Photo by Alison Conklin
It’s often thought that good photos are complex photos. And while there are any number of complex photos that are great, the two don’t go hand in hand. Good photos are good photos. Complex photos are complex photos. But, in the end, no photo should be about technique alone. This is a simple moment from a basic angle. But it is clean, well-timed, and nicely-framed. Without reference to the speaker, we understand the sentiment, we can image the moment unfolding as the groom kisses the bride, and, truly the thing that makes it all come together, we understand her body language. Her head in her arm, her bridesmaids looking at her from behind, that nice bit of blur in front to help frame it all and make it a little more intimate – this is what a picture should be. Effective, clear, and evocative.
Photo by Ira Lippke Studios
Humor is a hard thing to convey in a picture. I’m not talking about showing a picture of something funny going on. I’m talking about making a picture funny. Seeing the world and recognizing how it conveys a very specific idea that others will get is anything but easy. Humor tasks you with razor sharp perception and quick wit. You need to know on the spot what not just how you see a situation, but how people will react to it, and there’s no way to resort to visual devices for security. You have go all in and make sure it’s really about the moment.
This shot from Ira Lippke Studios grabbed my attention. It’s nicely-timed and well-observed with just the right type of deadpan composition that gives you no choice but to pay attention the people. It’s a nice play on what it is to get ready, letting the actions live and breathe in a field of photography that tends to veer towards sentimentality.
Photo by Becky Holladay
It’s getting to the point where I’m going to have to name this “Periodic Inspiration” instead. But that would sound lame. Fortunately, I still have a nice archive of images I’m working my way through, so with some luck, I can kick things in gear and put these up a little more regularly. I wonder to myself so often “How can I be so busy that I can’t get around to posting one picture each day?” Is it just me?
At bat today is Becky’s wonderfully moody getting-ready image. Beautifully exposed and nicely metered, going with the silhouette was a smart move. The stark black outline brings attention to the form of the body. You can feel the tension from her shoulders to her arms – it is exactly what it is like as we mold our bodies to the clothing we enter. Paired with the softness of the light, the dark surroundings, and the window in front of her, the image is a wonderfully simple and reductive example of the way photography works.
Photo by Brian Dorsey of Brian Dorsey Studios
Sometimes, you see one of those structural shots – you know the ones – the type with the small bride and groom, all that wonderful light and form – but there’s just that little something lacking. It’s got show, but not enough go. Not here, though. This was taken right before the bride was about to walk down the aisle, and Brian has done a beautiful job with the symmetry and balance. Enough to bring it well beyond the ordinary. But what really differentiates it is the combination of that ethereal, white light, and the bride’s very human glance downward as her feet peek out from under the dress. The image possesses a delicate softness – a quiet use of space and light that create a memorable and surprising counterpoint to the anticipation we associate with the moment.
Photo by Tatiana Garanina
Haven’t been able to keep up lately – so many shoots going on over here! But I’m back to it, and trying to get some posts in. Here’s one I was waiting to post for awhile. Sometimes, you just need to dream. Not literal, not documenting. Just atmosphere, just light, pattern, and a beautiful glance at one another that just hangs.
Photo by Rebecca Meissner
See, now what did I say, right? Just a couple posts earlier, I said put the hand on the neck, and here you have it. Beautiful. It’s the type of thing only a romantic interest would do, so that hand conveys a distinct sense of intimacy. Rebecca has done a nice job adding two things to the mix. Shooting with the groom’s back to the camera was a nice choice. Just a little less common, and, more importantly functional. It not only gives the picture a more natural feel, as if you were peeking at them, but what truly makes it all come together is her expression. It’s a lovely smile, and she feels like she’s in the middle of it all, as if time were suspended, just like it should be.
Photo by Susan Nel
Oh, deserts. You’ve gotta love deserts. It makes all the difference in the world. Walking on concrete side by side, not bad. But on sound. That’s just cool. Of course, I’m not all too familiar with the Namibian wedding photography scene, so maybe deserts feel normal over there, but to my eyes, I love them. Still, desert or not, the picture has the fundamentals. Good light, great flow, and genuine expressions. This is two people engaged in what they’re doing.
Now, some of you might know that I just put balloons on my kill list, so funny enough, as I clicked through Susan’s blog, I couldn’t help but notice a picture of the couple with the balloons, which you can see below. But you know what? It works for me. The desert makes all of the difference, giving it a grace and grandeur that is tamed by the balloons, making them a nice compliment. Without a doubt, in some sense, everything has been done. But what really makes things work is just that slight twist to keep it different. Where everyone else has been going vintage and country with balloons, Susan has gone classic and bold. Nicely done. Now if I could just find a way to transplant the desert to NYC.
Photo by Carissa Gallo of For You Love Me
In my mind, this is exactly how a night on a porch feels. Which is funny, because I don’t think I’ve ever actually pictured from above in my head, and, yet, it gets it just right. If I were to say that looking for different ways to see something is everything here, I wouldn’t be doing the picture justice, though. What it really does is honor the simple things. Not the dramatic, I-really-wish-I-had-that-in-my-portfolio moments, but the basic connections between people. The important stuff, not just on your wedding day, but always. What better in life than you and your closest friends just being together, relaxed, on a warm summer night? I love the way everyone is facing the bride, and the image uses the simplest of visual devices to bring clarity and meaning. Color. Her white dress. The image is elegant in its simplicity. Lovely.
Photo by Nick Tucker
There’s that certain window in which you can hit a shot. A quarter second earlier, and there’s nothing there. A quarter second later, and it all falls apart. This is a close call – there’s just that little bit of ambiguity you have to guess about in the meaning of the body position and the movement. However, Nick not only saves this shot, he lets it flourish through context and conviction. The dress flared out, her head tucked in, and a great bit of motion blur do the trick, allowing that ambiguity to deepen the mystery. We might not know what she feels, but there is little doubt she’s right in the moment, and that keeps us in there. Framed with restraint, the balance of the doorway, the crowd, and the bride tells a wonderful story with great clarity.
Irina is a frequent second shooter at the weddings I cover. You’ll find her grabbing gear, snapping candids, covering grooms, and just running about getting things done, all with the weight of two D3s bearing down on her without ever a complaint. I’m lucky, because as the owner of the company, I get all the attention. But this post is about her.
You never quite get that perfect shot. There’s always something that’s a little off. Maybe you wish you were half an inch left or half an inch right. Whenever I see this picture, I wish it were just the slightest bit wider – maybe a tiny bit more of some hands or something to hint at the crowd surrounding Evelyn and Andrew, the bride and groom. But, man, oh man, Evelyn’s expression. It is all heart. 100% pure, unfiltered, and raw. It is, as I see it, perfectly imperfect. Or maybe imperfectly perfect. If the force of yesterday’s picture of the day came from being picture perfect, this one’s power comes from the fact that it is so perplexedly real. The remnants of a cry, almost a laugh, joy, appreciation, love. Irina got right in there, nice and close, and she nailed it. Capa would be proud. It’s not idyllic, it’s not aesthetic. It is meaty and sloppy in a wonderful way, a rich soup of emotion you could almost sop up with a piece of crusty bread. It is essence.