When two of my friends said that they needed a photograph as part of their engagement announcement/wedding preparation, I am pretty sure that they meant one photograph. Maybe a couple.
I envisioned something different — an engagement photoshoot.
We were originally to meet in the pub with a group of friends, and take them there. In these circumstances, I am fairly certain that it would have resulted in the one or two photos they were looking for. But the room was crowded by the time they arrived, and not really the nicest of places for photos in the first place. I pounced at the opportunity.
Let’s not do this tonight, I said. Let’s do it properly, this weekend.
And so I found myself taking a large number of photos in an unusual circumstance.
Normally, my photos occur for one of a few reasons. Most often, I will see something, think it would make a great photo, and then take the photo. Less often, I have an idea and try to create the idea that is in my head. The former involves me noticing the right light and composition, and taking advantage of it. The latter, imagining the right light and composition, and trying to find it.
This was something entirely different.
The photo session occurred at their house, during the afternoon. We had three rooms of their house — which, in typical London style, was small and covered in bookshelves and wall decorations. And we had their garden, where the light was … difficult.
My typical photo skills, borne of spontenaity and creativity, were useless here. Instead, I was embarking on something new.
The light was bad. I had to deal with it.
The cramped quarters were cramped. I had to deal with it.
The background was cluttered. I had to deal with it.
The photographer? He was not used to dealing with these things. Usually, if the light is bad the camera stays packed. Ditto with cluttered backgrounds and cramped quarters. All the ridiculous setups you read about in photography blogs suddenly make more and more sense.
Yes, I would like to have a half-dozen speedlights on tripods.
Yes, I would like to have a bag full of backdrops to hide the cluttered bookshelves.
Yes, I absolutely, positively NEED a reflector.
Yes, yes, yes.
A guy with a camera, a tripod and a flash? That’s a guy with a tough job.
Still, adversity was the mother of invention, and while there were more than a few overexposed and underexposed photos, numerous cluttered backgrounds and a few too many unflattering angles, I think we got some pretty good shots in the end.
And so, ladies and gentlemen, the Big Bad Blog is happy to share the story of Mark & Sarah: