December 9, 2014
Near the beginning of the year I had three of my good friends all tell me they were going to be getting married. I was excited for all of them because they are all great guys and they had met some incredible women. As they started to send me the invites and save the dates I noticed that all three weddings were three weeks in a row. On top of that they were in three different destinations.
Oddly enough all three asked if I would shoot their wedding while also providing an invite. As I actually like all these guys and I dislike shooting weddings enough to charge a large amount unforgivingly. Weddings are extremely difficult events to capture and it is one day you don’t want to have an off day because it will never happen again. So being that I treasure my friendship with all of them more I opted not to shoot their weddings.
In the early summer I was talking to my brother about his wedding, and asked how he liked the photography he had paid for. He wasn’t as stoked as he wanted to be and felt that there was nothing to great that he would want to hang on his wall as art. I felt bad for him and wished I had taken the image I had seen in my mind after getting to the venue. He Reception was at the Omni Parker House Hotel in Boston on the roof top reception hall. It was a dream location, the shoot I saw was on the roof top over looking Boston and the sun was setting. It is my favorite scenario to shoot with the right gear, the photographer had tried to get the shot but it fell short of everyone’s expectations.
After talking to him and hearing his disappointment I had the idea that I would try to not let that happen to any of these three upcoming weddings. I was not going to shoot the wedding but I was going to give them a memorable shot to remember their day. My idea was to set up sometime during the reception when I could sneak away and set-up the lighting and use a test pair to get it ready, then pull the bride and groom away for just a moment to get the shot, clean up and be back to the reception before anyone noticed anything.
I started with Nate and Kristine’s wedding in Phoenix AZ. We didn’t get back to the Kristine’s parents house for the reception until after the sun had gone down so I had to find something that could be dramatic and in the area. I settled on the entryway to the house. It was very symmetrical and could be used to frame the couple. Lighting was the next issue. I had to pull the subject’s way from the house into the year so that I could under expose the house while lighting the subjects, with them to close I would also be lighting the background. I used a three light set up with two Nikon SB700’s for the rim lights and an Einstein in a 36” octabank directly above me. It took some troubleshooting but I got it where I wanted and got these shots.
The next wedding was for Nick and Heather in Petaluma, just north of San Francisco. Nick was my first roommate outside of the dorms in college and also my first boss at the Gap Outlet in Petaluma while I was in college. Nick and Heather were getting married at a farmhouse in Petaluma that provided a nice setting at sunset to capture them. I wanted the background a bit under exposed again to help them jump off the page. I set this up in a five minutes then pulled them away for about 2-3 minutes to get these shots. I put them in black and white as well as color because Heather prefers the classic look of black and white. Here were their shots. For the lighting I used the Einstein 36”octabank camera left about 45 degree above them and Nikon SB 700 for a separation light to separate Nick’s black suit from a dark background.
The last wedding was for Scott and Leslie in San Diego, It happened to be in area I am very familiar with and knew what their shot was going to be immediately. The Venue is on the San Diego Bay harbor and has a straight on view of downtown. I wanted to get them with the downtown lights in the background. I used Nate and Kristine from the first wedding as my test subjects to get the light right and then grabbed Scott and Leslie from inside. I literally had four shots to this image, when that fourth shot came in I knew it was the winner and I let them go back to their party. The lighting from this one was a little more difficult. I ended up shooting it on a tripod with a long exposure and two SB700’s in Westcott Rapid box modifiers (the 26” octa and a Strip bank). With everyone being drunk I couldn’t get them to stand still for the shot so what I did was set the tripod on the camera and get the lighting right for them. Once they left I took a long exposure of the San Diego skyline and used Photoshop to mask out the original background. Since it was on a tripod it was really easy to do. Here are the results.
I had a blast at the wedding and I hope the new couples are happy with their images.