Marriage in Mono

Another day sitting here with my leg in the air. The knee is feeling much better today, slow small stretches and moving about slowly now without the aid of a crutch.
Mmm, what to do … some black and white re-edits from the wedding photos!

I just picked out a few of my favourites from the big day with the intention to strip them back of excess detail and give them the timeless feel of old-school film – a bonus for the brides. These are in order of editing with comments on my thoughts and process below each. I was chatting to Belinda in Messenger while editing these and enjoyed her immediate feedback.

I don’t do a lot of B&W but love it. I generally like as much detail in my photos as I can cram in, including colour and dynamic range, so this is a change of mindset for me, a challenge to strip them back of the unnecessary distracting stuff.

Preparing the corsage. This was the first photo I took with people in it on the day – and I almost didn’t as it felt intrusive, but then I thought, I’ve been asked there to capture moments, and that was a moment that looked special, so I just took it and didn’t look back for the rest of the day. It really was the ice breaker for me.

In a way, it’s a shame they aren’t both in focus, but it puts more emphasis on the bride – and it was her day after all. I couldn’t move further to the right because there was a high bench in the way. I cropped it in closer this time to get a more intimate feel.

The arrival. Belinda loved this shot in colour, she looks so happy so it was an obvious choice to re-edit and crop a little tighter. Looking back at the above two images, I still want to strip out more detail but for some reason hesitate. OK, let it go …

Down the aisle. This is more what I’m trying to achieve, high contrast with deep blacks and solid whites to give the subject space. Just focusing on the details that matter, the faces in this case. I feel the blurred girl in the background adds to it, I loved this shot in colour too. I got just the right shutter speed and camera movement for the background to blur beautifully, but keep the bride and her Dad sharp enough and in focus.

I originally intended to shoot in Aperture Priority mode to ensure correct exposure. I almost always shoot in full manual mode and quickly switched back to what I know. I upped the ISO to 800, compromised with an aperture of f/5.0 to get a bit more focus depth as an error margin. This shot has a risky shutter speed of 1/15 sec to expose their faces correctly but I was lucky to pull it off with the panning. I didn’t want to use a distracting flash or any lights.

All the shots on the day were taken hand-held with the Olympus EM1 II and 12-40mm F2.8 PRO.

Ring exchange. They both look so happy and natural! This image is re-cropped into landscape from a portrait shot. I completely stripped out the window frames in the background.

The awkward, strong backlighting worked in my favour here with a smaller window to the left and a kitchen window further off to the right. I was initially pretty concerned about lighting, especially after some test shots the previous evening and it was a heavily overcast day. I figured hopefully they wouldn’t be moving much during the ceremony so set the camera to 1/30 sec for correct facial exposure.

I love the way their cheeks are highlighted here by the side windows, it helps accentuate their beautiful natural smiles!

The signing. Such a lovely shot of Belinda and her Mum, an obvious choice to re-edit. Seriously, this was not posed, it was a genuine happy occasion and the whole day, everyone was an absolute pleasure to photograph. I could not have asked for a better day to be introduced to the world of wedding photography!

The rings. The last mono re-edit. With the red book and skin tones, I just felt it might look better in black and white. Cropped in more than the original colour edit and with increased contrast. I also got away with a little extra sharpening on the rings 😀


Belinda and I.

The reluctant photographer. I’m happy for people, particularly photographers to critique my work in this post, with the aim of improving my craft. Be gentle, but any advice will be well received. Thanks for visiting.

FEEDBACK: I received this message from Belinda after she viewed this completed post:
“I cannot believe my eyes looking at those b&W photos, you’ve actually made me cry but in a happy way, remembering the day and seeing it captured so beautifully. I’m so happy with all the photos. Im glad you posted a pic of you and me, I’m glad we had one taken on the day. 🙂
Now that’s what really matters, happy customers!

WEDDING PART 1(3 parts if you missed it)

Note: I received prior permission to share these special photos on my blog from the brides. Please respect their privacy and do not download or re-post any image without our prior permission.

6 thoughts on “Marriage in Mono

    1. Thanks Anneli, I really need to change my mindset and strip more of my images back like this. On reviewing this post for errors (you always find one after it goes live), these images definitely have a more timeless quality to them. They are the one’s I would be pulling that wedding album out for in years to come.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Morgaine, I hate “posing” for photos myself. People tend to smile with their mouth closed in a forced manner and they don’t smile with their eyes – that’s what really makes a difference. Most of my wedding photos were taken while they were getting ready to pose or shortly after while conversation, distraction and shenanigans were taking place 🙂 I used a silent shutter so they didn’t know when I was taking them. I haven’t published the family portraits I took in respect of privacy, but I captured every single person properly smiling, except for two who kept holding their “pose”. I also took some candid shots during speeches and milling about afterwards, I flipped out my camera screen and held it down near waist height as if I were reviewing photos or settings, it worked a treat!

      Liked by 1 person

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