Q+A is a series featuring interviews with wedding specialists in each issue of The Connecticut Bride. For a chance to be featured in an upcoming issue, be sure to tag and follow us on Instagram @theconnecticutbride or on Facebook @theconnecticutbride
Timothy Burke Mannle
Q: What are some special workarounds you have for rainy wedding days?
A: “Please don’t let it rain on my wedding day!” said every bride ever. Whether it’s indoors or out, backyard or ballroom, wedding day weather is one thing we can’t control. But we can be prepared. Of course, as an experienced wedding photographer, I’ve got a few tricks up my sleeve when the sky suddenly splits open and rains cats and dogs. But the truth is, nothing beats doing some good old-fashioned research and scouting ahead of time. There are plenty of options out there to capture your love story while keeping you dry: hotel lobbies, public libraries, covered bridges, pavilions, boathouses, wineries, breweries, a neighbor’s front porch even. You just have to do your homework. Showing up at a brewery the day of your wedding and expecting to get in is never a good idea. Make connections and reach out.
David Butler II
Q: What techniques and tricks do you use with wedding party children to get them to photograph well?
A: Good question! I have a few pieces of advice. First, as a documentary wedding photographer, one of the most important things you can do to get the shot is to try and anticipate moments and then be ready for them, especially when kids are involved. A wedding day is mostly a planned event; we generally know where the action will be. The hard part is being ready for the best moments which are usually fleeting. Luckily, as the person in charge of capturing the day, we usually get the best seat in the house! Another piece of advice would be, during the formal pictures, I find it very advantageous to get the help of a relative to stand as close to me as possible to help garner the attention of kids in the group. Again, you have to be ready because the kids might only give you a few chances before a possible meltdown occurs. Lastly, another little trick when trying to capture a candid moment of a child when they insist at staring into the camera is to pretend you’re having problems with your camera as though it is not working. I’ll play with the buttons, check the lens, look through the viewfinder, etc. Eventually the child gets distracted by something more interesting and that’s when you look for the real moments.
Julianna and Noah Ehlert
Q: What was your most creatively lit photo and how did you light it?
A: We get excited when we get to create a very surreal and moody photo. For this bride-and-groom portrait we used a technique called light painting. It incorporated three exposures and three light sources. First, we posed the bride and groom around a wooden barstool. Then we assembled the lights. The first exposure had a light from above using a Canon 600 Speedlite equipped with a grid and diffusion insert from Magmod. The second exposure was for six seconds. This is where we used a blue light wand made by Denis Smith to dance around the couple. The final exposure was also six seconds and this time we used a white light wand to create a slash across the back of the image. All this was done while the couple stayed as still as they could wrapped up in their love. The shot took less than five minutes to pose and complete.
Q: What was your most creative engagement or wedding photograph?
A: We would like to think that we put 100 percent of our creative juices in all of our wedding and engagement photos. However, there are times when we enhance Mother Nature a bit. This shot was taken at Belle Haven Club in Greenwich. We wanted to shoot the bride and groom on the dock making the moon to appear as if it was backlighting the couple. Unfortunately, the moon was in the wrong spot in the sky, which meant we were going to have to composite several images to get the “perfect shot.” The first exposure comprised the background making sure that the water, stars and dock were well balanced. The second and third photos were of the couple — exposing for what would look like the light cast on them by the moon. Lastly we photographed the moon. In post production, we removed the light stands, the extraneous light cast by our strobes and any outlying distractions that were in the shot. We also transposed the moon so it was behind the couple, lightened the sky and adjusted temperature and exposure. It wasn’t until this process that we noticed, completely by chance, that we caught the shooting star.
Q: What was your most memorable wedding moment captured?
A: Weddings are such a pleasure to photograph, not only for the joy and happiness the day brings, but also for the unique moments and special relationships we see and experience as photographers. Perhaps it is my own upbringing as a first-generation American raised by Italian parents, or it is from my drive to see and find the relationships in and between people, but this wedding moment struck me as one that I would never forget. Accordion playing has always been a part of the Italian culture. I remember my relatives playing during casual Sunday dinners. Daniela, the bride, also comes from a large Italian family with generations of pure Italian heritage and custom. There were many customs that day, but one in particular that created a very special memory. It was during the reception that Daniela was asked to take a seat for a surprise. Suddenly her 78-year-old grandfather, “Nonno,” also known as Dominic, presented her with a special serenade. The happiness and joy in both of their eyes was one of the most incredible wedding moments I have ever experienced. There have been many over the years and I thank my lucky stars for bringing me these fabulous opportunities!