Photos of the Week

Eye-Catching Portraits and Photos of the Week for Aug. 21 

August 21, 2023

By Hillary Grigonis

Novice photographers spend a lot of time learning how not to make a photograph blurry. But camera artisans know that some rules are meant to be broken. Blur can add emotion or create a dreamlike feel. Blur can draw the eye, or blur can be used to make a photograph feel more like a light painting. This week, we feature five photographs that use different forms of blur to create exceptional images. Find inspiration in these photographs from Katherine Mills, Ivana and Alen, William Taylor, Tom Waldenberg, and Aly Kuler. 

Katherine Mills, Katherine and Her Camera 

© Katherine Mills

Exploring the streets of Lecce with couple Mia and George felt like a dream for Katherine Mills of Katherine and Her Camera. To capture that dream-like feel, she focused on the couple’s hands and slowed the shutter speed as they ran together, creating an image full of the joy and connection of the day. She captured the shot using the Sony a7 III and an 85mm lens, adding a layer of dust scratches when the image gave her Hollywood vibes. 

“The natural texture of the historic streets in Lecce and the amazing movement of Mia’s dress and those gorgeous sleeves just called out for some motion blur,” Mills said. “I wanted to emphasize their movement and create a dreamy feel without obscuring too much of the detail. I used a slow shutter speed and moved the camera slightly along with them to get the same movement in the background as well as the couple themselves. It was quite a bright day in southern Italy, even in the shade of the side streets so my aperture was high at f22 and a low ISO of 100 so I could set my shutter speed to 1/8 second.” 

Ivana and Alen, Ival Weddings 

© Ival Weddings

Ivana and Alen of Ival Weddings capture the intimate moments between their couples rather than directing the posing. This particular shot, which was captured with the Canon EOS R6 and the 24-70mm f2.8, was inspired by the movement of the couple. This technique, called a zoom burst, was created while zooming in while the shutter was still open. 

“They were moving and playing around so we decided to play with movement,” they said. “It was all-natural light, with 1/80 shutter and zooming in on them.” 

William Taylor, William Avery Photography 

© William Avery

Adding flash to a slow shutter speed maintains all the fun of motion blur while still preserving some detail and sharpness. Inspired by the warm lighting coming from behind the bar during this engagement shoot, William Taylor of William Avery Photography decided to add some blur to add more interest to those lights. He captured the shot with the Sony a7R IV, Sigma Art 24-70mm lens, and Godox v860II. 

“I loved the warm lighting behind the couple at the bar area and, after a few establishing shots, I decided I wanted to get creative with that lighting and use shutter drag to create the light movement,” he said. “I used a slow shutter paired with a speedlight on camera to capture this affect by moving my camera quickly from one side to the other while taking the photo.”  

Tom Waldenburg, Tom Waldenburg Photography 

© Tom Waldenberg

This colorful photograph by Tom Waldenberg of Tom Waldenberg Photography is actually an in-camera triple exposure, a technique that adds both color and a blurred replica of the couple. Waldenberg changed the color of the Boiling RGB LED lights between each exposure and repositioned the camera slightly. He captured the shot using the Nikon Z9 and the Nikkor Z 17-28mm f2.8. 

“I always try to do at least one night portrait with each of my couples, as I find night portraits to be unique, different, and can be so tailored to the environment,” he said. “I also try to suit my ideas to the couple – in this case for Anna and Jacob, Anna is an artist so I knew she would be excited for artistic/unique ideas. We made this photo at the edge of some dark woods in the couples’ family’s backyard where I knew the couple would pop against the dark woods.”  

Aly Kuler, Aly Kuler Photography 

© Aly Kuler

Shooting in iconic locations like Grand Central Station presents a major challenge — making the subjects stand out from the rest of the crowd. In this shot, Aly Kuler of Aly Kuler Photography blurred the movement of the crowd to help the couple stand out. The other challenge with this location is that off-camera lighting and light stands aren’t permitted — a challenge Kuler met by using on-camera flash with a snoot directed at the couple. He captured the shot using the Nikon Z7 II with the Nikkor Z 24-70mm f2.8 and Godox V1 flash. 

“This location is an iconic transportation hub in New York where countless individuals cross paths,” he said. “While the couple were Peruvian and American, I was inspired by this location of how it creates unique human intersections and connects people to tell a story of how the couple met.” 

Dig into our Photo of the Day archives for even more timeless photoseye-catching wedding photos and portraits. Submit your wedding, editorial, documentary and other interesting imagery to:

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