“Cool Photo” Entry!

This entry comes from Anson Gessel who shoots film of all things!


I realize this is BW but there were many steps to getting this shot. First off it was shot in SLC, Utah and the temperature was around 40˚. A torrential downpour started about 10 minutes before I took this picture and the wedding party sprinted for cover in a nearby building adjacent to the temple they were married at.

The bride really wanted a few shots near the Temple they were married at and was willing to brave the weather for 5 minutes to get 15-20 quick shots. I shoot film with a medium format camera and always buy ISO 400 for outdoor scenes. My light meter told me there wasn’t sufficient light for my typical aperture of 5.6 due to rain clouds. I was determined to get that aperture and was several stops under. I hooked my Nikon SB-800 to my Hasselblad 500cm and was prepared to handhold the flash (who needs a stroboframe when you have a perfectly good left arm!). Besides, I like to hold the flash really high and to the left to get a nice fill.

We darted towards to temple armed with umbrellas and a few groomsmen to hold them. I had a fresh roll of film and after some quick posing with umbrellas placed overhead (hooked to brooms for added height). Even with the flash as compensation I realized there wouldn’t be enough light but I wanted to separate the couple from the background via shallow depth of field. I found with my Hasselblad anything more open than 5.6 would result in too little depth of field for what I wanted. I did a quick calculation in my head and decided to underexpose two stops and push the film two stops. This would increase contrast but would allow me to shoot at 5.6 with some fill flash. So, with my meter I had to calculate the ambient light, expose for zone 6 (skin tones) which is one stop higher, calculate for fill flash (1 stop more light), and still needed and extra 2 stops so I pushed the film… all in a rain storm in 40˚ temperatures. We had a lot of fun and gave up the umbrellas and just shot in the rain afterwards. My camera equipment is not electrical so there was no damage done.

I chose this image b/c they look very much at peace though there was turbulence all around. It made me think of their marriage and the many obstacles each married couple faces. How will we weather the storm?



I love photography, my family, and owning my own business. I am going to mix them up and see what I get!

Posted in photo techniques, wedding photography

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The Wedding Photography Project is a website dedicated to helping wedding photographers improve, find ways to improve, and share the amazing work that they do. WPP is the brainchild of Cory Parris, a Seattle wedding photographer.
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