Story Behind the Wedding Photo #1
I have photographed over 500 weddings throughout New Jersey (and surrounding areas) so join me on a little journey back through some of them. On the following pages (new pages added every so often) I will post photos and give a little insight into the story behind them. I hope you enjoy it! (To navigate the site if on a Cell, use the ‘Navigate’ button above to access other parts of the site).
The above photo was taken in the early 2000’s at a time when wedding photographers shot less images per wedding and weren’t generally shooting from many particularly creative angles. It was more of a get the “basic important shots done” and move on. There was a time when 200 photos taken at an entire wedding was about the norm. Now the norm is easily in the 4 digits. But I liked to explore different angles and perspectives right from the start. Just “doing the basic shots” wasn’t enough. Maybe that’s why back then and for a few years following many couples would always point out this image as one of the reasons they wanted to book me for their wedding. It just seemed different at the time. In this shot the couple was outside the church during the receiving line and I decided to go up the cramped steps of the church and see if I could get a shot from up there and thats when I found this window.
Kids love hiding from the camera when they see me pointing it in their direction. It’s like a game of hide and seek. In this shot the bride was getting ready and the flower girl engaged me in a game of hide and seek. She was hiding behind a chair when she decided to see if I was still playing along. When she came up to take a peek I took the photo!
This shot was from a wedding at Maritime Parc inside Liberty State Park in Jersey city. The reception was held on the top floor of the venue so we had an unobstructed view of the sky. As the sun started to disappear I noticed that there was the potential for a nice sunset shot. Sometimes you have to be patient and wait for the sun to fully disappear to get the most dramatic colors. As a photographer, knowing how to time this is important since the couple shouldn’t have to stand around waiting while they have a great party going on inside. So when the time was right I asked the couple to come with me for a minute and we took this photo.
This photo was taken on the beach in Asbury Park late into the reception. I always like to take a few minutes later in the evening to find a place/situation that will make for one more great photo for the couple to have. In this case I decided to add a light behind them to give this dramatic and beautiful look. They were on the beach with me for about 5 minutes and then they went right back up to the reception at Tim McCloone’s Supper Club.
A Wedding Photographer must have a variety of photographic and interpersonal skills. He/she must know how to photograph groups of people, pose them, organize them, keep things under control in a nice way, do all that while creating beautiful photos and doing it all in a timely matter. It is not an easy job and no matter what you hear, experience is vital. Only doing this hundreds of times will you be able to do it right. But in addition to all that a wedding photographer must also know how to capture real moments just as a photojournalist would for a newspaper or magazine. Thats the case in this photo. The little boy was coming down the aisle and started crying, he was probably just nervous with all the attention. The photographer may have only a split second to capture tears and has to be positioned correctly to capture it. Notice I am at eye level with the boy. I was Kneeling down upfront and got the shot at eye level. Had I been standing the shot may not have had the same impact. PS: The boy’s Mom loves this photo! I’m sure he will get a kick out of it in a few years.
Here is another example of being positioned in the right place. Once again I am at ground level anticipating what was just about to happen. This was late in the party and I noticed that during a particular song people were starting to use the open floor to do some sort of wild dance move. The groom had just done “worm dance” (not sure if that’s the right term!) and then the bride was up. I had a feeling she would be doing something low to the ground so I literally put the camera on the floor to get a really low angle shot. As soon as I did that she slid onto the floor and started playing some air guitar. Click. Photo made. Again, had I just stood up and taken the photo from above it wouldn’t have the same impact. Photographers need to get ‘down and dirty’ to get the shots.
Since I showed some candid action shots above, I now want to present a wedding party group shot. This part of the day requires a totally different set of skills from the photographer than the candid photos above. Here the photographer needs to step away from being a behind the scenes candid photographer and must know how to guide, organize and keep everything fun and breezy for the wedding party. This shot was taken in Princeton and I used the steps to create a pleasing layout. Group shots don’t always have to be a shot where everyone is lined up in a straight line. As a matter of fact if the group is really big (say more than 8 on each side) a straight line is not the best idea. In this photo I also mixed the guys and the girls because that creates a nice balance of color. Notice also how I split up the best man and maid of honor. They are the only couple not together in the photo and the reason for that is to keep the photo symmetrical and the bride and groom centered.
Sometimes sunset photos like above aren’t possible for many different reasons, but that doesn’t mean late afternoon or outside evening photos can’t be equally nice. In this case the wedding was at the Olde Mill Inn just of rt. 287. The venue has a really nice courtyard where the ceremony usually takes place. The reception hall is just off to the right. In this photo I set up an extra flash directly behind the couple and triggered it when pressing the shutter on my camera. That extra flash illuminates them from behind outlining them with light and separating them from the background. I usually test and set the shot up with my assistant before asking the couple to come out. Again, the reason being is that I want the couple to enjoy the party as much as possible without interuption. This photo and a few others took the couple out of the party for no longer that 3 or 4 minutes.
Watch this ‘Behind the scenes’ video of the making of some film photographs by Louis Schroder at Weddings.
About the Photographer: Louis Schroder has photographed over 500 weddings in the New Jersey New York area and is also available for family portraits, events and other photographic projects. Please email or call me for inquiries.