The father daughter dance is a tradition as most weddings and can be pretty emotional some times. They both know the cameras are on them at this point, along with the eyes of every family member and guest at the wedding….including Mom. Mom is usually front row on the sidelines watching while she sits this one out. But that doesn’t mean she gets left out completely. I try to capture mom in several of the images I take of the father daughter dance. The close ups are a given, but these images say a bit more.
I have been working so much these last 8 weeks, and have looked through 20,000 photographs from recent weddings and portrait sessions. Besides a perfect portrait, the images that stand out most for me are the documentary captures that I position and wait for. Capturing an evocative and timeless moment that isn’t staged is very rewarding. No words necessary to describe what the person is thinking at that very moment. It says it all.
This moment was one that I anticipated, and having spent some time with both the bride and maid of honor before the ceremony, I was certain to capture it. The maid of honor and best man were positioned opposite the bride and groom on the alter, which was a cool setup because they did not have to turn around to see each other. They caught eye contact during the ceremony just as they were about to begin exchanging vows and there it was.
There are many important things to pay attention to during a wedding ceremony, some of which does not even occur on the main stage. There are many guests and everyone at the ceremony is in some way important to the couple getting married.
My job is to tell a story with my images and that does not mean keep the camera pointed at the couple. I need to keep an eye on the people in the first couple of rows…such as Mom & Dad. Very proud and emotional beyond control, mom could not stop herself from crying tears of joy as her daughter is starting a new journey in her life. Dad, trying to keep it together as best he can, and checking in on Mom as he knows how she is feeling. This image helps tell the story because you can almost feel the emotion pouring out of this still photograph.
This weeks image of the week is part of a bride & groom shoot taken earlier this year. Once I am finished grabbing all the formal family and wedding party images, I spend time with the bride & groom and we have some fun. This is the first time the couple are together without an entourage and they usually embrace the moment. I had the opportunity to spend some time with them during the engagement shoot last summer, so I am familiar with the couple in front of my camera. This is key.
As a wedding photographer, I need to have the skills to pull off a great portrait and I am constantly studying and trying different types of lighting. The lighting is key and when done right, it appears as if the image was lit naturally. The place sometimes looks like a studio set (portable however, cause we are constantly moving) for a TV show with the lighting and surrounding people waiting to grab their own snaps of what I am creating. Grab all you want. No flash however, while I’m getting mines!
When I am working with the bride & groom, I need to make them feel as if we are alone no matter the case. To me a portrait is not just about posing, but even more important is the expression. This image was directed in that I told them where and how to stand, the groom to put his hands around her waist and for her to place her hand on his chest. All natural and simple posing. If the posing gets complicated, then the images do not look natural and may as well be deleted from the camera. I asked the groom to gently lean in and kiss the side her forehead while the bride looks away. When the groom went in for the move, I called the brides name and she looked at me with the emotion she was feeling just as the groom laid the kiss on her. It can be hit or miss, but this technique can be quite rewarding if all goes well. A nice image to add to their collection and the bride is wearing a beautiful expression.
This is the first installment of my image of the week series on my blog and I hope to continue for a while. My blog has been all over the place with all the different material I have been shooting and I need to try and get a routine going to keep things in order. I like to shoot anything and everything. Even though I can most certainly be labeled a wedding photographer, I like to share other images throughout my experience.
Anyway, I thought a good way for me to bring some consistency to my blog is to do an image of the week post where I can post one image per week and say as little or as much as I would like to say about it. Hopefully others will join in and post their opinions to make this even more interesting. The image I choose can be of anything recent or old, but you can bet a majority will be wedding images.
I thought I would start with an image of a wedding I shot just this past weekend. The thing I love about this image is what it stands for. The couple actually did a grand exit from the wedding reception in a classic cadillac with the just married sign on the back. I did capture the full shot of the car with the sign, but the challenge here was to capture the last kiss through the bright glare in the back window, which lasted about a half a second before they were off. It was so classic and vintage. People just don’t do this anymore.