Photo of the Day

Eye-Catching Portraits and Photos of the Week for March 11

March 11, 2024

By Hillary Grigonis

The dance floor is often one of the biggest challenges of the wedding day. Lighting is often poor, yet photographers still have to freeze the motion of the couples and guests enjoying the music. This week, we asked five wedding photographers how they overcame the challenges of a dark dance floor. Find inspiration from these stunning photos of the week by Lee Maxwell, Dani Ford, Salien Van Hauwaert, Michael Silvano, and Elizabeth Michelini.

Lee Maxwell, Lee Maxwell Photography

© Lee Maxwell Photography

When Lee Maxwell of Lee Maxwell Photography saw this couple’s unique theatre dance floor, he knew he didn’t want to wash out the existing colorful lights with his flash. Instead, he gelled his two flashes in order to have enough light to freeze the motion while keeping the atmosphere of the ambient lights. The result is a colorful photograph that showcases the couple’s choreographed first dance along with the guests who celebrated with them. He captured the shot with the Sony a9, a 24mm lens and two flashes.

“My aim for this photo was to document the dance with the guests in the background to give context to this unique wedding day,” he says. “I wanted the focus to be on the couple themselves but to include the theatrical environment. It had the most unique lighting setup I’ve ever seen at a wedding day. The variations in color were something I wanted to include.”

Dani Ford, Dani Ford Photography

© Dani Ford Photography

The stakes for getting this midnight shot on a New Year’s Eve wedding were high, explained Dani Ford of Dani Ford Photography. Under pressure to capture a moment that visualizes the couple’s choice of a wedding date, Ford says she spent weeks brainstorming the best way to capture the 1920s ballroom and explosion of confetti. To see more of the dance floor, she asked the band if she could join them on stage. Ford captured the image with the Canon 5D Mark IV with the Canon 16-35mm f2.8 L II and Canon EL-1 speedlight.

“Navigating the dance floor can be quite challenging,” she says. “It’s a mix of quickly adapting to the surroundings, dodging those wild, flailing limbs and drunk guests, and capturing the right vibe. It’s a true test of adaptability! You must ask yourself questions like, ‘What’s the mood here? Is it high-energy and chaotic, or more laid-back and subdued? Can I use the surroundings to enhance my shots, or am I working with limited resources?’ and, most importantly, ‘Where’s the heart of the action?’ It’s a fast-paced and unpredictable environment that requires quick decisions and on-the-spot problem-solving!”

Salien Van Hauwaert, Studio Salien

© Studio Salien

For this photograph, Salien Van Hauwaert of Studio Salien asked the couple’s family and friends to create a circle around the couple. The result is that the first dance photos are just as much about the couple’s connection as it is about those supporting their new marriage. He captured the shot with the Canon 5D Mark IV and a 28-70mm f2.8 lens.

“As their wedding photographer, I consider the first dance as one of the most emotional moments of the day,” Hauwaert says. “For this frame, I really wanted to show the pure connection between the couple and the love and support of their family and friends because they were all so close that day.” 

Michael Silvano, Michael Silvano Photography

© Michael Silvano Photography

Wedding traditions vary widely between cultures. This moment captured by Michael Silvano of Michael Silvano Photography captures a Greek tradition while also highlighting the groom’s connection with his mother, brother, and groomsmen. He explained that this shot was captured at the end of a traditional Greek dance which is commonly finished off with a drink. The expressions, shower of cash and centered focus on the groom creates a memorable image. Silvano captured the image with the Canon EOS R6, Sigma 35mm f1.4, and Godox V860II.

“This venue was made for bounce flash with a big white ceiling and nice ambient light throughout,” Silvano says. “Bounce flash paired with shooting wide open at 1.4 makes it pretty easy to get in there and focus on the action and have consistently good light.”

Elizabeth Michelini, Michelini Photography

© Michelini Photography

This outdoor wedding had the added challenge of a wet dance floor due to the rain, but Elizabeth Michelini of Michelini Photography still managed to capture an emotional moment highlighting both the couple and the guests emotions. The photographer says she was inspired by the couples emotions and how they didn’t care about anything but each other in that moment. She captured the shot with the Canon EOS R6 and a 35mm f1.4.

“The biggest challenge was that the dance floor was completely wet, and it was very dark, so I had to be completely present and move with them throughout the dance floor,” she says. “It was all worth it.”

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:

Photographing Love by Kristina Wikle
The Family Posing Series
The Location Lighting Series
Editing Family Photos
The Power of Color to Transform Your Images