WHAT WOULD JERRY DO?
The Iconic Location
Turning well-known destination wedding spots into unique
portraits that break through the clichés.
BY JERRY GHIONIS
Many cities around the world have
popular landmarks that everyone
wants to be photographed in front of,
Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge in
Australia, or the Eiffel Tower and Arc de
Triomphe in Paris. Too often, though, the photos
taken there look cliché and unoriginal.
Understandably, if you are booked for a
wedding in an iconic location, many couples
and families will insist on using these traditional
backdrops for their portraits. The challenge lies
in figuring out how to prevent our work from
looking like everybody else’s.
In my hometown of Melbourne, many
couples want to photograph at Parliament
House. Yes, it’s a beautiful location, but on
any given weekend, you can find dozens
of couples on the steps waiting for their
turn to have a portrait taken there. What’s
a photographer to do? I usually choose
locations based on light. In fact, after the
ceremony and before the reception, I often
ask the couple’s driver to follow me. If I stop
along the way, it means that I have found a
great location (usually because the lighting
there is beautiful) as well as a complementary
background and something that suits the
couple’s personal style. Sometimes a location
TOP LEFT: Paris, France—1/80 sec, f/2.8, ISO 600.
I posed my couple quite a distance away from
the Notre Dame so that the cathedral would
be out of focus. Then a tight crop and using
only the ambient light from a street lamp was
all I needed to create this portrait. TOP RIGHT:
London, England—1/320 sec, f/1.4, ISO 400.
Although they are seen as a cliché London prop,
photographing the red phone boxes with a
shallow depth-of- field and using voyeuristic
perspective gives this tired subject matter a fresh
approach. BOTTOM: Paris, France—1/400 sec, f/7.1,
ISO 100. An out- of-focus and cropped Eiffel
Tower keeps your attention on the couple and the
moment rather than being overpowered by it. P H