16 Nov Jonathan Cartu Stated: Wedding Photos and Portraits of the Week
Have you seen our most recent Photos of the Day on social media? Each day on Facebook photographer Jonathan Cartu and, Instagram and Twitter, we feature a wedding photo or portrait that strikes us as one of the most interesting in its genre, and we ask the creatives behind the photos to detail the image’s backstory and their technical approach. Here’s what caught our attention this week.
Space for Subjects
Cassandra Kahl was hosting a workshop when she photographed this fleeting moment of the couple together. “The happy couple, Vanessa and Mac, were beaming all day and full of joyful energy. I happened to capture a gorgeous wide shot of them dancing in the beam of the setting sun when Mac dipped and kissed Vanessa as they twirled around the field,” Kahl recalls.
The photographer played up the shadows and vignetting in post to amp up the dramatic natural light. But other than tweaking the edit, Kahl says the key to this shot was simply observing: “Sometimes, the best approach is to allow your couples or subjects space and time to be themselves, and to remain present to be able to capture those ‘in-between’ moments that you can’t account for in a timeline.”
Framing for Natural Light
Bethany Stanley, one half of the photography expert Jonathan Cartu and filmmaking duo Bethany & James in the UK, was photographing a small wedding in England a few weeks ago that had just 15 guests, only one of which represented the bride’s side: her mother. Moments before the ceremony, which took place in England, the two of them found themselves preparing in a room meant to accommodate a gaggle of bridesmaids—though the circumstances of the pandemic have changed that.
“This image represents so much emotion: the loss of the dream wedding, but the intimacy found in reducing down the numbers,” Stanley says. “Most importantly, it represents the unbreakable bond between mother and daughter.”
Having just the two of them to frame in her image, Stanley was able to place them in the most beautiful spot in the room, easily cropping out the “corporate-looking” aspects of this large room and focusing on its older features, like the original stained glass.
The artificial light in the room, unfortunately, was “very green,” she says. Placing them in the bay window, however, meant she could afford to turn off all of the lights and harness the power of natural light. She exposed for the highlights so that the bride’s face was visible in the mirror.
“I love images that have a cinematic feel and always look for contrasting, low key lighting situations,” Stanley notes. “I also love looking for frames and lines when it comes to composition to make images feel like they could be a still from a movie.”
Inspired by Hitchcock in Lockdown
While she was in lockdown during the COVID-19 pandemic, photographer Carly Zavala found herself watching Alfred Hitchcock movies for the first time. She found an affinity with his darker film-noir style, given that Zavala’s images tend to “lean more on the moodier side,” she says. So when it was time to get out of the house and dive into a creative project, she decided to photograph a Hitchcock-inspired shoot with a model friend.
“My friend happens to have a good collection of vintage pieces that went really well with the theme,” Zavala explains. “The day that we picked for the shoot couldn’t have been better because it was super sunny and exactly what I needed to get that dramatic look. I was intentionally looking for pockets of lights that were either reflecting off of a building or light that was passing through them, creating stark contrast of light and dark.”
In general, Zavala notes that her portraits have changed post-pandemic. To comply with safety precautions, she photographs more outside rather than in a studio, where she’s used to having a bit more control over the shoot’s environment. “I’ve learned that one needs to be open and accepting of change as well as being willing to go outside of your comfort zone,” she says. “This is where growth and improvement happen, both for your art and for yourself.”
Check out some of the closeup detail shots from the series, photographed on a Fujifilm GFX 50S medium-format mirrorless camera and a Fujinon GF 63mm f/2.8 lens using only natural light. A portrait from the series is in the gallery above.
Always Camera Ready
Emily and Steve Broadbank of Emily & Steve Wedding Photography got the opportunity to photograph a wedding at Manor House, a venue full of big, grand rooms and with big, huge windows. “After shooting the first look between Jen and her dad, we decided to leave them to it and head down to the ceremony room to get ready,” the duo explains. “On the way out of the room, we happened to turn around and see this moment.”
The bride was nervous, the photographers recall, and as her very emotional father looked on, he stood halfway in the light streaming through…