B+W Documentary Dance Photos at Hildene Reception
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B+W Documentary Dance Photos at Hildene Reception

We captured this moment on the dance floor at Hildene in Manchester, Vermont, and decided black and white was the best treatment to highlight the bride’s dress and show its energetic movement.

This particular image combines so many of our favorite aspects of wedding photography, including capturing moments through our documentary approach, being on the dance floor to feed off the energy of the room, and enhancing the photo through the use of black and white processing in post production. Putting ourselves in a position to capture moments is one of our most important fundamental beliefs. No part of the day can be recreated, so we must be ready to see everything, react accordingly, and still maintain our stylistic integrity. This image is a great example, as the specific lens choice embraces the effect of our customized off camera lighting setup, all from a low angle in the midst of a boisterous commotion. This is just one instance during the day that, when combined with hundreds of others, tell a complete story of the moments, events, and feel of the entire event.

Having your wedding at Hildene, The Lincoln Family Home certainly helps increase the chances of a great moment happening in a spectacular location. The historic house and grounds are known as the premiere tourist destination for the region, but all of its attributes take on a heightened sense of wonder during weddings held on site. In addition to the planned gardens, cliffside ceremony location, and nearby antique train car, Hildene has a large tent set up at the bottom of the hill to host galas, corporate events, and especially receptions. This image was taken under the tent towards the end of the night when everyone had either gone home or had imbibed enough to be completely relaxed in front of our cameras. The tent provides a natural bounce for flashes pointed upward, but we prefer our more directed off camera lighting technique. By using remote lights, lighting ratios, and the awesome power of mathematics, we create depth and sculpting, angular backlighting giving hints of detail in the background and a more cohesive feel of the space. We embrace direct and bounce flash as well, but we think the combination of our remotes and the direct light creates a more dynamic and varied collection.

Black and white photography is timeless and can greatly enhance images in certain scenarios. The bride’s light dress juxtaposed against the darker background, framed by minimally lit guests, makes the purpose of the image the lines and movement of the dress. By removing the color altogether, the whites seemingly become brighter and pop off the screen as any potentially distracting patches of color fade into shades of gray and black. When putting the finishing touches on the post production of a wedding, we scan through to see what jumps out as potentially being improved by being presented in black and white. Since Vermont is the Green Mountain State, so much of the appeal in photos lies in the vibrant hues of malachite, emerald, and chartreuse that present themselves in the landscape, but black and white Vermont photography can be even more dramatic.

Location: Hildene, The Lincoln Family Home, Green Mountain and Finger Lakes National Forests, 1005 Hildene Rd, Manchester, VT 05254.

1/200; f/4.0; ISO 2000; 24.0 mm.

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