Children at weddings can give rise to some of the most rewarding images a wedding photographer can make. They’re always moving though, making it harder to find the exact moment for the best picture. You can read a lot about photojournalism and the Decisive Moment, made popular by the amazing work of Henri Cartier Bresson. It’s an important concept in wedding photojournalism. As you watch a scene, the combination of movement, light and expression constantly change the overall appeal of that moment as a photograph. Choosing the exact moment to take your picture evolves with a photographer’s experience. Some photographers favour high frame rate cameras and shoot such a scene in bursts of many frames a second. This is obviously pretty distracting, and does nothing for a photographers ability to predict the best moment.
Practice Makes Perfect
As a news photographer at The Times, we practised recognising the decisive moment during the less important speeches at party political conferences. The idea was to choose only one moment during a speech to take only one frame. The longer you waited during the speech, the more anxious you got that maybe the best moment had already passed. Next time you’re people watching in your favourite cafe, try watching a group of people and guess if the moment about to happen would look more or less appealing than the moment that just happened. This is how wedding photojournalists spend their time on your wedding day. And after 8 hours it can be exhausting.
This picture of four year old Imogen at her parents wedding is a good example of selecting the right moment to take a photograph. I had been watching her fidget while having her hair made up, and took a couple of frames before this one. She only raised her hand to her cheek for a moment, but it coincided nicely with the hair dresser lifting some strands of her hair, and completely sums up this part of the preparations. Needless to say, her beautifully styled hair didn’t even last until the ceremony!