What do you say when a beautiful bride with a killer dress and a groom with Superman like rugged good looks ask you to drive an hour and a half to one of their favorite and most significant spots on the planet, take a “short” hike to some water falls and give you complete creative freedom to take their photo when they get back from their honeymoon in Mexico? You scream YES, of course, I’d love to and what time! Ema and Trevin originally wanted to have their ceremony at Morell Falls in Seeley Lake Montana but decided against it in favor of the much more family friendly and accessable Conrad Mansion in Kalispell.
When we arrived at the falls the first thing I did was thank God that I wasnt too much of an old man to keep up with the youngsters on the “short” three-mile hike. Then with light meter in hand I got down and prayed that I would’nt royally screw this up, it was kind of a one shot deal. I took quite a bit of time to meter the light in the area that Ema had picked out months before, and then meter it again. I never thought I would love my light meter so much, thank you CPP for forcing me to get one and learn to use it! I had packed in a battery pack, flash, light stand, a parabolic and small assortment of lenses, mostly primes to save on pack space and weight, not really sure what would work since I had only seen photos while researching the area on Google. I ended up settling on the last lens I ever thought I would use, a 16-35 f/4 wide-angle. Not exactly a portrait lens by any stretch of the imagination and if you’re not careful you can easily make people look pretty uh… strange with it. In this case I was sure it would work.
A fairly large crowd had gathered while Ema and Trevin were off in the woods changing curious what was going on with the fancy camera, light stand and they seemed really curious as to what the heck the parabolic umbrella was used for (massive light source with huge output to fight back the sun). When the newlyweds emerged from the woods all dressed up we got started right away, had a blast and laughed a bunch. I would do this kind of portrait session again in a heartbeat and so a new category was born! Newlywed Portraits.
Wayne Murphy is a portrait and wedding photographer from Kalispell Montana with a passion for flash and a love for natural light.