Creating A Vanity Fair Style Wedding Group Image – Image of the Week #438

Can I give myself an award? Yes, it’s a little weird! However, this has been my most liked image ever on Instagram, and with that came several nominations from some very kind people within our community for Farmers Image Of The Week.

It’s always great to get images put forward as it shows that your peers recognise your work and as we see more and more images on social media created by AI, it’s also getting harder than ever to stand out. So what’s the story behind the image and why has it attracted so much attention?

Sony A7III | 24-70mm 2.8 GM
ISO 3200 | f5 | 1/640
Jamaica Ginger from my own collection (all named after cakes)

What Lisa said…

“The bride and groom live in Los Angeles but decided to have a destination wedding in the UK. A combination of the bride’s connection to the UK and the desire for something out of the ordinary led them to book a grand castle in Yorkshire with “Harry Potter Vibes”. They told me that the theme was “Regal Riff Raff” and that an owl was flying in with the rings.

It might be because they are American or because they are a creative bunch, perhaps both of those elements meant this lot embraced being photographed. Whereas Brits sometimes dread group photos, people from other cultures seem to have more fun with them. This was evident in the comments as other photographers said ‘My Clients Would Never Pose Like This Or My Couples Would Not Devote Time To Creating This’.

It actually took very little time, just 15 minutes in total, most of which was arranging people. If possible, I try to do something more creative with the bridal party photos so that they are not just another lineup.

Visually, it is interesting to have people dressed to a certain theme, and they remind me of my days working as a music industry photographer. Groups were always more dynamic than solo artists as you can play with the relationships between people.

The Tech Talk

“My initial prompt was for the group to arrange themselves as if it was the Hollywood issue of Vanity Fair magazine by Annie Leibovitz. I asked them to use the space with a mixture of standing, sitting, and being on the floor. I just adjusted people slightly to ensure that there was a good mixture of heights and that it felt balanced. Then I pulled the couple forward into the light a little more. I asked everyone to look at the camera and to look wealthy, this always seems to give a haughtiness to expressions that work well with groups.

I’ve been asked if I brought in lighting but this is just using the available light from large double-aspect windows. This meant that there is both side light and front light hitting them all. I did brush over a little exposure compensation on the subjects in the back row to ensure that they didn’t get lost in the frame and added a linear gradient to the foreground to maintain the pattern of the rug.

Although I wasn’t conscious of it at the time, in post-production, I can see that the circle on the rug nicely echoes the chandelier which leads to a pleasing sense of balance within the frame.”