Why I Love this Wedding Photograph
Intense wedding dancing
Photographing dancing at a Jewish wedding has to be one of the most intense moments to capture for a natural wedding photographer. For about ten minutes I will be trapped in the middle of a mass of energetic & enthusiastic guests all throwing themselves around the room to frenzied music. For the men it’s a test of strength & endurance as they are thrown, literally, around the room.
Lifted on chairs
At this particular wedding Lee was thrown up on a sheet, one of the more traditional of dances, but was also thrown along a line of men with arms linked. He had to run along a line of men lying on the ground & of course be carried overhead on a chair with his bride Emily in another chair as they connected with the aid of a serviette. Looking at their faces as they are lifted up, it is clearly an unnerving experience. From the ground it looks okay, but once up there I suspect it must be terrifying. The chairs wobble & weave as the dancers sway beneath them, I doubt it resembles anything else you’d care to try. The Function Band kept it all going perfectly, keeping the tempo high. Here’s another Jewish wedding where there was dancing, with lots more photos. It has to be said that it’s often only due to the toastmaster that things return to normal with the minimum of damage.
Photographing the dancing
This kind of wedding dancing, or indeed any action photography of this sort, takes a lot of forethought. To go into it without thinking it through first could mean at best some pretty ordinary shots & at worst a lot of out of focus or blurred photos. A fast shutter is an obvious & very necessary first thing to ensure. Because it is extremely hard to fix onto any particular point it is also important to have a good depth of field. While I’d love to be able to have a short depth of field to isolate the action, the chances are I would end up with maybe one or two good shots but little else. Having a good depth of field means I can shoot without worrying too much that what I’m shooting will be out of focus, bearing in mind I will sometimes end up surrounded on all sides by wedding guests jumping & spinning, so I can’t always be standing still to frame a particular shot I want. For some shots I will literally be holding the camera above my head & shooting in the direction of the shot I want.
Wide angle lenses
I usually use a wide angle lens & get stuck into the action. It is of course possible to stand somewhere such as the stage where I can see all the action, but to my mind that misses the point & all the energy. Getting stuck in & being right where all the action is is what counts. It’s a tough & nerve-racking experience, but yields wonderful photographs with loads of energy.
Camera – Canon 5D MKIII
Lens – 24mm
Shutter speed – 1/160 sec
Depth of field – f/4.0
ISO – 3200