Wedding Photographer Utrecht, Netherlands. Leonard Walpot shares a wedding photography technique.

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I'm a full time photographer since 2013. I fell in love with photography when I was a student (I did manage to get a bachelors degree in Dutch Language and Cultures), but never thought I would be a full time photographer. At some point however, it became reality and I quickly became more and more interested in wedding photography. I stopped shooting everything and started to focus on weddings only. Now I only shoot weddings and do some journalistic and portrait work, which I do because I really believe that a good wedding photographer, is a good storyteller. And it really helps me to have journalistic work which is not wedding related to became a better wedding photographer. And I also believe that it works vice versa.

Most of the time I work alone, but I also work together with Jesse van Kalmthout, who is a very good friend and great photographer as well. Together we run Best Men Weddings, which is, not necessarily, but mainly focused on bigger weddings in The Netherlands and destination weddings around the globe.

Basically my approach is very journalistic. I never ever set something up unless sometimes during a portrait session. For me there is a distinction between documenting the wedding day and shooting portraits. That ‘allows' me to have a more artistic kind of approach when it comes to portraits. But my main goal is to create valuable memories for my couples. In my opinion this can only be achieved by being the journalist, the storyteller of the day. Hence, I document and don't direct the day.

In the Netherlands, we are quite used to doing portraits on the wedding day itself and actually I prefer to document instead of direct that moment as well. It's not always possible, because a couple might need some suggestions sometimes or needs to be directed for a photo that has a creative value as the main goal. But I always tell a couple that the portrait time is a moment for them to enjoy together. They are away from their guests for some time and are able to spend some time together on their big day.

That was the approach in this particular photo as well. The funny thing is that this couple are good friends of mine and they hired Best Men Weddings to document their wedding.

The wedding was in my hometown Utrecht and we had about an hour before diner to shoot portraits. We went into the city centre, which is lovely by the way, for photos. It was a really sunny and hot day in august and the sun still had a lot of strength. So there were very intense bright spots and very dark shadows between the buildings. That's a challenge, but one I really like to play with.

In this case, I could go for a kind of obvious shot, with the characteristic Dom tower of Utrecht, which is just a 200 meters away, but I didn't like that shot. As I already mentioned, the sunlight was still very strong and when I checked for something interesting, the dress really popped out in the window in which I finally took this photo.

Although I exposed for the highlights on the dress, I darkened the whole image and saturated the colours a bit more in post. Also I dodged the couple, to have them pop out even more. Next to that the image needed some lens correction as I did use a 24mm here. Had it on my body to be able to capture the whole Dom tower in the background and I had no time to think about switching to a 35 or 50, because this shot isn't set up, the moment between the couple is real. Actually I'm happy with the 24mm because what I really like in this image are the lines that give depth and a visually attractive look. That probably didn't work out the same with a longer lens. I also like the image because it still has enough context to figure it's in Utrecht.

Specs for this photo: Canon 5D III + EF24mm f/1.4L II USM at f/5.6, 1/160, ISO 100. Edited with Lightroom and Photoshop using Totally Rad Pro Retouch 2.0 – yes, that's for portraits, but has some useful actions for overall image editing as well. It's actually the only set of actions I work with in Photoshop.

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