The start of series, beauty deconstructed. Beautiful photographs aren’t taken, they’re made. Enjoy this behind the scenes look of wedding photography and what goes into the frame.
The Zoom Drag
(1/10th of a second, f/4, 70mm—>24mm)
The couple captured in a moment in the center of the frame — a background of streaking lights blurred in bocca behind them, it’s simply beautiful. To achieve this effect, I’ve found a dark scene on the dance floor where there are small ambient lights in the background. There’s an external flash on my camera and I’m bouncing it off the ceiling to get light onto the bride and her father. Putting the shutter at 1/10th of a second, and the aperture at f/4, I’m zoomed in all the way at 70mm on my 24-70mm lens. I brace myself, because as soon as I click the shutter, I zoom out as fast as possible, hoping to get to 24mm as soon as the shutter closes. If executed correctly, the couple will be sharp, captured by the light of my flash while the lighting in the background will be dragged across the background. Getting the timing right takes some practice, but the results are stunning.
The Wide Open Pivot
(1/50th of a second, f/2.8, 24mm)
Another technique that will give you fantastic images at a reception. Find a similar setting, dark dance floor with lots of cool source ambient lights in the frame. Position your flash to light an individual or dancing couple, choose a focal length, and then brace yourself for the shot. Hold the camera out from your face a little bit, and as soon as you press the shutter, rotate the camera counter clockwise (clockwise if your lefty) as fast as you can. This will freeze the couple in the center of the frame, while dragging the ambient lights in the surreal and beautiful circular pattern to create a beautiful framing effect.