Yes! Yes I can.
Now, many grooms, for whatever reason, and whether they're habitual smokers or not, will choose to smoke a cigar on their wedding day. Whilst I wouldn't think to photograph someone enjoying a cigarette on a wedding day, cigars are a little different.
On the morning of her wedding, Roz asked if I would be able to capture an image of her soon-to-be husband, whilst smoking. This kind of image has been done to the death, with the groom usually leaning on a piano or a bar and looking into the camera with a pout, or gripping the cigar in his teeth like he should be wielding a Tommy gun in his hands. I don't like cheesy photos. I don't like doing the same as everyone else either, so the second Roz asked me to take this photo, I immediately knew how I wanted to at least try and shoot it in the most difficult and spectacular way possible.
I'm going to fast forward to how the image was taken - if you'd like to read my full writeup on Roz and Arjan's AMAZING Bredenbury Court wedding, you can do so by clicking here.
In images that don't include only the bride and groom, I'm not a massive fan of people staring into the camera. I'm a documentary wedding photographer, which means, by trade, I'll stand back and capture the day as it happens, without the subject of my photos knowing that they're being photographed. To photograph Arjan and the father of the bride enjoying a cigar together, things would be a little tricky. For a start, it was pouring with rain when I came to take the photo, meaning the only people outside of the venue were the three of us. It was going to be obvious that I was there to photograph the two of them, but I tried to keep the interaction as natural as possible. I stood a remotely controlled flash about 5 metres behind them, pointing back towards me. I then stood a little distance away, so that my presence there didn't affect how they were acting or what they were saying. For all intents and purposes, they were just being themselves. To get the most dramatic photo, I wanted at least one of them to be exhaling - the flash that was behind them would pick out the smoke really well against the blackness of the sky, as well as wrapping around them to create a partially-lit silhouette. Of course the rain was an added bonus, with every single rain droplet being picked out too. I took maybe 3 or 4 photos, knowing that I had the shot in the bag, so retrieved the flash and left them to it. Yes this is what I call a 'photographer-directed image' but it's still as natural in feel and appearance as I could make it. And it's awesome!
Location: Bredenbury Court Barns.Keywords: Bredenbury Court Barn Weddings (12), Photographer-directed image (405). 1/200; f/2.8; ISO 1000; 35.0 mm.