Before
the Shoot

Location Equipment
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After the ceremony, cocktail hour, and portraits the couple and their family and all the guests gathered in the field outside their venue. The bride and her family are Jewish, and a big part of Jewish weddings is the Hora where everyone dances in two circles; one for the men and one for the women. The Mezinke also follows and the couple is lifted in the air on chairs while holding onto a handkerchief.

Often the men gather around and throw the groom up in the air in celebration, which is what happened in this photo. The groom is the kind of guy who doesn’t seek attention, so to be thrown up high in the air was an adrenaline-pumping experience. He was thrown into the air multiple times, and not everyone looked as graceful as this one image.

I wish I could say that I orchestrated a lot in this shot, but this was purely candid. I made sure that I was looking down the line of men to get as many facial expressions as possible, and used my wider lens (35mm) to get the context of the photo in the shot. Other than that, I did a lot of what they call “spray and pray” where you take as many pictures as you can, and hope that one will be composed beautifully.

That’s one thing that I am most proud of in this photo; the composition. The groom isn’t touching any of the other objects in the photo; neither in the background nor the foreground. At first, it bothered me that his hands are a little blurry, but now I appreciate it because it shows you just how fast this all happened and that he was flailing his limbs a little. I would say the most challenging part of the whole Hora event is how fast things happen and having to battle the moving people everywhere to get each shot. In the end, you just have to have fun with it and move around a lot!
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Location

Location Name

Fraser River Lodge

Location aDDRESS

7984 McDonald Rd S, Agassiz, BC V0M 1A2

Country

Canada

Location TYPE

Garden / Field

Equipment

Camera

Canon 5D Mark III

Flash

N/A

Lens

Canon 35mm f/1.4 L II

Lens Filter

None

Other Equipment
No additional equipment was used.

During
the Shoot

Directions Composition Focus Light & Exposure
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Composition

Why I composed the way I did

Even though photographers are taught to use the rule of thirds, I tend to center a lot of my images. It can be very natural to your eye because it is immediately clear where you should be looking and all you see is the subject.

In this image, everything comes together nicely because the sky provides a blank canvas for the groom to stand out, and the men, as well as the mountains/trees in the background, fill up enough of the screen to give context, but without taking your eye away from the subject. As I mentioned earlier, the greatest accomplishment composition-wise is that there is enough space between the subject and the other objects (people, trees, mountains).

It’s not touching or barely touching, but also not too far away. Creating that balance between lines is always the goal, but sometimes very hard to do! My goal with this image was to contrast some of the other images I got that were taken farther away with a more zoomed-in lens (50mm or 70-200mm). When doing a wedding, single images are important, but it’s also important that you get a well-rounded take on the event which means sometimes getting close and using a wide-angle lens, and sometimes going far and using a variety of lenses.

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Tags

Center Framed Middle Thirds Mid Range

Focus

Focus mode

Single point auto focus

Focus Technology

Single Shot Autofocus

Focused on

Groom's face

Focus description

I focused in the center of the viewfinder and followed the subject as it moved up and down. Autofocus is a must as in this situation everything was moving so fast and as a photographer, it’s important to let your camera do its job in this scenario. I use one-shot focus mode as my camera has many focal points. It’s not always the best, but in my experience, I have the most consistency with it. Other photographers would probably tell you to use Continuous Autofocus, so I would advise otherwise to test what works best for them and their camera in different situations. The most difficult part of this was following the subject as he moved up and down in the air, while also trying to frame the image correctly.

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Shutter Speed

1/250

Aperture

f/3.2

ISO

200

White Balance

Auto

Other Light Sources
No additional light sources were used.
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Light &
Exposure

How the light was used

This was around sunset, and it was mostly sunny that day, but at the time it fell cloudy. You can see from the shadows on his face that the light was in front and a bit on his right which provides a lit-subject but also with some dimension so they don’t look flat in the image.

The lighting was really good for this type of event because it was even and allowed the colors to be more true-to-life. Earlier in the day when the ceremony was going on, the lighting was harsh and it was very hot that day; not ideal. With candid shots like this, there isn’t a lot you can do in terms of setting up the light as a photographer’s job is to do their best to capture the moment instead of taking a directive role as is needed with other parts of the day.

The best thing to set yourself up for success is to actually work with the couple beforehand on their timeline so that events like this can have the best lighting. For example, some couples forget when the sun sets and may schedule fast-moving events after dark which is quite difficult to capture in the same way as it would be during the day. Work with them beforehand to make sure this doesn’t happen.

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Tags

Soft Light Natural Light Cloudy

After
the Shoot

Editing & Presets
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Editing &
Presets

Editing Software used

Adobe Lightroom Classic

Preset Used

GP - 01 (turned personal - they no longer look similar)

How I edited this image

I started off with the Greg Peterson presets in 2017. Since then it has been modified many times since then to be cooler and with less contrast. I prefer somewhat natural tones with faded colors, though not washed out.

Even from the time that I delivered this image as a preview, to when I submitted this image for contests, I have made edits and adjustments, specifically to bring a little more color to the image. When editing this image, I first apply the preset, change the white balance & exposure, and then work on the colors and specific adjustments. I adjusted the hue and saturation of several colors, mainly blue & green; blue was increased and darkened so the sky didn’t look washed out. I also used a select brush to desaturate the closest guy on the right as his skin looked a bit orange and was distracting in my opinion.

Lastly, I used the graduated filter to darken the bottom half of the photo so that the subject stood out even more. Your eye is usually drawn to the lightest part of the photo, so darkening the edges draws you into the center. Luckily, I didn’t have to do many specialized adjustments like using the spot removal tool to edit out skin or background distractions. That is one thing I have learned in my experience; be purposeful when shooting in-camera as it will save you a lot of time later!

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Conclusion

Challenges Solutions Advice

Challenges & Solutions

Events that were challenging during the shoot

I’m short! And with so many people moving in the Hora, it’s hard to get the shots needed without getting physically blocked. I also needed to use 3 different lenses and barely had time to change them in the middle of the events.

Solutions I found

I believe I stood on a chair nearby for some of the events to give me that extra height. It’s also great to get to know some of the guests so that it’s easy to request things that you need (eg. people to move).

Advice

I learned that moving around, trying different things, and taking many shots can work together to get what you want. With digital cameras, there is almost no limit to how many pictures you can take! The great part of a candid event is as the photographer, you are free to move around and capture important moments without having to think about how to direct the subjects. It’s a bit overwhelming at first to photograph a Hora because of the big energy, moving people, and at times lack of one key subject. But once you lean into the fun of it, and move around with the crowd, great photos are possible.
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Photographed by

Candice Marie Photography

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