My favorite camera is my Canon 5D Mark II and my favorite lens is my f/2.8 42-70mm. This camera and lens combination gives a more normal, human-eye perspective, which allows the viewer to feel as though they are present and that the moment is real. This award-winning image is one of my favorites. It shows the wonderful moment when a groom kissed a bride as they watched a slideshow of images with their guests in candlelight at their wedding reception. When the groom kissed her, the bride smiled warmly. Capturing moments such as this is my specialty. About 70 percent of my couples don’t see each other before their ceremonies, so I photograph them getting ready naturally and shoot their family pictures and portraits after the ceremony. This usually takes about 45-60 minutes. I ask my couples for a few minutes when there is great light, or a cool location, for quick portraits throughout the rest of the day.
I must confess: I am having a love affair with my Nikon D3s. Its available light capability is simply stunning. As for lenses, I adore the 50mm f/1.4, which creates a sense of elegance and intimacy. Around 70 percent of every wedding I document is shot with the 50. Its fixed focal length forces me to be creative and very intentional in my positioning and composition. I am most attached to this photograph I made of a flower girl who was climbing up a ladder on a cliff that extended down to a lake. I was standing on a ledge above her and was able to catch a single frame before she reached the top. The image remains a favorite because I feel like it transcends the genre of wedding photography, and that is what I seek to accomplish in all of my wedding work. In consultations, I always suggest pre-ceremony pictures, as it allows the day to flow more smoothly. I would estimate that approximately 40 percent of my clients choose to complete their formals prior to the ceremony and often dedicate an hour or more to this undertaking. Clients that opt for shooting the portraits post-ceremony generally have less time for the endeavor, limiting my creativity, and they also miss most of their cocktail hour! It is always my goal to capture photographs that truly reflect the unique way that a couple loves each other, rather than imposing a formula upon them. The more time I am allowed, the stronger the resulting images will be. Ultimately, however, I want my clients to be happy and I understand that some couples do not want to see each other before the bride walks down the aisle.
San Antonio and Houston, Texas
My Nikon D3 camera and my 50mm f/1.4 are my favorites. The 50mm really makes me think about composition and forces me to move closer or farther away from my subjects, but it’s also wonderfully unobtrusive, and perfect for low-light weddings. At the same time, this is the lens that has challenged me the most. I’m not really one for creating staged images. What I’m looking for is great composition, light, form and subject without being intrusive and just simply telling the story. So when I get all these elements in alignment, I’m very happy, and this image is a good example. It’s such a simple photograph, but it has so much joy and happiness—just a great intimate moment. My clients know that they’re not getting a lot of formals or posed images—at least not compared with the traditional way of doing things—and that is part of the reason why I get hired. Almost all my couples want some formals taken and about 20 percent shoot prior to the ceremony. If it’s a Catholic wedding, most of the time we won’t do any formal photos until after the ceremony.