Shoot: Colleen & Grant’s Wedding
Shoot: Colleen & Grant’s Wedding
Recently I had the privilege to shoot something that I’ve not had the chance to do; capturing the day of the wedding. Many thanks to Wendy of Guerrero Photography for the opportunity to collaborate with her to capture this great day. It was the furthest I’ve traveled for a shoot (California to Ohio), my very first wedding shoot, as well as the first time shooting tandem with another photographer. It was a weekend filled with great people and many laughters, as wells as numerous learning experiences.
Half the battle was figuring out how we were going to get there with all of our gear. Between the two of us we had 3 camera bodies, 2 long lenses, 2 primes, 3 speed lights, and numerous accessories including wireless triggers and light modifiers. Although we had shoulder Lowepro bags, I can say now that with the time and distance we covered it was a life saver that a fellow photographer had lend us a ThinkTank rolling camera bag. It was perfect size as carry on, and took the majority of the weight off your shoulders. Even then the weight on your arm was still enough to make you think twice about going for that tall mocha from Starbucks three moving pathways down the terminal. Note to self, counteract the load by packing extra light on clothes. Be prepared to possibly wear something twice….if it’s not too hot out : p
This was the first time I’ve shot an event with another photographer. So we tried to coordinate prior to the event where and when we can each place ourselves so we can get the essential shots, but still stay out of each others frames. Initially we had discussed having one of us at the front by the side to capture the bride and groom in a wide angle shot, while the other stayed behind the crowd to shoot up the aisle using a long lens. This would have worked, however we ran into the unpredictability of an outdoor wedding.
The grounds were uneven so the chairs were placed off center, meaning we lost the line of sight up the aisle to the bride and groom. The wedding also tended to be on a more informal side, and with bride’s hair and nail appointments running late and everyone on high intensity mode, we weren’t able to gather the exact sequence of the ceremony and what shots we’ll need from what angle. So in the end, we decided to just wing it and keep it simple with just a few rules.
- Shoot solo. Move freely and capture important moments as if there weren’t any other photographers capturing it.
- Stay far from each other. One photographer on opposite ends at all times so we don’t miss anything.
- Unless you’re capturing an important moment, get out of each others frame.
Not the most efficient way of shooting, but it worked very well. If one of us couldn’t move fast enough for something unpredictable but important, the other would be on the opposite end, being able to capture it from a better angle. All we had to do was squat and duck behind someone, or sit in empty seats to blend in with the crowd. Often times we captured the same moments from varying angles and we were able to pick and choose which ever we decide to be the better shot.
The title photo of this blog is essentially the one photo that I definitely wanted to create. It required an off camera flash, a wireless trigger, and crucially someone who can move with you directly across from you with the flash while sandwiching the first dance in the center of the dance floor. The trick was to place the flash directly in-between or slightly off line so the flash would create a flare encompassing the couple, as well as creating a rim light around them as well. With Wendy’s help and patience, numerous hand gestures, and mouthing, we were able to maneuver around the couple’s first dance to capture the shot I wanted.
I like this style a lot, but it’s not suitable to other shots since I can’t have other photographers helping me walk around with a flash all the time, and hiring an assistant to do just that would be somewhat overkill. I’m hoping in the next opportunity I’ll experiment with using multiple flashes on stands around the dance floor. Using multiple channel wireless triggers for the flash, I should be able to specify which flash to set off depending on which direction I’m shooting.
This was a great learning experience for me, as well as a tremendously fun weekend. Some key take away points…
- Have a shoot list. And don’t deviate from it if at all possible.
- Speak with the couple, wedding party, and immediate family about the full roll of the photographer before the event even starts. Sometimes we’ll need to move furnitures around, have them follow our instructions, even wait for us to finish certain shots in order to get the shots in the manner that they hired us for.
- Have fun. Have fun. Have fun : )