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A Perfect Union



Scott Stockton’s Tamron 35-150mm F/2-2.8 Di III VXD zoom helps him achieve a nonintrusive photojournalistic style for his wedding work.


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By Jenn Gidman
Images by Scott Stockton


By the time Scott Stockton arrives at a venue to photograph a couple’s nuptials, he’s long ago revealed to them that he’s a bit of a “knucklehead.” In the lead-up to the wedding day, whether it’s at the engagement shoot or in other planning meetings, the photographer based in Charlotte, North Carolina, makes sure they feel completely comfortable around him so he can best capture their personalities when they finally say their “I do’s.”

“I’m super-warm, outgoing, and silly, so that on their wedding day they feel like they can do anything—even something really cheesy and romantic—and not feel weird about it,” Scott says. This approach is key to a photographic style he describes as photojournalistic, where he simply tries to capture events of the day as they unfold before him. “I don’t like to intrude on or interrupt special moments that are happening in front of my camera,” he says. “That’s why I need a versatile lens that allows me to remain nonintrusive as the celebration plays out.”

Lately, that lens has been the Tamron 35-150mm F/2-2.8 Di III VXD, which has replaced the multiple lenses that used to accompany Scott to all of his weddings. “I used that lens alone for the vast majority of the weddings you see documented here,” he says. “I used to have a pouch that hung off my back with all of my lenses, so it’s been terrific to get rid of that extra weight. I also love that it’s the only zoom lens starting at F/2 for my Sony mirrorless camera system. It’s extremely helpful in low-light situations—and you get that often at wedding venues—and when I take detail shots and want to be able to create blur in the foreground or background for creative effect.”

© Scott Stockton
35-150mm (91mm), F/4.5, 1/320 sec., ISO 500
Click image to view larger

Setting the scene in special locations and adding those detail photos help tell a more complete story of the big day. “For instance, if I’m shooting a destination wedding, I’ll usually try to showcase some of that destination off to round out the selection,” he says. “I’ll seek out unique architecture or, say, the cobblestone streets a city is known for, and then incorporate them into the photos. It helps bring the couple back to that day more fully when they look at their wedding album years later. And, of course, it’s always nice to see a photo of the bride’s dress, or of the wedding invitation.”

© Scott Stockton
35-150mm (35mm), F/2, 1/250 sec., ISO 250
Click image to view larger

As the bride gets ready, Scott will try to highlight not only her, but her relationships with those close to her. “I’ve noticed that when couples are ordering photos, it’s never the ones I expect,” he says. “Their favorite images always revolve around the people they love—family group shots, laughing with their friends, hugging people they haven’t seen in a long time. Having their loved ones there as they take this next epic step in their lives is so important. And so I’ll go out of my way to capture the bride’s friend helping her set her makeup, or a group of people huddled together having a conversation at the reception, or the bride with her mom as she’s getting ready. You look at a photo like that and know they’ve probably thought about this day their entire lives, and now here it is.”

© Scott Stockton
35-150mm (35mm), F/2.2, 1/400 sec., ISO 400
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© Scott Stockton
35-150mm (35mm), F/2, 1/640 sec., ISO 1250
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Remembering to include the groom in solo shots is also on Scott’s to-do list. “The grooms do tend to fall into the realm of the forgotten, but to be honest, many of them don't want to be in front of the camera too much anyway,” he says. “So I’ll usually feel the groom out to see if he's willing to give me some extra time. I’ll pull him away from his groomsmen, maybe see if he wants to have a drink (without getting carried away), and then look for great lighting to place him in. In the photo you see here, the venue had big, wide windows, so I pulled a chair over in front of one, had him hold his drink, and tried to get him smiling with some jokes.”

© Scott Stockton
35-150mm (35mm), F/2, 1/640 sec., ISO 400
Click image to view larger

When it’s time to head to the ceremony and reception, Scott makes sure to capture the photos all newlyweds typically want to end up in their albums—walks down the aisle, first dances, cutting the cake. But he also tries to look for unique ways to document the loved ones who came to share in the couple’s special day. “For the photo you see here of the elegant-looking grandma at the wedding ceremony, smiling in her seat, I happened to spot her when I was walking behind two groomsmen,” he says. “I love adding layers to photos like this, with objects in the foreground to make the image a bit more eye-catching. Again, that’s the beauty of that 35-150 lens. The fact that I can go wide when I need to and then get in tight for shots like this makes using one lens for the entire ceremony so easy.”

© Scott Stockton
35-150mm (35mm), F/2, 1/800 sec., ISO 800
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© Scott Stockton
35-150mm (129mm), F/2.8, 1/800 sec., ISO 800
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In the end, a successful wedding day, from Scott’s perspective, all leads back to his efforts to keep everyone relaxed, comfortable, and having fun. “In that photo of the bride and the women in her bridal party, I had asked someone to do a champagne toast, and no one was speaking up,” he says. “So I switched gears and said, ‘OK, on the count of three, everyone say ‘Yas queen!’ And so I counted and they all said it, and everyone started laughing. Except that little girl, who looks like she’s thinking, ‘I’m not sure what that means, I’m not going to say that.’ But as far as group pictures overall, the more loosey-goosey I can get them, the more they’ll drop their guard and be themselves around me. That’s when I know I’m going to capture some great photos.”

© Scott Stockton
35-150mm (65mm), F/2.5, 1/400 sec., ISO 400
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To see more of Scott Stockton’s work, go to https://scottstocktonphotography.com.






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