Archive for May, 2009

Can there be any kisses sweeter than wedding kisses? ‘You may kiss the bride,’ says he or she, and the groom leans in, the bride lifts her face, they giggle, the guests giggle … everyone is watching them …

With a mixture of relief, nervousness, embarassment and sheer love the kiss is planted … and … if the photographer is ready (some of these kisses are very quick!) … recorded …

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Even kisses from little children can seem twice as sweet at a wedding …

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Heavy clouds gathering across a darkening sky can add a great sense of drama to the day …

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… and there’s always a quiet moment to be found …

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Cape Town is spoilt for picturesque venues. This couple celebrated their wedding at Monkey Valley, Noordhoek, and wanted to have their photos taken on the beach.

These pics were taken at the same time (around six o’clock) as the pics posted here, but the quality of light is completely different. The Noordhoek pics were taken in January, while the ones in the earlier post were taken in April. 

(The little ‘just married’ suitcase was the bride’s creation.)

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I like to give my bridal couples some time to wander off during the shoot, give them time to catch their breath, and use a long zoom to capture some candid moments, like drawing hearts in the sand …

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… or sneaking a kiss …

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Despite her fabulously designed floor-length dress, this bride was happy to hitch up her skirts and run through the waves, giving a glimpse of lacy garter and flashing a gorgeous pair of long brown legs …

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… emerging from the icy water, ready to face the reception and dance through the night …

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… or maybe just keep walking towards that brand new life together …

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There is a special connection between photographer and sitter, or model, while the photographs are being taken, and so I like all the women I photograph – especially the brides. And yet some stand out in memory a little more than others.

This bride was simply glowing with the love she shared with her friends, her family and her husband. Everything seemed effortless to her, and with her bright smile and sparkling eyes, she was simply lovely to photograph.

Window light is my favourite light for portrait photography, and I’m always most happy when the bride has selected a getting-ready venue that has large windows with good light. This venue’s downstairs area, where my very punctual bride was already dressed and made-up and ready to go, was dark and disappointing, and so I phaffed about trying to get a decent shot or two. They were okay, but not inspiring, not what I was looking for.

Then she decided to wander up the narrow starcase to the bedroom to check on the progress of her bridesmaids. I followed, hoping to capture an intimate moment between friends.

And then she gave me the shot: she sat down on the bed to watch the bridesmaid’s make-up being done, and the morning light filtered through the window behind her, illuminating her hair and creating a golden halo around her.

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Outside in the garden things became more challenging. The summer sun rises early and quickly becomes contrasty. I don’t like shoving my clients about, and so have to make the best of things if we don’t make it to the good light while it’s there … and so I had to resort to my trusty reflector to keep the extreme shadows at bay.

Things were easier in the shadows, where a friend was busy polishing the yellow porche – the only thing bright enough to match my bride’s smile – that was to ferry her to the church.

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This wedding was held in the forest in Nature’s Valley, and was an absolute delight. The bride looked like a fairy princess …

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The guests were given tiny silver bells to tinkle, and organza sachets of heath to throw …

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The bride and groom exchanged vows under a huge, ancient tree in the middle of the Nature’s Valley forest.

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The groom was pretty camera shy, but was happy to do anything, as long as I didn’t at any point ask him to look at the camera, and so he was quite prepared to roll up his wedding pants and wade into the water, carrying his fairy bride in his arms.

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There can be no lighting better than the warm hues of a beach sunset …

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It even works in monochrome …

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I love photographing Jewish weddings – there is just so much detail to it, and, as a result, so much to photograph, especially if the couple is quite traditional. A recent Cape Town wedding caught the last remnants of almost-guaranteed good weather, and the wonderful light that it brings. The bride was absolutely beautiful and so taking the portrait shots was a breeze, despite the fact that those had to be taken outdoors  in the midday sun, with nothing but a neighbourhood street as backdrop. It was a case of zooming in close to crop out the background, and whipping out either the diffusor and reflector and or giving a burst of fill-in flash to get rid of the shadows.

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The signing of the khetuba is one of my favourite parts. I love the ancient feel of it all, and the colourful border and ornate writing on the scroll always add a sense of tradition to the images.

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Once the signing is done, there is usually a quick lachaim before the groom, the rabbi and the following of men make their way to where the bride is waiting. Because of that debacle centuries ago of the wrong sister being married off to the smitten groom, the ritual of ‘checking the bride’ has been followed. It’s a lovely moment where the groom first sees his bride in her wedding finery. 

I love the expression on this bride’s face as she listens to the prayers being said.

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As a photographer, this is real ‘fly on the wall’ stuff. You need to be everywhere at the same time. The light is usually not great and the space confined, so it’s best to know exactly what’s going to happen next so that you can make sure that your camera settings are correct before the proceedings burst forth to the next item on the agenda.

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After the groom has dropped the veil over his bride, and the prayers and blessings have been said, it is time for the ceremony to begin.

The bride walks seven times around the groom, usually losing count and giving rise to giggles as the tension mounts.

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The groom may become a little bit emotional …

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… which, photographically speaking, is just perfect. It adds to the drama as, inevitably, the mother begins to weep, which sets all the other women off. Even I get a bit misty-eyed behind the camera!

Then there is the supping of wine from the silver cup … 

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The exchange of rings …

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The handing over of the scroll …

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The breaking of the glass …

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And mazeltovs, hugs and kisses all round …

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