This post is the first using the new format I mentioned in my last post: An image with some text.
Sounds elementary, sounds like the basis for most blogs I guess, right? Well, not for me - the self confessed 'waffler' and easily distracted writer. So, I hope you find this blog post topical, to the point, but most importantly: interesting:.
This image is from one of my favorite weddings of 2012: The October wedding of Gemma and Dave Collinge:
Gemma and Dave were married in a beautiful ceremony set in the stunning grounds of Wasing Park, Aldermaston (UK). Dave admitted, even in his testimonial that he is camera-shy and really does not like to have his picture taken. I actually photographed Dave and Gemma's engagement party a year earlier and remember thinking how Dave never really seemed as comfortable with the camera around as other people. All year I had been dreading photographing the wedding a little bit, knowing that if he looked uncomfortable in their wedding photos it would show through and really stand out.
I arrived early at Wasing Park with Neil, my assistant for the day. Only Gemma and her bridal party were there at the time so we started by getting some shots of the girls getting ready. Dave and his guys arrived slightly later. From the moment Dave stepped out of the car you could see the idea of a photographer being there was perhaps not one he was warming too.
After Dave had the chance to look around to ensure that everything was going to plan (whilst trying to stay out of Gemma's view) Neil and I started posing the guys for a few casual shots to get them warmed up. It was clear at that point Dave wasn't going to be an easy subject. We had a little bit of banter and little by little Dave seemed to relax and the images were getting better and better. But still, Dave wasn't as relaxed as I wanted him to be. I know it was his wedding day and that he was perhaps a little nervous, but I wanted him to have fun, I wanted him to enjoy having his picture taken!
Luckily, there was a secret weapon in our bid to crack a good smile out of Dave: Angus.
Angus - The Best Man
Angus was Dave's best man and a really funny guy. He had a laugh that would trigger other people off too - Dave especially. This was great. This was exactly what we needed. I knew that if Dave was distracted enough, or laughed enough it would make him forget about the goings-on of the morning and just enjoy the time leading up to the ceremony.
So, after a few more shots with the guys I pulled Angus to one side early in the day and explained that I was really going to need his help to make Dave both relax and smile a little more naturally. Angus obliged and understood exactly what I was getting it.
Whenever we were about to take a picture he had the knack of saying something to make Dave chuckle, just enough to make that very forced-looking smile into a natural, genuine smile. I'd then wait for Dave's laugh to settle a little and snap away. It worked excellently. By the end of the evening Dave was a man transformed. He seemed quite happy to have his picture taken when prompted or asked.
Angus really made a huge difference to the end result. Dave having his best man make him laugh and make him feel comfortable was the key to unlocking the great smile that Dave actually has.
This picture fell into place when I was busy photographing Dave and the girls under the white umbrella's. I had seen that rain was forecast so I purchased some huge white umbrella's for the day, knowing that if we were going to be outside taking pictures in the rain, it's better we do it under clean, white umbrella's rather than an assortment of umbrella's that have been scrambled together by family members and staff.
It was, as forecast, raining. Not much though, but just enough to get people quite wet if they were outside for too long. After getting the shots I needed of Dave with his beautiful bride and her bridesmaids I then asked Angus to step forward and join them. Angus was waiting to one side of me under a black umbrella with a brown, wooden handle, an umbrella practically the complete opposite to the ones I had handed to Dave, Gemma and the bridesmaids.
As Angus approached the group someone stepped in to take the black umbrella away from Angus when I realised I could have a little fun!
Seeing how Angus was so up for having a laugh and was more than happy to play along I arranged it Angus to stand a little to one side. I then asked him to look as glum as possible nuder his black umbrella. Then I asked everyone to point and laugh at Angus. Everyone seemed more than happy to do so! It took a moment before everyone realised what I had put together, but the forced laughter became real and everyone started to have fun with the situation and we ended up with the image you see above
Dave actually looked back at the camera, almost as if to say 'What are you doing?!'...but I think it actually works for the image!
Having the smiley, happy people all standing together under the white umbrella's, with Angus, the outcast under his black umbrella. This was exactly the shot I was going for and I was pleased I managed to get this work!
For me, this is an image (and story) that represents the events of the day of Dave and Gemma's wedding: lighthearted and fun, everyone had a good time.
The Collinge wedding was a huge success and perhaps the best wedding I've been to, let alone had the pleasure of photographing. So much fun, so many willing models, and the transformation of Dave from stone faced (sorry Dave) to smiley groom was a complete turn around that made the day so much better.
Tech Specs & Gear
Camera: Canon 7d | Lens: Canon 24-70 L USM | Flash: None
ISO: 1250 | f-Stop: f5 | Exposure time: 1/250 second
As with all my images, Edited in LightRoom 4. No re-touching done in Photoshop on this image though
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