Brides in Trees; Cliff Mautner’s Location-Driven Wedding Photography Page 2

"I look for the light first," he says. "If it looks good, I'll pull over. We shoot for 5 minutes and take off again. If the light's less than ideal, I'll take up the challenge. I've done my best work this way."

"I asked them if they'd take a walk along the river near this overpass. It was as simple as that--just finding a setting and letting them be themselves."

Sometimes, though, he knows exactly where he's going. "A bride-to-be once asked me if we could do wedding portraits at the Eastern State Penitentiary [in Philadelphia]. It's a museum now, and she and her fiancé were members. I said, `Great idea.' Hey, it wasn't a park. I made some wonderful photos for them there, and now it's a place I take other couples--but not too many. If a couple is a little edgy, I want that edge to come out. I'm out to get who they are, not who I might want them to be. And if who they are fits with a location I know, like the prison, we're off to it." But no couple becomes a prop for Cliff's vision; the princess bride doesn't go to the big house.

"This is an underpass below a highway. It's an active road, so we park, wait until there's no traffic, get out and get the photographs...quickly."

For Cliff it all comes down to light, which he says is the only tool photographers have other than cameras and lenses; and location, which after the wedding will make for a much better story than any pose by a fountain in a park.

The counter at the Reading Terminal Market in Philadelphia. "We left the hotel on one of my drive-arounds. They said they wanted something different, and I found it for them."

The Gear
Cliff Mautner made the film-to-digital transition in two steps. "At first I was a hybrid guy, shooting both film and digital. It was not the best thing to do. I went all digital two years ago." Today he carries Nikon D3 bodies and a host of Nikkor lenses. The primes include a 28mm f/1.4 ("one of my favorites"), a 50mm f/1.4, and an 85mm f/1.4; the zooms, a 70-200mm f/2.8 VR and a 14-24mm f/2.8. He usually carries four SB-800 Speedlights and a tiny video light, the latter because "it never hurts to have something that'll give a photo a little different look."


leonardo85's picture

These wedding phonographs are simply amazing. My friend is a San Luis Obispo Wedding Photographer and I have seen her works, she uses a lot of innovative ideas to crate magical moments for the couple.