The Vintage Limo Ride

by Larry Brownstein

Jessica Claire

March 01, 2011 — While roaming around the city taking this couple’s engagement photos, Jessica Claire had the opportunity to develop a rapport with them that made for a great shoot at the wedding. Perhaps even more importantly, though, it was during the engagement shoot that the couple shared with Claire their vision of a vintage-style wedding. Claire was excited about the possibility, as she saw the couple as being “hip and natural,” while at the same time displaying a classic style.

Normally, Claire opts for strong color and interesting, bright light, but in this case she had in mind the muted colors and de-saturated look associated with antique photos. “I wanted to capture the wedding with a vintage style in the photography and the processing,” she says.

Claire also departed from her usual directorial mode when working with the bride and groom. Rather than coach the couple through a series of portraits, she consciously stepped back. She was familiar enough with the couple that she knew they would naturally show their love for each other. So, Claire unobtrusively enjoyed the ride from the front seat of this antique limousine, allowing them to enjoy this intimate time after the ceremony. Claire simply observed and waited for the special moments to reveal themselves. She took some versions of this scene that cropped in tightly on just the couple. But it was the wider version that included the driver, who had owned this classic car for 50 years, which seemed to tell the whole story.

Claire shot black-and-white JPEGs, saying the Canon EOS 5D’s black-and-white conversion does a great job. Since she shoots JPEGs, she endeavors to get the image as close to perfect as possible in-camera. She typically spot-meters on the face, shoots in manual mode and checks the histogram to ensure the exposure is right. Claire used available light in this photo. She reserves the use of supplemental lighting for once the sun goes down. “I don’t use any on- or off-camera flash until after dark. Never!” she says. This is perhaps one of the reasons why she prefers to use fast, fixed focal-length lenses such as the 50mm f/1.2 and the 24mm f/1.4 lens, which she used in this shot.

The post-processing was done with an action from Totally Rad Actions called Grandma’s Tap Shoes.

To see more of Jessica Claire’s work, visit her Web site www.jessicaclaire.net.

Ingredients
• Camera: Canon EOS 5D
•  Lens: Canon EF 24mm f/1.4L II USM
• Exposure: 1/800 at f/1.4, ISO 100
• Light: Available
• Software: Grandma’s Tap Shoes action from Totally Rad Actions, Volume Two: The Revenge

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