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Love Thursday: May 1, 2008


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.

* * * * * * * 

*  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.) 

Reader Comments (68)

A very still and slightly abstract Love Thursday
May 1, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterArlene
A beloved "first" moment. Happy Love Thursday!
May 1, 2008 | Unregistered Commentercuzamora
Here's my first ever Love Thursday post.
May 1, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterabbyjess
I love 'stolen moments'. Definitely loving the shot you took, Karen. Lucky you had your cam right there :)
May 1, 2008 | Unregistered Commentermelanie
so lovely, Karen. And so true- my favorite pix from my wedding were taken by my dad, a pro bird photographer, and not the wedding photog.

here's my stolen moment of love
May 1, 2008 | Unregistered Commenternyjlm
What a fabulous idea and excellent tips; thanks for sharing!

This Love Thursday I am celebrating a fellow blogger (and fellow LT participant) who has just gone through, among other things, the successful removal of a brain tumor:

Happy Love Thursday everyone!
May 1, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterbleeding espresso
I have only ever photographed one wedding for money - and I'll never do it again. I get much better shots when I am not in charge, and much less stress too! Thanks for the extra tips.

This was a shot that I took of my son on the spur of the moment. Nothing fancy, but I really like it.
May 1, 2008 | Unregistered Commenteranna
Perfect moment! My favorite wedding photos are the ones taken by family and friends.

My Love Thursday photo can bee seen either here on Flickr:

or here on my blog:
May 1, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterCocoa
I love what you have here...capture the special moment, a picture that tells a thousand words.

Love Thursday... Dance in flowers!
May 1, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterhandydog
Love the capture of the special moment! What a great shot. I don't do weddings, but I love capturing the off moment at family get togethers. Not so much the "smile for me" shots, but the laugh out loud shots, the friendly shove out of the way when playing croquet, the bent head of a mom listening to her child. I think that's wonderful that you take these candid shots for your friends' weddings!

My Love Thursday shot is up. Love is All Around!
May 1, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterKacey
Beautiful photo! Although I loved my wedding pics, I'd have loved to have you nearby, as well!!
May 1, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterCherrye
What a wonderful moment you captured. And what an awesome gift, a wedding album must make.

I have my own stolen moment this Love Thursday....
It's a beautiful shot. I love garden weddings, I had a garden wedding.

I Love...
May 1, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMelody A.

Spreadin' the love. Getcha some.

And Karen? That is one of the best wedding photos EVAH.
May 1, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterHeather
what a lovely photo! I wish I had one like that from my wedding.

This love thursday is all about an uncle (my husband's brother) and a nephew (my son). They've loved each other ever since the first moment they met.

Happy love thursday everyone!
May 1, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterginna
This is a really fun idea so here is my contribution!!

More love in all our lives!! :O))

May 1, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAnneli
LOVE the wedding pics! You got some amazing shots! At my wedding, the only professional photographer we had was a friend of my husband's. He was a photojournalist who has done work for National Geographic, as well as other publications. All of our professional pics are black and white candid shots. I love how they really capture the story of the day. We did get a few posed pictures that my husband's aunt took, and they are nice to have, but I treasure our candids. What an awesome gift you gave them!
May 1, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterRobin
I have decided that I don't like to take pictures at weddings as "the" photographer either. I like the candids better. I have two family weddings in two weeks and this is exactly what I will be doing!

Here is one from last summer:

Oh, and thanks for the shout-out!
May 1, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMarcene
what's not to love about little girls? here's my contribution:
May 1, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterDawn
The ultimate blooms of Love. Happy Love Thursday! xoxoxoxoxoxoxo
May 1, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterlizziemarie
I've been SOOOO waiting to post this one... finally ready!
May 1, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterFireMom
This is one...but I'll post another from our wedding....
May 1, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJen
in keeping with the post. this is from a wedding. There was a large crowd of guests, a pushy professional photographer, and moment of isolation.
May 1, 2008 | Unregistered Commentertoyfoto

Balloons often symbolize love...particularly when they are delivered by four family members who dropped everything and traveled over 600 miles to visit a sick family member in the hospital before his bypass operation.
May 1, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterW. Lotus
What a great shot :-) I followed your lead and showed a collection of wedding & engagement photos...with a twist:
May 1, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJanet
Strangely, this is my favorite picture from yesterday's wedding...
May 1, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterLivinginChicago
what a beautiful photo of a tender moment. and a great gift!!

here's my love for the day
May 1, 2008 | Unregistered Commentercamerashymomma
Awesome shot! And thanks for the tips. I'm shooting my brother's wedding reception in June and could use all the help I can get.

In the spirit of the upcoming event, I give you my Love Thursday pic for the week:

HLT Everyone!
May 1, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJen
Sorry for two posts, here's another one:
May 1, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJen
gorgeous shot! I love your photography, Karen!

my pic is up:
May 1, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterrachel
ok, so I'm going to have to post twice here too, sorry! I was just thinking about the weeding photography and this wonderful shot that I was able to snap at my brother's wedding a few years ago popped into my head.

It's so cute. Just a stolen moment during the big group family photo shoot. Now I wish I had more weddings to go to so I could sneak around taking pictures!
May 1, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterginna
This picture brought tears to my eyes it's so beautiful.
May 1, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterRachelMM
Those are wonderful tips for shooting at weddings (and what a lovely photo), thank you!

My love thursday contribution is up here:

Happy Love Thursday, everyone.
May 1, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterbonggamom
This was also a stolen moment. My oldest daughter was giggling with another girl (off camera) before her riding lesson. She has the best smile and the best giggle!

Happy LT, all!!
May 1, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterCarrie Harvey
that is a wonderful shot. real love , not posed fr the camera. just beautiful.
my little man picked me this today. happy LT everyone
May 1, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterkristin
Those wedding photos are breathtaking! I prefer guest's photos to the posed photos of most Wedding photographers, and I don't think I could handle the pressure if anyone thought I was good enough to shoot weddings!

Mine isn't a stolen moment, but here's my contribution!
May 1, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterpsumommy
This Love Thursday for me is all about the mysteries of raising a little boy after two girls...and the joy of puddles:
May 1, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterKelly
I love this shot Karen, a true stolen moment. :)

My Love Thursday this week is about grieving over the loss of close proximity to those we love as we prepare to move across the country.

Happy Love Thursday Everyone!
May 1, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterSierra
Beautiful photo...'stolen moments' are so special and priceless. Seeing the love in those teeny moments speaks speaks such volumes! Happy LT :)
May 1, 2008 | Unregistered Commentersperlygirl
May 1, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterLawyer Mama
What a beautiful moment to capture. One I am sure they will treasure for ever.

I am doing my first wedding as a gift for a friend in a month, and thank you for some of the tips!

Here is my contribution this love Thursday:
May 1, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterChristy
I don't have any wedding photos but here is my contribution. Happy Love Thursday!
May 1, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterShalet

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