Serge Ramirez Prime Events Live Percussionist Photo
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Serge Ramirez Prime Events Live Percussionist Photo

This candid photo of a bride and groom was captured towards the end of a wedding day at Fairchild Botanic Gardens in Coral Gables, Florida as the live musicians left the stage and mingled with the guests on the dance floor.

While we like to try to disappear into the background during most of the wedding, sometimes it is great to be directly in the middle of the action to capture images like this one. There is a balancing act between trying to document the day as it happens and gently guiding people to help create better photos. We swing wildly between the two at one particular point during a wedding, where we go from being completely documentary during the ceremony to throughly taking control and being hyper-efficient during family formals, finding a happy medium between the two during couple portraits. Switching gears immediately is part of the job and we feed off of the adrenaline created by operating within the timeline. We give people some breathing space during cocktail hour and we do not take photos of people eating since no one ever wants that, but once the dance floor is open and the alcohol is flowing, we dive right into the mix. Our flattering portrait lenses get put away and switched out of wide angle options, which capture a sense of space and environment along with the events. The glowing soft natural light is replaced by directed lighting controlled by us to freeze fast moving action into a moment in time. Our quiet observation from the fringes of the day is replaced by a presence on the dance floor, keeping in rhythm with the music and poorly singing along to the lyrics. This is why we don’t like to leave the reception early, since it is part of the day and a large portion of the story we want to tell. One of our favorites pieces of feedback is when friends, clients, and others in our industry look at our photos and tell us that we always have the most energetic weddings, as everyone always seems to be having so much fun!

After talking to member of previous generations, we realized that traditional wedding photography did not always coincide with people’s memories of the day. Just within our own families, our grandmothers told stories of crazy parties, memorable interactions between guests, the occasional wedding crasher, and what happy, energetic wedding days they had. For those of us that weren’t able to be there, primarily due to the fact the we were born at least thirty years after the weddings happened, the only visual representation we have of their nuptials are the wedding photos. These beautiful posed, expertly lit images show exactly what our relatives looked like back then, but they show us nothing of the day itself. Even reaching back one generation to our parents, the majority of their wedding photos are from guests at the reception, documenting camera-aware friends that are simply staring back at the camera. We aim to tell a story with our images and we hope that story can be told for centuries, helping future generations look back on what happens today and experience it the way we lived it. We love making beautiful images, but we regard ourselves as historians of a sort, capturing the everyday lives of our clients and preserving them as a way of traveling through time.

We love this photo because it encompasses so many aspect relating to our philosophy on how and why we photograph weddings. We stay until the end of the reception because things like this happen and we want to capture them. We get into the middle of the action to get framings like this, and no one else would have ever seen this angle. We use flash subtly as not to distract anyone. We light from off camera to add depth and show more in the background. We react to the music and move in time with it, capturing the moment his hand hits the drum. We strive to show happy people, and there are so many smiling faces in this image that your brain doesn’t automatically group or count them, it just recognizes the joy. This is not a photo you can look at for more than an instant and somehow not smile back at it.

Location: Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, 10901 Old Cutler Rd, Coral Gables, FL 33156.

1/60; f/3.5; ISO 500; 16.0 mm.

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