As a record number of COVID-19 deaths and cases increase day by day here in the United States, it’s undeniable that the novel Coronavirus is here to stay and has created an uncomfortable set of restrictions and guidelines to abide by. Although photographers may not be considered essential workers, as quarantine lockdown subsides and cities start to open up, couples all over the nation are struggling to find some format or structure on how to have a wedding, have it documented, and still be safe & cautious.
As we stumble into these next coming months and try and figure out a plan of action on safety precautions for our line of work and paving a “new normal” for what wedding photography looks like, we are fortunate enough to have a tight-knit community of industry titans to help shine a light and restructure what wedding photography will look like post-quarantine. Photographer, Leica and SLR Lounge Educational Ambassador Jay Cassario was asked to switch gears to shoot a backyard wedding for his clients David and Blythe and tells us the story of his experience photographing a wedding during a pandemic.
Jay wore a mask the entire time and was surrounded by close friends and family of the couple who donned customized masks for the wedding ceremony held in the bride’s parents’ backyard in Vineland, New Jersey.
It was in the mid-’90s that day and very sunny out, so I did have a lot of trouble breathing at times, I had to turn my back and walk about 15 feet away during the ceremony to drop my mask and take a few deep breaths of fresh air. It was just hot air blowing back in my face. Luckily for me, I shoot almost exclusively in Liveview so at least I didn’t have to deal with a viewfinder fogging up.
Family members that had been quarantining together kept 5-6 feet between them and the other family members during the ceremony and Jay maintained a safe distance throughout the session and utilized his gear to take full advantage of each moment. He photographed the wedding with the Leica SL2 + 50/90mm combo, and the Leica Q2 which is their full-frame compact camera with a 28mm f/1.7 lens. All of the photos besides the last two rain shots were taken with natural light. The photos out in the rain were taken with the SL2 + 50mm Summilux plus the Godox AD200 with a CTO Gel set behind the couple to light the rain.
Jay’s experience and insight give us a much larger question to tackle for our industry: how long will these quarantine weddings go on for and are we prepared to equip ourselves to best serve our clients and shift gears. What we can take away from Jay’s beautiful images and the story is that there is no one clear answer and weddings are bound to be more unique and precious of an experience than we’ve ever seen before. Stripping weddings down their core, centered around the couple and surrounded by their family and friends, reinforces just how important our job is as photographers documenting history for our clients. To see more of Jay’s work follow him on Instagram or check out his website.