Let’s be clear on one important fact. I. Don’t. Shoot. Weddings. Period.
Back when film was photography’s medium, I did my share of weddings. For the most part, it was fun. I took great satisfaction in recording a happy time for the couples and their families. Early on I noticed that the women of the bridal party were outwardly happy while, at the same time, wondering how they and been convinced or was it coerced into wearing hideous (their description not mine) eggplant or fuschia colored dresses that would never leave their closets until they were sent to the thrift shop. It was a valuable time of learning for me. My wedding knowledge came in very handy when a new client wanted to create a bouquet toss for her line of tuxedos for women. She wanted to show how women dressed in identical tuxedos would look as a bridal party. She wanted her customers to know that tuxedo’s for women have a life after the weddings. I’ll share that in another post. We decided the best setting for the scene was the bouquet toss.
It was apparent from the first meeting with my client that, as with most photographic projects today, the budget was a factor. Unfortunatly and not surprisingly there was not enough money to book a set of bridesmaids and a bride. We creatively overcame that issue because of the willingness of my client to book a fabulous, versatile model. Anna, my client, had narrowed the field to two choices. We looked over the two women’s portfolio and agreed that Danielle was the best choice for what we had in mind. Anna told me later she had been “stalking” Danielle Hamm as her choice for the model for a while. We met Danielle at Factor Chosen Models Atlanta. I knew immediately she would be able to fulfill the role of both five different bridesmaids and the bride in a single photo.
First and most importantly, is the bouquet tossing bride. This was the only photo on the entire website that would not feature clothing made by Anna’s company, Little Black Tux. Danielle had to give an excited look that made us believe she was passing her flowers to one of her closest friends. Who would catch the bouquet and find herself walking down the at her own wedding? During my planning for the images that would come to comprise the final composite, I came up with names that described the character of each of the five bridesmaids.
- Not Me! This lady is in the toss out of duty to and support of her newly wedded bestie. She wants no part of being the bride anytime soon or maybe ever. Danielle and I chatted briefly about what “Not Me!” would be thinking and doing along with body language to tell the view she had absolutely no interest in snagging the bouquet. “Not Me!” was the toughest one for Anna and me to settle on a final because Danielle sold “Not Me!’s” feelings. Simply, we were spoiled for the number of choices Danielle provided.
Danielle and I worked through each bridesmaid based on her name. While photographing, I’d offer suggestions for pose and expression once and a while. Frankly, it was all Danielle. She totally delivered each of the women in the final composite. One technical issue that had to be solved was to keep her the same distance from the camera which was mounted on a locked down studio stand. The key is the quarter on the floor. Danielle stayed close to it as you can see. Look at her right foot in the bottom row of picks in the photo above. The quarter is readily apparent.
Can you pick out each of the rest of the characters in the opening photo from my names for them?
- Yes! Me! This woman is into the excitement of the ceremony. She imagines herself happy and glowing and being married just like her bestie.
- Maybe… Is the one who says to herself, I might catch it but really don’t care either way. Fate will decide for her.
- Me Too! Really, really wants the flowers and all that they mean to the point of pushing her nearest competitor away.
- I’m Fabulous! Could care less about the bouquet as long as she looks amazing in the group photo.
The finished composite features the bride and her five attendants at the moment the bouquet leaves her hands.
- Canon 1Dx Mark II camera
- Sigma 85mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art
- Dynalite RP800 800W/s
- Dynalite Studio Head
- Dynalite 35″ Grand Parabolic
Most of the photography for the Little Black Tux website was made by me. Special thanks to Anna Kim, my client, Danielle Hamm our model, Factor Chosen Atlanta our talent agency, the phenomenal makeup and hair styling of Kristen White and my assistant Theresa Sicurezza.
Characters in order from Left to Right in the Opening Photo: Yes! Me!, Me Too!, I’m Fabulous, Maybe, Not Me! and, of course, The Bride.
All photographs in this post are ©2017 Kevin Ames.