From Newspaper to Wedding Photojournalism Cliff Mautner Part 1: The ReDefine Show with Tamara Lackey

From Newspaper to Wedding Photojournalism Cliff Mautner Part 1: The ReDefine Show with Tamara Lackey


Hi, I’m Tamara Lackey on this episode of reDefine Show for AdoramaTV. I speak with fellow Nikon ambassador photojournalist and wedding photographer Cliff Mautner about transitioning out of newspaper photography into the physically and mentally demanding world of wedding photography. Cliff tells out what he’s learned, and what he teaches about shooting grand award-winning work. Check it out. Hi, how are you? I’m doing really well good to see you. I’m glad you’re happy. Again! I’m always happy. You are always happy, you’re not always happy! Do you remember that panel we’re on that one time? Yeah, yes get off my digital lawn! Right that’s it – talking about that kind of frustration you can have sometimes with. Well with.. with.. just today’s world, if you will, from a business standpoint. Or the challenges and what not, but you know wherever you want to take this one. I had a lot of fun on that panel, that was good fun. It was it was all about basically using the new social media landscape. Right, right, right. Which I am so adept at! Yes, but you are though! Not really. So you have been, you’re obviously an extremely successful photographer, you’ve been awarded, I mean how many awards? Well because the those are words translate so well in the business world! What’s like a count? Just a count, what would you say how many awards have you go? I have no idea. If you had to guess, throw a number out. I do not have a number. 46 does 46 sound right..? No! No okay! So about 55? No, I have no idea, the ones that count are very appreciated. Ok, including the Lifetime Achievement award. That was a very nice honor. Yes, yes! That was just recent to. Right yeah. But if the truth be told you know, I was, I think, I’m a little young for it No.1. You’re like – what the crap! What yeah, well you know I said to Jason like so this is it is I got to retire now? It’s over? Yeah. I’ve achieved it all, give me my Walker with the gold plate with my name on it! Basically that’s the signal so you get the Lifetime Achievement it’s time to get out! Yeah! How long have you been shooting? It’s 35 years. Professionally I started working for a weekly newspaper, literally in 1982, the physicality of the job has taken its toll. My knees, my neck, but I’m still, I’m still kicking. Cause say how many weddings would you say you have shot? I’ve been saying a thousand for a little while, so it’s clearly more, there’s some years, I was doing in the mid 60’s and then mid 50’s. Oh yeah, yeah, we’re like a Friday, Sunday, Saturday, Sunday, that type of thing! Yeah I won’t do triples today! You know I’m 54 years old. I’m not, I’ve not doing a triple. Yeah! How long is your average wedding coverage? Well the coverage itself is anywhere between 8 and 12 hours, except if it’s a South Asian event, which is you know days, and then, but realistically speaking you leave your home you don’t get back and it’s about a 14 hour day, the whole thing. The prepping for it. Everybody knows that. You’re charging, and yeah, yeah. I don’t know that everybody knows! Anybody shooting weddings realizes what kind of a day it is! I’m no different than you know any old wedding photographer, they know how long and difficult a day could be. Yeah, yeah, I shot weddings for seven years it’s not nearly as many, and my husband asked to come out on a couple with me, and at the time he was doing Ironman competitions, and incredibly long gruelling insurance events and he came back and he’s like… “How is that just as tiring?”. Try doing it with knees that are you know broken down, but I think part of why it is so exhausting it is so like it is a mental game. With physical events like long distance endurance event but there’s there’s not just like, there’s everything to think about, and then it’s all the things you’re looking for. Oh yeah. And that takes a toll where your concentrating, like you’re almost, like you’re seeing through walls, you know! You’re on, Yeah you have to be on, you have to anticipate, react to what your saying, and you know… I still enjoy much of it, there’s certain things of course that are challenging, but I’m still doing in the four last year I did 44, this year I’ll probably do around 40 and teach my workshops and listen I’m grateful! How many workshops do you a year? I’ll do about four, and you, your workshops are really well-know? Will you tell us a little overview of them. Well very quickly, I want to talk about other things, so the workshop itself is lighting and skill set bootcamp, CMbootcamp.com is the URL. The inception of it was really it was ’08, and it’s designed to empower photographers with the skills necessary to go after a style of their own, so it’s my belief that if your skill set isn’t completely innate, and there’s there’s no thought process between what you see and what you make, that’s when you can begin to really develop that style of your own, and if you’re thinking about settings ISO’s shutters and it all that nonsense, and focus, you really can’t create. So it’s designed to empower these photographers with those skills. Yeah we talk business quite a bit, we talk about a lot of different things. It is 2 and half really intense days that’s helped a lot of photographers. Oh yeah. I do it right out of my studio, and I’m really grateful. Where you based again? I’m right outside of Philadelphia and Haddonfield New Jersey, but it’s 15 minutes from the airport. Ok! that’s brilliant. Yeah that’s cool. And and then what are you covering from a lighting perspective, because lighting workshops as you know, very dramatically, you have strong opinions about you know, how important it is to know lighting, and be able to master it, and you teach it, Well what else do we have? That’s you know what we have To quote Joe McNally it’s all about the language of light, that’s, that’s a little thing and then for me, it’s the only thing that really creates texture, dimension and mood with your imagery, so we we spend a full day talking about some of the basics of available light, directional light, you know exposing for it, different camera modes, all the basics, so we walk before we really start to run, and then we really start sprinting. It’s very hands-on, we have eight, eight models for twenty students, we charter a bus, we feed them. Well it’s it’s you know, 12, 13 hours, we feed them well we cater it, so 12, 13 thirteen hours first day, all just available light skills, that kind of thing and then the second day, it’s all speedlight. Gosh, and speed light is, speedlight, it’s tough for a lot of people, it’s the toughest part, and that’s the single most frequent cause I think. People are afraid of it, they, because many people are “available light photographers” This…. Yeah exactly.. I say it in quotes, you know you see it, well I’m an available… I’ve seen on websites. Yeah. I’m an available light.. because I think people would stop saying that if they didn’t know how simple flash could be! It’s really a pretty simple concept. And so you think the intimidation factors, people feel like, you have to be like, 100% right. Yeah, yeah.. and it’s a great tool and today, it’s easier than ever now. Well it is.. I’m not going to sit her as say.. you know that Nicon system.. blah blah blah, but yes. My methodology is very simple and it’s easy to convey to people yes, and no matter what camera system you’re using, really I love my Nikon system but… Yeah I know you do! That’s all good, but no, enough about the workshops so I’m very, very proud of it, they can google it to google the reviews and that’s all yeah! Thank you so much Cliff, check us out here next time as we dig a little deeper into part two on the technical skills with wedding photography, but until then there is a ton of content you can review and learn from here on Adoramatv.

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