Bridal Portrait sessions are always fun. I once had a bride, named Ashley, with whom I had a very memorable moment at the conclusion of our shoot. Beautiful as all brides are, she is extremely intelligent, incredibly kind hearted, and profoundly easy to work with, which made for a particularly gorgeous photograph we had not planned for on our journey.
We were shooting with her a few weeks prior to their wedding date, wandering around a park in the middle of St. Augustine, Florida. We were at the old Mission of Nombre de Dios, and running out of places to shoot. Suddenly the grounds keeper appeared out of nowhere and asked us if we would like to take pictures in the grounds chapel. Funny enough we had been shooting all around the little structure for the previous 30 minutes, and gladly jumped at the opportunity!
The grounds keeper unlocked the doors and in we walked. I wasn’t really prepared to shoot indoors, and all I had for lighting was a small flash speed-light. The space was pretty confined, It was a rather small chapel, could fit maybe 30 people in there comfortably. The roof is made of wooden beams in an “A” frame, and it was fairly dark. I fumbled about my camera setup, guessing at my flash settings. I had no clue how the light would react.
We moved a bunch of benches around, it was a little chaotic in sight. We then took one bench and centered it in front of the alter and sat Ashley on it. Next thing we know a bunch of people come in and sit down on the benches. I’m sure they were very surprised by the mess of benches and seeing us about to take a portrait. Was I ruining a moment of prayer for them??? I needed to hurry!!!
After prepping her dress, I stood back about 10 feet and prepared to take the shot. With the strangers in the back ground, Ashley calmly smiled at me and with a happy voice said, “I’m ready.” I focused the lens and let the shutter fly. After taking approximately 10 different snaps of her in different poses, we hustled everything back the way we found it, filtered our way around the patrons, and left the tiny little chapel.
As you can see above, the image came out quite nice. The portrait was displayed at her wedding reception, I gave it to her mother as a “Thank You” for letting me be a part of their great celebration.
It may seem like a trivial event to most, but it was a memorable moment for me. I look at this portrait and feel the passion I have for my work. Though we focus so much on the candid and photojournalistic approach these days, portrait work is still important and beautiful. But most importably it serves as a fond memory of a funny moment with one of the nicest people I know, a great couple and very loving family.