A few weeks ago I attended a friends wedding as a guest. As I normally do, and with their understanding, I always bring my camera along in the hope that I may be able to capture a few unique shots that will add to their memories.
I was not the official photographer and as I have mentioned before, this is not a job that I am willing to undertake. Not being the photographer allows some freedom to get different images and since the camera is with me at all times, to get images long into the night.
The downside is that I don’t have any control for setting up those studio type shots or my camera position if I am near these events.
One of the main objectives is to capture the bride and groom and their guests interacting with each other and just having fun.
The groom on the left is reacting to a comment made by one of the best men.
This was an outdoors wedding with a sunny cloudless sky, about mid-afternoon. Being a guest meant that I could only shoot from the edges with a zoom lens (300mm), therefore the ability to use fill flash to reduce some of the dark shadows is not possible.
Luckily, I am able to take images in RAW because, even with a great camera, as the Nikon D300, the tonal range from the black hair to the backlit white hair is difficult to capture. I was able to recover the detail in the flowers and white hair.
Outdoor sunlight is not what I would call the best glamour lighting, but if you are able to move about and take several shots, you can find pleasing angles where some of the harshness is reduced.
With a digital camera and a good size memory card (16GB in my case) good candid shots will turn up. There were several shots taken at this location and this is the one I prefer because the priest is looking down so the main focus is on the bride and groom looking into each other’s eyes.
I love this moment because of the tenderness of the groom lifting the veil getting ready for the traditional ‘Kiss”. There is a bit of humor captured in the moment as the bride grins when the groom struggles a bit with the lifting of the veil.
Of the images taken of the kiss, I prefer this the most as during their embrace they where able to block the priest fully. Also, their arms are fully locked around each other as they share a moment of intimacy. When shooting moments like this, firing the shutter release rapidly allows you to find some images where all the visual elements work and there are no distracting protrusions. These were taken at the back isle of the seating, so there was not much room to move about for a different angle.
They are now married
As they left the altar and did their walk down the grassy area, I ran up the field and positioned myself so that the sun would be at their back. This allowed me to have some images without the dark shadows and sunlit areas on their faces and create more softness.
The Evening Party
The guests have all witnessed the commitment and love between the bride and groom. The bridesmaid and best men have all performed their important duties and now evening has arrived and it is a time to celebrate the wedding with food, dance and song.
The happy couple enjoying some humorous toasting and stories from their best fiends.
To listen to the stories told, well these are not for public consumption, but for laughter and to better understand the couple.
The evening photography is also a time for me to experiment a little. In the image below, the couple’s first dance, I wanted to get low to slightly distort the perspective to give the bride’s dress and feet more prominence.
Experimenting with Flash
With higher end cameras and flash units, you are able to remotely trigger the flash. For several shots I set the flash on the ground and walked around outside the tent to capture different lighting moments.
It does produce a strange lighting effect but since these included many people enjoying themselves I have not included any here. They are just for the family to enjoy.
I did notice that the flash produced a large dark circle on the ground around the flash due to the flash sticking up slightly in its normally angled position.