We attend the rehearsal for church weddings whenever we can even if it’s one we have photographed at previously. With so many venues nowadays there can be quite a gap between visits so it’s always useful to check in case anything has changed. We were informed there was a problem with lighting and with very little window light as well this would be a tough one! My ‘standard’ wedding lens is a Nikkor 24-120 F4 pro zoom which is usually perfect for shooting the ceremony without flash due to the high ISO capability of the camera and i can shoot wide angle to cover the whole of the congregation and then immediately zoom in for ring exchanges, ‘kiss the Bride’ etc. With a generally overcast day forecast it was clear this lens would not be ‘fast’ enough for this wedding ceremony.
I own a range of ‘fast’ prime lenses for creative shooting and low light situations such as this so I started to make plans on which ones to have close at hand during the ceremony. As soon as we had shot Kirsty with her father and the bridesmaids at the church door I took up my position at the front (to the side) of the church. I quickly swapped the zoom for one of my favourite lenses the superb Nikkor 50mm F1.4G. Coupled with the D700 there is no better combo for low light shooting. The focal length proved perfect for the first few shots, and despite backlighting from the small windows at the back of the church which caused additional problems all was looking good. I changed to the Nikkor 35mm F2 for a few wide shots and then to the 85mm F1.8 when Kirsty and Steve sat down a little further away for the readings. Back to the 50mm as they stood for the second hymn. Then Steve’s little goddaughter came down the aisle and stood very calmly observing the proceedings. The vicar took it upon himself to give her a single white rose which she took gently, smelt it and then just looked at it. I couldn’t resist – shooting at F2 and 1/100 ISO6400. This enabled me to keep her sharp but Kirsty & Steve out of focus, Kirsty’s sister Vicky glanced across just at the same time.
I just knew I had probably captured one of my favourite shots of the year and was so looking forward to processing it after the wedding. I wasn’t disappointed and with a little noise reduction the shot was near perfect. I had always envisaged it in black and white at the moment of capture but think it works almost as well in colour.