Eye-Catching Portraits and Photos of the Week
June 27, 2022
Photographed on the Outer Banks of North Carolina with a Mavic Air 2. Settings: f/2.8, 1/1000th of a sec., ISO 200.
Photographed on the Outer Banks of North Carolina with a Canon 5D Mark IV and Tamron 85mm lens (handheld, no tripod). Settings: f/6.3 and 1/50th of a sec., ISO 100.
Photographed with a Canon R6 and Sigma 35mm lens. Settings: f/2 at 1/4000th of a sec.
Photographed with a Leica Q2 and two SF60 Leica flashes. Settings: f/4.5 at 1/60th of a sec., ISO 800.
This week, we present five wedding portraits that captured our attention with their sweeping landscapes, unique compositions and detailed edits. Read the cool backstories and executions on each of these wedding portraits below.
“Here on the Outer Banks (a small string of barrier islands off the North Carolina coast), there are really only a few parts of the island that have massive, empty beaches and an undeveloped coastline,” says photographer Kasey Powell. “These two got married about 30 minutes from one of those places, a gorgeous, 4 x 4 only beach (pictured below). They blocked off two hours after their ceremony to jump in a truck with me and just go play around and make art. This was what they were looking forward to most on their wedding day!”
Powell says it’s not often she get tons of time and full creative freedom to get wedding portraits like this one. “The couple knew they wanted some drone photos but didn’t really have a creative direction,” she explains. “For this moment, I told groom Nate to lead bride Kaela for a minute or two down the water line to create that shadow separation and make them stand out a bit more against the sand. Then, I sent my drone as high as I could legally send it.”
[Read: Drone Portraits: A Guide to Making Images That Soar]
Drone images, she says, are actually really tough when it comes to empty/flat beaches. “Without some depth of field, I usually really struggle with the drone. I think I found a really perfect angle of the drone lens and position of the drone itself but, I think the magic comes from the lighting of that particular moment as well as the ocean clarity and color. I’ve tried to recreate this image myself and still haven’t been able to do it. The depth and richness the sun is creating on each surface is incredible. Plus, the ocean color and clarity here on the island is dictated by the daily winds and currents. So, as much as I’d like to take credit for this shot, Mother Nature really brought the magic and gave this image that final bit of sublime.”
“I love a lot of things about this photo,” says Kasey Powell of her second image, featured below, “especially the way motion is such an obvious, heavy element in it, yet also seems as though time is frozen here. I feel like this looks exactly like how a memory feels—like a magical paradox. The second thing I love is that they are such a badass-looking couple, yet also so full of a really gentle and tender love for each other and their kids. You can really see that juxtaposition, thanks to bride Nicole’s facial expression. It’s just so real and I couldn’t believe we got it! This was taken moments after their first look and about 30 minutes before their ceremony, so that is truly what you are seeing in her here.”
Powell continues: “We went down this road across from their First Look location since it didn’t have any traffic on it. They cruised back and forth maybe 4-5 times as I shot parallel to the two-lane road. I switched between an 85mm and 35mm lens, mainly trying to get the framing and sharpness spot on. My aperture was high enough, but I still set my lens to manual focus and set the focal point to the part of the road where the bike would be in front of me at it’s closest distance. The 85mm was a bit tough for framing because I didn’t have that much room to back up plus do handheld panning at 1/50th of a sec. In the end, though, it was the perfect combo and I nailed all of the elements I was going for.”
This image by Djokovic & Djordje was taken in Valjevo, in the state of Serbia. “We waited for the sun to set for a while, while the newlyweds had their wedding reception in a restaurant on the outskirts of the city, which has beautiful nature all around it,” say these two photographers.
“At the moment when the photo was taken, one of us took a photo of the bride herself, while the other took the groom to make a couple of portraits as well. For a moment, it seemed to us that we had the perfect shot because the bride was bathed in the sun alone while the groom was already in the same light. There were shadows between them as we tried to fit all the elements of photography into the final photo as possible.”
They continue: “We love how the bride perfectly aligns with the play of light and shadow. Light is the key here and the bride is the main subject. The groom, who is in the foreground, adds atmosphere and gives a narrative to the whole photo.”
Gagan Dhiman says he has photographed at this same venue multiple times and wanted to do something different this time. “I used one flash between the couple and the wall, and one flash in front of the camera facing the camera angled up. I had my second photographer hold a champagne glass and I shot through it to create the rim light around the glass.”
He continues: “I had already set up the camera and had the settings dialed in so it was easy for the couple to come take the shot and then get back to the dance floor with their guests.”
Lindsey Michelle Williams of Lensy Michelle Photography says that bride Isobel got ready in a hotel room that didn’t have the best lighting for photos, so she decided to take her outside and try her luck with the industrial area that surrounded the hotel.
“Before this image was taken, we took a bunch of photos using the metal slats of the nearby loading docks as makeshift backdrops (which turned out pretty cool!), but this image was taken after I thought I was done with photos in this location,” she explains. “We were going to get Isobel’s sister’s car from the parking garage when [the sister] realized she’d forgotten to pay for parking; she left us in the garage for a few minutes while she went to pay.”
The photographer says she saw the little window here almost immediately when she walked into the garage, and since they had a few minutes before they’d be leaving, she asked the bride to go stand inside of it. “I immediately knew it would be my favorite image from the day,” she exclaims. “As wedding photographers come to learn quickly, sometimes improvisation leads to your favorite work.”
In terms of editing the image, Lindsey says she did a series of things: (1) she kept the white balance on the warmer side (rather than making the white look white) to “reflect how our eyes perceive the lighting when we first walk into a parking garage with harsh yellow/orange lights.” (2) She used the transform tool in Lightroom to make sure her right angles and lines were perfect to add to the drama of the shot and really emphasize the plain background and the bride as the main focus. (3) she added a darker gradient to the top and bottom of the frame to draw the viewer’s attention more towards the middle of the image.
Dig into our Photo of the Day archives for even more compelling wedding portraits and other eye-catching images you won’t want to miss out on! Send your wedding portraits, editorial, documentary and commercial image submissions to: firstname.lastname@example.org