This past weekend I had the honor of being invited to attend and photograph my friend and colleague’s wedding. It was a traditional Korean wedding ceremony which was suppose to be set in the grounds of a park (which honestly appeared to look more like a palace or large temple) that encircled the tomb of one of Korea’s historic kings.
Unfortunately, about a month prior to the actual wedding date my friend’s fiancée received a call notifing her that their wedding wouldn’t be able to be held in the park, as the local council had received a number of noise complaints, but they would be allowed to hold the ceremony just outside one of the smaller gated entrances. I’m not sure how moving a few hundred meters helps with the noise, but at least they were able to find a work around.
My friend had also asked me if I could take some photos during the ceremony. They had been provided with a photographer from the venue but given the other difficulties they had encountered and never having seen the photographer’s work I was more than happy to help them out. The only catch, I was also asked to take part in the wedding procession. My role? A servant, carrying a not so petite groom and then his fiancée.
After the procession I was free of servant related responsibilities and I was able to get stuck into shooting again.
The venue itself presented many opportunities and many more difficulties, at least for photographers. Bright midday sun, directly overhead and ceremonial events in partial shade meant harsh shadows and changing exposures. The guest were also seated quite close to the ceremony and with no aisle getting straight behind the couple was difficult.
The venues photographer moved in close with 24-70 which meant if I did the same we’d be bumping elbows and I’d end up with similar looking photos. I wanted to give my friend something unique so I went with a 70-200. This would allow me to crop tight, remove distractions and compress the backgrounds of my shots. Although there would be no way I could get the group shots in without a lens change, given that I would be in some of these photos and the venues photographer was in charge I wasn’t overly concerned.
On a positive note the venues traditional walls, costumes and long flower filled streets did offer some great backgrounds. The traditional Korean folk entertainers were also quite good and I believed received as much attention from the passerby as they did from the wedding’s guest.
At the end of the day it was a fantastic wedding. Fun was had by everyone, the weather was lovely and all ran smoothly. And of course a big congratulations to the bride and groom, Eunjung and Darren. May your future be filled with health, wealth and happiness (and lots of children).