February 2013

Capturing a magical moment

Finding and capturing magical moments during a wedding is what differentiates a professional wedding photographer who has a passion for their art from any other person snapping photos. Seeing moments as they unfold and being there to capture them are not a simple matter of standing around waiting for them to develop. A moment, in most cases, needs to be created by evaluating elements in the environment and then balancing them together to create a scene in camera which tells a story. The story need not be complete even, but could leave the view with a sense of wonder into what is going to happen next.

The hardest part is breaking away from what everyone else is doing out there and finding a way to be different. Many wedding photographers, especially when they are just starting out, look around at other wedding photographers work and then try to copy much of it without ever finding out what works for the environment in which they find themselves. Many photography courses teach you to be consistent and create all kinds of rules of light, angle, composition and a host of technicalities which some people get stuck on. I believe in consistency, but consistency for every session, not for my style. What I mean by this is that I will talk to my clients and see what their personalities are like and try to discover what is important to them and then adjust my style for that session, whether it is a wedding or family photo session, to compliment them. I prefer to give my clients what they want, not what I want to give them.

So what makes a magical moment?

People in photos make moments special and sometimes magical. Capturing the moment of silence, a look, emotion or even their interaction with their environment is what creates a moment. A moment can be created by posing a person or even a group in such a way that they interact with one another or their environment. Moments are not created when the only interaction is directed towards the camera. The next time you want to capture a moment, look for the interaction rather than technically try to create a good shot.

To Pose or Not to Pose

I often hear people say that they don’t like “posed” photos and would prefer photos to look “natural”. For a long time I have wondered why this is so since the some of the greatest wedding photos ever created by world famous wedding photographers such as Doug Gordon, Sal Cincotta and Jerry Ghionnis are all posed. I then read a comment by Doug Gordon on a website that people do not like “posed” photos because photographers put them in poses which do not produce flattering photos appropriate to the moment. He went on to say that it is the photographers responsibility to pose people correctly for every situation and mood. Sal Cincotta says very much the same and further notes that fantasy and romance in photos cannot be captured by waiting for a moment to happen, but rather by creating a moment of romance or fantasy by correct posing and then capturing it to look natural.