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This “First Dance“ photo was taken at Melanie and Thibaut’s wedding in Paris, France. These two were the most stylish people ever and all of their guests as well. Just look at their style! We felt like Paris in the 1920s. After the ceremony in downtown Paris, we went to this amazing wedding venue a little bit outside of the city.

This beautiful, rustic venue with its industrial charm, was the perfect fit for them. The wedding planner told us about the plans for the first dance with the sparklers and so this helped us be prepared. The wedding party with their sparklers would form a circle around the dance floor.

Once the sparklers were lit, the couple would enter for the first dance. Since everyone was dressed beautifully and the venue was super beautiful as well we thought it would look amazing to capture the whole scenery in one image. The room was high enough to take the picture from above and there was a ladder around where we could step on.

One of us took the picture from the ladder right at the beginning of the dance so we would not be in each other’s photo. After we got the shot, we went in between the crowd to get all the different angles.

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How did you compose your image?

The photo was taken from an elevated position in order to achieve this kind of top view, to picture the whole scene in one shot. We kept the couple in the center of the image, surrounded by all of their guests. Since the guests were forming a circle it brought a lovely aesthetic to the photo.

How and what did you focus on?

Our focus point was on Melanie’s face since we see more of her expression here. Due to the distance between photographer and couple, we still have a lot of sharpness in the entire picture so we could also see the guest’s expressions.

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How did you use the light in your image?

The only light source in this room was the sparklers. Since the sparklers were lightening up all at the same time we had a beautiful, equal lighting on the couple as well as the guests faces.

What was the gear & settings you used?

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Camera

Canon 5D Mark IV

Lens

Sigma Art 35mm f/1.4

Filter

None

Other

None

Shutter Speed

1/160

Aperture

f/1.8

ISO

6400

White Balance

Auto

How did you edit your image & what did you use?

Since the light was balanced, we didn’t need a lot of adjustments. We used our CxR Preset to give the pic the color look we love. We increased the whites to create a bit more contrast. Also we used the brush tool to brighten up the couple a bit, since the guests were brighter than the couple in the face. We then used Photoshop to get rid of the phones!! YEAH.. the phones were super distracting..

Software Used

Adobe Lightroom Classic

Preset

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What challenges did you face?

The most challenging aspect when it comes to sparkler photos at the first dance is time. Normal sparklers burn for about 30 seconds… the long ones, about a minute. Melanie and Thibaut used the long sparklers. This shot was just a creative add-on… We did it in the very beginning and then had about 40 seconds left to do all the other angles. Also, the sparklers must burn all at the same time – the picture wouldn’t be the same if only half of the circle would have been illuminated.

How did you solve them?

After booking, we always send our couples a welcome brochure that includes tips and tricks for their big day. There’s one point where we recommend the large sparklers. On the wedding day, we talked to the planner about the timing and they made sure that all the sparklers were lit at the same time. Also, the fact that we are two gives us the possibility for some creative shots besides the safe shots.

Can you share any last thoughts or advice?

When it comes to the first dance, we all have to deal with some crazy light installations every now and then. Mostly it is the DJ who brings a bunch of colorful lights but also the venue lighting can be a problem sometimes. We always talk directly to the DJ and ask them if he could turn off his lights for the first dance or to change to more natural color. If your couple uses sparklers during the first dance it could be better if there’s no other light source.

Chris & Ruth

Shooting since

2014

Current Home

Spain

Website

Instagram

Hey y’all, good to have you here! We are a husband and wife photographer team focused on wedding photography. The last few years have been an incredible ride and we were able to travel all around the globe doing what we love the most – shooting weddings! We found our happy place on the Balearic Island Mallorca where we restored an old house. There are so many good stories and experiences we’ve made and we’re happy to share some of them with you over here! Cheers Chris and Ruth

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