photography talk | Wedding Guestbook

At the wedding Tessa and I planned, we decided to do a photo guestbook where each guest had their picture taken when they arrived and then mounted it in the book next to their signature and well wishes. We set up a backdrop - decorated with the same pinwheels, pom-garland and bunting we used in the venue - right next to the entrance, and caught everyone as them came in.

camera : 
I originally intended to shoot it with a Polaroid Land 101 that I found at an estate sale (for 5dollars!) but the battery type doesn't exist anymore, and it was tied up being rewired.  So, I did the next best thing and shot it with my trusty Pentax K1000 on 35mm. 

I take notoriously terrible pictures of people, and shooting film means that there's no instant feedback. I don't know if someone has their eyes closed until I'm at home with a contact sheet. I've blown a few "once in a lifetime moments" in the past - so, I was very nervous! 

technical :
The day was overcast, which makes for my favorite diffuse light. I shoot still-life on gray days at 1/60 with a nearly wide-open aperture, but because this was a very special day I was so worried about terribly over exposing the film. For the first photos, I shot them with my light-meter exactly centered (at 1/250 and 11) - and they didn't have any of the vibrant color I love in film. Luckily, as the evening drew on and got a bit dimmer I opened things up (to 1/125 and 8) and the magic came back.

compare :
here's a photo taken with the "correct" settings according to my light meter. I don't like the color nearly as much as the one above ... which was taken a little over exposed.

I found that people are a little prop shy, until they're loosened up (whether it be from liquor or love). 

guestbook process :
Since it was on 35mm (not instant peel-apart, as we'd originally planned) I had to shoot the pictures in order of the signatures ... then match them up after printing. Assembling the book required a little ordered thinking, with a few cross-checks on google ... or asking myself : does this woman look like a "Vivian" or a "Deborah"?)

It definitely gave me so much respect for my favorite wedding photographers! How do they do it? They have no second chances, and get it right every time. 

(guest photos) on film with Pentax K1000 (me with my camera) by David Tureson 
(p.s.) more photography talk : Middle Distance Focus


  1. Oh man taking photos for a wedding would be so nerve wracking! Those are pictures that will forever hold a special place in the couples heart! But I love that you use film and that the pictures have character.


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