure Mary will chime in to let us all know how this is going to work. Please bear in mind that there is an 8 hour time difference between the US and UK so you may have to wait a bit for answers.


Moderator note:


Jeff will answer and after that have those questions and follow-ups ready to go we'll take another 4 questions and WAIT

This is the only way I can see that this format can work. Otherwise we'll have a list of 15-20 questions before Jeff can come back and look things over and it will be overwhelming to answer everything. Furthermore, people will perhaps then post a follow-up and Jeff will be answering follow-ups as well as questions.. It could be a mess.

Sometimes there may be 5 questions allowed when there is a case of multiple people posting at the same time which may be ok unless the grouping of questions are very involved. There will be times I will delete the question with an explination asking the poster to re-post the question later.

Our Thanks to Jeff for giving us his time!

One more thing. This is not a thread for debating raw vs jpeg. Jeff will tell us how he works and it is not relevant to post your images or argue with his methods. Look at this as an interview - not a debate or show and tell. Jeff, however, will/may post images to illustrate a point in response to a question.

Mary Ball - Moderator


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Mark Parker , May 17, 2007; 01:58 p.m.


What is the secret to capturing such wonderful images in a totally PJ style? Is it that you cature a huge number of images or you are better at anticipating the right moments or is it just finding a way (through composition) to make every shot count?

Jeff Ascough , May 17, 2007; 02:21 p.m.

Response to Mary Ball has set up an "INTERVIEW WITH JEFF ASCOUGH" - A Q&A right here

My style is all about anticipation. Compared to others I shoot relatively few images at a wedding.

I like to see a picture, set the composition, my angle to the light, and then wait for something to happen within that picture. Then I may take several frames to get the perfect shot. If something doesn't happen I go and look for another image. I'm very deliberate and controlled in what I do - most of the time anyway.

If you ever get to see 'War Photographer' with James Nachtwey...the way he shoots is very similar to how I do things. Although I have less than 1/10th the talent that he has. What I mean is, he is very deliberate and takes his time over the image. I do the same.

Jan Leathem , May 17, 2007; 02:22 p.m.

Response to Mary Ball has set up an "INTERVIEW WITH JEFF ASCOUGH" - A Q&A right here

Hi Jeff. Thanks for taking the time to do this. When available light just isn't sufficient, how do you modify your shooting style and still get a natural look...or do you?

Jeff Ascough , May 17, 2007; 02:30 p.m.

Response to Mary Ball has set up an "INTERVIEW WITH JEFF ASCOUGH" - A Q&A right here

Hi jan

It depends what you mean by sufficient. In my world sufficient means enough light to get an image without too much subject movement. This could be 1/15th sec at 1.2 at 3200 iso for static subjects or 1/50th sec at 1.2 at 3200 for slightly moving subjects. However the light needs to be good as well.

If I'm completely up against it, I will use flash to either clean up the light or to freeze movement. However this is usually a last resort. The flash is always balanced for the background. The only time I've used flash this year was for the first dance on two weddings. As we move into the summer I won't use it at all.

Ewurama Hayford , May 17, 2007; 02:41 p.m.

Response to Mary Ball has set up an "INTERVIEW WITH JEFF ASCOUGH" - A Q&A right here

Hello sir, I have followed your work with deep, deep admiration and iStrive to oneday, capture a portion of teh beauty you see! My question is, You seem to shoot in such grand venues/homes, with amazing lihting. What advice do you have for those of us you dont have that privilege yet?? How should we "see' are veents to capture all the beauty you manage to freeze? thank you Ewurama Hayford

Jeff Ascough , May 17, 2007; 02:50 p.m.

Response to Mary Ball has set up an "INTERVIEW WITH JEFF ASCOUGH" - A Q&A right here

Hi Ewurama

Thanks for the comments.

Most of my venues are grand from the outside but mostly they are small and dark on the inside.

The lighting is there in any venue, you just have to find it.

The best advice I can give is to get to the venue early, and go around with an assistant. Find the rooms where the wedding will take place and look for the main light source. Get your assistant to move around the light source while you see how the light plays on the person. Look at the angle of light, and how it changes as you also move in relation to the light and the person. You will then hopefully get an idea of where to be in relation to the subject to take your pictures at a given time.

Ken Papai , May 17, 2007; 03:05 p.m.

Response to Mary Ball has set up an "INTERVIEW WITH JEFF ASCOUGH" - A Q&A right here

Jeff -- as usual for sure you do excellent work and very nice for you to take some of your time entertaining questions.

I believe you are rather infamous for being a JPG Only shooter. Rightly and wrongly their is criticism of that approach. Obviously RAW gives you a little more exposure latitude and if you do Nail It on nearly every shot (98%?) you can still easly process the RAWs to JPG with simple automation.

Do you shoot JPG only purely to save time, space, and/or post processing time+? Or are you MUCH BETTER with the camera than image processing software and just do not want to deal with RAWs? (I'd figure you'd have staff handle that)

Also, do you ever use real woman as models to pose practice shoots or to teach? Pro models already know how to pose so they make a photog's life too easy. in any case, well done Jeff!

Pete S. , May 17, 2007; 03:19 p.m.

Response to Mary Ball has set up an "INTERVIEW WITH JEFF ASCOUGH" - A Q&A right here

Hi Jeff,

Thanks for taking the time. I have two questions.

1) Your brides all look lovely. Do you retouch your photos or is it just a careful selection of camera position/lens selection/lighting?

2) What are most important to you when visualizing your shots? Events to tell the story, interaction/emotions like love, happiness, pride etc?

Thanks, Peter

Greg Jansen , May 17, 2007; 03:29 p.m.

Response to Mary Ball has set up an "INTERVIEW WITH JEFF ASCOUGH" - A Q&A right here

Hi Jeff

Great work. It is obvious that great lighting and composition are the keys to a great image. Given that, "processing" an image has become something we must now think about.

There has been a lot of developments in this area over the last couple of years. What is popular now is the super-saturated, somewhat blown-out, kind of photo that "pops."

What direction do you see image processing taking in the near future?

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