Why I Love this Wedding Photograph
Starting the Wedding Day
I always start the wedding day excited, despite having been a photographer for over twenty years! The bridal preparations are possibly my favourite part of the day, with the anticipation and high expectations. A bit like going on stage, once I have my cameras out & start shooting, my nerves go & I focus on the job in hand. I suspect it’s the same for the bride, nerves and anticipation make for a heady mix, so the atmosphere where the bridal party are getting ready is usually particularly highly charged. Sometimes the bride & also some of her bridesmaids & family haven’t sleep that well the night before, so along with a lot of laughter & fun there can also be a little bit of stress & sometimes tears. It’s part of my job to be calm, I’m often looked to for advice & reassurance as I’m the one person there that has been through it all many times before. In fact if I stopped to count it would be many hundreds of times, including my own wedding!
Bridal Preps at Horsted Place
There was actually very little stress while Sarah was getting ready for her Sussex wedding at Horsted Place. The venue itself will have helped as the staff there are excellent, but I also think it had a lot to do with Sarah herself & her family. Well prepared, Sarah looked like she was really loving the time with her bridesmaids & family while they got ready. This particular shot summed up Sarah’s bridal preps for me, her laughing while she had her hair & make up done.
Photographing the Groom Getting Ready
Men getting ready are very different to photograph, mostly the men seem to want to get dressed & get on with the day rather than spending lots of time preparing. As a result I often find photographing them once they are dressed & are either at a pub or are greeting guests at the church or venue, to be a better option. The intimate moments that I capture with the bride don’t happen with the guys getting ready, instead they happen afterwards when they are dressed & waiting for the ceremony to start & it’s those shots that I’m looking for. It’s usually a hand on a shoulder or a reassuring word from the best man to the groom as the time for the ceremony approaches.
How I shot this Sussex wedding photograph
I love using perspective & depth. Getting the hairdresser’s shoulder & hand in the foreground gave a particularly good shape to the shot. Also, as you look at the photo for a while you begin to notice Sarah’s hair being held up by the hairdresser. I really enjoy photographs that reveal more to you the longer you look at them. Technically I had to be aware of the harsh sunlight coming through the window behind the mirror, I had to get my exposure just right so highlights in the shot weren’t completely blown out. I used a shallow depth of field on my telephoto lens to drop the hairdresser’s hands & shoulder out of focus so the attention went immediately to Sarah’s face in the mirror, though not so shallow that the hands & shoulder couldn’t be identified. I also used a high shutter speed as there was movement I wanted to freeze in the shot.
Camera – Canon 5D MKIII
Lens – EF24-70mm f/2.8L II USM at 70mm
Shutter speed – 1/2500 sec
Depth of field – f/4.0
ISO – 3200