Sometimes, It’s all about the light. The only thing more important to me than the light, is the moment itself. Someone once said to me- very astutely- “some like to use light to enhance their subjects, but you like to use subjects to enhance your light”. This was a bit of a revelation to me, because he put my overall shooting philosophy into words that I’ve never really verbalized before. Yet, it’s exactly what I attempt to do.
To me, moments are paramount. Anyone who knows me or my work understands that. However, If I can accompany a great moment, with great light, I’ve made a really good image that I can be proud of- and that the client will love. Sometimes, a client may love an image without understanding exactly why. Most of the time- it’s the light they love, but they just can’t grasp what’s different about that light.
The image below took some… well… effort. The wedding reception was to be held at One Atlantic in Atlantic City NJ , and the hotel room was in Caesars. When I first entered the room where Rebecca was getting ready, I was stunned to find that there were NO windows in the entire suite. After cursing under my breath a few times, I left the room to see what I might be able to find. Thankfully, my amazing assistant Nikki Albertson came across an open, empty room that seemed to be awaiting a visit from housekeeping. After investigating the situation, and implementing my rule that “it’s always easier to be forgiven than it is to get permission”, I had the bride and her girls move to that other room to continue to “get ready”.
Now, I never really claim to be a pure photojournalist during certain portions of the day. This image is certainly not photojournalism. I simply put them in the best light, and best compositional scenario I could find and just had them interact with one another. The light here is really the subject. As beautiful as Rebecca is, and she was fantastic, the light is what makes this image interesting. I used the subjects to enhance the light, not vice-versa.
I really do try and find light first, and then I’ll set the stage for a moment to take place WITHOUT actually staging a moment. Now, before anyone questions my journalistic integrity, I honestly capture a good 80% of the day as a pure photojournalist. But there are certain elements of the day where I need to step in and make a few things happen. It’s wedding photography, not a newspaper story anymore and I need to make the best damn images I can make. I like this image, and all it took was a great assistant to spot an open room, and an open minded bride to change rooms!
D3S, Nikkor 85mm 1.4G, ISO 1250, 1/250th @ 1.4