If I do say so myself, I love the shot you see above.
This past weekend, my friend Dan got married to his lovely bride, Laura. While I never shoot weddings for money (I can't handle the stress), my usual wedding present for friends is to shoot the wedding anyway, and then pull together albums as quickly as possible afterwards, so that they can have photos to look at and share while the professional photographer takes his usual 6 to 8 weeks to compile the official albums. The result is a pretty personal gift that, when done properly*, provides a glimpse of the wedding from a guest's point of view, which can often be very different from the official photographer's perspective.
In this case, the wedding took place in the back garden of the bride's family -- her father owns a nursery, and the house is located on the nursery grounds, so the setting was positively stunning. Throughout the ceremony, I had my camera and was doing my thing; but after ceremony, the minister invited the congregation to have refreshments on the home's large back porch, while the wedding party remained in the garden for pictures. Somewhat dejected, I joined everyone at the house.
I was standing on the porch speaking with my husband and another guest, when all of a sudden I heard someone say, "Oh, someone grab a camera! He's kissing her!" Instinctively, I grabbed my camera and scanned the garden from my vantage point through the viewfinder, until I saw them in the frame. Without really thinking, I squeezed the shutter several times, and the result was the image you see above: a stolen moment between bride and groom, while the professional photographer was busy setting up a shot with other family members. Of the several hundred shots I took that day, this is one of my favourites: one that arose not from any sort of skill on my part, but from just dumb luck, and being at the right place at the right time.
Happy Love Thursday, everyone. Please leave your links of love in the comments section below, and be sure to check out the images left by ladyviv and phizblip in the Shutter Sisters Flickr Pool for inspiration.
And may you have a stolen moment of love today.
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* If the thought of pulling together wedding albums for your friends sounds like something you'd like to try, here are a couple of tips I've picked up along the way that you might find helpful:
1. I generally shoot with my 70-200mm lens when I shoot weddings -- it's cumbersome and unwieldy, but it's a fabulous way to capture intimate shots without the subjects even knowing you're shooting them. Also, with this lens, I can capture the expressions and moments of wedding guests who I don't know (which, in this case, was everyone other than the groom and my husband), without having to interrupt their conversations with friends, or whatever. If you don't have a 70-200 mm, don't worry -- just use the longest zoom you have.
2. When shooting the wedding, tap into your inner photojournalist: don't just get the kiss and the ring picture, but if you see someone sitting in the congregation with a fabulous FourWeddingsAndAFuneral hat, then take the shot when they're not looking. Grab an image of children falling asleep as the minister drones on and on. Snap the woman fanning herself with the program because it's just so hot. These sorts of shots capture memories of the day, and images which the bride and groom will likely be too preoccupied to notice at the time, but will truly value after the fact.
3. Speaking of moments the bride and groom won't notice, don't forget to shoot the guests as they're entering the church or venue where the wedding is taking place. During this time before the wedding, the professional photographer is often busy taking portrait shots of the bride in her dressing room, so often there aren't any shots of the excited anticipation of the guests, or the groom's rampant nerves. Be sure to capture these moments.
4. As much as possible, shoot with available light, and forego the flash, for a couple of reasons: (a) flash tends to make people more self-conscious (and you can't sneak around taking stealth shots as readily as you can without it) and (b) you really don't want to do anything that might ruin the professional photographer's shots -- after all, she's getting paid to take these shots, so she will rightfully resent anything you do that makes her job more difficult. Also, while we're on the subject, it's generally a good idea to stay out of the photographer's way (the zoom lens will help you do that) -- stay behind the photographer as much as possible, and it doesn't hurt to let her know that you don't mind if she needs to tell you directly to get out of her way. Besides, I often find that some of my favourite shots are the "shots between the shots" -- the shots of the group primping and getting ready while the photographer poses them, that sort of thing.
Finally, relax and have fun with it. It's a wonderful way to really start appreciating the couple's big day, keeping your eyes open for stolen moments, and looking out for instances where people let down their guards. The result will be a very intimate view of one of the most memorable days of the couple's lives, and they'll likely appreciate the gift for years to come.
(To see more Dan and Laura's big weekend, click here.)