Focus on someone unique

Nikon D300 Nikkor AF ED 80-200mm f/2.8D @ f/4 ISO 200 1/800th strobist: SB-600 off camera to left on light stand 1/2 powerWhen I photograph a wedding, an event or sometimes even a multi-person candid portrait session, someone in particular usually catches my eye.  This person often times is just a guest or not the focus of the event.  However, I make them a focus because I like their look or personality, or both.  Why do I do this?  Because I am always looking for a shoot within a shoot.  Just because I was hired to deliver a certain type of photograph(s), does not mean the client may not also be pleased with something else. 

I read about a photographer earlier today on the Nikon Learn & Explore app for iPhone (cannot name him because lost his page due to poor app build, iPhone flaw, or who knows, it's a frustrating device to me) who quit commercial photography because for that type of job a great client is required to make a great photograph.  He would be given an assignment, but in the field realize that it would not work and then would come up with something on his own.  

He also never planned what he was going out to shoot for his own personal shooting, the opposite of what you usually here photography instructors say to do.  I have even advised my own students to go out with a focus for each shoot, although I, myself, do not always follow my own advice.

Back to why I focus on a particular person over the course of an event or wedding . . . it also adds an extra element of fun for me, almost kind of a game.  For a New Year's Eve shoot I photographed the same woman four times, to her surprise, over the course of two hours.  She could not believe I was able to sneak in and get a shot of her again without her noticing.  Made her and I smile each time.  This broke up the routine of trying to photograph each and every guest in attendance.  It added a bit of a game for me to play, a shoot within a shoot.

The woman in the above photograph was the sister of the groom.  I was immediately drawn to her because of her cool hairstyle.  She was also a little shy which only encourages me to try and photograph a person more!  She got extra volume in her curls for this shot because the wind was blowing behind her.  

The bride was still not ready, so there was extra time for this type of fun shot that put me in an even better mood and no doubt helped me be a better photographer for the actual photographs I was hired to take.