The theme for this wedding was football and this was represented in various ways throughout the day. There was also a pretty lengthy shot list in which we were going to shoot the wedding party in several football formations and situations in a planned outdoor location. Mother nature put here two cents in and derailed those plans and most of the shot list was thrown out the window as a result. This is why the first image in this post is so significant.
The show must go on and although plans were changed, we still had an awesome day!
The first dance is one of my most anticipated shots in any wedding. I’m not sure exactly why, maybe it has something to do with my love for music. When most people think wedding photo, they probably visualize an image of the bride and groom either kissing or posing for the camera. First dance is always atop my list, if not first. I think it’s because you can always find a picture of two people kissing or smiling for the camera, they are flooded all over facebook. There is a certain class when I look at a nice image of two people dancing.
I am anticipating this image from the moment I enter the reception venue. I visualize where I am going to stand, where my assistant will be and any other variables that come into play. My assistant has a pretty important assignment during this time and needs to have some experience, or it does not work. That is why I am happy that my wife has taken this responsibility and has been working with me now for over a year.
The newlyweds have just been introduced to the reception and are now on showcase in the center of the dance floor. There is a moment when their song begins to play where they both seem to block out the reality that they are surrounded by every important person in their lives right now. The moment is usually just that, a moment and it’s gone. I always try to capture this moment if it happens because sometimes they come out of it, reality kicks in and it looks as if they are dancing for the camera.
Sometimes it takes time for a child to warm up to the stranger with the big camera. If you don’t have an opportunity to photograph a child before the formal portraits, and they are either shy or just do not want to have their photo taken, it may not turn out good. One very important thing I learned about photographing people in general is that there is just as much work that goes into building relationships as actually taking pictures and are often done at the same time. By that I mean simply getting to know people and more importantly, letting them get to know you and feel comfortable with you.
This beautiful young lady was as shy as can be when I arrived at the home where the bride was getting prepared. I introduced myself and went about setting up my camera. I tried not to move around too much as to intimidate her. I sat close to my equipment bag and was testing some shots inside the den where the wedding dress was hanging. The sunlight was pouring in through the windows, so I was testing for a good exposure on the dress where I would not blow out the highlights or underexpose from the sunlight. I then opened up a third stop to better expose for skin tones because I wanted to be ready to grab a shot of her, which I knew would be quick.
I turned around to see what she was up to. She was peeking her head out from the kitchen watching everything I was doing. I told her I liked her tiara and asked if I could take her picture because she looked so beautiful. She nodded yes and quickly ducked right back into the kitchen. When she peeked her head back out, I was already focused and ready to snap the shot that literally lasted about a half a second. I smiled and said “I got you”. I then asked her if she would like to see the photo. She smiled and nodded yes again as she came over to look at the back of my camera. I told her again how beautiful she looked and wouldn’t you know it, she followed me around and modeled for me for the next 20 minutes. When it came time for the formals, she was my best subject (next to the bride, of course).
This weeks image of the week comes from a wedding I just finished covering 11 hours ago. I rarely post images from events this recent, but it is so vivid in my mind. These people were so much fun, I could not help myself.
A 13 hour day of no pressure, fun-filled image making. From the moment I entered the brides home, her family and friends were so warm and inviting. Both families were amazing and the core group of friends could not have closer. They were genuinely cool with awesome personalities all around. It was so great to work with them. You know it’s a good night when the family and wedding party are looking for you at the end of the night (or morning) to make sure they say goodbye to you before you split. It really was awesome to have met everyone last night.
Congratulations to Shamie & Anthony. I look forward to meeting with you soon to go through your images together. More images to come soon.
I met Ryane and Mike last year when I photographed a wedding for their very good friends. They were both in the wedding party and spent some time with me that day (a good trial run). I have to admit, I do not approach each wedding as if I am attending a job interview, but it’s important to realize that each time you go out to do a job, you are potentially being evaluated.
A few months after their friends wedding, I receive a phone call from Ryane explaining that she enjoyed my stealth shooting style and how I handled documenting the entire wedding. The formals were quick, comical and relaxed and they were amazed at the images I was able to capture while remaining unseen at the ceremony and reception. This was especially important to Ryane as she does not like being in front of the camera, which is very common. This is perfect for me, because this is how I shoot.
To wrap this up, they both visited me this past weekend to see their images for the first time and I was able to witness their true reaction to the images. I was definitely pleased because I knew then that I made them both happy.
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.
The wedding album is the icing on the cake for me when it comes to wedding photography. It’s the ultimate presentation of the favorite images and it better be pretty damn awesome. Which is why I enjoy designing these books so much.
Some time after the bride & groom have seen their images, they will select their favorites for the album or allow me the power so select these images, or a little of both. In either case, I then get to work on designing a book that begins as a single blank white page and becomes a carefully designed masterpiece filled with some of their most cherished memories of the wedding day.
Peggy & Mike are two very cool people. I had such a great time documenting their wedding for them. The weather was perfect, the Harbor Links Golf Club is awesome, The Times Square Orchestra kicked ass and their family and friends kept the party going strong all night. You just could not help yourself from singing the words to every song they played. There were not many people sitting during this reception.
Congratulations you guys. I know you will have an awesome life together.
I met Kelly & T.J. while they were planning their wedding and new lives together. Eager and careful when choosing their wedding services, they knew exactly what they were looking for. We met for a little over an hour discussing details and interests and I realized they just wanted to feel comfortable in knowing they weren’t just getting a cookie cutter wedding package with a stranger showing up on their wedding day. They were getting something that fits them.
We ended our meeting having discussed a lot of wedding stuff and they wanted to still discuss amongst themselves before making a decision. I received an email 10 minutes later while they were still on their way home that I was chosen as their photographer. They were gracious and kind and we began to build a friendship before a single image was even taken.
Fast Forward – It’s been almost two years since we first met. Their wedding album is now complete and in two months they will be blessed with a new edition to their family. All the best to you guys. You are awesome and have been nothing but good to me.
Thank you and Congratulations!
Hit he play button to see Kelly & TJ’s wedding album.