One of our favorite moments in any wedding reception that we photograph in the Washington, DC, metropolitan area is when the crowd on a dance floor parts to let a kid get out and go a little crazy. Nothing gets a group of wedding guests who are dancing in celebration of the two people who have tied the knot that day more excited than a small boy or girl doing their best to take part in the festivities. For a moment, the child becomes the center of attention as everyone stops to cheer them on before continuing their own celebrating of the bride and groom’s nuptials.
As children of the 1980s, we were particularly tickled when this little man took the floor to show his best dance moves, because he chose to engage in a bit of breakdancing (or as it is properly known, breaking or b-boying). The typical breakdancing moves always remind us of our childhood, and we get excited every time we see someone doing it at a wedding reception. As wedding and engagement photographers, we also love how great breakdancing moves — with their unusual contortions and limbs flying in all directions — look when captured on film.
We took this particular picture at a marriage celebration at Top of the Town, one of the best venues in the Washington, DC, metro area. Located just across the Potomac River in Arlington, Virginia, the event center sits in the penthouse of a 12-story building on the top of a towering hill overlooking Washington. Because of this advantageous positioning, Top of the Town has one of the best views of the Washington skyline anywhere in the Nation’s Capital. Every bride and groom who books the venue for their nuptials does so with the expectation that they will get some unforgettable and typically DC couples portraits with the city’s most famous landmarks in the background. We were delighted that we were able to give those sorts of magical images to the bride and groom who tied the knot at this wedding event.
But the main theme of this marriage celebration was fun. It was the second marriage for both the bride and the groom, so the whole event had a more relaxed and casual feel to it. That is one of the reasons why we love the image featured here so much. The fun and freewheeling nature of it perfectly encapsulates the atmosphere of this wedding. Everyone is having a good time, from the little boy breakdancing in the foreground to the adults cheering him on in the background.
We are also quite proud of the technical approach that we took to capturing this moment on film. As we would normally do, we lit the child from the front using a flash on our camera. To add a little more atmospheric light and to create some depth and separation between the dancer and the rest of the wedding guests, however, we set up an off-camera flash in the back corner of the room. This put some lovely rim lighting on the boy’s hair and generated some very visually interesting shadows on the floor underneath him.