Sometimes great photos are meticulously planned and sometimes they just happen. If I’m shooting at a new venue I’ll generally do some location scouting to get an idea of what I’m in for but as a rule I don’t like to be too rigid with my planning as a scene can look totally different from one day to the next depending on the light, the clouds, the time of day, the flowers in bloom and any number of other factors. I’ve shot enough weddings now that I’m very confident playing it a bit fast and loose and making the most of the conditions I’m presented with instead of approaching things with a cookie-cutter mentality and producing identical shots week in week out.
A prime example of a shot just happening is from Kate and Andrew’s wedding. I was up to my eyeballs in family photos, trying to get groups of people in and out as efficiently as possible without being a bossy jerk when I noticed the kids were running around having the time of their life throwing confetti at each other. In between groups I quickly took a couple of steps towards the kids and got them to throw confetti at the camera, no time to switch lenses or change settings or anything, the whole thing took about 3 seconds and then I was back photographing the group. On the Monday when I was going through the photos I was thrilled to see how this one in particular came out, big natural smiles from the kids, confetti everywhere, nice colours, a bit of blue sky in the background. This photo fast became one my favourites and I decided to enter it in the SAPPAs to see if others liked it too.
Kate and Andrew’s wedding is the fourth and final in my series of blog posts showing the whole wedding behind each of my entries in this year’s SA Professional Photography Awards (SAPPAs) – you can see the others here and here and here. The SAPPAs are the state awards and are a prelude to the APPAs (national awards) held later in the year, they are viewed in very high regard within the industry and competition is fierce. There are a bunch of different categories from Portrait to Commercial to Travel to Wedding and everything in between. Back in 2013 I was runner up in the Travel category but since then I’ve only entered Weddings and was chuffed to be a finalist (top 3) last year. You can enter up to 4 images in a category and these images are scored by a panel of judges, the aggregate score across the four images is used to determine the three finalist in each category and from there the photos are all re-assessed and a winner for each category is declared (along with an overall winner). Here is my entry from this wedding.
The system is not perfect, but on the whole it’s very robust and fair. My biggest concern, and I appreciate that there is no way around this so it’s not a real concern, is that for weddings four photos over the course of a year gives a potential bride or groom no real indication about the consistency of the photographers work over the whole day and what they can reasonably expect from their wedding collection. To that end I will be blogging the entire wedding for each of my four entries, I think showing where these photos sit in the context of the whole day is a great way to show how I operate on the day and what else is captured.