Capture The Mood
That one is like the more abstract concept but it's just so important to convey in our photos.
This is almost like a fun challenge that we've given ourselves. It's like photographing another dimension, you know? It's a fun thing for us to keep in mind and it's probably the last thing that we've added in the last year to our own formula, you know? In a very clear way in our minds. I'd say that it came about for me at this wedding that we photographed in Vietnam. It was on a boat in Ha Long Bay. When we went into it, I will say we did have expectations of this wedding. I mean, it's hard not to. I think I envisioned this setting, you know, in the photos. It was actually tricky. Really tricky to photograph because it's not a huge boat. You're very limited. You can't go anywhere but the boat. (chuckles) You can't swim out, or have them swim out. So everything was very, yeah, limited. So, I remember feeling, the feeling of the wind blowing, and the smell of the food cooking, and the crazy ...
heat, and sound of the storm in the distance. Those elements to me were so huge to that wedding, and as a photographer, I felt stunted probably for the first time ever. I was like, "I can't capture all of this." This wedding is about more than the visuals and that was really frustrating for me.
It kind of introduced me to the concept of mood and how we can actually capture mood in our photos.
So we actually, this was the opening shot of their slideshow and normally it's a portrait of the bride and groom in the setting. Which, we're going to talk about the opening portrait. We have a segment on that. But we opened with this because this was what this wedding was about. It was about them leaving for three days around the Ha Long Bay, and the one sunset that they got the entire time was on their wedding day. And it was a split-second, so this was taken with our drone. So, mood. In this case mood was chillin', relaxing. It was cloudy, you know details like this are things that we focused on to try to convey mood.
Uh huh, yeah.
Same couple, different wedding. Can you follow that? They had two weddings. (chuckles)
It's about a month later, and for their wedding in California, they just stuck to a very laid back feel. Very laid back mood. Everyone was super casual. There was barely any formalities. The bride and groom were really into dancing so they spent a lot of time on the dance floor. But instead of just showing them there doing their thing, we did want to incorporate more of the environment and show how relaxed the vibe was. You feel it through the lights, you feel it through the people just sitting there and chatting. And all this stuff that's happening around them while the bride and groom are dancing, it just conveys that mood of being super relaxed.
I really like being able to take a step back during the reception and the first dance, or dancing, is a good time to do that. Often times that's a fun way to convey mood. This was your queue to switch to the next photo.
Okay. (chuckles) So, this is kind of the opposite of a very elaborate set-up in a ballroom, but again, they spend a lot of money on this lighting and they spend a lot of time thinking about their decor. To show them within the context of that in a more environmental way, it conveys the mood of the room and also incorporates their first dance in that setting.
And then end up the night riding with the bride and groom again. What's important here is to let them have their moment and really incorporate as much of the ambient light as possible so that it really feels the way that it felt in that car. Lighting this up with a flash, or a light of any kind, is going to take away. Here you feel that it's late in the day, and they're just kind of fixing themselves up.
Uh huh. So, again this is the same kind of example about taking a step back at a reception. Yeah? That was pretty clear. Come on. (chuckles)
From the balcony and when things are going on, just shooting with that ambient light and just showing the action within the context of the actual wedding with some environment to it. It really sets the mood. You see there's been confetti but it's past that, it's beyond that. You see that there's a disco ball, it just sets all the tone for that reception.
It's hard, I have trouble talking about this topic because it's hard to even photograph, and we're still wrapping our minds around mood in terms of photography, but it's a really fun challenge to give ourselves. To be like, "I'm going to try to capture images that make the bride and groom remember what it felt like to be there." Not just what it felt like in the moment, but what it felt like visually, like another dimension. (chuckles) Weather is a great way to show mood. This bride was super early for her wedding. When does that happen? She was like half an hour early, they were circling the block around the church. I just had the driver pull over, and I hesitated. I was like, "Don't be afraid to take control." (chuckles) Max's voice. No, I'm going to do this, we have time, there's nothing holding me back so I just asked them to pull over and I just got out of the car and I just wanted to get a photo of her looking up, out at the church, just before coming out. What's funny to me, is the rain was such a big part of the wedding. To me it seemed. And the bride said of this picture, "I didn't even remember that it rained until I saw that picture" and I was like "Really?" It was a big thing to me, you know? So, it conveys the mood, and weather is part of mood.
So, when you're looking to convey that mood, this is obviously pre-ceremony, the bride's waiting to go in. Are you thinking, "Alright. I need to convey the mood of anticipation." Or in the previous shot of everybody on the dance floor. "I need to convey that mood of party, of fun, of happiness." Are you thinking about things in those terms, or is it more broad? I'm sorry, I know you're still kind of flushing it out. (chuckles)
Yeah, can you tell by my expression? No, it's a good question. Like how clear are we in the moment. I don't think we're ever super clear in the moment. I think we just feel it out. Like, "Okay I've done this, what else can I do?" And these words that we're throwing at you, like mood, those are just the types of things that we just remind ourselves of. Like, "Okay maybe now it's time to convey mood, or maybe now I go work on something moody." Sometimes it just happens. Sometimes it's more intentional in the moment. It's just these kind of concepts we try to remind ourselves of on the wedding day. It keeps things interesting for us, honestly, because it gives us these challenges when we're like, "Okay I've shot the reception, they've been dancing for like five hours, what else can I do?"
Uh huh. Yeah. The mood is very like the smell, the temperature, the weather, and the wind. It's like all those things that we feel as humans, but that you don't necessarily see visually. Trying to put just a little hint of that into the photos is what we're trying to do with mood.