A Monochromatic Wedding
I would like to talk about one of the biggest event in someone’s life – wedding. In Malaysia, we have a lot of wedding ceremonies style due to the abundance of the culture that we have here – Chinese, Malay, Iban, Bidayuh, Melanau, Orang Ulu et cetera. It is very common for us to see a lot of our friends dressed beautifully, adorn themselves with their best garments to celebrate the joyful occasion. Men, on the other hands, wear a well-pressed suit, shoes and ties, hair combed to the back like a modern-day Romeo or Don Juan. Every single woman dressed nicely as well, hoping that they will find their prince charming on the wedding reception. Lovely event isn’t it?
During the wedding day itself, thanks to smartphone, every single men and women will be photographer, and this very fact made the official photographer restless. Why? Imagine the groom is about to kiss the bride. As the official photographer, it is your duty to take every single important moments and capture it. However, the best spot is taken by someone, leaving you with second best spot, with that someone entering the frame. I know exactly that feeling. It is frustrating. On the dinner itself, thousands of photos are taken, all will be shared at social media – Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter etc. WhatsApp will be flooded by photos, but that euphoria will only last at most 24 hours, where it will slowly cool down, leaving the social media vacant and to be occupied with the next frenzy. When the official photo comes later, thanks to the countless hours spent by the dedicated photographer and his team, the excitement will live again, but not for long.
So, at this moment, you must be wondering what can be done to rectify this issue. On to the next part, things you need in wedding photography.
1. What Do You Need in Your Wedding Photograph?
Normally, when you look at the photos, instinctively, you will look for yourself first, how well you dress, your hair – is it in good shape, your dress – is it still nice after all the dancing and whether your smile is clean or not, etc. Sometimes this happens too often that we became normalised and took things for granted.
What if I tell you, this should not be the case for your wedding? Why? Your wedding is very important and it should be immortalised until your golden age. Would you believe me if I told you that you don’t need a thousand photograph for your wedding album? I offer you an alternative mindset, that you only need the very important moments to be captured – moments that you can never replicated. You don’t need a photograph of a drunken dancer hitting the dance floor, that is good for a while, but that is not what you need. What you really need is a photo of you and your spouse, the very moment each of you shows your true emotion to one another. That is what you need. That is exactly what I always love to capture during an events. Humans are most vulnerable when they are loved, but that is when they are the strongest. Love is always the greatest force on Earth – a gift from God to us humans.
This leads to the next part of my story, how to capture it?
2. How to capture emotion?
You might want to read my previous blog on black and white photography and why I love monochromatic photography. First and foremost, it is soulful. I am not saying that colour photograph does not capture emotions, don’t get me wrong. I do take colour photograph as well, but most of the time, I find myself reverted back to black and white. For me, black and white is the best media to capture humans emotion. You are not distracted by the richness of the colour. It is stripped of the distractions – and directly concentrated to your emotion – to the soul elements. Photographers, like other artists, shows what we want others to see through our photographs. For me, emotions are shown better in monochrome – it is my passion.
To capture emotion, this boils down to your skill. You can have the best gears in the world, but if you are in the wrong place at the wrong time, your photo is emotionless. Relating it to a wedding, the best part, without a doubt is when the bride and groom share their first kiss in front of everyone. You have to be at the right spot, in front of them. Otherwise, you will be hindered and the photograph made is not having the right amount of emotion. Better, you go as near as you can without being too intrusive. You wait for the right moment, then press the shutter button – voila, you made it! Not easy, but with practice, it will be getting easier for you.
3. Immortalising Moments
In wedding photography, one must act like a ninja – swift, silent and skilled. I cannot imagine a wedding photographer who is slow and loud. A photographer should be non-intrusive, and should let the event run as it intended by the Master of Ceremony (emcee). That is why, other than the emcee, the photographer also needs to be briefed by the event runner to ensure its smoothness. In my ideal expectation, photographer also need to have a walkie talkie, something like a special forces use, or Special Branch used when they run an event, so that the event runner can radio them whenever there is anything coming their way. For example, runner might give head’s up to the photographer, that they cake-cutting ceremony in 1 minute’s time. Then the photographer can get his gear ready for the event. This gear selection is very subjective – some photographer loves to utilise wide angle lens (e.g. 24mm), some choses zoom lens, but for me, I am a prime lens (fixed focal length) aficionado because I love the street photography feel in any events that I run.
In terms of the moments, since there is so much to say, but let’s just focus to the main event of the reception – the entrance, cake-cutting, and first dance. The rest can be added as required.
What you need to get ready is you camera, and as for me, I use my M Monochrom along with 35 Summilux lens to retain the originality of the moments and its candidness, the element that I am truly passionate about. This is also, apparently how I made my photo stand out from the rest. When I shoot, I am a rangefinder-wielding hunter, with an aim to inspire others when i shoot a photograph, as each of it has its own story, more than meets your eyes, but something that we love to see in the few years to come.
As a conclusion, monochromatic wedding photography is not something common especially in Miri, but I can foresee it will be a trend in the future. Do let me know your thoughts about wedding photography at the comments below. Remember, monochromatic photo is S.T.O – Soulful – Timeless – Outstanding.
Be bold, be different,
Choose Black and White!
p.s. Stay safe and for my Muslim readers, Blessed Ramadhan and happy fasting!