Every wedding has it's own particular rhythm, but most wedding days unfold in similar ways. Most Baltimore marriage celebrations that we photograph start with brides and grooms getting ready in a Baltimore hotel. The future spouses spend time getting made up and dressed for the big day. They also allow themselves time to get emotionally prepared to tie the knot. They bond with their bridesmaids, groomsmen, friends and family members to remind themselves of the support they enjoy. That part of their Baltimore matrimonial event usually culminates with brides getting into their wedding dresses and grooms straightening their ties one last time.
Next is usually the wedding party pictures and individual portraits of the bride and groom. Then comes the big event: the couple tying the knot at whatever Baltimore wedding venue they have chosen. Afterwards, their Baltimore wedding photographer will typically pose the newlyweds for family formals portraits with their loved ones. Next come additional photos of just the bride and groom near some of Baltimore’s famous landmarks. The couple will then repair to their wedding reception venue for an evening of dancing and celebration.
As Baltimore wedding photographers charged with documenting these marital events, we often think about wedding days a little differently. We tend to divide up a Charm City marital celebration into stretches of photojournalism punctuated by planned “set piece” photography. By the latter we mean scripted elements on a wedding day like the exchange of rings or best man speeches. These tend to be very predictable, whereas the rest of a wedding day is unstructured and free-flowing.
For wedding photographers who focus on capturing moments, the unplanned portions of the day require speed and activity. We are constantly on the move, looking for the best angle to photograph emotions the newlyweds will remember forever. We capture lots of images during these periods, because we want to miss nothing important at a Baltimore wedding. Truth be told, we also do this because a lot of the pictures end up on the cutting room floor. The unpredictability of those parts of a Baltimore wedding day means that many images are not usable. It is an approach that guarantees that a wedding photographer is getting the most meaningful moments on film, though. And that is all that matters.
The so-called set pieces present a different sort of challenge for a Charm City wedding photographer. We have more time to prepare for shots of a couple’s first dance, for example. We can choose the best spots to get the right angles and optimal composition. On the other hand, we generally only have one chance to get a photograph of some moments right. Newlyweds are not going to exchange rings a second time because the wedding photographers did not like the resulting images!
Even with this challenge, we really love taking pictures of the set pieces. Though we prioritize photographing a Baltimore wedding day’s unscripted moments, the structured parts offer opportunities for beautiful wedding photography. Because we get to plan out our shots ahead of time, we can get some breathtaking compositions. This is one reason why we love to photograph a classic set piece: the bride’s bouquet toss. There are probably a half-dozen great spots from which to take pictures of this part of a Charm City wedding. We can photograph it from the side to show the distance between the bride and the women reaching for the flowers. That approach also highlights the visually pleasing arc created by the bride’s arms, bouquet and arms of the women. A more daring angle can be achieved by the wedding photographer lying down on the floor near the crowd. The photos taken from that spot often show just the flowers and a bunch of hands grabbing for them.
Sometimes, however, the most straightforward tack yields the best results. As you can see, we took this particular image while standing directly in front of this Baltimore bride. Because of the lens we chose, we managed to capture her arm stretching above her, the bouquet in the air and the single women in eager anticipation behind her. Our choice of positioning also got us the element that makes this photo particularly special. By facing the bride, we were able to capture that brilliant smile that is lighting up her face. It does not just show how happy she is to be having some fun with her female wedding guests. The smile tells us that this one moment is part of one of the happiest days of her life. The day on which she tied the knot with the man she loves.