The day I took this photo, the bride said to me, “That is all I could have ever wanted in a wedding photo.” She started to cry tears of joy, and then I started to cry as well. I thought it was one of the most beautiful images I had ever taken.
The thing to remember when you see a beautiful image like this, is that the image didn’t just happen. It took planning and hard work, with a big helping of luck from Mother Nature. That day I was second shooting for my good friend Shawn Black. To make this image happen Shawn had to look up in advance exactly what time sunset was going to be. The couple took this time into account when planning the whole rest of the day’s events, from the ceremony time, to when family formals were to be taken, and when to start cocktail hour. The bride and groom that day didn’t rush Shawn and I as we set up these shots by the lake. Once we got down to the shore of the lake, Shawn picked out the perfect spot, and I fluffed out the train of her dress. The couple was willing to do the dip several times, took the notes we gave them, and then executed the dip perfectly. The bride relaxed her arm so that it hung straight down and kicked out her front leg so we could see her beautiful shoes. The groom supported her upper back and did a lunge forward. Doing a dip correctly makes a huge difference in how the final image will look. If you want to learn how to do a dip like this, check out this brief instructional video here.
When you take into account the walk down from the venue to the lake, setting up the lights, and doing a few takes to get the pose and lighting just right, it took about 15 minutes in total to get this shot. So for your wedding day, remember that while it may only take a fraction of a second for us to press that shutter button down, there will likely be a great deal of preparation necessary for a dramatic shot like this. Talking with your photographer in advance about the shots you want to get and the shots they think would work well on your big day is incredibly important. Then you can schedule accordingly and cross your fingers that the elements that you have no control over, like the weather, work out in your favor. Doing so will give you the very best chance possible at getting the picture perfect wedding images you have always dreamed of.