Cook Island Wedding - Behind the Scenes

Cook Island Wedding - Behind the Scenes When you look at the two photos below, what goes through your mind?

Do you wonder if I mistakenly missed focussing on Elena and Michael in the first frame?

Do you wonder what the three ladies are doing in the water? Or why Michael seems to be playing with Elena's hair?

Do you wonder why the focus is so shallow in both photos and whether this was intentional?

Cook Island WeddingCook Island Wedding

These two frames happened two-seconds apart. Elena and Michael walked down onto the beach and in an instant I spotted the three local women in the background and knew this would make for a great foreground / background photo.

In the first frame, I deliberately focused on the ladies in the water. As a documentary photographer and at the time, a Cook Island resident, I knew that this was the type of scene that not only provides a feeling of how beautiful a location the Cook Islands are, it also provides an insight into what local island life is like.

In the second frame, I deliberately focused on Elena and Michael. As a wedding photographer, unscripted moments like this help tell the visual story of Elena and Michael's day. I always look for them when photographing a couple's wedding day.

The fact that these two photos happened within two-seconds of each other, should give you an insight into how quickly I think as a visual story teller. Two seconds is a very short time frame to make the decisions I did and to take these two photos, without missing either scene. I haven't even mentioned the fact that I'm adjusting the aperture dial and the focal length on my lens, while positioning myself to take the photos.

Notice in the first photo how the lady in the water is looking towards the beach, taking your attention back to Elena and Michael?

Now look at the second photo. The same lady is looking away from Elena and Michael. If the focus in the second photo had been on the ladies in the water, who are looking away from Elena, the photo wouldn't have worked compositionally.

'Seeing' scenes like this and successfully capturing them in the space of seconds, doesn't happen by accident. It comes from years' of experience photographing all kinds of subject matter, not just weddings.