B&H Wedding Guide: Photographer Jerry Ghionis

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Jerry Ghionis is widely regarded as one of the top wedding photographers in the world. On his long list of accomplishements, is the WPPI (Wedding & Portrait Photographers International) Wedding Album of the Year, which he has won eight times. He has also won the PPA (Professional Photographers of America) Diamond Level Photographer of the Year Award for four years in a row and, in 2011, Jerry was named one of the top photography workshop instructors in the world by PDN magazine. His natural love and empathy for people creates powerful visual storytelling. Ghionis is based in Melbourne, Australia and Beverly Hills, California, and travels frequently on international photography assignments and speaking engagements. HIs work can be seen at www.jerryghionis.com.

To describe what went into the creation of his image, below, Ghionis writes:

"If you were to ask me today (January 2013) what my own favorite photograph is, I would tell you that it is the image 'Angel.'  It represents everything I love in a photograph: beauty, symmetry, strong composition, rich tones, beautiful lighting, symbolism. This image was created at a real wedding, the wedding of Jonny and Monika, in December 2011.

"The image is a metaphor of an angel sleeping on a cloud at the pearly gates—the bride’s dress was a white, fluffy vision and the amazing gold leaf staircase completed the inspiration. I thought that if she were to lie on her dress, the size of the circular center point of the staircase would be equivalent to the size of her dress. When she lay down though, her head was lost in the dress. I placed a rolled-up towel hidden under the dress, raising her head to allow the light to illuminate her face.

"Although a bird's eye view is nothing new, this image offers a different perspective, with the wall at the bottom of the frame leading your eyes to the bride. I hung over the balcony to get this perspective. My wife, Melissa, held my belt so I wouldn't fall over the edge. There are strong symbols and triangles that are recognizable and consciously or subconsciously pleasing to the eye, namely, the omega symbol and the keyhole shape. I originally opened the front doors to illuminate her, but there was too much light and it was unflattering. I then closed the front doors and used the existing ambient light, which was from a chandelier directly above her, and natural light filtering through a window from directly below her.

"When you have been shooting for as long as I have, you sometimes wonder if your best shots are behind you. This photo reminds me that the elusive iconic “wow” photo that all photographers strive for is worth fighting for. My best photo is in my future, but for now this will do."

Camera Nikon D4 and two D3s
Lighting System Two SB910, 5-in-1 reflector, and the Ice Light
Wireless System PocketWizard Flex TT-5 and the Mini TT1
Lens AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f2.8 VR II
Gear Bag Think Tank Airport Security 2
Best location Italy! It is spoiled for beauty.
Worst location Anything cliché.