Emotion: Image of the Week #5

Continuing this new section of my website where I will be featuring one of my favourite photographs each week and breaking it down.

This weeks photograph is all about capturing emotional wedding photographs indirectly, taken from Caroline and Stewart’s Winter Wedding at The Old Bell here in Malmesbury last December. They actually got married at Malmesbury Abbey and you can see the full documentary wedding photographs on the blog.

Back Story:

Documentary wedding photography is entirely about capturing moments throughout the day.  Those moments are often in the heat of the moment so to speak – the bridal preparation photography, the recessional and the confetti shots are all part of the flow of a standard wedding day.

There are other moments though, that are simply moments in time.  They are not dynamic, nor action packed and often they don’t even feature people’s faces but they tell as much about the story of the day through the photograph as many of the other images.  This particular image is an example of that and in my opinion is a whole story in itself.  It’s a simple capture of the dad, hands clenched, perhaps in anticipation of the speeches to come.  The table decoration tells us its dad and there is a nice little touch with the whiskey and Guinness.  It’s an image that I particularly like – you don’t need to show faces in an image for it to tell a story.

Technical Details:

Camera: Canon 5D Mark II
1/80th Second
ISO: 200

Canon EF 85mm F/1.2 L
Did not fire
Focal Length:


This image was shot with a very narrow depth of field.  The aperture of 1.2 makes the focal point in the image critical.  I recall when shooting the image taking three separate exposures – one focusing on the hands, one on the whiskey and one on the Guinness.  I decided that the one with the focal point on the whiskey glass worked more.  Having dad’s hands out of focus somehow added more depth and impact to the photo.

I’m a lover of black and white wedding photography and this could never have been anything other than black and white for me.  Its an intense image, and as such, I think the Black and White conversion really works well.

As with most of my images – they are not “technically perfect”.  I capture moments in time and by doing so I work on my wits and instinct.  Often there isn’t time to perfectly compose and “adjust the curtains” so to speak.  As I’ve mentioned many times before though, I think the image is more important than the technicalities of the photo and this is a photo I am particularly fond of.

The Finished Photograph:

UK Documentary Wedding Photographer