Wedding Photography, for me I suppose, is a search for magic. A game of hide & seek, with the prize, a brief second, framed & bound; the tethering of an instant; an essence of a day, sampled and vial-ed for a loving couple to cherish, to remember and to pass along. Allowing the party to go on, not only late into the night but to be embalmed…forever!

Dan Bold Photo-156

When shooting my first weddings I would hunt high and low for magic. I knew it existed. I had seen it. I’d seen it in other photographers’ work and, occasionally, I was lucky enough to have glimpsed it for myself.

A loving, lingering glance, cut short by a clamorous call; a glistening eye, blinked away in macho haste; riotous laughter – I watched as it exploded and then fizzled out, an instant later – a diminuendo, never to be repeated; lost for ever. I watched it walk around a corner or run out of a door; turn its back on me & never glance back; glide from a clear well of warm lamp light into a cold, chaotic corner, within the wink of an eye.

I frantically searched for these fleeting compositions. I chased my quarry from pillar to post; I trailed the bride like a witless chick, fruitlessly stalking images that would evanesce as quickly as they appeared. I desperately knew what I wanted but not how to ensnare it.

After many years, I am beginning to gain a little confidence behind the lens. The nerve to “stalk” alongside proceedings, rather than to trail behind. The courage to watch & wait patiently for magic to happen, while a myriad of moments pass by, slip out the door and are lost forever. I must now be brave and ignore these charlatans. They are only there to entice & distract me; they must be foreseen, forgone and forgotten.

Anticipation is instinct. It can’t be taught, just learned through reiteration & experience – only then, only gradually and definitely never always, will time slow.

Remain free of diversion and focused on the present, is but my humble advice; concern yourself with a single notion and calmly visualise what may – or may not – be about to transpire. Above all, don’t panic! Of course, this isn’t easy. Doubt forever looms abundantly.

“Should I really be shooting the bride’s reaction? Am I making a mistake shooting towards the window? What would other photographers do? I was challenging all my own rules & conceptions; I felt foolish. Was this wise? Should I re-focus one last time? Is the image exposed correctly? How can I improve this composition?…but what if…”

…I slowed down, tried to stay calm & concentrate, resolved to take the best photograph I could and to hell with the consequences! I depressed the shutter…

…Nothing bad happened…No one died!… I took a photograph and was pretty pleased with the result. I then turned around and took a few more, of the bride’s delighted reaction to the scene. Nothing was lost, a little magic was captured and next time, I shall be a little braver still.