I have the utmost admiration for wedding photographers, talk about a tough gig! I recently went to a friend’s wedding and I was again reminded of just how tough wedding photography is. Despite all the challenges to wedding photography there are a lot of photographers who are making some amazing, creative images. I’m not talking about those wonderfully captured, spontaneous moments that are the result of either luck or that innate 6th sense associated with releasing the shutter at that ‘decisive moment’ (Henri Cartier-Bresson). I trivialize of course the other essentials like technical mastery. You gotta know your gear, your craft and your lighting to be able to work quickly and intuitively if decisive moment photography is your inspiration. Decisive moments aside, there is an aussie photographer making some incredibly creative, borderline fine art images for his wedding clientele, Melbourne based Jerry Ghionis. Check him out, his wedding images are beautiful.
Fine art wedding photography aside, on this occasion I was but one of the many camera wielding guests (ok, so I was wielding two cameras) who was excited at the prospect of being able to experiment and play a little, rather than have to nail the shot. Not having played with my lens baby composer in a while I thought to try out the creative aperture set inside the church. Given the lens baby is a manual focus, manual aperture setting 50mm lens I knew I would need to switch up to a longer lens with flash to capture any real action. See, already having to think contingency, speed and coverage.
Conscious of not getting in the way of the commissioned photographer, I limited my perspective to the immediate perimeter. I was fortunate to have this way too cute tot (gallery below) performing all sorts of maneuvers in the pew directly in front of me. The benefit of having him well within the tight composition of my 50mm lens baby was negated by having to perform feathering miracles with the on camera flash. But hey, I was in happy, playtime photo mode. The background candle lit highlights in the church gave me the perfect opportunity to play with the star shaped aperture. I haven’t used the creative aperture set from the lens baby series all that much. It’s definitely a look reserved for certain subject matter and image making.
Of course it’s not hard to come away with a nice image when you have a couple as good looking as these two (Paul and Nicole) not to mention easy going, fun and confident. I enjoyed shooting the bridal waltz the most ie. the four images composited into a single frame below. I switched off the flash and worked with the constant light the video crew was spilling onto the scene to try and maintain the mood and intimacy of the moment. For these shots I went for a low perspective either sitting or kneeling (also meant I wouldn’t obstruct anyone’s view) and just waited for the lovely backlit rim light that was falling indiscriminately on the dancing couple, to appear. Exposure was a balancing act between picking up a level of discernible detail on the couple and not over exposing the chandelier that hovered above them. In this instance, exposure compensation came in really handy.
Rolling around the fringes of the dance floor, wrapped in a long beaded evening gown I was definitely not the most graceful or eloquent wedding guest. But hey, I didn’t care I was lost in my own moment.