Shot data: focal length 35mm, f1.4, 1/640, ISO 100, over-exposed by two thirds of a stop
Here’s a post about the big pictures you make as a wedding photographer. It’s also a good opportunity to showcase the benefit of shooting using prime lenses. Primes make me move, rather than staying static and zooming. By being fixed focal length, your feet are your zoom mechanism, so you’re encouraged to compose by being an active part of the scene. Here’s a useful guide from Photography Talk about the benefits of prime, before I elaborate with a short story about the bigger picture. I’ve attended a few wedding showcases of late, a fresh description on the block for the traditionally titled wedding fayre. Maybe you’ve attended these events yourself if you’re a visiting bride or groom just passing on through the pages of this site. But if you haven’t, let me enlighten. Imagine if you will a wedding venue decorated for the big day itself. Tables set. Floristry practised. Tempting bite sized canapes are thrust before you as you enter. You take the mushroom polenta, but decline the prawn vol-au-vent for fear of their explosive nature. A soloist strums shortened arrangements of Coldplay evergreens and photographers position their printed wares on tables that adhere to EU regulatory laws that dictate a requirement for vintage arrangement. Don’t ever drive to one of these events, as you’ll be disappointed you couldn’t take advantage of the copious choice of free good quality wines, mixer spirits and real ales. I’ve even met ready wed couples at a wedding showcase for whom it’s a cheeky afternoon out with benefits that outweigh the fact they’ll be asked by every stall holder what date they’re getting hitched and how the proposal went? I digress. Whilst I may sound a little flippant, the showcase is a good way to get a reasonably authentic venue experience. You get to taste, feel, hear and see a place that otherwise would be emptied of folk on a nuptially devoid day. As a photographer I’m one of a handful and I’m very aware that I need to draw someone in with a signature image. Something that attracts emotional response or even recall. Something that stops folk in their tracks and gives me a chance to say; “Hello?” In this Instagramic swipe through age where I think peoples’ pictorial gratification is rarely devoured slowly enough to fully appreciate the meaning of a still image, that chosen picture that I position on a big easel or within a large display album has to make impact – fast. I thought I’d share that picture. I may not have known it at the time, but this photograph from a wedding at Rivervale Barn is without a doubt one of the most important pictures I have ever had the privilege to make. I’d go as far to say that as big pictures go, this is probably in my personal top ten.