One of our favorite parts of any wedding day is the first dance.
The first dance is romantic and intimate, everyone is watching and it is a memory that most couples will share for the rest of their lives. Any time their song comes on they are instantly transported back to that moment. To us it’s just as important as the first kiss! So how do you take a photograph of a couple during the first dance?
Usually the lights are very dim, which makes focusing on the couple difficult. But you don’t want to just throw a flash on your camera and start shooting away. It would ruin the mood and the atmosphere that the wedding couple is experiencing, in short there would be a disconnect between what the couple experiences and how they see the memory when they look at your photograph.
So what do you do?
There are a number of different options, and all of them can work at different times.
At a recent wedding we shot for Brian and Danica we decided to use a method that has been around for quite a while, strong back lighting.
I put a speedlight on one of our monopods and connected it to a wireless trigger. Tracey took that light and stood on the opposite side of the bride and groom from where I was with the camera. So when I took a picture the light actually came from behind the couple.
The tricky part when doing this is trying to coordinate the camera with the flash. Tracey and I need to communicate, but we also aren’t what people should be watching, so we are as discreet as possible.
Every once in a while we don’t quite connect and the resulting pictures are actually quite funny. They are also the perfect way to illustrate the technique.
Here you can see a couple of pictures where Tracey wasn’t able to hide herself behind the couple and ended up in the picture.

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We are always learning when we photograph weddings and one of the things we picked up after Brian and Danica’s first dance was the importance of patience.
It’s easy to get worried that you won’t get “the shot” because there is such a limited amount of time and the tendency can be for photographers to chase the couple around dance floor. But we realized that if we stay in relatively the same place on the floor, the couple will come back to where we are and that allows us to be ready, calm and discreet.
We love these first dance photo’s, here are a couple that worked out just the way we had hoped they would.

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Of course once the first dance is over it doesn’t mean we stop shooting. In fact some of the most interesting photo’s of the evening can come once everyone has loosened their ties and hit the dance floor.
I always like to watch where the bride is in the room, often her interacting with her guests turns into a great moment. Here’s one of those moments when Danica got a chance to dance with a few of the little children at her wedding.

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I can’t wait for the next first dance we get to photograph!
Happy Friday, enjoy the sunshine.