If you’ve ever wondered how these Images Of The Week get selected, it’s mostly me scrolling through Instagram, looking at shots from the Farmers. This used to be a lot easier when everyone was posting to Facebook and you could make follow lists. So now I rely on a lot of our photographers using #photographyfarmer on Insta. However, I also get images submitted, usually by other photographers rather than whoever shot it. I love it when this happens as I know it will be something so special that it sparked one of your peers to nominate it for attention.
In this instance, multiple photographers suggested it to me as a winner. That doesn’t happen so often and how’s that there is something magical about this shot.
I wonder if it’s actually its flaws that elevate it. By rights, as Sean himself says, the composition might be stronger if the subjects were framed by the peak. You can hear his frustration when it came to the editing but it sounds as if this was captured in extreme weather as the light was going and with a couple braving the elements for as long as they could.
So yes, maybe a second or two either side, or a step to the right might have created perfection. That very slight compromise allows this couple’s connection to be the star of the show. It is more spectacular than the mountain. What happens when we view this photograph is we feel this instance with them. And the more that I look at it, the more I understand that actually, the composition is perfect. The angle of their bodies, that slight bend in their torsos is echoing the direction of the slope behind. That is what gives us a sense of relation between these two elements.
I think photographers working at the level that Sean does, who are masters of the art, work so instinctively with technique that even when they think they’ve not got it right, they’ve still got it right.
Let’s see what Sean had to say about capturing this shot below…
What SEAN had to say…
“When working elopements in Scotland, along with the logistics of the day and keeping the couple comfortable and happy, a lot of the time we are assessing and at times battling with the elements. Stuart and Sheena’s elopement on Skye was no different and we spent a lot of the day skirting between the icy hailstone showers which were arriving en masse on the back of some Wild Westerly winds. This ever changing sky brought with it some interesting light though, from full-beam sunshine during their ceremony, to dark brooding clouds and the rare sighting of a ‘Watergaw’ (A partly formed rainbow) over the Sea on the drive South .
I’m always really keen to shoot at the tail end of the day, aside from the light generally being nicer to play with, I love to try to create some sort of ‘exit scene’ – a series of closing frames to help round off the couple’s story. After the previous day’s recce, our plan was to finish with the couple here at the foot of the Cuillin Hills just before sunset. They were both such troopers, the temps were dipping rapidly at this point so I was working quickly to create a mini set based around the river and the mountains behind. The area here is pure rugged volcanic beauty but also roadside so there are well worn paths visible, I always try to omit these and so this bluff of heather served well as a platform to lift them away from the path and give a more remote vibe. I directed loosely and was working quite reactively, clicking as the dress twisted and turned in the wind and wrapped itself around Stuart and sometimes over both their heads with the angled but hazy sunlight giving just about enough relief light to pick out the details.
I was gesturing and directing at distance (via the medium of dance) to hold close together and for Sheena to tuck in – their laughter was then all that was needed. I took a series of shots from different spots over the course of about a minute, some using the backdrop in a more pleasing way and some from a slightly higher angle which I normally prefer. With this frame I stepped away from a few of my own ‘parameters’, but it stood out a little more than the others in the edit. I guess I sided with the emotion and the joy over the precise.”