Recently, I was privileged to photograph Arthur and Michael’s classy, intimate wedding at the Montpelier Mansion in Laurel, MD. The event would consist of a small ceremony followed by an upscale dinner with only a handful of close friends and family in attendance. It’s an honor when anyone hires you for a wedding, but particularly one so exclusive. I think I got some great shots and had a lot of fun in the process!
When I arrived, I spent some time grabbing detail shots sans guests. I like this part of a wedding shoot because it gives me time to learn the location and get settled. Sometimes while shooting people, things are moving so fast that I find myself shooting more for content than composition and perfect focus/exposure. These detail shots allow me to take the time to give clients some artful “bookends” to their portraits.
Arthur created these festive, fall decorations himself – talent!
Arthur warmly greeted guests as they began to arrive. Everyone was dressed to the nine’s and strode to the sound of bagpipes echoing across the historic grounds.
Arthur and Michael were gracious hosts from the very start. Light was already diminishing so I was rating my Tri-X at 1600
The outdoor ceremony began around 6:30pm, during sunset, to Vivaldi which was played on a single violin.
It’s common for venues to set up the ceremony with the sunset in the background which creates an annoying backlit situation but allows photographers to eek out every last bit of light before darkness falls. In this evening’s case, however, there was a three story building between the wedding party and the sunset. So I realised that I’d be losing light prior to my original expectation. I swapped out my Tri-X early and loaded my M6 TTL with Delta 3200 then pegged the dial for 6400.
My reflex is to use my 50/1.5 Summarit in low light but I’m glad that I went with my 50/2 Summitar for the ceremony. It killed any temptation to reduce my DoF, potentially missing an important moment, and forced me to really wait for the light to be cast well on my subjects before tripping the shutter. The Summitar produces a hint of swirlios that I think worked nicely with the contrasty images.
With the quiet little M6 TTL, I had no reservation about getting up close for this really personal ring shot.
For dinner, I collapsed the Summitar and tucked the Leica away in my Domke bag. The Nikon F2sb would carry the remainder of the shoot. Interior lighting was somewhat flat so I prefer an SLR with split screen for this. I also think that the M6’s meter may be a little ambitious in flat light.
Between the din of conversation and the live jazz quartet playing in the next room over, I didn’t think guests would be concerned about size/noise of my larger camera. Honestly though, the F2’s titanium shutter is well insulated by it’s big, rugged body and is reasonably quiet, save for the mirror slap. Nobody seemed to mind me at all!
Dinners are difficult to shoot as people can look awkward while eating/drinking. Fortunately, the guests were very social and also very photogenic, so I had no problem rendering warm moments during their lively conversation.
Many thanks to Arthur and Michael and of course, a sincere congratulations as well!
Thanks for reading!
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