It was the last weekend of the summer, a season that felt increasingly miscategorized as it wore on in New England.
The weather had alternated between blustery and cold and simply wet. There was a break in August where it felt like the world was going to melt, but those days were few and soon replaced by something that felt a lot more like Fall. It was as if the world had forgotten entirely about this whole global warming thing.
September 19, on the other hand, was gorgeous. The sky was a brilliant blue and the air was warm and crisp without too much of a breeze to whip around hair and tablecloths.
Ed and Katie had already married on the West Coast, closer to their Seattle home. Of course not everyone could make it out there in February and Ed had long ago promised his father a wedding at the lake house, so they planned out a beautiful little reception to recreate the social feel of a wedding without having to bring in a minister and bridal gown.
The crowd was friendly and welcoming, it was easy to get caught up in the little knots of people scattered all around the grounds. There were the smokers at the back of the house, the older generation sitting around the picnic table and the young kids running around everywhere.
Eventually I found the bride and groom amidst the crowd. They were great clients with a couple of ideas for their photos and a patient attitude as they tried to get the day moving (a little behind schedule but these things always are).
While I enjoy the challenge of shooting a ceremony and much of the lead up to that event, it was a nice change of pace to simply handle the reception. The light could have been a little better (while everyone else loves sunny days, they tend to lead to some harsh shadows and blown highlights if you're not careful), but I couldn't have paid for better subjects, the kids especially.
My favorite photos came from along the waterfront. There was a little grotto separated from the rest of the yard by a muddy trench (that I stumbled across quite on accident) with a hammock, a few chairs and a dock projecting out like a finger onto the water. It was a great place for a few portraits (in spite of some harsh lighting earlier in the day).
Ideally you'd only shoot these portraits and candids at sunset so you get that soft, colorful and directional light. However, when your job is photographing people it's better to have people in a good mood because of the sunshine than the perfect natural lighting.
If you do find yourself out in bright lights, try to maneuver your subjects into the shade to get rid of those harsh shadows. Beware of spotty shadows, where bits of shade are interrupted by bright spots of sunlight. While it can be dramatic, it's less effective when the spotting shows up in every shot.
So I wish Katie and Ed the best of luck, and congratulations on the arrival of their young daughter (who was adorable if a little tired). You can see more of the Garrahy Reception on my Facebook fan page, and if you're interested in having your own reception photographed feel free to e-mail me.