The Dolphin (ice formation)

Woman looking at an ice formation in a cave

Lest you think I only talk about weddings, here’s a recent cave shot. I wanted a unique way to look at the ice formation.  I put a medium grid on my flash, a Canon 580 EX II fired by a Pocket Wizard radio slave.  An assistant is aiming it right down the formation, and the light on her face is the little spill from the fact that the grid is a medium one and light is also exiting the formation at various places.  This was only the second place I had used a grid on the flash; I’ve not had it more than a few months.  I have been experimenting with various light-modification devices, and, so far, they seem to be worth the weight and volume to carry them.  They allow me to light the subject(s) with more control than just a flash by itself.

Caves are challenging places to take photos.  On the hard side, you (and your helpers!) have to carry all of the light.  On the other hand, you never have to wait for the “golden hours” of the day (just after sunrise and before sunset), because all of the light is completely under your control.  Add in that they are beautiful (and, in this case, really cold!), and they are one of my favorite places to take photos.

Note added 2011-07-25: This photo received “Best in Show” at the 2011 national Speleological Society print salon and a blue ribbon (Merit Award) in the photo salon.

The importance of the rehearsal

Bridesmaid, flower girls and ring bearers
Bridesmaid, flower girls and ring bearers processing down the aisle at the rehearsal

When I shot the wedding recently, the family said that they did not need photos of the rehearsal. I considered not going, but decided to attend, and I was really glad I went.

While the rehearsal is for the wedding party to know what will be happening when, for me, it was a chance to experiment with lighting options—churches are large, and, even with the lights all on, it was not well-lit. Luckily, the priest allowed me to use flash at any time during the ceremony, so I could figure out what settings and locations for me and the off-camera flash worked best for the various parts of the ceremony. There is no time for experimenting during the ceremony!

Another benefit of being there for the rehearsal, I saw who was going to be where when. This meant that I was prepared for shots on the wedding day.

I got few good shots in the rehearsal; one is attached to this post. This is the bridesmaid, flower girls, and ring bearers as they process down the aisle (they all went together, not separately as in other weddings I have been to).

Wedding photography

A little girl behind lacing ribbon
Recently, I shot my first wedding as a professional photographer. I have shot a few others before just as a favor to friends, but this was a real job, in more ways than one. I can say that the photographers who charge $1000 to $3000 for shooting a wedding earn this price.

This wedding was non-stop shooting from 9:30 in the morning till we left after 8pm at night. We managed only a five-minute lunch between running between various venues, and dinner was inhaled at the reception, in between getting photos of the various reception events.

I will write more about the things I learned in separate posts. Also, if you want to learn more about shooting weddings, a quick web search will quickly give you more advice than you have time to read. Some of this advice was very useful, and combined with the fact I had attended a friend’s wedding about a week before, I was more-or-less ready for the chaos.

To see example wedding photos from this and other weddings, you can check out the gallery of my portfolio.  The bride and her mother said that they were happy with their photos.