Wedding photography is all about capturing special moments, frozen instants full of expression, meaning, and story. Light and shadow, composition, and timing all contribute to memories worth reliving, for decades. As someone who has been married for thirty-three years, I look back on those photographs and see family members and friends now gone, I understand the joys and heartaches of a life fully lived, and I reminisce a bit about the innocence of those times. Those images are special to me.
And so, while wedding photography is not my day job, I had an opportunity to shoot one in a thirteen hour marathon with Joey a few weeks ago that was both thrilling and exhausting. It’s a challenge and a privilege to be entrusted with the task of capturing memories for a couple’s future reminiscence.
It took everything in my photographic toolkit (knowledge, vision, and gear) to capture the pre-wedding festivities, the ceremony and reception. But then comes that dreaded part of the day: the dancing. Most wedding photographers will forego this portion or tops, will capture only a sparing few photos save for the obligatory first dances. I think a major reason is this: still images of people dancing are unappealing. Dance is about motion, rhythm, beat. There is exuberance and celebration and most well-taken images portray stilted, awkward poses that make little sense without the accompanying movement.
I thought I’d try something a little different. And now I’m wondering whether it even works.
My Fujifilm mirrorless camera has a set of advanced filters that I don’t typically use. They seem gimmicky to me and include miniature effect, dynamic color, pop color, toy camera and the like. Yeah, no thanks.
As the reception progressed and I was nearing the end of the shot list (and my energy threshold), it occurred to me that it might be interesting to experiment with the advanced filters during the dancing. I ended up using miniature which blurs the borders, accentuates color and provides a segment toward the center of the frame of maximum focus. I used flash but slowed the shutter speed down and played with motion of the camera, including spinning it and pushing it forward and backward during exposure. My hope was that it would help illuminate the movement and emotion in a new and creative way.
I’m wondering whether to deliver some to the bride and groom. What do you think?
Here are some additional examples.