Saturday, June 01, 2013

What An Amazing Wedding!!!

Good Morning Everybody,

DAZ-LDIt's been quite a while since I found myself at the keyboard.  Sometimes I miss it and I have to admit, sometimes I don't. LaDawn and I have been thoroughly enjoying our travels, like really enjoying our travels, which explains to some extent my absence from the keyboard.

We recently returned from a 14 day Atlantic crossing, stayed on the beautiful Celebrity Eclipse and sailed through the fiords of Norway for 8 more days.  Then it was back to Southampton, England and a short 9 day stay in what we felt to be one of the most beautiful areas of the world, the Cotswolds.  The scenery was beyond luscious and the people were the absolute friendliest we've ever met anywhere in the world.  I promise to share with you some of our stories and a few of the over 8,500 images we captured on our fabulous trip.

Back Home And Back To Work – The Wedding Of The Year!

This past weekend I had the honor of photographing one of the most beautiful and exciting weddings of my career.  I kept joking Mimi, the bride, that I only returned from Europe so I could photograph her wedding ;~)  What an event it was!


Key to the success of the shoot was my team I had on board for the weekend. Nicholas Viltrakis, a great photographer [link] and my Ace #1 assistant and primary second photographer for the event. Nicholas did a fabulous job capturing so many of the details and the fun and many spontaneous photographs of the guests. Anyone who meets Nicholas can't help but be taken by his graciousness and personality.


Eric Cameron, a good friend and excellent photographer [link], made the four hour trip from Dover, Ohio to round out our team.  Eric served as my right hand man, lighting assistant, and additional second shooter.  His presence was invaluable to the success of our wedding coverage.

What struck me as I was going through all the images was the fact that the different perspectives each of us brought to the event resulted in an awesome, beautiful, diversified, exciting collection of images for my clients, Mimi and Stuart.  I can't wait for them to see the finished results!

As when covering any fabulous event it seems to also include a few challenges, but you know, those situations just come with the territory.  One of the major vendors was late in setting up and that delayed the start of the photography just slightly.  But the bottom line is; you still have to come home with the photographs - no excuses EVER!  And boy, did we come home with the photographs!

Mimi and Stuart's wedding was the blending of two families and  I think that's why the day was so special for all involved.  Mimi has three daughters and Stuart has two daughters.  They all have been hanging out with each other for several years and you could see that they looked like 5 sisters interacting with each other throughout the day.


The wedding was attended by well over 300 guests from around the world and was held on the family property which had been transformed into one of the most fabulous settings one could ever imagine.  What a thrill to be the photographer honored with capturing all the memories for the day.


Mimi looked absolutely gorgeous!  I was taken by how beautiful her eyes were and tried to capture that in my photographs.  Stuart was laid back and just took the day in stride being the perfect host to his bride, all the family members, and guests.


The wedding cake was by Sylvia Weinstock, the premiere baker from NYC.  I have to say, the cake was astonishingly beautiful. In all my years As a wedding photographer, I've seen a cake like this only three or four times.  It was just beautiful! BTW… those flowers are all made of icing.

The Technical Details

As three of us were working at near the speed of light to capture all the exciting moments of the day, we needed a plan that would make that happen smoothly and efficiently.  Nicholas and Eric had both been  shooting with their new Canon 6D's which they were thrilled about.  I have to admit, the images from their cameras look great.  I was particularly impressed with the high ISO, low noise characteristics of the camera.  Nicholas made several exposures at ISO 5000 and the noise was nearly non-existent  and mostly disappeared after a little Lightroom 5 treatment.

DAZNOTE: Yes, I has been using Adobe's latest BETA version of Lightroom with great success.  Some of their new features are amazing! Again, I promise to share some of my observations with the new version with you in an upcoming post.

Another aspect of our shooting plan was to use nothing but speed lighting all the time. Between the three us we were carrying 10 Canon SB600 EX-RT's, way more than we needed ;~) For the close up portraits I was easily able to use one speed light shooting through my Zumbrella.


When we got outdoors in the much brighter light we amped up the power by ganging three speed lights together.  When we were working closer to the subjects we would still fire the speed lights through my Zumbrella.  When working with the larger groups we couldn’t afford the light loose through the Zumbrella and just went direct with the strobes.


DAZNOTE: You may think that not using the Zumbrella would result in lighting not quite so soft and you would be correct in that assumption.  In reality though, the head sizes in large groups are so small no one viewing the images would be able to discern the difference. 

Working outdoors and still being able to shoot at wider apertures necessitated that we use high speed flash sync.  The Canon 600 EX-RT strobes were perfect for the job and the built in radio transmitter and receiver made the lighting much more efficient.

For the reception images I set up two Canon 600EX-RT speedlights on each side of the bands stage nestling my light stands in with the band’s speaker stands so no one would trip over them. With Eric running the third light, I had beautiful, dimensional lighting on all my coaxed candids.



One of the highlights of the wedding for the bride and groom was a heartfelt toast given by Tanya, Mimi’s daughter. I captured the touching moment by first getting a great shot of Tanya and then turned my camera to Mimi and Stuart and captured the tender  moment between mother, daughter and groom.

The Job Is Not Over Till It Is All Done

Nicholas, Eric, and I met earlier in the day at two o'clock in the afternoon to review the time-line and game plan for the day.  The wedding was scheduled to wrap ten hours later at midnight.  Hey, just a regular day of wedding photography, right?  I have a policy of never leaving a wedding till the band has finished playing and most of the guests have said goodbye.


Well, as happens so often, the band Simply Irresistible, one of the best bands in the country and hailing from Atlanta, had the crowd calling for an encore performance. 


They ended up playing till 1:15 a.m. We still had a few more photo request after that and didn't leave the party till 1:35a.m. yep, a long day but a great shoot.

I've tried to give you a feel of the event with the images shown throughout this post.  My sincere thanks to Nicholas and Eric for their invaluable assistance and especially our thanks to our wedding couple, Mimi and Stuart, for letting us be part of such a grand and wonderful event - thank you so much!


Hey gang, that's it for me today. Hope you enjoyed the post.  We're in town for a short while so I’ll do my best to get another post or two up soon.  Have a great weekend and I'll see you soon.



  1. Great post David! So, no more Quantum flashes for you? Thanks for sharing.

  2. I've missed You! Thanks for posting. What a beautiful Wedding. The cake photo was amazing. Well, everything was amazing. Thanks for the post!

  3. Thanks David with all you share. I also have revamp to the triple threat and 4, 600ex-rt flashes . I have the 7' westscott umbrellas. I am shooting a large wedding and I would like to use the triple threat and 7' white with black umbrella for the formal shots at the alter. Is this overkill at a wedding ?

  4. Hi Mike,
    I think the BIG umbrella is overkill. I like my compact Zumbrella for all my wedding gigs - it's more convenient to use and handle. I like the BIG 7 ft translucent for outdoors in the sun.
    My two cents.
    All the best, David