Andrea and Greg, Florida Aquarium Wedding

Andrea and Greg were married at the Florida Aquarium. They decided to have Tampa Photo document their special day with both photo and video. For more info on combining photo and video check out our website. You can also learn more about video and see some sample clips here. The Aquarium is a lovely place to have a wedding! As a nature and animal lover myself, I really enjoy shooting there. Congratulations you two!

Here they are in front of one of the many tanks found throughout the aquarium. Although beautiful, the Aquarium poses some challenges to the photographer. Very dark conditions, little or no surfaces to bounce flash off, the need to balance the subject with the background and the reflective properties of glass all worked together to keep me on my toes! I'll explain my techniques for dealing with these problems later in the post.

During the ceremony, I mixed flash shots with some available light shots. Since Kevin was there shooting video, he set up a few lights in addition to the lights that were on both video cameras. This extra light helped balance the couple with the background. Not a bad place to say your vows, huh?

We were working fast to get all the family and group shots done. Before going off on our own, I snagged a few quick shots of Andrea in front of the big tank with on-camera flash. I just love these surroundings!

Once we were alone and the bridal party had gone to the cocktail hour, I set up a light in an umbrella for some nicer portraits. Since the glass is reflective, I had to shoot at a 45 degree angle to the tank (you can't shoot straight on or you will the see the flash in the glass). The other main problem here is how dark the tanks are. To properly expose the tank I needed to shoot at a very slow shutter speed (between .5 and 1.5 seconds). I had to make sure the subjects were in total darkness (I even had to ask for the video lights to be turned off while shooting portraits). The flash is used to properly light the subject, but then the shutter is left open to allow the tank to slowly burn in to the digital film.

Now it's Andrea's turn. These shots were meant to draw your attention to the subject and just let the background be an accent.

The couple shares their first dance. In addition to some standard straight-flash shots, I worked to capture a few creative light shots to accent the mood. Here, a flash is aimed at the far wall behind the DJ (Tony Lange, one of the fantastic Grant Hemond associates) to give the bride and groom a nice rim light. This technique works great when the bride has a veil.

Mother and son share a dance as the bride looks on. I wish a little more light from my on-camera flash had reached the mother but enough light is hitting her for her expression to be visible.

Ummmm, donut cake. Greg had his own creative take on cake. A huge stack of donuts covered in chocolate. Awesome!

Here is a nice shot of the cake with a lovely backdrop thanks to the giant stingray banner hung above the touch tank in the main lobby.

The house lights on the cake worked pretty well (especially since they were balanced with the lights aimed at the stingray banner) but I wanted a few shots where I was able to control the light a little more. While shooting the cake a young boy approached and gave this wonderful expression. I quickly opened my aperture to properly expose the boy. I hope he got a good look at the cake...

Well, this does happen in real life. Luckily, the couple had already cut it and I had plenty of pictures of it. The guests had lots of donut cake and the staff prepared bananas foster for everyone. A minor glitch that didn't prevent Andrea and Greg from enjoying their lovely reception.

A final parting shot of the Florida Aquarium exterior.

Congratulations to the newlyweds! And thanks for letting me be a part of your special day. All of us at Tampa Photo wish you the very best for many years to come.

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