Entries in bride (23)
It had been over a year and a half since I last photographed a wedding, but since I did so many in the past it was as they say, like riding a bike getting back into the flow of shooting a four hour event. Mattie & Kenny's wedding was at The Westin Tampa Bay on a narrow piece of land between Tampa and Clearwater floating in the middle of Tampa Bay. From the rooftop deck with its clear glass walls, the feeling you are floating on water, as seen in the above photograph, was pretty cool even with overcast skies.
It turned out that Mattie and I had a few mutual friends, including my eldest friend Terry and his wife Beth, both of whom attended the wedding giving it a rather familiar feeling. The atmosphere in her room as she was getting ready was very loose and full of laughing. I began my shooting for the day by making a photo of Mattie putting on the finishing touches.
Mattie had seen images from another wedding I photographed in the Westin a few years back and also wanted some photos featuring the lobby's unique waterfall. I used two shoot through umbrellas to provide enough light on the bride and bridesmaids for the portrait above.
The reception was in a room with floor to ceiling windows facing southwest which flooded it with light during the late afternoon allowing me to use that light as a hyper backlight in the above portrait of the bride & groom having their traditional first dance.
Cupcakes continue to be popular at weddings, with dozens under the wedding cake itself. I got to have one of the cupcakes as a closing treat when I was finished shooting. I often say I shoot weddings just for the cake!
From start to finish it was a joyful and surprisingly emotional wedding for Mattie & Kenny. Not often have I seen the groom get so emotional during the vows and also during the speeches at the reception. They also were not afraid to smash a little cake, which I also found refreshing since some newlyweds nowadays opt for a clean cake eating which is no fun at all!
Thank you Mattie & Kenny!
There are always challenges photographing a wedding, but for me personally this was the most difficult due to the news I got about the oldest member of my family when I first woke up that morning. I have a strong ability to compartmentalize so I rallied and once I first put the camera up to my eye, no one all the six and a half hours I was on site at the Bilmar Hotel on Treasure Island had any idea what I was really feeling inside.
The wedding rings were with the bride, Jessica, in her hotel room, which is unusual as the groom tends to keep them on hand. Looking for a good place to photograph the rings, I recalled what I did for a Christmas wedding last year, which was to hang the rings from a string type object. The bride took off a necklace she was wearing an assisted me in getting this shot. The cross was already on the necklace.
The bride had a very loyal wedding dress assistant her continued her job the entire afternoon and evening. For the above shot I had two volunteer assistants hold my speedlights as there was not much space at all to setup a pair of light stands. The weather looks great outside right? Well, to the east clouds were rolling in fast and within 20-minutes it was raining right at what was to be the start of the ceremony. There was only a 30-minute delay which was actually welcome, allowing the bride more time to get ready and the guests to cool off in the reception area.
I learned a new trick for shooting in hotel rooms: use one of the room lamps as a backlight in tight quarters. I had the groom, Justin, and the other groomsmen squeeze between two beds causing them to get into a fan-like pose and also allowing the table lamp to backlight them. This is definitely a type of shot I will be doing again in the future!
Once the rainstorm passed it was kind enough to leave behind all sorts of clouds decorating the sky. I much prefer clouds to a cloudless beach sky. Not only are day time photos much better, I think sunset shots with clouds are much more dramatic as well.
It was an emotional moment for the bride and especially the groom once the ceremony began. For me, it is nice to see as I like to see people express genuine emotion. It also of course helps the photographs.
The bride in a quiet moment faces the Sun and the Sea. This type of shot, where the subject is not looking into the lens but rather off into the distance is my favorite type of portrait. For me, I wonder what the subject is thinking about. I hope that some years down the line when the bride looks at this image, she, herself, will also wonder what she was thinking of at that moment.
After I took the final photograph of Jessica & Justin at sunset time, I had a few moments alone as I packed up my strobist gear and they started to walk back to the hotel for the reception. This gave me a few seconds to send my own thoughts out to the horizon, as I do every day, but even more so that time.
The wedding of Ryan and Monica was the grandest wedding I have been involved in photographing so far. Monica's father must really, really love her! This was also my first opportunity to not only photograph a wedding inside the spectacular Sacred Heart Church in downtown Tampa, but just to see inside of it after long admiring its large circular stained glass window on its front face.
My day started out photographing the groom getting ready in his spacious waterfront room in the Tampa Marriott Waterside. The NBA channel was on and causing a bit of distraction as one of the classic playoff series between the 90s Knicks and Pacers was being broken down game by game! Everyone in the room got a bit caught up in it.
I was next on my way to the Sacred Heart Church to photograph the bride as her assistant helped her put the last, tricky touches on getting her head to toe length veil just right. The woman helping the bride seemed like an expert, but to my ears she spoke mostly only Italian! It made me feel like I was in a movie to be inside such a architecturally rich church, seeing an enormous veil enveloping the bride, being put on by an old, petite Italian woman.
The reception was at the Palma Ceia Country Club where I photographed a wedding last October. I thought I knew what to expect but the reception this time was in a much different room and even the manager said he had never seen the room decorated like it had been. The preparations started at 5:30am that morning he told me.
One type of shot I always look for is what I refer to in my mind is the "hug & kiss" time for the bride & groom as they receive congratulations from the wedding guests. To me the intensity of this time tells me a lot about the wedding, the newlywed couple, and the types of relationships they have with everyone at the wedding. The hugging at this wedding, as you can see above, was as impressive as every other aspect of this lavish, emotional wedding.
I photographed my first wedding in Bradenton, Florida, which was held at the Calvary Baptist Church and then on to the nearby Renaissance banquet hall for the reception. However, I first met Kiera in her family home that she grew up in. As I walked up the staircase to the second floor the wall was lined with childhood photos of her and her siblings. It was really nice to get to see some of her family history before taking one photograph that day. Hopefully I will have produced a photograph worthy of placement on that wall.
Often, just by watching people I find shots I would not have thought of myself. The mirror was on the far side of the bedroom and was not being used. As I was getting ready to setup for a staircase shot, I saw Kiera go over and look into it. I always like to get a reflection shot of some kind and after working a bit on the lighting logistics was able to get my second strobe placed so that I could both back and front light Kiera without producing any glare in the mirror.
The wedding party was rather large and included four energetic kids and one very long wedding dress train. This was perhaps the most difficult shot all day to get right as on top of the tech stuff for producing this kind of shot (off camera flash, correct exposure in a large dim room, etc) I had to make sure eighteen people all lined up without significantly blocking anyone and keep them all from trodding on the bride's beautiful, but expansive, wedding dress.
The bride had mentioned going to a riverfront location after the ceremony, which I thought sounded good. The more environments I can photograph the bride and groom in the better. However, after the ceremony the bride was not so sure of making the effort to go out there and perhaps we would all just head to the reception. I highly recommended that we make the effort to go out to the riverfront because ten years from now I am sure she will be glad that we had. This is also part of the professional wedding photographer's job.
The above shot was my idea as I always want to try and include some action shots if possible, even during a wedding. Kiera & Ricardo would good about following my suggestions for shot ideas despite both of them wearing far more restrictive clothing than myself. This was a spontaneous shot I did not have preplanned, just thought we could do something on our way to the riverfront.
This shot, however, was preplanned as soon as I saw Kiera putting on the veil in her grandmother's bedroom. It is always great when the bride wears a large veil. With the wind it took a bit of finagling to get the veil as good as we could and keep it from blowing all over the place. I think this was the time Kiera & Ricardo enjoyed the most while I was photographing them that day.
For Spring 2011 I am launching the "Why is this bride smiling?" promotional campaign for St. Petersburg, Tampa and Clearwater wedding photography. The ads themselves are more colorful using the same tone of blue found in my logo and feature a floating circles design theme.
"Why is this bride smiling?" -- The intention behind this question is to promote the emotional aspect of my wedding photography for Florida brides-to-be (and grooms too!). Instead of initially focusing on specific package details, pricing, etc., I first want the engaged couple to think of the emotion they want from their wedding photography, what they want the experience to be and how to capture those emotions and experiences. If the engaged couple feels connected to the emotions of my wedding photogrpahs and wishes to experience and preserve what I have done for others on their wedding day also, then the time for discussing package details & pricing can follow.
I realize price is a strong factor in purchasing decisions, but wedding photography is not like buying a refrigerator.
For all of the above reasons I offer a free, in-person wedding photography consultation to determine if my wedding photography philosophy matches with a specific couple's wishes. Even if someone looks through my full online portfolio, downloads and reads my Wedding FAQ, reads all the raves and reviews, I will always highly encourage meeting in person before the couple decides on myself or another photographer for their wedding so I can in my own words answer the question, "Why is this bride smiling?"
Thank you . . .