Julie and Romain – a faux wedding at the Shangri La Hotel in Paris
Although Mike and I usually take some time off in the summer to celebrate our anniversary, we decided to wait a bit longer and visit London + Paris in the late fall. As hard as I try to be on vacation mode, I can’t be in a beautiful place without the strong urge to pull out my camera to capture someone other than of ourselves. Before we arrived in Paris, I reached out to Elodie, from La Fabrique à Rêves, in hopes that we could put something together in such short notice. She came through more than I could have ever dreamed. Together with the Shangri-La and a team of spectacular vendors, a stunning faux wedding was created and I couldn’t be more honored to have had the opportunity to capture it all. It was truly glorious and I still feel as though it was all the sweetest dream.
Being a photographer should qualify as also being a part-time meteorologist because of how much time we spend trying figure out what the weather will be like on any given day. Some places are more predictable than others, but Paris definitely put me to the test. The days prior to the shoot had been lovely. Sure it was cold, but the sun was out and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. It was supposed to be a gorgeous day, but it took a turn for the worst before hair + makeup even got started. It was a dark, blustery and rainy day. My hopes of shooting film in a brightly lit ballroom and then all around Paris were squashed. Not even 800Z could save me. I shot a bit which you’ll see later, but after all the film I purchased for this shoot, out came my digital camera — which was totally my worst case scenario tool. To add insult to injury, since we were on vacation and I didn’t want to lug around a million lenses, we just brought one — an 85mm 1.2 II. I have so much love for that lens and it’s the most expensive one I own, but let’s be honest — it’s not very fast and it’s a telephoto lens. If I wanted to shoot anything wide, I was going to have stand across the room and hope that would be far enough. As much as I felt myself panic on the inside, I knew that I had to make it work with what I had. After all the work everyone had put into this, it was my turn.
The reason I’m sharing all of this is because challenges always come huge lessons that in return make you a better photographer. Whether it’s a styled shoot or a real wedding, you have to learn to overcome any obstacles (no matter how limited you are) and still produce quality work. Everything you’re about to see I shot with one camera body (Canon 5DMII) and one lens (Canon 85MM 1.2 II) — with barely any light, in the blustery cold and under the rain. Although I felt a bit defeated that day, I look at these photos and I’m proud. All the vendors love them to pieces and they’ll be featured soon. I hope this post inspires those who may have limited resources or be afraid of the unknown. I feel this also gives an insight to brides who may think that shooting in a ballroom isn’t my thing. Haha! After this experience, I’ve learned that I can shoot anywhere and with one lens, if I have to. I just have to go for it and immerse myself.
Many thanks to everyone who worked so hard to make this happen! It was truly one of the highlights of our vacation and I hope to someday shoot a real wedding across the Atlantic with such amazing and professional vendors.
Canon 5DMII with Canon EF 85mm 1.2 lens
Edited using VSCO
As promised, here’s a bit of film I shot. Some were later in the day next to a window at the tippy top of the hotel and others were shot between rainstorms. If you can’t tell the difference, then my job in editing was a success! Haha! There’s something about the last two that I love. They’re so beautiful and real to me. As grainy as they are, it’s Paris! I’m so crazy about the architecture. If you look very closely at the last shot, you can faintly see the Eiffel Tower on the left.
All photos by, Miami Wedding Photographer, Michelle March Photography – Fuji 400H and 800z on Contax 645 with Zeiss Planar T* 80mm f2 lens, developed + scanned by RPL
Reception Venue – Shangri-La Paris
Planning & Design – La Fabrique à Rêves
Cinematography – MG Image
Floral Design – Frédéric Garrigues & Akiko Usami
Wedding Dress – Ouma Clothing
Bridal Headpiece – Jannie Baltzer
Groom’s Suit – Les Dandys
Shoes for Groom – Crockett and Jones
Wedding Invitations – Branco Prata
Wedding Cake – Sugarplum Cake Shop
Hair – Rudy Marmet
Makeup – Blandine Desgraz
Model bride – Julie Guendjian
Model Groom – Romain Destrade
This faux wedding was featured on Style Me Pretty! You can see the full feature by clicking here.