After years of photographing weddings in Washington, DC, and the surrounding areas, we have developed a series of “signature” shots that we try to take at every marriage celebration of which we take pictures. These specific images of brides, grooms, their wedding parties, their families and their invited guests are an integral part of our style of photography and a great way to preserve key memories forever. In the time we have spent helping couples as far north as Philadelphia get their wedding day memories on film forever and working with brides and grooms as far south as North Carolina to create pictures that look as beautiful as they feel when they tie the knot, we have learned that certain images bring out the best in the people that we photograph and become the sort that newlyweds want to show to their grandchildren someday.
One of our favorite signature shots involves photographing the groomsmen toasting to their groom. This might not sound very special, but we have found a way to make our photos of this moment unique. Instead of taking the shot from the side or from above the group, we lie down on the floor or ground and ask the guys to crowd in close and raise their glasses, cans, bottles or cups in honor of the man who is about to get married. Once they do, we take a picture of their outstretched arms from below.
Is there a significant risk that we will get doused with champagne, wine, bourbon, beer or whatever it is that the groom-to-be and his siblings/closest friends are drinking? Of course! But no wedding photographer has ever gotten epic and unforgettable images by playing it safe. So if we have to get a little wet to be able to give our clients something special, we have no problem with it!
We have spent years working to perfect this particular signature photo — making sure that glasses/cans/bottles/cups are centered above the camera, that the composition is just right, that the lighting works — but this image, which was one of the first that we ever took, remains one of our favorites.
There are a lot of reasons why we like this picture so much. For starters, it looks fantastic! The lighting and backdrop are perfect. The way that the sun is illuminating the cans and giving a beautiful rim light to the hands of the groom and his groomsmen is exquisite. In addition, the deep blue of the sky above Lake Lure, North Carolina, complements beautifully the royal blue, understated gold and bright silver of the beer cans.
More important that the technical elements of this image, though, is what it represented to this particular groom and the men who came to support him on his wedding day. The man exchanging vows with the love of his life was a former U.S. soldier who had served his country in Afghanistan. Not surprisingly, the guys he selected to be his groomsmen were largely former comrades-in-arms of his. They clearly shared a bond forged in blood and sacrifice — one much deeper and more profound than most of the rest of us can understand. So when they toasted the groom as he prepared to meet for his bride at the altar, it meant something really special.