There is nothing that is more satisfying to an engagement and wedding photographer than capturing the perfect moment on film. When a single image that you take is able to tell an entire story by itself. When you are able to deliver a picture to a bride and groom that beautifully encapsulates something that happened during their marriage celebration. When said photo allows them to transport themselves back to that moment when they see that photograph 20 years later. When an image ceases to be just a photograph and becomes a piece of art. Whenever we photograph a wedding in the Washington, DC, metro area, we strive to find those special moments, get them on film and use them to tell our brides’ and grooms’ story photographically.
Getting the perfect photo of a beautiful moment during a couple’s nuptials takes a lot of photographic skill, of course. We need to nail all the technical aspects — the lighting, the camera settings and the focal length, for example. And even more importantly, we have to have the alertness and concentration necessary to press the shutter as soon as the moment is just right. But at the end of the day, there is quite a bit of luck involved too! The moments happen if and when they happen. We cannot manufacture them; we just have to be ready with our cameras.
Naturally, our preference is to get magical images of the bride and groom sharing moments that help tell their love story and that they will want to remember the rest of their lives. That said, their families, their friends and the rest of their wedding guests all play an important role in their lives and their history together before arriving at the altar, so photos of them can be just as meaningful. That was the case in with this particular picture. We took it on the dance floor during the reception portion of a wedding in suburban Washington, DC. One of the wedding attendees was “encouraging” another to enjoy another adult beverage by pouring it in the latter’s open mouth. We saw a perfect moment setting itself up and snapped a photograph as soon as we saw the beer starting to spill out and onto the young man’s chin.
When we sat down to edit this image after the conclusion of the wedding celebration, we decided to turn it into a black-and-white image. As we have mentioned elsewhere on this site, we feel that black-and-white photographs are considerably more powerful than their counterparts rendered in color, and this picture is rife with dramatic tension.
Our fellow photographers from the SLR Lounge agreed. We submitted this image for one of their photography contests and were lucky enough to win the prestigious Summit Award, a prize given to the best two to three percent of the images in the competition. This was a huge honor for us as wedding photographers, because the SLR Lounge is one of the world’s most prestigious wedding and engagement photography communities. Created to help wedding and engagement photographers from around the globe to improve their camera skills, the SLR Lounge represents the best of wedding photography and the best that wedding and engagement photographers have to offer. For that reason, winning the Summit Award is one of our biggest biggest professional achievements.