Harrison and Kelly’s Wedding

Posted: 01.04.2012  \  In: Photography  \  Tags: Wedding Photography

This past weekend, I had the honor of shooting Harrison and Kelly’s wedding in Memphis.  They had a New Year’s Eve wedding, which brought back some great memories as Emily and I share the same anniversary.  Once again, Emily was at my side throughout, and without her assistance there’s no way the shots would have turned out as well as they did.  Of course, the fact that bride, groom, and entire wedding party were such fun, photogenic people made my job that much easier.  

The Venue

The wedding took place at Highland Church of Christ in Memphis, TN — and the setting was gorgeous, probably the best indoor wedding I’ve ever shot.  The auditorium was spacious and modern, and the seating was arranged to allow for an incredibly wide main aisle–which made shooting the entering and exiting bridal party much easier.  Relying on candles and Christmas lights to set the mood meant I had to use the flash much more than usual–but more on that later.  The reception was located onsite, in the teen room, and was absolutely perfect for the event.  Modern paint colors, multiple levels, track lighting, and tall tables with bar stools gave the room the feel of a modern nightclub.  Seriously, great location for a wedding.

Shooting the Event

The biggest challenge with this wedding in particular was the dim lighting during the ceremony and reception. The stage lighting was bumped up high enough to accommodate my array of wide-aperture lenses, but as soon as people took two steps off the stage they were essentially lost in full shadow as far as the camera sensor was concerned. Because of this, I relied on my Canon 580EX II Speedlite flash unit–and wow, did it deliver.

Coupled with my Canon 5D Mark II, which handles low-light noise really well, I actually turned my flash unit backwards and fired it up and into the room behind me.  With a powerful enough flash, this technique allows the light to bounce off and around the ceiling and walls behind me, casting a soft, even light upon my subjects.  It also required some high-tech batteries, so based on a ton of reviews I went with the Sanyo Eneloop rechargeable AAs — and they performed beautifully.  These tools and techniques gave me the ability to get 4-5 shots off in a row at times without the flash missing a shot to refresh, which allowed me to capture the bride and groom as they walked toward me from the stage at the end of the ceremony.

Lessons Learned

Over the past few years, I’ve had the honor of shooting several weddings and I’ve always learned a ton of new things with each one.  This wedding was my first to use a flash during portions of the ceremony and most of the reception, and it turned out beautifully. I’ve also become less and less inhibited with each gig — during my first couple weddings, I was afraid to walk around too much or stand up at the front for fear that I was taking away from the ceremony. I’ve learned, though, that people often don’t even give the photographer a second look…and regardless, it’s better to get the shots than to worry about what someone in the audience thinks at the time. When they see the pictures afterward, they won’t care how you got them.

Finally, I’ve learned that you can never take too many pictures.  With so many time-critical shots during a wedding ceremony, there simply isn’t time to review on the fly.  Instead, I just make sure I know what settings I need and then shoot like crazy…there is always plenty of time to delete the throwaways later.

The Photos – Sneak Peek

I’ll be posting a larger set of these shots in my portfolio eventually, but wanted to go ahead and share some preview shots.  Check back in the weeks ahead for more, or follow me on my facebook page, Zach Cheatham Photography.

  • Powellwynona

    Fantastic photos!!!!!!!!!

  • Anonymous

    Thanks! It was a lot of fun!

  • Anonymous

    Your skill is evident with all the tricky dim lighting. What a beautiful couple!

  • Michael Gossett

    I have to say, Zach, that I was really pleased with how well you and Emily navigated the ceremony and with how well all these photos have turned out. Can’t wait to see more of them. Thanks for everything.
    –Michael Gossett (brother of the bride)

  • http://zachcheatham.com/ Zach Cheatham

    Thanks Michael! It was great meeting you last weekend!

  • Brad

    Yes, it was a beautiful event, to be sure. While it’s usually said that the pics don’t do it justice, that is NOT the case this time! Wow, these pics are excellent, showing off the people, the mood, the atmosphere, and the fun!
    Great Job, Zach, and keep up the good work!

  • http://prettyhungrygirl.wordpress.com/2012/01/15/vanilla-bean-cupcakes-a-family-wedding/ Vanilla Bean Cupcakes + A Family Wedding! « Pretty / Hungry

    [...] Photo by Zach Cheatham [...]

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