Value Added Quality Service
Michael Harris received his Certificate of Graduation
from theNew York Institute of Photography. He is a
certified photography instructor and a published photographer.
Excerpt from a 2005 interview of Michael Harris by Al
Kellerman for publication in a photography trade article:
AK: So what makes you different from most professional photographers?
MH: You're putting me on the spot. Well, I guess the fact that I'm passionate about the art form and love pleasing my clients.
AK: How so?
MH: I get very involved with my clients when I get a job. The first thing I ask them is: what their vision is for the project. Why should I tell them how I want to shoot it, when they have something else in mind? Also, I have an artistic viewpoint and background.
AK: I'll get to the artistic thing later. Are you talking about weddings?
MH: No! That's different. Prospective brides & grooms look at the style of a photographer and if they like the style and price, they'll hire that photographer.
AK: So you're speaking about commercial photography?
MH: Yes! Advertising, architectural, brochure, executive or high end portraits, web site images, products, catalog. Often they'll already have an idea or a vision. I just go with that and throw in my advice, when needed. AK: Have an example?
MH: Yes! Recently I did a promotional portrait for a businessman and he envisioned a shot with his back to a mirror in his foyer. So I told him that in order to get the best results, that might not be wise.
AK: Because of the reflection of the lights?
MH: Precisely. He seemed disappointed. So I went ahead and shot it his way, turning him ever so slightly, to help eliminate the distraction. Then I gave him an idea and shot it my way too.
AK: Which one did he like?
MH: He actually liked the idea I had and chose that image.
AK: Ever work with Art Directors?
MH: I love working with Art Directors?
MH: Absolutely. They tend to be very savvy and intelligent. I seldom offer them advice; but on occasion a similar technical situation will come up and I'll make them aware of it, quietly, without making a scene and they're usually okay with it.
AK: So you're an artist?
MH: I'd like to think so. I loved art in school. My Mom is an artist. I grew up around her art gallery. I got to rub elbows with a couple of American Greats, Douglas Greenbow and William Schimmel. My style is more artistic than usual. I hate cookie cutter pictures from a studio. That's one reason I enjoy working on location as opposed to in a studio.
AK: I have a follow up question about wedding photography. What is your style for weddings?
MH: For Bride & Groom and group portraits, I use studio lighting. Often as many as five lights. For the ceremony, I use very fast lenses and shoot with available light in a photojournalistic, candid style. Then for the reception I combine available light with occasional flash, depending on the lighting in the facility. I just hate posed pictures.
AK: Really? Why?
MH: Yes, I recommend for weddings that they place those cheap point and shoot film cameras on the guest tables.
AK: I thought most wedding photographers hate that?
MH: I love it. Look! The guests will be at those tables, getting all the posed shots for their table. That frees me up to do the dramatic, candid, photojournalistic shots that the Bride & Groom will love. Those cameras hold 29 exposures. So let's say there are 15 tables. That's 435 prints with those cameras, of posed shots.
AK: How many of those will be good though?
MH: About 10%. But so what? Their Wedding Album is only going to have 36 of the best images. They can take those 43 pictures that turned out and create another album of pictures taken by friends.
AK: My, you are secure.
MH: No, I just know what makes people happy and having lots of pictures is better than a few.
AK: What if people ask you to take a posed shot at the reception?
MH: I take it!
AK: How many wedding pictures do you take, from beginning to end?
MH: About 1200.
AK: Do you use digital?
MH: Mostly, but occasionally I'll use film if requested.
AK: How many wedding packages do you have and do you do small weddings?
MH: I have One wedding package and yes I do small weddings if they can afford me.
AK: So you're expensive?
MH: Not if you want quality. Some people want Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart is fine, for what it is. Right?
AK: Thanks for your time Michael and good luck with your photography.