When my old roommate Kevin called to tell me he was engaged, I was so very happy for him. Then when he followed that good news up with a question, would I be their wedding photographer at his old prep school, which he described as Hogwarts-esque, I was elated…for me. But on the day of their wedding, the emotion they shared was far more beautiful for me to photograph than any architecture could ever be.
My second shooter, Shawn Black, and I made our way down to Pottstown, Pennsylvania the day before the wedding. We were amazed at the incredible Hill School campus. In the cold of winter, it really did look like a scene out of a Harry Potter movie. The campus was decorated for Christmas, and Lauren and Kevin were able to incorporate some of those decorations into their own wedding. Shawn and I brought her beautiful dress and fabulous Betsey Johnson pumps all over the campus to get some really unique shots. Once Lauren and Kevin were ready it was time for their big reveal in the Headmaster’s Garden. Lauren’s maid of honor helped to set her train out so it would flow perfectly as she walked out. Then what happened next, I will never forget. The gruff grizzly bear that is Kevin, turned into an unbelievably emotional teddy bear upon seeing Lauren. The two kept wiping tears away from the other’s face tenderly. It was without a doubt the happiest I had ever seen Kevin. It made me cry tears of joy as well.
After they embraced and spoke for a few minutes–Shawn and I were shooting from afar– we started the bridal portrait session. With Kevin’s classic tux and Lauren’s piercing blue eyes, the two of them looked like they had just stepped out of the page of a magazine. I couldn’t help but do a little dance of joy. But honestly, they were just so into each other, Lauren could have been wearing a potato sack and the photos still would have come out beautiful. Once we finished the bridal portraits we moved on to the old hockey rink where Kevin used to play for the bridal party formals. Lauren had scored a bunch of pompoms at a Hill School alumni event and she creatively had all the girls add them to their bouquets for a shot. Also, to make sure the girls weren’t too cold, Lauren got them beautiful white stoles to wear over their shoulders, and she wore an heirloom mink stole.
After all the formals were done it was time for the big moment they had been waiting for. As Lauren walked down the aisle, Kevin once again had tears streaming down his face. Lauren invited me to go anywhere I felt would make for great shots, so I took advantage of this and quietly hid in the back where the choir would normally site so that I could get some shots of her beaming face as Kevin recited his vows. After their first kiss as man and wife the two of them looked at eachother as they recessed out the whole time without me even reminding them to do so. Then the guests walked over to the dining hall where Synergetic Sound + Lighting had bathed the room in golden hues that really highlighted the beautiful wood paneling of the grand room. This made for a romantic backdrop for Lauren and Kevin’s first dance. To mine, and just about every guest’s surprise, the hockey loving Kevin (who is often better coordinated when in skates than in shoes) and Lauren perfectly executed a complex ballroom dance to INXS’ Never Tear Us Apart. I knew right then and there, this girl really was something truly special if she could pull that out of him! Apparently though, Lauren also learned a dance for Kevin. Towards the end of the night the DJs played “Taking Care of Business” and Kevin, Lauren, and the rest of his family took to the dance floor to do a hilarious dance that is apparently a family tradition. I’d had a bride do a yoga pose before in her dress, but I’d never had one rolling around on the floor, doing pushups, and kicking her legs up into the air the way Lauren did that night! Lauren is really a girl after my own heart and absolutely perfect for Kevin!
Synergetic Sound and Lighting used both uplighting and spot lighting to create the warm glow effect in the room. The spot lighting meant we couldn’t do our typical drag the shutter technique of using a slower shutter speed to get the ambient light in the shot while still freezing the action. So instead we set our shutter speed fast enough to freeze the motion (1/160) with the ambient light alone and set our exposure so that it was about 1 stop darker than what we wanted to capture. Radio triggered flashes that were set at very low power provided additional side lighting to dramatically separate the subjects from the background.
The DJs from Synergetic Sound and Lighting were a dream to work with as a photographer. I wish they were based in Boston so I could have my clients use them all the time! They always checked with us before they started any big event (entrances, parent dances, cake cutting, etc) to make sure we were ready. This was a HUGE help to us! They were willing to change the lighting setup to anything we needed, and they picked great songs for the audience as well. And they were nice guys to boot!