a western wedding

Shooting weddings is a hobby that I really enjoy. The pace. The chance to tell a story. The fact that it is always a close friend or family member who is getting married. Weddings are a kick. This one was especially fun for a couple of reasons. First reason.  My brother’s step daughter was the bride.

Second reason. This would be the first wedding shoot for my assistant, Alexa.  Assistant sounds so strange. I have known Alexa since… well, her whole life. After I shot her sister’s senior snaps last year, I heard through the grapevine that Alexa has an interest in photography.  One thing lead to another and to this, her second session as the acmesnaps assistant.

We’ll see if it turns out that “the rest is history.” So far, she has been rockin’ the camera.

Something else about this wedding.  It is the first that I’ve shot that had a horse in the party.  Dreamer had a handler, which made it pretty easy.  Still, few were the moments when Dreamer was standing still.

The real challenge for the day was the wind.  We were working an Einstein powered by a mini lith in a 5′ octobox.  The setup was on a paint pole.  Portability was perfect, but the wind made it like trying to hang on to a kite in the doorway of a moving train.  [Geek speak ahead.  Ed.] I had modified my Kacey Pole Adapter and added a set screw to secure it to the paint pole.  During a middle-of-the-night email exchange with Jerry Kacey, he convinced me that Loctite is much better than a set screw.  Only problem was, haven’t found time to remove the set screw apply Loctite.  Jerry was right.  The adapter would not stay tight and kept spinning on the pole.  There was another challenge.  The portability of the setup made it easy to forget that it was a 640WS, 12o volt monobloc and not a speedlite.  Speedlites kick into high speed sync automatically.  Monoblocs don’t.  A couple of times I found myself shooting way beyond the camera sync speed of 1/250.  A gradient in post saved most of them, like the one above.  Mostly.

“Do you have anything special in your mind’s eye?”  I like to pop that question, or something like it, when I’m preparing for a shot.  Most of the time, the answer is… “No.”  Not this time.  Jennifer could see this image as clear as day in her mind.  It is pretty sick because we made this image before the ceremony.  So close, yet still unseen.  Of course, just at this moment, the batteries died in the flash trigger, the replacements were in the car, the car was on the other side of the barn, and we had 4 minutes left, so we improvised.  We magically transformed the 5′ octo from a light on the inside to a scrim on the outside.

Since Alexa was on the shoot and we were both feeling like trying something new, we set up 4 lights in the dinning hall.  If I use flash during the reception, it is usually just one that is hand held by me or a VAL (Voice Activated Light stand).  We decided to put 4 Einsteins up 13 feet on top of some Manfrotto 1004BAC stands.  Each had an 8.5 High Output Reflector and a 30-degree grid.  Nobody complained and the light was pretty cool, so we turned off the modeling lights went with it.

One of the challenges of shooting family weddings is family time. It usually works out that I get about 19 minutes at meal time to sit with the fam.  This one was about the same except that my brother and I happened to find ourselves behind the scenes with Alexa at the camera.  Some quick hand signals to the photog and we had a perfectly captured moment in one take.  They had no clue.

When it comes to weddings, it is all about the bride!  And sometimes the flower girls.