I’ve grown to love this beautiful location. It’s a small little green patch of grass overlooking a lake, but given the right time of day when the sun is setting in the distance, you have gorgeous sunlight falling over this area, which makes for amazing back light. Ok, if you didn’t quite understand this photographer’s rambling, the location looks like this:
And this is the amazing back light (or hair light) I am talking about.
One of the wonderful things about small weddings is that you have lots of time for portraits. I enjoy creating images of the couple with their families and also close friends in a gorgeous setting. I photographed Jon and Jac a few months back when we did their Mad Men themed pre-wedding shoot. It was easy to connect with this couple, and from that moment on, I knew photographing them would be a breeze. The week after, Jon and Jac had their Chinese wedding ceremony (photos in the slideshow at the end of this post).
For this post, I thought I’d write a few tips on what I think would make a great garden wedding (from a photographer’s perspective):
1. Choose the time of day well
Considering we live in tropical Malaysia, the best time for an outdoor wedding would be before 10am and after 5pm. The sun is lower in the horizon which makes it more flattering for people photos. Have you ever taken a photo outdoors at 12pm, and seen lots of raccoon eyes (dark shadows under the eyes) staring back at you? Yup, that’s the effect of the sun as it is directly above you. So if you’d like more flattering images of yourself outdoors, opt to have your ceremony start at the timing suggested.
2. The Sun and Shade
The other thing to note is whether your ceremony location would be partially shaded (especially under tents or large trees). It won’t look so nice if half the guests are in the shade, and the other half are under the sun! As a photographer, I’d like to have an open ceremony location because it’s easy to see the guests and the couple in one shot without having to worry too much about exposure.
3. Be careful of shadows
I once photographed a groom who unfortunately stood in a position under the arch where the flowers cast a really ugly shadow cutting across his face. I couldn’t really position them once the ceremony started, so I had no choice but to photograph him from one particular angle only! I guess the bride didn’t notice during the ceremony, she must have been smitten by him!
4. Leave enough daylight for portraits and group photos
Try to allocate at least 30-45minutes of daylight (till sunset) for portraits and group photos. In West Malaysia, the sun usually sets about 7.15-7.30pm so plan backwards. This makes sure we won’t be rushing to take group photos before sundown.
Alright, so I hope you’ll enjoy these set of images and reading Jon & Jac’s story soon!
Their Story as told by Jac
The first day I saw him, it was not a good day at the office. And a superior called saying she was sending along somebody with some documents to work on. “Shites la, just my luck” was what I was thinking as that somebody came trundling towards me with a sheaf of papers. (he was none other than Jon – yes I call him Jon, his old friends call him Jun and we had a big debate about which of his names would go on our couple logo. No points for guessing who won that one!)
I think I was more interested in clearing that piece of work than I was looking at him (it being his pre-Lasik, thick glasses days and all) and it was just a short ten minute conversation. But thanks to that nifty little thing called LotusNotes Instant Messenger, we started messaging each other whilst maintaining tip top productivity (yes that was a disclaimer for minimizing boss-related grievances!) and things slowly went from there.
It took 4 years and a change of jobs, countless solo trips on our own for work, temporary assignments out of the country, and precious getaways together to bring us to this stage – to right now, getting married. We’ve had many lovely ups and bittersweet downs, but here’s to moving onward to what I hope will be a life well-lived… together.
(Jon adds: Just to add that my perspective of Jac changed completely after a chance lunch with just the 2 of us in Madam Kwan’s in Pavilion. Couldn’t forget her amazing smile after that)
We ended the night with a sparkler shot, as requested by Jon and Jac. It was really challenging to do this shot – we had different people running around the couple and ‘painting’ the effect as the photo was taken. I tried my hand at it too, but it just looked like a drunken person’s scribbles. In the end, Weiming won ‘best design’… creating this image you see below.
If you’re in for MORE photos, have a look at their slideshow here, which comprises of the ROM and actual wedding day images. It was shown during Jon and Jac’s chinese wedding banquet at The Westin the week after.
Photographers: Grace & Weiming (ROM), Ben & Weiming (Wedding day)
ROM Location: The Club, Saujana
Wedding Planner: Mun Tzin of Milestones
Wedding Gown: Annasul Y (ROM) and Lusan Mandongus from Designer Bridal Room (Wedding day)
Gold Evening Gown (ROM): French Connection
Groom’s Suit: Lord’s Tailor
Make up & Hair: Clara Chay
Decorations & Flowers: Sunny Days Florist
Stationery: Acadia Card
Videographers: Shutter Speak