Candid Wedding Photography, How I Work, Wedding

Dad’s First Look

An Emotional Father

There is nothing accidental about the composition, yet I didn’t have any plan or setup in mind before I made it.

We were at St. Louis Union Station where the bridal party got ready before heading to the church. The bride wanted to have a first look with her father. Naturally, it was a touching moment. Tears all around.

We have three very important elements: good composition, good light, and good story. Not all three elements come together in all photos, but when they do the result is very exciting.

I saw the archway in the background and intentionally moved into a position that would frame our lovely bride and her dad, tying them together in the composition. While the archway isolates their moment from the rest of the world, Mom in the background also wiping her eye reminds us that this is actually only part of a much larger story of the day. Compositionally, she bridges their little universe inside the arch with the outside world.

The light is actually quite a dramatic element. The bright background contrasts perfectly with the relatively darker subjects. Had I used flash to brighten them would have ruined the feel and mood.

Finally, the story speaks for itself. Again, we don’t need to have a clear view of the participants’ faces to understand the moment.

Color would not have added anything to the image. In fact there simply wasn’t much color in the background except for the occasional splotch of green and blue. It would have been distracting.

In St. Louis, there is a general perception that wedding photography is all about posing, or smile-at-the-camera snaps. There is simply no way an intrusive photo of the bride and her father stopping the moment and smiling at the camera could ever be as powerful.


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