A BOSNIAN WEDDING
By: Hoan K. Trinh
The first wedding that I photographed was a Bosnian wedding back in January of 2010. While I quite like the result of the final product, I, without a doubt, make a few rookie mistakes when I did it. Luckily, those mistakes did not really hurt the wedding photos in any tangible manner.
I was away at law school in Houston, when one of my close friends, Enes, decided that he was going to get married. He wanted me to come to the wedding and so do I, but flying home to Connecticut just for a few hours could get expensive for a poor law school student. But as soon as he announced that he was getting married, he offered to pay for my flight back home to Connecticut to attend the wedding and to photograph it for him. This sounds like a great deal and all, but being a photographer, I know that photographing a wedding is not for the faint of heart. The lighting in most wedding venues is a far cry from studio lighting or beautiful sunset photos that you see all over the internet. The fact that I have never photograph a wedding before does not help. And no, the fact that I had photographed plenty of portraitures and landscapes before does not make up for that. Thus, I told my friend, Enes, to try to look for a photographer within his budget and if he cannot find anyone he particularly likes, then call me, because while I do want to be there, I did not want to mess up his wedding photos either.
Long story short, I got the job. I don’t think he tried looking very hard either, Enes does not really want his pictures taken to begin with, usually, he would pay you not to take his picture. Now that I was put in charge of photographing a wedding, I have to get my gears and myself ready. I only had my DSLR for only a year and I got my SB-600 flash unit 3 months prior to the wedding. It does help that I that I have been shooting in manual mode with a point and shoot camera for a couple of years before purchasing my DSLR. Also, I essentially read the DSLR’s manual back to front a million time before I actually bought the thing so I could control that little Nikon D40 without much effort. But to prepare for a showdown with darkness, I practice various flash techniques in a totally dark room. With all the light off and all the blind closed, the room was as dark as a dimmed theater, but with ISO crank up and the flash on full power, you can get a decent amount of light. One thing coming from a portrait and landscape photography background is that you have to make peace with the noise from the higher ISO setting. Noise is much better than blurriness or underexposed photos.
ISO 1600 at F9 and 1/40 shutterspeed with the flash on full power.
Now fast forward to the actual day of the wedding. Well, I kind of had to fly up New England first. Flying to New England in the winter is always an event, especially, when there is a storm moving through. Good thing the wedding is on a Sunday so I have plenty of time to fly up on Saturday. Flying home on Sunday to go to class on Monday kind of suck, however. To make the story short, my flight from Houston to Baltimore was delay because they decided it was a good idea to change a computer right as we boarded. Landed in Baltimore late meant that another passenger and myself had to run across the airport to another flight that was already waiting us. The flight from Baltimore taxi out to the runway and then sat there to be de-iced for like an hour. So I did not make to Boston until way late that night.
So Jon and I was to drive down to Torrington, CT from Boston for the wedding. I made a mistake of putting my camera gears into the trunk because the car was going to be packed full that day. Yeah, I heard of issue with condensation before and was always careful when bringing my equipment inside during the winter. For some reason, on that particular day, I thought the trunk of the car would be warm. I remember checking the weather that morning and it was only 15 degrees. So needless to say after a 3 hours trip in the car, my camera was frozen and fogged up bad when I got to the wedding. This is when it get nerve wracking because this is the day my camera cannot fail. I quickly wrapped my jacket around the camera and let it sit for a few moments to get itself readjusted to the temperature in the room. That said the effect of having your camera fog up just a little is not exactly a bad thing, here is a photo.
This is not photoshop, it’s condensation on the lens 🙂 This is probably the biggest blunder in my photography career but at least I kind of like the effect. The camera recover and photograph the event withoutt missing a beat! Go Nikon!! I had a friend brought his Nikon D3000 along to serve as the back up but luckily, we did not need it.
Now that the camera is back to normal, here is the shot with the groom brother.
A shot with the groom’s family. If anyone want to make a case for shooting in JPEGs, you can make a case with these photos. I shoot completely in the RAW format now but I have to admit these JPEG from the 6.1 megapixel Nikon D40 look just fine, even by today’s standards.
So after a few quick family photos at home, we headed off to the reception at the Cornucopia Banqueting Hall right in our hometown of Torrington, Connecticut. There is nothing worst that taking photos of people being bored, this was the case before the guest show up. You just have to make the best of it.
Sometimes, it’s not that bad though.
In Bosnian tradition, they would hide the bride in a private room until everyone has arrived and then she would be escorted out with her husband. But I got permission to go inside to get a few photos done before I too got kicked out.
One last photo of the bride though 🙂
The music got turned on and the guests started dancing on the floor which made the scene livelier. Now this is where the fun started. At least I don’t have to take pictures of people being bore to death.
The flower girls laid down flower for the bride before she entered the room. Well, one is a boy, but he didn’t have a job that day….
The big moment when the bride entered the room. I was told to stay on one side of the bride as not to cross her path as it would mean bad luck, I picked the left side (camera’s left).
I was told that the younger brother would have to spin the bride during the wedding, I could not imagine what that would be but this is it. For some reason, I was thinking he was going to put her on his head and spin her like a basketball or something.
The groom younger brother put the ring onto the bride. Not sure how the groom got his ring on.
Now, that the bride had been introduced, the bride danced with all the guests too.
First dance between the groom and the bride.
We got all of the non-Bosnian people involved, Ryan did quite well compare to the rest of us 🙂
Then here is the couple last dance. And that was it for my first wedding. I went to the airport right after for a flight home to Houston, Texas.