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Contact Sheet: Mirrors

The Slaughters Manor House, Glos

May 2018

I made a start with a contact sheet blog post almost a year ago, but I couldn't work out how to incorporate it effectively...until now! So in a start of a new series, I'll be taking you behind the scenes of one of my favourite pictures from my previous blogged wedding, dissecting how I first came across the scene, how long I stayed with it, and what my settings were at the time. There's a lot of mystery when it comes to photography, and I want to show that it's as much to do with recognising the potential of a scene, as it is with being in the right place at the right time.

So today's picture is one of my all-time favourites for a variety of reasons; multiple mirrors, multiple people, and a nice moment between the Bride's mum and Bridesmaid at the heart of it. The picture is from Anna + Richard's The Slaughters Manor House Wedding, which I blogged last week, and was during the bridal prep in the morning. The scene starts off with a safe picture of Anna's reflection in the mirror, and a few detail shots of the wedding cards behind her. As I moved around the room I was struck by the scene in front of me - a mirror reflecting Anna's Bridesmaid's head, as she was having her make-up done; Anna's mum in the foreground with some nice window light on her; and Anna in the background having her hair done, with the potential of someone else being reflected in that second mirror.

Being schooled in street photography, where I sometimes spend up to half an hour on a shot, I gave myself the luxury of waiting a few minutes to see if I could get the picture that was in my head - all I needed was someone in the second mirror, and a clear head-shot of the Bridesmaid (as I imagined her being the head of this weird light-stand body, with the lights being like two tiny arms raised either side of her head). I raised my ISO up to 1600, and my aperture to f9, so I could ensure the whole scene was in focus, and set about waiting for the shot.

By Frame 10 I had the person I needed reflected in that second mirror, but the hair-dresser was in the shot, the mum was looking away, and the make-up artist's hand was reflected in the mirror. Frame 14 was almost there but I needed the make-up artist to move, and though she had by Frame 18, I then needed to wait for the hair-dresser to move as she was back in the shot! Frame 22 was practically perfect but I needed the make-up artist to move her hand, which was just poking into the mirror. Frame 24 was exactly what I wanted in my head, but Frame 25 was even better than I what I had imagined - a nice moment between the Bride's mother and the Bridesmaid.

From start to finish the situation took 5 minutes, all the while I was keeping an eye out for anything else happening in the room. I have had someone ask me why I hadn't just asked the make-up artist to move her hand, or the hair-dresser to move out of the way for a minute, and it all comes down to Frame 25 - I really believe that that natural moment between the mum and Bridesmaid would not have happened had I gotten involved. They would have become too aware that I was co-ordinating the scene, and it might have just ended up like Frame 24, with everyone nicely composed, but no moment, and no soul.

So there we go! Hope you enjoyed that behind the scenes of the picture, and if you're keen to see the rest of the blog post, just head here.


This is a fascinating piece, and actively makes me enjoy the resulting photo all the more! I found myself doing something similar at a recent wedding, and was constantly wracked with anxiety about becoming transfixed on the situation, and missing something else, but this gives me confidence to just try and work it a little more in future!

Thanks for the insight Kristian, and that is an absolutely brilliant shot!


Tom Aizenberg 30 May 2018

Nice to see how it’s done. Also that it’s a game of patience and observation. Will be reminding myself of this again when I’m about to leave a scene as it’s not quite right….. work the scene and be patient.

Greg 30 May 2018

Too good for words Kristian, and not a Sainsbury’s bag in sight!

David Weightman 19 June 2018

Great way to show and educate potential clients just what goes into choosing the perfect image.  Love it.

Andrew Miller 1 August 2018

I love these posts Kristian, a real insight in to how your mind works, and a reminder of the importance of patience, and not just moving on to the next shot if you are worried about missing something else. There is nothing worse than editing your shots and wishing ‘if only I had stayed with this moment a little longer’.

Robin Goodlad 11 November 2018
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