Name: Chris Loring
Business Name: Chris Loring Photography
Genre of Photography: Weddings
What's your 'photography story? (How you got into photography, how you decided to go pro, etc)
I have the same story as a lot of others - my hobby began in High School where I became one of the darkroom rats, spending hours before school and during lunch processing t-max film and burning through Kodak paper. I worked for the college yearbook and remember shooting a roll of film while sneaking past the no-trespass zone of the feed lot and slaughter house in Greeley. That film won me my first award, and was then deemed too graphic for it’s intended publication but it sparked something in me!
My photography days stopped when the digital age started making darkroom supplies and time in studio difficult to obtain as a broke college student. I still miss it!
In 2009 I picked up my first digital SLR camera and decided that digital wasn’t so bad after all.
A year later I was shooting my first wedding and like many others, I’ve grown and learned the ropes as things went along. 5+ years later and here I am!
Tell us about your very first shoot:
My best friend wanted maternity photos in 2009 and my husband and I had just gotten this Nikon d80 DSLR.
We set out on a cold, snowy day and when I got back to the computer I remember thinking ‘wait, I took these?’ because they weren’t completely awful.
It was immediately something I knew that I wanted to do again, and I launched myself full force into re-learning the technique. One image of my friend against a yellow door booked me a wedding and several portrait sessions and things just kind of went from there.
(That photo is awful,by the way! I’m embarrassed now looking at it!)
What do you specialize in?
I specialize in Colorado mountain and outdoor weddings. My clients tend to plan their weddings with friends and family in mind, wanting to honor them and celebrate with them on a deeply personal level.
Their weddings are joyous, peaceful, and relaxed and we spend a lot of time planning things out so that the day can be exactly that for them. I keep things moving on a pretty strict timeline, but to my clients and their wedding guests it feels like a beautiful, joyous, emotional vacation day in the mountains.
What three words best describe your style?
I’ve always struggled with boiling this down to three words.
I’m a huge fan of images that look very natural and true to life - so I’m particular about color balance and tonality and sharpness and perspective. I believe that the end result is a very natural aesthetic with authentic romance and emotion.
If you were stranded on a desert island with only one camera, lens, and accessory, what would you hope they would be?
Camera - 5d Mark III
Lens - 85mm f/1.2 (the 135L is actually my go-to lens, but if I can only have one lens ever, I want something more versatile. 85mm is a good in between focal length! Short enough for story telling, long enough for portraits given the way I like to shoot)
Accessory - Ice Light
If you could go anywhere and photograph anything, where would you go and what would you shoot?
Right now, I’m dying to shoot a Caribbean beach wedding with an expensive dress and gorgeous florals and an open air reception. I know that is so cliche, but I would love to do that and follow it up with a huge half-day long sexy and romantic couples portrait session with the bride and groom around the island ending at sunset.
Dreaming of it now. . .ahhhhhh
If you could be photographed by any photographer, living or dead, who would it be?
Can I pick two?
Sue Bryce - I’ve never felt beautiful in photos but she has a gift. I value her not only as a professional, but as a person. Just to be part of the creation of an image with her would be simply incredible.
Amy & Tony Hoffer - Their work blows me away and if I were planning a wedding again we would put no limits on our budget to get them.
What one tip would you give a photographer starting out in your field?
Don’t be defensive when people offer, or when you ask for, critique.
All too often I see photographers, newer ones especially, who will post an image and as the honest critique rolls in they either get defensive, or they have a come back for everything.
For example, the critique might be that the image is too soft, the light is too harsh, the trash can in the background is distracting, and the pose is awkward. Instead of saying ‘what can I do to fix those things’ they say ‘it’s out of focus on purpose, the client wanted her session at noon and there was no shade, I can’t move the trash can & it’s what she wanted in the background, and they wouldn’t let me pose them because the daughter was being difficult’.
All of that is prevented with experience and technique, all of it. The critiques are meant to be helpful and you won’t learn or grow as a photographer unless you can accept them. Instead of immediately trying to justify why your image has the faults they are pointing out, ask them and ask yourself what you can do differently next time.
One of my most gut-wrenching critiques they blasted me for cutting off my clients head and feet. I didn’t get it. I started making excuses for why the composition was like that. If only I had known and respected how much they knew and were trying to teach me!
What websites/blogs do you visit often?
I actually find myself sneaking around on the Fred Miranda wedding photographers forum, some of the talent there is incredible and so inspiring.
What do you find most difficult about being a photographer?
The personal struggle. Am I good enough? Do my clients hate their photos? Are my clients happy with their experience?
It’s real and it’s very hard for me. I will upload and re-edit galleries more often than I care to admit, then present the final product and be sick to my stomach that I still didn’t edit them enough and the client will notice that they are too green or too yellow. It’s totally irrational, but something I have a hard time getting past.
What do you find most rewarding?
Knowing that my couples have images they can look at in 10, 20, 50 years that will bring them right back to the way that they felt on their wedding day.