Listen. Do you want to know a secret? If you want to make better photographs bring a reflector.

This is just one of the messages of master wedding photographer Jerry Ghionis.

I listened to Jerry give a talk last night at Skip’s Summer School in Vegas, and while his program was packed full of valuable information, one of the best messages he shared was how he turns mundane places and situations into pure, absolute magic. In fact he’s known for this. I often describe Jerry like this. Anyone can make a stunning photograph at the Taj Mahal. But Jerry can make stunning photographs in the boiler room or the bathroom at the Taj Mahal. And many times all it takes is his super human ability to SEE potential in a location and a reflector.

Jerry talked about capturing the natural moments but not stopping there. He creates the “natural” moments by directing his subjects into the best light, with the best poses and he works damn hard to do it.

He gave numerous examples of finding great backdrops throughout his native Australia and then going back to these places with wedding couples and setting up shots that sell.

He often achieves magic – and I am not exaggerating when I say he does much of it with simple reflectors.

In addition to the basic reflectors you can buy at a camera store like Adorama, Jerry will use anything as a reflector. He’ll often find a wall that is soaked in sunlight and then stand in front of that wall and shoot opposite it with the bride and groom. He once asked his assistant to use her FACE as a reflector. I kid you not! He took his flash off camera. He sat his wedding couple in the back of a Rolls Royce. He had his assistant sit in the front seat, close her eyes, point the flash directly at her face, point her face at the couple, and the result was some of the prettiest light I’ve ever seen.

Jerry will use a reflective painting from inside a house outside of the house. He’ll use mirrors as reflectors. He’ll use people’s bright clothing as a reflector. It is shocking to find out that in many cases his “secret” is nothing more than carrying a reflector.

So now, you have to ask yourself. How many times have you left that reflector you bought out in the car? I’m guilty. But never again.

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