Daily Inspiration #448 by Adam Sparkes

Hi Steve,

First of all, thanks so much for the great website. I’d have never done this at all if it wasn’t for being a blog reader. You should probably get a 10% commission on all of my mirrorless stuff!

Attached are three images from a wedding I shot entirely with Oly and Fuji gear. If you are further interested, feel free to checkout the full post here: http://www.breakfastwithadam.com/rishi-jessica-tie-the-knot-west-bloomfield-wedding-photography/

Shot 1: Fuji x100s with LumoPro LP-180 as the flash … full daylight at 1/2500


Shot 2: Oly EPL-5 with Zuiko 75mm wide open


Shot 3: Oly OM-D EM-5 with Zuiko 17mm f/1.8 in the rain again with the LP-180 for light (oh and 1/6 shutter thanks to crazy IBIS)



Thanks for the consideration



  1. the quality of resizing ist not the best at all these weblog scripts.
    also here at steve`s (this is not steve`s fault .. gdlib library, imagemagick, do the job .. and not a dedicated graphic program ;))
    the small versions here do not look nice.

    at the weblog
    the situation is much better.
    i like the style of this particular mult (bi) cultural wedding. the sceneries outdoor. it looks refreshing
    much better than all the nikon-colored-who has-the-most-expensive-cake-and-visagist wedding albums that i am used to see.

    (one pont: i myself keep my fingers off all this film-like-looking-presets. but this is a matter of taste.
    and maybe it looks good printed on glossy paper .. i don`t know)

    thank for this fresh insight.

    • FYI – As I always say, you MUST click the images to view the larger size. Once you click them, you see the original uploaded file without any resizing, etc.

  2. I do like that last shot. Have to agree the dress is too blown out for my liking on the first shot, but my opinion matters not one iota if the couple are happy and you got paid. If yes and yes then that is what is important here.

  3. You intended a certain look, you got it, the committents liked it. Mission accomplished.
    During the confirmation ceremony of my nephew and many other children, the designated photographer was shooting around with a bulky and noisy dslr, an assistant and two wireless strobes. The shots went out very good, very traditional-minded and very boring, but all the parents were happy. Another mission accomplished.

  4. Al, they love their photos as a whole, but thanks very much for the thoughtful comments. By the way, absolutely no burning or any regional post production was applied to any of these photos. Not even the car shot. That was shot in the ugliest sunlight you can imagine with lots if spotty light camera-right. 🙂

    Have a good one!

    • I think it adds a lot of character to the shot. I clicked thru to see the rest and was impressed by its originality. They are more bold than what I typically see in wedding photos in terms of processing and the mood captured really shines through in your shots and selections.

  5. For anyone that is still keeping up with this, I did reply to some of you guys. Haters and supporter alike. I’m not going to get involved in any sort of back and forth about the merits of what I shoot, but I thought I’d in general clear up the circumstances of some of this images:::

    Foremost, this was a silly silly bright day. Maybe one of the more harshly lit afternoons I’ve had the “pleasure” of shooting in. For that reason, exposures were a little bright. Did it work on a technical level in the Maserati photo? No. They really wanted the car in a shot and I did what I could. Not a totally lost shot in my opinion. For the second shot … if you don’t like it, well, take a natural light photo of a bride in the middle of the afternoon in full sun and show me your amazing highlight details. I’d probably be someone who hated how HDR it looked. Different strokes for different folks, kids.

    Overall, I’ve wanted to send something into Steve for awhile. I’ve got a lot more “greatest hits” stuff or even some very controlled shots (from a technical standpoint) that I’ve shot with mirrorless that I though would have more of a “wow” factor. Instead, I picked the wedding because I wanted something that was more real and spontaneous and showed me shooting in less than ideal conditions. I did this because that is what weddings are. And as a wedding shooter I don’t get to hide the work that I took on rushed timelines, in crappy venues or in challenging light. It doesn’t work like that. Maybe in the future I’ll send in some ninjas with wild light and epic DR? … maybe.

    Finally, I want to be clear that I am not surprised by some of the negative replies. It’s to be expected. Despite the vapid tone of a few of them, I do appreciate and take into consideration what the poster did not like about the image. I still wish the images didn’t end up looking so “crunchy” here, but oh well? Oh, and to Jim and James who really hate my work, I’ll really send you both a beer. Lower your blood pressures with the next guy, hey? 🙂

  6. Yes maybe he made little mistake but you have to recognize that the IQ of the fujifilm x100s is amazing and i have bought one two days ago

  7. Before one criticises such issues as “correctness” in wedding photography (e.g. blown highlights in the wedding dress), one needs to know whether that was the effect the photographer actually wanted to achieve, whether he was there as a friend rather than as the official photographer, whether the subjects were themselves happy with the results, etc.. As Steve says, constructive comment, if it is sought, great; otherwise, belt up and let the guy take pictures however gives him pleasure.

    Nigel Rugman

  8. I think these pictures have a unique perspective that I find refreshing. Most importantly, he captured something appealing, fun, and attractive in these people that might not have come out with more conventional compositions. The blown out wedding dress doesn’t bother me at all.

  9. The only photo rule to remember is that all the others are meant to be broken! Sometimes they do work (like the rule of thirds) but sometimes they don’t. Photography, like ALL creative ventures, is very subjective. What works for one, does not work for another. I always caveat criticism with the fact that it is just my opinion and state what I might (or might not) have done differently. Lighten up, guys.

    • Steve,
      My comment was not totally meant to “slam” the quality of photography but also to point out the
      failure of the equipment to retain detail in the images. The highlights are “blown way out” and I do know that its possible to retain this detail using the correct equipment.
      I think the apparent “sensitivity” to what some would take as criticism is just a honest reaction
      to being exposed to images that are not technically correct. There should not be anything wrong with that.
      Maybe I’m misunderstanding your site, I thought it was about “equipment reviews ” with examples of
      what people can do with that equipment. Sorry, but I’m still not impressed.

    • I love how the technically-minded are trashing these over some blown highlights…as if Rishi and Jessica are greatly distressed and contemplating legal action. LOL!

      I’m actually happy for this couple because they have images to use for a wedding album that WON’T look like every other wedding album on the planet.

  10. I see absolutely nothing wrong with those shots. Nothing wrong at all. What matters to me is that they look intentionally shot and with purpose – and they are.

    then there’s the “rules” of photography. Don’t blow out dress detail… Ok fine but sometimes if it calls for it, go ahead and blow it out. When I started out, I kept hearing ppl spout rules and rules it’s a wonder anyone takes any photos at all. Here’s another famous one you find in many forums where photographers laugh at seeing ppl shooting into the light/sun. DONT SHOOT INTO THE SUN they say, and yet this never gelled well with what I was seeing and experiencing. If you have an idea and concept in mind then by all means DO SHOOT INTO THE SUN.

    • Just as an example I recently blew out the brides dress nearly completely on one shot where she was flanked by her lavender dressed sisters. The rule kept popping up in my head. I wanted to blow it out totally in post to draw attention to the bride and use the white shape as a counterblanace to all the colour. I nearly did not blow out the dress but in the end threw caution to the wind and did so and it was the shot everyone, including the bride, felt was excellent.

      • Rules are there to be broken. Mistakes can lead to a new look. I agree on that. It sometimes helps to have a few rules in mind to follow them and to break them. When you break them, do it strongly to highlight it as an aesthetic element. Mykita always uses lens flare for their advertisement. One Austrian photographer is making a career by having his reflection showing up in all of his fashion shots. So could be a wedding shots with blown out highlights. But whatever you do it needs to add to the atmosphere of the photo. If it happens by mistake but gets balanced by other strong elements in the photo then that it fine. A great capture of a moment wont get spoiled, like in the second shot which works for me. But in many cases blown out highlights can be avoided by carefully exposing for the highlights and pushing the dark tones in post. D!RK

    • I think a little bit blown highlight is not an issue but one photo 1, at least 30% of bride’s dress has been nuked. Absolutely nothing wrong with them? I dont agree and they are not deliberately done.

      But when you have flash and a camera that syncs to 1/800 atA full power and upto 1/2000 at reduced power… the highlights could have been saved easily.

      Cannot blame the camera…..it has more Dynamic Range than canon 60D and syncs at almost all speed.

      Image 2 also has blown highlights, but that one is OK, nothing wrong with image 3. its just image 1 that is the problem.

      I am not trying to attack anyone, but you are defending the flaw in the technique and yes……. the details in the dress is important, so is the details on the skin of people. I think the processing didnt help either in this case.

      Photo 1 should not have made it to the bride’s album. Most brides don’t know anything about quality of photos, its upto the photographers to maintain a high standard.

      But this is how we learn, how we improve and I hope the photographer is not disheartened by our comments, but this is tough love…..if I start saying…..oh…they are pretty…its artistic…beautiful….blown highlights is the new style……, keep it up, I wouldn’t be doing any service to our community.

  11. I take it those with negative comments are highly paid professional photographers booked months in advance for their specific style of wedding photography? Thought so.

    For me these beat the now common ‘either side of tree’ shot.

  12. The critics may be correct, but the point is:are the couple happy for this shots?
    They paid for it?
    If yes, the pics are fine.

      • “Adam! You are sooooo fantastic! Can we do it all over again!? When we have kids you BETTER be around! Thank-you so much for capturing all these goodies for us!” -Jessica

        Not that clients are always the best technical critics out there? She’s also looking at the whole set and not obsessing over poor highlights on one shot.

        Thanks again for the input and the consideration, guys.

  13. Is the bridegroom really wearing bright blue running shoes? Ready for a quick getaway? Amazing.

    Interesting take on wedding photography though; at least it’s original.

  14. I hope Adam Sparkes is no dissuaded from posting and answering my question. I thought the photos were nice and I just wanted to know how he decides to use one camera over the other depending on the particular scene. I know some wedding photographers using the Fuji X100 and Olympus gear.

  15. I have to agree with the rest, photos are terribly lighten, some areas are burned and it seems that not even with some good ps data can be recovered. Seems like the wrong images to post…

    • I also agree. Did not want to be rude but when I first saw these pictures I was shocked they made it to one of Steve’s Daily Inspirations. They are all pretty terrible.

      • Ive said since DAY ONE that I am not only putting masterpiece photos in the Daily Inspiration. I have put family snapshots in, horribly exposed images, and other images that some would deem “horrible” – I feature people with passion and who love photography, and if their work needs work it is always good to leave them constructive criticism instead of insults. Critique is how people improve, not by attacks. But some never learn and are always out for the attack. Such is life.

        • Hi Steve I am sorry if my comments sounded harsh or if I was rude, (I am not sure if your comment was addressed to me). I understand that Daily Inspiration is not about master pieces, but this is a wedding shooting which makes it completely different from someone enjoying taking snapshots. I based my comments putting myself on the bride position and If I have payed for the Picts. I am pretty sure if these were Picts of someone commenting on how much the enjoy shooting there family it will have been a different reaction. Wedding photography is a very susceptible area to photographers. 🙂

        • The underlying question on everyone’s mind is, “How is this inspirational?”.
          Nobody said anything about posting masterpiece shots.

        • I think for some readers – especially those that have submitted contributions themselves (but were never published) – there can be a feeling of “You chose THIS?! Mine are better!” And so some will struggle to understand why anything but the best gets published. You try to maintain a positive, low-key, friendly atmosphere, but due to the high volume of readers you are receiving (from all over the world), there are simply going to be differing expectations of what your site is (and what they perceive should be “publishable”).

          When it comes to criticism, whether it’s constructive critique or an “attack”, the posts on this site are the mildest and most photographer-friendly of an site I’ve seen. Honestly, there is hardly any criticism at all on this site. Almost all comments are along the lines of “Excellent shots!” and I see very little in the way of criticism, and even fewer attacks. In this particular instance, ailukewitsch posted some very specific comments about the blown highlights, and James F simply expressed shock that these made it to publication (as I discussed in my opening comments above). I don’t see attacks in their comments, other than possibly James’ describing the shots as “pretty terrible”. (A rather mild attack, in my opinion.)

          Ultimately, anyone submitting their work for publication should be prepared for the criticism and compliments that go along with being in public view. Personally, I’d like to see more criticism – so long as it is relevant, specific, and useful for understanding how to improve one’s own photography. (“Don’t blow the highlights” would certainly be applicable criticism for these shots.) But this is not my site, it’s yours. If you want a cultivate a “no criticism” culture here, that is certainly up to you. I think many readers here have already learned that if they can’t say something nice, they shouldn’t say anything at all. Maybe that’s a good thing. Maybe not.

          Keep up the good work – it’s a great site! And if you post the shots I sent you that my 3-year-old took, I promise not to get angry if someone calls them “pretty terrible”. She LOVES taking pictures. Here’s the link to what I sent you:


        • Not sure why you became so defensive, Steve, but I was not trying to offend anyone. As my original post stated, I “did not want to be rude,” but after seeing others with the same feelings I chose to comment as well. If anything, it is because your site is so great, and you always showcase such great photographs that these stand out as being so bad.

          The truth remains though that these pictures are pretty terrible and for the life of me I can’t figure out why they would be chosen as a Daily Inspiration. All three are technically poor, feature uninteresting compositions, and are unflattering to the subjects. They are also, and perhaps most importantly, *not taken by an amateur photographer*. They are pictures that were posed for and they were *taken by someone who was paid to take great pictures.*

          Love your site, Steve, but with all due respect, you of all people should know that when you post something on the internet it is up for everyone to see and comment on as they choose, within reason. All the negative comments I see are about the quality of the images are are not personal attacks. Sorry you were so offended by my opinion.

        • @ James. I can take everything you’ve said. I think you must at least admit to being somewhat vapid in your tone, but hey … it’s the internet. :-/
          @Steve, thanks for the defense of the tone, but really they have a point. They think the photos blow and that’s OK … I feed a family of four with a camera, so really internet comments from other “photographers” are just for fun. I think the photos are displaying very very poorly here on your site from some reason, but I won’t let that be an excuse. If people think they are blown out, that’s their opinion. As noted to one of these duders above, I think that the Maserati image is very harsh (wouldn’t argue otherwise) … I’m not going to repeat myself too much, but it sort of had to be. If they don’t like 2 and 3, welp. thanks for the input! 🙂

    • We disagree on the value of that rule, clearly. That said, this was probably the some of the worst 3pm summer light I’ve seen all year. I agree that I’d have liked to have saved the highlights on the shot with car … it just wasn’t gonna happen in the given situation. I’d disagree with needing more white detail in the shot of just the bride, but your input is valued.

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