A traditional wedding

Posted: May 19, 2009 in Wedding photography
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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.


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.



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.


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.


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.


The groom may become a little bit emotional …


… 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 … 


The exchange of rings …


The handing over of the scroll …


The breaking of the glass …


And mazeltovs, hugs and kisses all round …


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