An emerging photographer who has only been shooting weddings for two years, a quote on Manuel Montenegro's "About" page spoke to me—and belies his relative maturity in the field: "It’s not that my camera is big and expensive, or that I have a slew of nice looking lenses. It’s the passion that directs me to simply capture what’s in front of me."
That's a great lesson for any photographer who laments not being able to buy the best equipment just yet. While Montenegro only shot two weddings last year, he's up to 14 plus three second shooting this year.
The takeway is to focus on the craft, and that's particularly what Montenegro did for Erynell and Eduardo's wedding, which took place at The Mansion at Timber Point in Long Island, New York.
While Montenegro—who's based in the Hudson River Valley of New York—says the couple are friends of his and also amateur photographers, it doesn't mean the day came without challenges. "The church was in the Bronx and the reception was in Great River, NY—that's like 60 miles away on a Friday with rush hour on top of everything, so the whole portrait session probably lasted about 30 minutes for the entire wedding party and the couple," says the photographer.
For gear, Montenegro relied on a Canon 5D Mark II and III, Canon 35mm f/1.4 and 85mm f/1.2 lenses, and two Canon 430EXII flashes.
One takeaway the photographer got from this wedding? "Don't be afraid to give someone a little push if you feel it's going to add to the moment," he says. "An example of that was the little flower girl—I saw her staring at the wedding dress in the room and after waiting about 15 seconds I told her that it was ok to get a little closer to the dress and that I wont tell anyone about it. That's how I manage to capture the flower girl reaching at the wedding dress."