I’ve posted a previous blog about bride’s getting ready, but I love this image for a very different reason. This image, for me, is about a few things, chaos, calm and layers….
Wedding Day Chaos
For me as a wedding photographer in Sussex, chaos is a part of every wedding day. Sometimes it’s a small part, sometimes more, but for me it is one of the reasons I moved from advertising photography to weddings. While planning is a crucial part of the run up to the special day, because weddings are all about people, there will always be an unexpected element and they are better for it. Throw into the mix some flower girls or page boys and you will have more chaos!
At Mike & Mary’s wedding at Sussex wedding venue Findon Manor and St Mary’s, there was plenty of chaos, which added to the energy in my photos of their day. While Mary had her makeup done there was loads going on in the background, several little scenes being acted out between different groups of people. I love a photo that has lots going on beyond the obvious. Most people will glance at a photo and get an initial impression, but I love images that have so much more going on when you spend time looking at each part of it. Like a book you read more than once that you get more from every time you read it.
Order From Chaos
This leads me neatly into a bit of a self indulgent muse about wedding photography and how it is ultimately about creating order from chaos. Almost every photography shoot from advertising and fashion, to weddings is chaotic. Unless you control everything, in which case you will take all the energy out of the final image itself. However much you prepare, it is the shots you get from bringing together the framing, light, characters in the shot as well as your aperture, shutter speed, ISO etc etc, the list is almost endless. As a West Sussex wedding photographer I have a huge range of options to choose from every time I raise my camera to my eye. This is why you will get a totally different shot if you use different photographers. This is also before you even take into account the possibilities in post processing! Ultimately it is our job to bring together these chaotic forces into a great image. Many photographers will go for the easy and obvious, a great photographer will do something much more interesting and meaningful.
A Calm Bride
As you can see from my photograph, Mary was the image of calm in a chaotic morning. She let everything happen around her, enjoying it as she went along. I wanted to capture that calmness amongst the turmoil and my chance came as she was having her makeup beautifully done by Jenna West. I captured a lot of the chaos itself, but this shot really captured what I felt Mary herself was experiencing on that very special day for her.
Layers Within An Image
There are so many things going on in this image, from the obvious to the much more subtle. As a relative outsider there are only so many things I can appreciate that are happening, but hopefully for Mary and Mike, knowing all the characters so well, they will see so much more.
There is also the layering of the light. I shot with the light behind me so it would highlight Mary and gradually get darker and darker towards the back of the room lighting the different characters to varying degrees and so give them varying prominence.
The focus is also layered as I shot at f4 so that Mary would be pin sharp, but everyone else would be out of focus, more so towards the back of the room. If I had shot at f2.8, the characters other than Mary would have been too out of focus, at f5.6, they would have been too in focus. I wanted Mary’s face to be the first thing you look at, because of the light and the focus, then to be drawn further into the image.
My Camera Settings
Camera – Fuji XT2
Lens – Fujinon XF 16-55mm f/2.8 R LM WR
Shutter speed – 1/125 sec
Depth of field – f/4
ISO – 800
Exposure – manual