Through Lani's Lens

September 28, 2011

Wedding at Trollenäs Castle

Filed under: weddings — Tags: , , — norekefoto @ 12:11 pm

In August I photographed this fantastic wedding at Trollenäs church in Skåne.

Trollenäs kyrka


before the wedding, TrollenäskyrkaI’ve had a problem with internet-shy couples this summer, so I can’t show you all the pictures that I’d like to show.  Because of that, there are some bits of the story that are missing, but I’m sure you understand that I must respect their wishes.  In this case, I won’t be using any names, and I won’t include any pictures of their child.  So you’ll have to take my word for it that the kid was ADORABLE and we got a lot of great pictures of both him and the family.

wedding at Trollenäs churchThe bride had joked about her father and his camera/phone, yet I was still surprised when he stopped the couple on their way down the aisle to take their picture.  I’ve heard of “unplugged” weddings where the priest asks the guests to put the cameras down and enjoy the moment.  With a professional photographer on duty, this is probably a really good idea!wedding at Trollenäs church

wedding mingle outside of Trollenäs churchThe reception was held at nearby Trollenäs castle.

horse-drawn carriage through the castle grounds

mingle outside of Trollenäs castleballoons at Trollenäs castleAfter greeting their guests at the castle, we slipped away to do some portraits in the park.  Like many of my couples, this pair had expressed concern about not liking to be photographed, so we started off with some simple situations that really didn’t require posing.  This helped them relax and get the pictures they wanted.  Unfortunately we were interrupted when the best man showed up with their sobbing son, so we didn’t get to the more creative shots that I would have liked, but at least they were pleased.

wedding portraits in the parkwedding portraits in the parkwedding portraits in the parkwedding portraits in the parkwedding portraits in the parkwedding portraits in the parkTrollenäs castle is every bit as impressive inside as out.  I’d never been inside before since it is privately owned and not generally open to the public.Trollenäs castle interior

Trollenäs castle interior, table settingTrollenäs castle interiorTrollenäs castle interiorTrollenäs castle interiorTrollenäs castle wedding portrait



September 5, 2011

Getting in touch with my dark side

Filed under: Portraits, weddings — Tags: , , — norekefoto @ 8:13 am

Just because I’ve been working to increase my creativity in portrait composition at this workshop with David Beckstead doesn’t mean that I would ignore my instincts.  I couldn’t help but take some classic portraits and capture a few moments of genuine emotion.  I think it’s important to find a balance between the photojournalism, the traditional portraits, and the creative portraits.  After all, even if you like the creative stuff better, it’s still good to have a nice picture that you can give to your grandmother.

traditional wedding portraits

photojournalism style wedding portraitsWe finished off our photo shoot at Strömstad Spa indoors.  The young couple who had dressed up to model for us (not professional models) were getting a bit tired, and they seemed relieved to relax on the couch.  It was quite dark there  in the lobby, but instead of trying to compensate for it, I embraced it.  I think these shots look particularly dramatic in a dark and contrasty black and white.  As 16 photographers jostled for position to photograph them, I could see their eyes glazing over.  I chose to work a different angle instead.

dark and moody at Strömstad Spa

dark and dramatic wedding portraitsThe man when from having that “deer in the headlights look” to looking more like an example of bad taxidermy by the time I got into position to take the Beckstead shot, but if you ignore that, I think the low angle shot which is balanced with the pattern of the artwork on the wall above them turned out quite well.

We returned to Tanumshede where we refueled with pizza for dinner before finishing off the workshop at the town hall.  Here we played with simple artificial light sources in and otherwise dark room.  In the first pictures, a video light provided a great directional light.

video light portrait

A simple flashlight turned our male subject into someone so dramatically creepy he could have escaped from a vampire movie.

dramatic video light portraits

For our female subject, the flashlight was shown through different objects such as an oven grate, a bottle of water and a crystal bowl.  I’m not sure how I feel about the harsh shadow behind her in these shots, but it was an interesting idea.  I’m looking forward to taking the concepts from this workshop and trying them out to see how they fit with my reality.

dramatic lighting with a flashlight

August 31, 2011

Reflections in wedding portraits

Filed under: Portraits, weddings — Tags: , , — norekefoto @ 9:00 pm

I love photographing reflections and the way the subject can be distorted to give an impressionistic feel.  I also love the layering you can get with the reflection, the surface itself, and sometimes even something under the surface.  After studying leading lines and reflections at the parking structure, David Beckstead‘s workshop continued at Strömstad Spa‘s reflecting pool.  By now, we were seeing architectural lines and reflections everywhere.

reflections in windows

David also talked about looking for the shot between the shots–those fantastic candid moments that happen when people think they’re done posing.  I’d like to think that I’m pretty good at getting those shots, and I got a few good ones during the workshop too.

reflections at the marina

The reflecting pool by the marina was much more the type of location that I would expect for wedding portraits, so I couldn’t resist taking what I consider to be the classic image.

bride & groom at the reflecting pool

The reflecting pool was also a great place to study architectural elements and leading lines.

bride and groom reflected

Then I noticed that the combination of the reflection and the rocks at the bottom of the pool was even more interesting.  I got out my polarizing filter and played a bit with that.

light, water, love, and stones

The thing about reflections, should I turn them right-side-up when displaying them?  I think that might work better so long as the original subject is not included.

reflections in wedding portraits

August 30, 2011

Portraits at the parking structure, a composition challenge

Filed under: Portraits, weddings — Tags: , , — norekefoto @ 10:54 am

The workshop with David Beckstead continued after a lovely lunch at Tanums Gesgifveri with an outing to Strömstad Spa & Resort.  The surroundings were gorgeous, so I was more than a little surprised to find out that we would be photographing at the parking garage.  I must admit that I had never considered a parking structure as an appropriate backdrop for wedding portraits, and I hadn’t given it a second glance.

parking structure portraits

reflections in the parking garageparking structure portraitsup against the reflective wallPerhaps this was no ordinary parking structure?  It had great reflective surfaces, patterns, and leading lines.  I’ll never look at a parking structure the same way again.  Hopefully I’ll never take anything for granted again, because there are interesting photos everywhere just waiting for somebody to find them.

David Beckstead in action

It really was eye-opening to see the shots that David Beckstead composed.  I’d like to believe that despite 16 photographers pushing and shoving to get the same shot, I came up with some unique compositions too.  (Actually, being a group of Swedes and Norwegians, there was very little pushing and shoving–it was all very civilized.)

groom portraits

I do a lot of bridal portraits, and portraits of the couple together, but usually my grooms decline to be photographed alone.  Hopefully now I can convince them how cool if could be!

August 28, 2011

Creative composition for wedding portraits

Filed under: Portraits, weddings — Tags: , , — norekefoto @ 4:01 pm

A few days ago I attended a workshop with world renowned American wedding photographer David Beckstead.  The workshop was hosted by the Swedish photographer Benny Ottosson in Tanumshede.  I’m so inspired now that I can’t wait to show you some of the pictures.  There were a lot of pictures, so I’ll divide them up.  This first batch is frcom Grebbestad church.

black and white wedding portraits

With my background in nature photography, I’m well aware of the rules and concepts of composition, but when photographing weddings, it’s easy to be lulled into a habit of taking the pictures that are expected–capturing the action and the emotion but perhaps not really thinking about composition.  This workshop challenged us to think about composition in different ways, challenging what we know and getting outside of our comfort zones.

wedding portraits, low angle


wedding portraits in the church with chandelierWe also learned to challenge our perspective and shoot without looking through the viewfinder.  At first I thought it would be very difficult, but I quickly got used to it, and the results were impressive.  Now I know how to get the low angle shot without having to lie on the floor of the church!  Likewise, I now have a chance of being able to shoot over the crowd even when I’m not the tallest person there.

dead bride

We also got to work with some unconventional posing.  I somehow doubt that “dead bride” will become one of my standards, but it was fun to experiment with.

natural light portraits

I love shooting with only existing light, so that part of the workshop was nothing new to me.  It certainly does add drama to the shot.

One more aspect of the workshop was working with reflections.  We did lots of that later in the day, but we also made use of the plastic cover to the sound system’s mixing board.   I must admit I never would have thought of that, but the result was really cool!

reflected portrait in church



June 8, 2011

Trash the Dress, with horses

Filed under: Portraits, Trash the Dress, weddings — Tags: , , , — norekefoto @ 2:54 pm

We had so much fun with our photo session on the farm, that we decided to continue the following day.  The cows were not the least bit interested in our antics, but horses were so curious that the couldn’t have been better models if they’d been trained.

bride greeting horsesbride with horsesbride's tug-of-war with horseshorses investigate bridecurious horsesbride with horses

June 6, 2011

Trash the Dress, country style

Filed under: Portraits, Trash the Dress, weddings — Tags: , , — norekefoto @ 6:21 am

I took these pictures at the end of last summer, but I couldn’t show them until now because they were a surprise from bride to groom on their 10th anniversary.  Personally, I’m ever so impressed that the dress still fit!  The bride was full of ideas and enthusiasm, and we had so much fun taking these pictures!

running on hay

trash the dress on a bicycletrash the dress on a ball of haytrash the dress on the farmdancing on hayportraits with sunset light

November 1, 2010

Vera & Bertil’s wedding

Filed under: weddings — Tags: , , , — norekefoto @ 2:29 pm

In September, Vera and Bertil had a beautiful wedding at Drakamöllan, a charming little hotel in a nature preserve near Brösarp, Sweden.  The weather cooperated perfectly, and they were able to have their ceremony, toast, and portraits outdoors just as they’d hoped.

Their daughter was so adorable that she nearly stole the show.

Unlike all the other weddings I’ve been to here in Sweden, they had the ceremony in the morning followed by a lunch reception.  The sun came out just in time for the ceremony which was on the hillside overlooking the hotel.  Had they waited until the afternoon, it would have been raining.

Blowing bubbles is very popular as an alternative to throwing rice.  I was impressed that 16 people  could generate so many bubbles with those tiny wands, but the result looked magical.

May 10, 2010

Karin & Jakob at Svaneholm Castle

Filed under: Portraits, weddings — Tags: , , — norekefoto @ 1:49 pm

On Saturday I did some wedding portraits for Karin and Jakob at Svaneholm castle near Skurup.  I love this location with the castle, lake and park.  There’s so many opportunities for fantastic outdoor portraits.  The weather was a bit cold and drizzling on Saturday, so we also took some pictures in the museum inside the castle too.

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