Weddings: The First Dance

Matt Staver ( used a slightly different photojournalistic approach:  “I try to capture all the special moments, but like to be unobtrusive. I don’t want them to remember me, as much as having pictures that remind them of what was really there,” he told me.

During a wedding Matt captures “the standard kind of photographs you might expect but for the rest of it, I just shoot what’s happening.” Nevertheless, he prefers the real to the staged: “Every now and then you get a DJ that tries to pose a cake cutting picture and it’s awkward. I let them cut the cake and feed it to themselves as they would normally do.” All of his weddings have been shot digitally except one: “It was a pretty small wedding and they were freaked out because they thought it would be hard to get prints, but they still haven’t ordered from the film I did shoot.

For available light and fill flash candid, Matt Staver most commonly used ISO setting is 640 and 125 to 200 when there’s plenty of light when he photographs “The First Dance,” he make 20-30 shots to get the one he likes. First, he does the traditional first dance shot that wedding photographers have been making since Fox-Talbot’s time. “Then I like to show how they are swept away in the moment, and wait for them to kiss,” he said. Matt uses a 14mm Nikon lens for his action-filled, stylishly blurry first dance shots, with the camera’s ISO set at 640. There are always a bunch of picture that don’t work because the light is difficult to place precisely so he tests this shot by using waiters walking through the scene. After three or four test shots Matt gets the balance and exposure exactly the way he wants.

Another cliché shot is the first dance (see above,) a shot that Matt Staver likes to make—lots of them. He will make 20-30 shots to get the one he likes. “I got pretty close to an ambient light reading using a the built-in Matrix metering at 1/4th of a second at f/5.6, then put the flash on an extension cord and zoomed it so it only hits the couple,” he told me. © 2011 Mathew Staver All Rights Reserved.

Author: Joe Farace

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