The Best Man’s Speech
There comes a point at almost every wedding where the groom has to sit through the best man’s speech. Sometimes it’s lovely, sometimes funny, often embarrassing. The groom & guests’ reactions are almost always worth capturing. I always watch the groom’s mother too as she will find some of the content of the speech emotional too.
The Groom’s Reaction
In this particular photo, Alex was finding his best man’s speech quite uncomfortable. I love the way his ushers & some of the guests turn to see his reaction. His face says it all. I particularly like the fact that the videographer is having a smile behind his camera & Alex’s new wife, Steph is really laughing in the foreground.
The Bride & Groom’s Story
The main reason I moved over from advertising photography to become a Sussex wedding photographer is because when I shot my first wedding as a favour to a relative, I had no idea of the depth of emotion that goes into a wedding for a photographer. I soon found out as I went through the day slowly learning more & more about the bride & groom, how great this is for me. This added an emotional element to my photography that had been missing in advertising & all the other areas of photography I’ve experienced in my career. Fashion, cars, interiors, they are all good fun, but none have the emotional experience of shooting a wedding day. It’s very easy to judge people, we all do it even without thinking about it. But on a wedding day, the bride & groom’s story is laid bare for everyone to see. I love finding out about the couple whose day I have been entrusted to photograph, it almost always changes my opinion of them fundamentally. The speeches are when I find out the most of course. The father of the bride talking about his daughter, the groom talking about his new wife, often how they met & their lives together so far & of course the best man talking about the groom.
How I photograph the speeches
The speeches are one of the most challenging as well as rewarding parts of a wedding day to photograph. I like to move around quite a bit, getting lots of different angles. However, I have to be aware of where I am at what point because certain people will be reacting at certain points & I need to be in the right place at the right time. So, thinking ahead during the speeches is crucial. It’s also quite hard to move around during the wedding speeches, as guests will have moved their chairs around & will be blocking the gaps between tables. I’m also painfully conscious of blocking guest’s views of the top table, so I try not to linger in one position too long, so I’m only blocking a guest’s view for a short time. I shoot most of the speeches on a telephoto lens. Either an 85mm lens or at the top of my 24-70mm zoom. It’s important in my view not to go in too tight on guests, as the reactions of people around them are important too & inform why that person is laughing or reacting in the way they are. The shot above is a case in point, it’s not just Alex’s reaction, but the reactions of the people around him that are important too.
Here’s a list of the photographic equipment I was using for the shot above
Camera – Canon 5D MKIII
Lens – EF24-70mm f/2.8L II USM at 70mm
Shutter speed – 1/160 sec
Depth of field – f/2.8
ISO – 800
Exposure – manual