Show #70 – Ben & Les Wedding Photography + freelensing

Host Mike Howard,Tim Kemperle and Kathleen Bowie interview Ben Hartley from Ben & Les Photography – Wedding Photographers.

Mike Update

– Mike purchased a new strap. BlackRapid -   The BlackRapid R-Strap is for the active photographer.  With an ergonomic fit and a Brad this strap keeps your camera close during your most extreme adventures.

Ben & Les Photography

Ben met Less at while working at Panera Bread and what caught his eye…while washing dishes there is only one small viewing porthole to see out…he looked out and saw the “best feminine calves” and knew he had to meet the customer.  Les’s sister came back and brought me her phone number.

  • How did you get into wedding photography?
    • A friend asked me to do their wedding which I didn’t want to do and after reluctantly shooting the wedding I realized it was a lot like painting where you are telling a story of people. 
  • Being married how have you worked out the business / shooting responsibilities?
    • I have taken the bull by the horns and Les has provided the woman’s touch, she has been able to relate to the bride.  One the wedding day Les will capture story / narrative of the day.  Example, taking pictures of the groom helping the grandmother up while I will look for the technical picture. 
  • Do you frequently adjusting there flashes at a reception? or do they just kind ofeneloop leave them set at a certain setting?
    • Mostly set the flash and good to go, setting of manual.  Two stages of a wedding reception, one at the beginning which is slow while the second stage when the dancing starts.
  • They take SO many pictures during the event, I’m wondering about any method they have for culling their photos, and also, more info on how they take such wonderfully lit reception
    • Take approximately 7,000 photos (RAW) per wedding and narrowing down to approximately 700.  Take so many photos where there are around 10 photos of the same scene and we are able to select the best.  Utilize Photo Mechanic to narrow down the photos…can narrow from 7,000 to 700 in around two hours.  Then we use Lightroom and import at 1-1 which does take a long time.  I don’t delete the 6,300 photos but don’t import them into Lightroom
  • Editing is done in?
    • Editing is done completely in Lightroom, rarely is a photo ever edited in Photoshop except if the perfect photo has a Coke can in it that needs to be removed.  
  • Any presets created in Lightroom?
    • Do not have a bunch of presents.  We view the shots as timeless and not what is in now…we look for clean photos that will look good now and good in the future.  The presets used are to help the workflow go quicker versus covering up the photo.
  • Your website gallery and the 23rd image down of a bride and groom is totally out of focus. Is there a reason for this I’m missing?
    • Why?  This was an intentional shot and because it is wonderful…it is a photo from Hawaii that we thought was engaging and interesting.  It makes the viewer think.
  • Tilt shift lenses?
    • Yes and sometimes freelensing…take the lens off and hold the lens in front of the body and tilt the plane of focus.  When you angle the lens you can change the focus…kind of like a Lensbaby.
  • Flash Photography
    • A must at weddings!  Allows for creative freedom on any day and opens up different environments for photography.  First meter for the ambient light minus one stop to allow the background to be a little darker then the subject being shot.  Ensures the subject is the most interesting in the photograph. 
  • What setting do you use for flash?  Manual / TTL
    • Never use TTL because it never seems to come up with the correct exposure…I rather have control and have the ability to replicate the photo.  With digital photography you are able to test the shot and determine if the flash needs more or less power.
  • Do you shoot with the flash on the shoe?
    • Yes, always bounding the flash…never straightforward.  Don’t use a diffuser because reduces the power of the flash.
  • Special battery packs?
  • Do you utilize gels on your flashes?
    • At times we add gels at receptions to

    Images from the show –
    [portfolio_slideshow id=5381]

    Future show calendar for jpeg2RAW

    Article on various ways to receive the podcast each week


    Ben & Les Photography


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About geephotant

geephotant (Geek-Photographer-Accountant) (aka. Mike Howard) is the creator of Nov Studios and the jpeg2RAW podcast. Mike is an accountant by day as the Controller for a large US based corporation. By night, he is a geek and has appeared on the Home Server Show Podcast & the BYOB podcast ( both found at He has also appeared on the Home Tech Show podcast ( and is now a regular guest on that show. Mike's true passion is photography and shoots when ever he can find time. As an amateur photographer, he is always looking to learn more about the craft.

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