April 17, 2010

style in wedding photography – anticipation and timing

I’m sure every photographer has this experience, where your shutter trips, and you just know you have the shot.  Something that you see – whether anticipated or just lucky timing – and you capture it.  This is how I felt when I captured this moment between Marie and Andrew at their wedding this weekend.  I got it!

A bit of background to this image:
During a Catholic wedding service, there is a short time after the exchange of vows and rings, where the couple are seated again for the Mass.  With everyone’s attention now on the priest and the rest of the proceedings, this is usually the moment where a couple have their first nearly-alone time.  From experience, I know that invariably the couple will then steal glances at each other, or lean in to each other to talk.  Or they might reach out with a momentary fingertip touch.  

Just a little something where they spontaneously show their connection with each other. And this is how I was ready for this brief moment where Marie shaped an I-heart-you with her hands for Andrew.

In that sense this then is not a lucky shot.  When you are photographing a wedding, or any other kind of  event, whether news or sports or whatever it might be … the key to getting images that capture something essential about the event, is to be prepared, to observe, anticipate, and ‘read’ the event.  It’s all about anticipation, awareness and timing.  Those moments are there.

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{ 16 comments. } Add a Comment

1 David Akesson April 17, 2010 at 11:28 pm

So true
and that is just brilliant
I learn so much from you Neil
It’s the little day by day “upping our game/learning new every day” that brings long term rewards.
not short cuts

Thanks heaps


2 Russell How April 18, 2010 at 12:42 am

Fantastic capture Neil. I bet you were jumping up and down inside when you got this one?! All works so well – even tiny catch lights in her eyes and slight motion blur on the cross. Bravo sir.


3 MrGreenBug April 18, 2010 at 4:17 am

Truly inspiring photo, Neil! Just simply wonderful!


4 Derek April 18, 2010 at 5:27 am

Excellent anticipation and capture Neil, keep up the great work.


5 jm April 18, 2010 at 8:20 am

Taylor Swift does this alot I hear. It’s all the rage.


6 Tad April 18, 2010 at 5:39 pm

Hi Neil
Did you bounce flash with this photo or jus register the ambient light? I can’t find it out, but dept of field seems to be not too deep, and propably there is no flash isn’t it?
Any way very nice shoot.


7 Neil vN April 18, 2010 at 6:04 pm

Tad, I did bounce flash to camera right.
Just a touch of fill flash to open the shadows a bit. It was gelled with a 1/2 CTS filter.

Camera settings: 1/60th @ f2.8 @ 2500 ISO
Nikon D3; Nikon 70-200mm f2.8 VR II; SB-900

Neil vN


8 Josh April 18, 2010 at 6:54 pm

What a cute show of affection! Kudos to you for catching it, Neil. I love your work.


9 Nicolas April 19, 2010 at 12:15 pm

That is a heartily, beautiful image! I love the bride’s expression! I would like to see more pictures of this wedding.


10 Neil vN April 19, 2010 at 4:14 pm

Two more images. This time of a bored little flower girl.

Both were taken at 1/40 @ f2.8 @ 2500 ISO,
with a touch of fill-flash from an SB-900 gelled with a 1/2 CTS gel.

That the images are crisp on enlargement just testifies again to how fantastic the
new Nikon 70-200mm f2.8 VR II lens is.

Neil vN


11 Jeanette April 20, 2010 at 9:25 am

My word, that’s an awesome shot!


12 Bogdan April 20, 2010 at 12:24 pm

We’re a team of two photogs always. That has the advantage of being able to turn around and scout for reactions from the audience while my mate stays with the subject (we take turns). It’s always funny especially when the bride or groom stumbles on their wows (or worse on the names of their partner :-) ) everyone starts laughing and their reactions get recorded. The couples are always happy when they see those shots.
This is a nice picture Neil. Very nicely done !



13 Mark April 22, 2010 at 12:29 pm

That first image is the kind of shot you live to capture. It just pulls me right into their day…the mood, the emotion, the love. WOW! I just…WOW!


14 Alfredo Medina April 22, 2010 at 10:29 pm

Hi Neil,

Thank you for sharing this wonderful image.

Can you tell me what criteria, if any, you use to choose the pictures that later will become black and white?

Thanks again,



15 Neil vN April 23, 2010 at 11:38 am

Thank you everyone!

Alfredo, my decision to take an image to B&W usually rests on whether I want to simplify the photograph and thereby increasing its emotional impact. Now we don’t have the color information to possibly distract us, and we can perhaps more clearly see the moment.

For example, with the images of the flower girl, the colors are very pretty. It all does help making the entire image more appealing. But if there had been a gesture or a moment there with greater emotional impact, then I think that the simplicity of a B&W image would help.

Neil vN


16 Tony August 18, 2012 at 11:53 pm

Hi Neil,

This is such a perfect photograph.

Thank you,

p.s. I’ve never posted in a blog before, but this picture is perfect.


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