How I Got The Shot
I wanted to share one of my favorite shots of a toast from last year. It is one example of the many options you have to light a reception and how it effects the look and feel of an image. This different options might allow you to retain the ambiance of the venue and moment; it might mean lighting everything up to see all that is going on; it may allow you to see some things and purposely hide others; it might mean washing out all the dj lights or allow you to use them in a creative way. The how of this photo is pretty simple so this is more of a how and why I got the shot the way I did.
A little bit about my thinking with this photo: I loved the long table with candles and the negative space created by the hanging floral arrangement over the main table. (All beautifully put together by JA Special Events.) I tend to not like having speeches in front of the DJ or band equipment. (Even if it is the amazing and talented Great Family Reunion, as it was at this wedding.) There are tons of distracting elements behind them and it doesn’t really help tell the story that is happening. It doesn’t give you a feeling about what they might be saying. Was it a good speech? They might look like they think so, but is it inspiring laughter, “awes”, head tilts with raised eyebrows, or tears? You might know from other photos and angles but can you capture that story all in one frame? So, when I can, I like to get some of the other people in the frame reacting to the toast. If I can get a creative composition at the moment when people are asked to raise their glasses… even better! This spot in the room allowed me to get all of that!
So, in this scenario I wanted to keep the venue lighting and the bokeh of the blurry candles but that meant silhouetting everything else. So, I set up one light by a tent pole facing where the speeches would be taking place, gridded it so that the light wouldn’t spill around the room, and fired away. There were plenty of good frames but this one, with the father of the bride smiling proudly, guests raising their glasses, and even silhouettes of faces smiling in there, was the one when preparation, the moment, and the lighting all came together!