Casual Wedding Walk

by Cynthia Gonzales
(Rocklin, CA; United States)

I was invited to my niece's wedding in Carmel, California. She and her husband had hired a wedding photographer already. I thought I would take some pictures for my family photo album.
This was one of those times when their photographer told them to walk towards him while he was taking their pictures. I took this picture.

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Rarely do I feel more sympathy for anyone but the wedding photographer.

Constantly on edge, knowing that this is the one time you MUST get it right. And then there is the conflict of interest right from the start – lots of guests ready to enjoy the day, and you as photographer barking orders at them – in the nicest possible way of course!

Even now I wake in the night, shouting into the darkness “where’s Aunt Mabel? I must have Aunt Mabel!!!”. My wife says the therapy has helped, but the cold sweats persist. Maybe in time . . .

But I digress . . . Cynthia has, it seems, becomes the photographer’s shadow. I remember these people – the keen amateur weighed down with enough photography kit around their necks to sink a battle ship. And they’d follow me around all day.

And I don’t blame them for a moment. In fact I liked it as I get to talk lenses and apertures with someone who’s interested. And if they get to go home with some great photos of the day, everyone’s a winner!

So back to Cynthia’s photo. This is a favourite technique of wedding photographers. It works well as it gives a nice relaxed ‘stolen moment’ feel to the day.

But there are a couple of caveats . . . first you need a decent camera for this type of photo. What you need to be able to do is fire off shots in quick succession (5 frames per second is ideal, but if your camera can manage 3 frames per second you should get some good photos).

You will also need a camera that has a good ‘buffer’. This relates to the speed at which photos can be written to the memory card. Fast cameras can go on all day writing images as fast as you can shoot them (even at 5 frames per second!). Slower cameras will capture, perhaps 5-6 shots, and then cease-up whilst the photos are written to the memory card.

Finally you need a camera that will track a moving object – in this case the happy couple. As they walk towards you the camera adjusts constantly to keep them in focus. This means that all of those 5 frames per second will be in crisp clear focus.

And these are the advantages of digital SLR cameras.

But back to Cynthia’s photo – it’s nice, nothing really amiss. But I bet that if a few more photos had been taken there would be one where the groom wasn’t squinting, and where the bride wasn’t looking at the floor.

The focussing is also a little soft, and perhaps faster focussing would have solved this.

But you know what, I take my hat off to Cynthia – well done to have a go at this shot, and I hope you picked up some tips from the official photographer along the way.

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Reply to Darrell's Comment
by: Cynthia Gonzales

I thank you for the advice.

I would like to mention I gave no orders to anyone; the professional photographer was giving the orders.

No fancy equipment was used. A Kodak Easy Share Model C713 was used.

You must have liked the picture somewhat. I must have some photography skills, since the picture was taken with a point and shoot camera.

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