I always ask couples ahead of time – any special requests? On the contract, there’s a space to add more, and the invitation to email or text or call ahead of the wedding.
For James and Peter, there was only ever one.
No, not Peter helping James with the cufflinks like a boutonnière – nor the opposite, just a set up of the cufflinks laid out ahead of time.
It evolved into a series of still-lifes.
Cufflinks and rings.
Tuxedo shirt buttons.
Shirts, belts and even boutonnieres were added.
Shots of rings ahead of the ceremony are fairly common, which is why wedding photographers try to find new ways to shoot them – with flowers, with invitations, in the foreground … I always enjoy this part of the wedding – for the challenge.
The challenge at this wedding was to capture the larger still life with a little imagination. Upstairs at the B&B, that’s what we worked to do – while their guests waited downstairs for the ceremony.
Peter had put some thought into it, bringing a Kimono for a backdrop. And he had the other pieces available, though some (like the buttons) seemed like afterthoughts. I did persuade him to let me capture shots without all of it – less busy, and we were both happy with the results.
The cake topper, basically a two-dimension cut-out, presented its own challenges. As the thing was to stick into the top of the cake with two spikes (sort of like those omnipresent political lawn signs) rather than sit on top, the trick was to conceal the spikes without making it all look cluttered.
Commercial photography is an art and craft all by itself. I do a bit of this type of work, too.
Perhaps you’ve heard about glycerin being applied to fruit to simulate perfect droplets of juice or condensation. (Food photography is a subspecialty within commercial) You can spend all day perfecting a few shots for a magazine layout or cover.
When covering a wedding, that’s a luxury you don’t have. I suspect we spent a little longer on this spread than the typical time spent on rings alone.
But this was their only ‘special request.’
I’ve known James a little while, and it was he that recommended me to photograph the big day. I met Peter briefly a few weeks before the wedding. This shoot before the shoot, the accessories that would decorate the couple and their cake, was an opportunity for he and I to get to know each other a little better.
That makes every wedding photography session go smoother.
This was a small wedding, an intimate affair. Just a few handfuls of guests – including another couple, Janet and Steve, I’d photographed years ago at the same bed and breakfast in Hunter, near Hunter Mountain where they’d hosted their entire wedding.
It was nice to reconnect in person after years of online-only contact.
I’m always happy to run into couples I’ve photographed, whether as guests at a future wedding or in the course of our daily lives. Sometimes guests from a wedding recognize me. No mater how inconspicuous I endeavor to be, it’s tough to be completely invisible when photographing a wedding.
Peter and James moved south, with plans to move farther south – and we may never meet again. But through their pictures, and sharing this most special day we now share a few things – memories among them.