CAPTURING QUIET MOMENTS AT WEDDINGS

Photo by David Page , France

Weddings can be chaotic, noisy affairs where emotions are displayed publicly, so one of your biggest challenges that day can be capturing that quiet, intimate side. Trust, anticipation, skilled observation, savvy lens selection and a host of other judgments make it possible to bag those poignant moments in images that recall the day for those in attendance, and reveal a story for those who were not. It is all part of the unique value proposition that our members bring to wedding photojournalism.

There are many facets of a photojournalist’s background that instinctively inform and guide their professional achievements. Because so much of their work involves observing human nature, they almost need an anthropologist’s approach to photography. In fact, some have actually obtained an anthropology degree for this very purpose.

Others have taken a real world approach, cutting their teeth as newspaper and magazine photojournalists. Working a beat, you quickly learn how to get to the genesis of an emotion; how to capture a thousand words of feeling in a single image, frozen for eternity. Often it’s the small moments, the wordless reactions to overarching events, which carry the most power.

Photojournalism, at its core, is a master class in personal biography.

One can see the effects of this training in several places at a wedding. But only if you’re looking for it. Like most masters of artistic vocations, great work is defined by the seamless application of talent. Remember that home video that was shown at the reception of the bride and groom as children, growing up before everyone’s eyes? While the crowd was glued to the screen, the photographer had his lens trained on the couple’s parents, waiting for that private tremor of emotion to appear.

The raw untouched reaction shot is a prized asset at weddings, and it’s these kinds of personal connections that photojournalists live to immortalize.

ISOLATING THE MOMENT

There are moments when the emotional current flows strongest between just two people; when having anything else in the frame would only serve to distract from the developing connection. At that second, a sense of purpose immediately overrides the situation and intuition kicks in.

Imagine a father of the bride walking into a room and seeing his daughter in her veil and gown for the first time. The photojournalist anticipates the impending reaction and fully isolates the shot on the father. Here, instinct and experience are a photographer’s two most invaluable tools.

And this extends to their physical tools as well. Some journalists will carry longer 50mm to 85mm lenses, for the explicit purpose of framing and pulling in these intimate single-focus shots. Silent contemplative observation of the crowd serves photojournalists very well, as they wade into the fray and expertly ply their long range shooting skills once the moment presents itself.

Equipment, planning and a healthy portion of luck can result in some astounding visuals. But as any professional will tell you -- luck is that wonderful thing that happens when you’re prepared.

FINDING THE RIGHT SPOT; ANTICIPATION AND TRUST

Anticipation and finding the right spot for capturing a quiet moment is a skill that comes with experience. A wedding photojournalist’s goal is to find opportune moments when the bridal couple is so used to having him around that they become unaware of his presence, even when he makes significant strides to be in place to photograph them.

It’s important to really observe human nature and family dynamics before and during a wedding. When wedding photojournalists assure their clients they will capture the day for them completely, the couple feels secure and ignores the camera—the ideal scenario for quiet moments to happen and be turned into timeless memories..