May wedding on the Ocean Club Balcony with an emotional first look

I had a very busy May this year with four weddings at The Ocean Club in the Grande Dunes. I already featured the first of my May weddings in a blog post here. I talked about some new flash equipment and my photo booth, so please check it out. Laci and Justin’s wedding was held on an unusually hot day for the month of May. Thankfully, you almost always get a nice breeze down by the ocean. I started out with my usual pictures of all the dresses hanging in the beautiful windows upstairs in the clubhouse. I also got a lot of detail shots of the tables and decorations. I especially liked the “Anchored in Love” favors that were lying on all the tables.

First look in front of the clubhouse

Laci and Justin choose to do a first look. Because it was so hot, we decided to do it right outside the main doors of the clubhouse. I usually recommend doing the first look here or on the greenery covered walkway down to the beach. Both spots are very pretty and work great. Before the ceremony, we also did some family and bridal party pictures in the shade by the front door columns.

Ceremony on the Ocean Club balcony

For ceremonies on the balcony or veranda ( I don’t know which is the proper term ), it’s always difficult to see the ocean in the background. The clubhouse gives some great shade during the ceremony, but the background is still in the bright sun, so it gets washed out and overexposed. To help compensate for this, I now set up my very powerful dual Godox AD-200 flashes to give the bride and groom some fill light. This helps to brighten everyone up so they won’t be as dark against the bright background. It also works great for family pictures on the balcony after the ceremony.

One other trick I use is HDR exposure. For example, the one panorama below is made from 24 total images. I hold the camera vertically and shoot a panorama, stopping at about eight different spots, and at each stop, I shoot three images at different exposures. In Lightroom, these can all be combined to get a super wide-angle view while capturing detail in the highlight and shadows. Because everyone moves a little in each shot, it did require some cleaning up in Photoshop after I was done.

I hope you enjoy these pictures!

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