Jerry Ghionis is by far one of the best wedding photographers in the world. He has won WPPI album and print competitions many times. His ability to capture images is amazing. Not only is he an amazing wedding photographer, he loves to share his knowledge. Jerry runs a website named i.c.e Society, which is full of inspiring videos and tips for photographers.
TPP: Most photographers know who you are so I won’t ask you to “tell us a little about yourself”. But how about you tell us something we don’t know about you?
JG: I’ll tell you two things most people don’t know about me. I am actually missing a third of my left index finger. It happened in an accident when I was only four years old when I was stupid enough to stick my finger in the chain of an exercise bike. It doesn’t hurt anymore. Also, when I was in high school there was an amateur night where four students would showcase their talents every year. I dressed up as Michael Jackson and sang “Man in the Mirror.” I also sang “Time of My Life” with a fellow student and we even performed the entire choreographed dance from Dirty Dancing.
TPP: What is your biggest challenge when photographing a wedding?
JG: The biggest challenge every wedding photographer faces is the ability to work under pressure, think quickly, and create the best out of any situation. Bringing the best out of any situation is one thing that I really pay attention to every week when I’m presented with less than desirable locations. I started asking myself, “How do I turn this ordinary situation or location into something extraordinary.” And that has been my focus over the last several years.
TPP: Do you think knowing how to pose your client is important?
JG: Undeniably yes. I think posing has become a lost art and retained by only a few of the old school photographers. Maximizing someone’s beauty and bringing out the best in someone while hiding their weaknesses is a vitally important skill for a professional photographer. I believe too many photographers are relying more and more on Photoshop to fix problems that can be resolved in camera.
TPP: What was your plan when you first picked up a camera?
JG: I knew I wanted to be a professional photographer pretty much from the day I was given my very first camera at the age of 15. I’ve been shooting as a professional photographer for over 16 years now and starting specializing in weddings right away. Like all young boys I wanted to photograph weddings because I thought it would be a great way to photograph beautiful girls and also because I thought it would allow me to make money quickly from the business. So I approached a very prominent studio at the time and assisted them for a year and a half with no pay – carrying bags until they finally hired me full time as a professional photographer. And the rest is history.
TPP: If you could change one thing about photography what would it be?
JG: I would want there to be some sort of accreditation process to becoming a legally practicing photographer. And another absolute requirement would be that every photographer would have to become an i.c.e. Society member.
TPP: What do you deem essential to be a wedding photographer?
JG: I’m not a huge gear guy. But my favorite lens is undoubtedly the Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 L. I use a long lens for most of the day at a wedding. I find that it’s just a prettier perspective and that everyone looks better with a long lens. As for other essential gear, I love shooting with my 5d Mark IIs, although I have to admit that there’s just nothing like shooting medium format on the Phase I.
TPP: What’s the best piece of advice you have ever received?
JG: The best piece of advice I’ve ever received came from my father. He told me to be careful where I put two things in life. One of them is my signature and the other is….well, have a guess.
TPP: Favorite Movie?
TPP: Favorite Food?
JG: Veal parmigana
TPP: Favorite Music?
JG: Jazz, R&B and soul. To be more specific, I love Robin Thicke, Stevie Wonder, James Brown and Maxwell