Creating a document of an event is one thing, but capturing the feeling and emotion of a time and place is another skill altogether. It is something that wedding photographer Mārcis Baltskars has become known for: managing to create beautifully intimate portraits of the bride and groom amidst the pressure and limitations of shooting on a wedding day.
“It’s a huge gift – to be chosen as a wedding photographer,” explains Mārcis. “Everything seems so pure – there’s real laughter, real tears and in the end, this will make their memories. We can’t remember everything, but by flipping through the pictures, there is a chance to live the events all over again.”
As a photographer, Marcis is there to observe and document the events of the day. There is always a lot going on – guests to greet, speeches to be made, dances to dance, and Mārcis is able to capture it all using his Sony Alpha 7R III. Amongst it all, Mārcis finds moments to capture the bride and groom’s first few moments together as a married couple.
At this point the photos become a collaboration; with Mārcis listening, observing and perceiving how he will work with the couple. “Everything is founded on communication,” he says. “As a photographer, I can’t just say – stand there, tilt your head, look far away … I have to conjure an illusion that a person wants to follow in their mind. And, of course, the person has to feel that I’m a professional – if they seem insecure, I need to show them that I know what I’m doing and that they can fully trust me.”
With so little time to work, Mārcis relies on his Sony Alpha 7R III. to make sure he can get the shots he wants. “Eye AF is great for working with people,” he explains, “instead of thinking about the technique and sharpness, I can focus on other important things like perspective, composition and most importantly communicating with the subjects.”
Then there is Silent Shooting – a feature that has been key for changing how wedding photographer’s work: “a wedding ceremony is a precious moment in which it’s extremely important for a photographer to be invisible and not to disturb the course of the event, so it is simply a must have!”
When it comes to lenses, Mārcis enjoys the flexibility that the FE 24-70mm f/2.8 G Master zoom lens provides him. “It is my best ally! It’s amazing- with its quality, sharp images and fast auto focus, I don’t see the need to change lenses too often.” But when shooting portraits, he switches to using the classic 85mm focal length with the Sony FE 85mm f/1.4 G Master lens.
Armed with all of the tools and features he needs enables Mārcis to work quickly when the opportunity arises. One such moment where everything fell into place produced one of his favourite photos. “It was in the evening, everyone was already hitting the dancefloor so I went out on my usual walk to look around. The sun had just set, it was twilight time, and fog was slowly rising from the meadow. I ran inside to tell the couple that nature had decided to give them a phenomenal gift, but they said they had to devote the next 30 minutes to the party. I said it was either now or never.”
Luckily the bride and groom agreed and the processing of capturing the incredible image could begin.
“We left the banquet hall and jumped in the meadow, which was covered in dew drops. After a couple of minutes, the bride’s dress was soaking wet and water could be poured out of our shoes, but it couldn’t stop us. The image has everything – the newly risen moon, the magical atmosphere and both of them with their beautiful gazes – as if nothing else in this world existed.”
It is these moments that Mārcis lives for – creating photos and memories that will be looked upon for a lifetime: “the most heart-warming times are when a couple suddenly contacts me 3, 5 or even 10 years after their wedding, as they go through their photo album on their wedding anniversary with tears in their eyes again, telling me that, thanks to the pictures I have taken, they can relive this day again and again. Pictures like these are what makes me happy.”
"The best thing about a picture is that it never changes, even when the people in it do" - Andy Warhol