I am going a slightly different direction with this Anatomy of an Image post, because I am sharing 14 images from seven different weddings. The idea occurred to me when someone in a wedding photography forum noted how all the images photographers post seem to be very different then what you would expect in a typical wedding photograph. She asked if all of our photos look like that, or only certain ones. I thought it was an interesting question to answer, since if you are new to the industry or wedding photography in general, your impression would be that every single image looks like something that belongs in a gallery as opposed to a wedding album.
Let me start by answering her question: No, every image does not look like that, nor should they. The issue is that, as a photographer, I am photographing for two different people, myself and the client. It is actually more complicated than that, because I am not only photographing for the clients, I am also photographing for their family, their children, and their grand children that will be looking at their wedding photos one day. As such, it is important to find balance between creating the type of artwork that satisfies my own need to create, and the type of images that will appeal to people beyond just myself and the clients. Striking that balance can be difficult.
One of the wedding photographers who most inspires me is David Beckstead, and he has provided the best advice I have ever heard on the matter. Several years ago, he suggested splitting my time between creating safe images for a wider audience and more dynamic images for my own satisfaction. He calls it “creating an image for grandma, and then creating an image for me.” It is a simple idea, but the freedom is provides is incredible. Once I know I have created that safe image for the “grandma” it leaves me to play and create in ways I have never thought possible. For newer photographers, you might want to devote 90% of your time to mastering the safe shots, but as you become more comfortable in developing your style, and confident that you can create dynamic imagery, you can ease into spending more and more of your time taking risks on dynamic imagery.
Today is Mari and Grace’s third wedding anniversary. Congratulations to an amazing couple. I have known them for quite a while, and in addition to their wedding, I have had the opportunity to photograph them on all sorts of adventures together.
Congratulations to Ryan and Molly who are celebrating their one year anniversary today. They got married here in Breckenridge last year in a very intimate backyard wedding at a beautiful property in the mountains.
Our eyes are capable of seeing only a tiny fraction of the electromagnetic spectrum known as visible light. Yet, we can use instruments to help us detect invisible light like x-rays, radio waves, and infrared light. Infrared light is the same light that night vision goggles use. It was discovered accidentally in the year 1800 by German astronomer William Herschel. He was conducting experiments with prisms in order to determine which color of sunlight transmitted the most heat. He placed a thermometer in each color of the rainbow to see which color would show the biggest rise in temperature. He placed another thermometer just outside the rainbow created by the prism as a control.
After several hours Hershel recorded the temperatures on the thermometers and discovered to his surprise that the biggest increase in temperature came from the thermometer just outside of the prism light that he was using as the control. He correctly surmised that this must have been caused by some invisible light that the eye could not see. He called this light infrared, from the Latin word “infra,” for below. William Herschel was the first person to prove that there are forms of light that we cannot see with our eyes.
Since Herschel’s experiment over 200 years ago, detecting and making images from invisible forms of light is commonplace. I own a special camera that has been converted to only record images from invisible infrared light. The camera records at a specific wavelength that it on the border of visible light and heat known as near IR. This wavelength of light has some very interesting properties that result in images like the one above. For starters, much of our atmosphere does not give off infrared light. In fact, it gives off very little red light, which is why the sky appears blue. In an IR image, the sky will actually look almost black. Clouds on the other hand reflect heat including IR light. As a result, clouds appear very bright white in IR photos. People’s warm skin creates a soft and subtle glow in IR light.
Infrared cameras have very limited use in wedding photography, which is why I am one of only handful of photographers to use one. However, when situations like the one above arise, I am really happy that I carry one in my camera bag. If you are interested in having a camera converted, check out Life Pixel.
Amber and Aaron met on a set up ski date at Arapahoe Basin in Colorado. They hit it off on that first chairlift ride, and have been together ever since. I met Aaron through the Summit County search and rescue team, and I was honored when he and Amber asked me to photograph their wedding at Loveland Ski Area.
They are both avid outdoor enthusiasts, especially when it comes to skiing. Because of that they had no fears about driving up the mountain to get some great photos while the light was still good. Enjoy.
Venue: Dry Gulch Placer, Breckenridge, Colorado
Flowers: Lisa with Garden of Eden
Dress: Vanessa by Wtoo from Boulder Bridal
Menswear: Vera Wang from David’s Bridal
Catering: Moe’s BBQ
Cake: Blue Moon Bakery
Music: Jeff from Encore Events
Makeup: Alpine Spa & Salon
Kyle proposed to Katie on a vacation to Hawaii in 2013. They both had a lot of roots in Breckenridge, Colorado, so they decided to return here for their wedding at the rustic Dry Gulch Placer venue. A little rain on their wedding day sure didn’t dampen their spirits and made for some exciting photos in the rain. It was times just right, as the groom’s mother was doing a reading from the lyrics of John Denver’s Perhaps Love, featuring lyrics about thunder.
Ashley and Chris have an amazing lifestyle working for the airlines and traveling the country together. They have lived in nearly 40 states in the last two years. Being such an adventurous couple, it is no wonder that they decided to have their wedding in the mountains of Breckenridge, Colorado.