For 38 years, I didn’t know that I was born on International Dance Day. Interestingly, the day was officially recognized in the same year that I was born. No wonder I love to dance!
As a wedding photographer, I love the First-Dance part of the wedding day. In fact, I look forward to it. There is a lot to it. Emotions, guests’ reactions, and overall lots of interesting moments to capture.
I have seen many weddings, and each has been super unique in many aspects but as far as I have learned, there are three types of couples when it comes to the first dance:
It is very important to perform well, so they have taken dance classes and have practiced to prepare themselves for the wedding night. How would I know?! They murmur and count to keep the rhythm of the movement together and technically they dance well (with some exceptions due to the amount of stress they were experiencing)
They are shy _or one party is shy_ that they either don’t want to dance or they dance so quickly. Thank God that I have learned to act fast to get enough pictures, but it is what it is, better than nothing. They even don’t pick a song to dance with. They ask the DJ to randomly choose a song for them. Understandably, they’d rather not be the center of attention.
Some people don’t care to dance! I asked a bride, what time is the first dance, and she asked her hubby: Hey babe, are we dancing tonight?!!!
Don’t worry I have strategies for each scenario, but first thing first, I need to set up my lights. When I walk into a venue, I usually have time to set them up. After photographing the guests_during cocktail hours_ it is time to photograph the cake and the room with all the details and decorations before the guests’ arrival. While photographing them, I glance over the room to see how I can design my lights. Artistically, there are many things that I consider, but safety is definitely the most important factor. I always put my light stands in the corner of the rooms, where there is less traffic and crowd.
Technically, I prefer to avoid the DJ station in my compositions, because the first dance is all about the bride and groom and I don’t want to include anyone in the frame. Therefore, my point of view will be the same as the DJ’s. I either hang out by him/her place or I swing to the left and right to capture photos. Based on my movements, according to the size and shape of the room and the position of the DJ station, I set up my lights in each corner.
The first dance is short (sometimes even shorter than usual) but because versatility is important for me, I try to have plans and stick to them. Having a safe picture with the right exposure, focus and lighting is the most important priority for me. A clean, crisp picture of them dancing is a must-have and unfortunately, I have seen many photographers fail in that important matter. Once I get the shot, I change my perspective to the quests’ reactions. Especially the parents. There are beautiful moments and reactions that I should not miss; Lots of authentic smiles and tears must be captured as it is part of the story of the day. After preserving those moments, now it is time for me to be creative and do whatever I want. Yayyyyy!
Now, here is some advice if you plan to dance on your wedding night:
Pick a song that both of you guys have a connection with. For example, the word of the song resonates with you and your love, or both of you experienced good feelings when you listened to it for the first time.
Put on a suit and a long (maxi) dress with formal shoes (if you are planning on wearing them) and dance together. Make yourself adopted to the kind of clothes you will wear on your wedding night because some moves are not easy with formal outfits and long dresses.
Pick a short song to dance with or ask your DJ to play a shorter version of the song. Don’t get yourself exhausted at the same time you don’t want to lose the attention of your audience somewhere in the middle of the dance. Make everyone engaged by performing short yet beautiful.
Please note that the first dance happens only once in your life, therefore enjoy it! Be present, be in love.
If you are planning for your wedding in 2022, feel free to shoot me an email to set up a FREE consultation session.