Clay Blackmore, one of Canon’s
Explorers of Light, is a renowned
Maryland-based wedding photographer
who is a favorite among celebrity and
society clients, as well as a successful
commercial photographer. Blackmore,
who lectures all over the world, is a
member of the elite Cameracraftsmen
of America and is on the board of the
Metropolitan Visual Arts Center in
Rockville, Maryland. Most recently,
his photographs were featured in
the coffee-table book Extraordinary
Women, Fantasies Revealed, published
by Stewart, Tabori & Chang.
© 2012 Canon U.S.A., Inc. Canon, EOS, and PowerShot are registered trademarks of Canon Inc. in the United States. IMAGEAN Y WARE is a trademark of Canon.
Visit us at learn.usa.canon.com. Clay Blackmore is a compensated spokesperson and an actual user of the Canon product(s) he promotes.
© Clay Blackmore
Have you ever noticed that the best pictures usually happen after you push yourself a little further? For
me, this photo is a perfect example. We were in Washington, D.C., and it was New Year’s Day. The couple,
Lee and Brandon, had just gotten married at a nearby church, and I wanted to photograph them at the
historic Willard Hotel downtown. My idea was to capture the fun and festiveness that we all felt, with it
being New Year’s. I also was thinking about how this couple was embarking on a new beginning—and I
wanted to send a subtle message to my fellow photographers that we should look forward to a great
When we arrived at the hotel, I quickly placed my Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III on a tripod and established
the composition so that the hotel would feature prominently. (Because it was the holidays, the Willard was
beautifully decorated and made the perfect backdrop.) The exposure was 1/15th of a second at f/5.6, and
I used two Quantum Q flashes set off by radio control: One was over the camera at f/5.6, and the second
was being handheld by an assistant placed behind the couple. Once the exposure came together, I coaxed
the couple to achieve a dramatic pose until I had a picture I knew I could use. I love the full-frame features
of the Canon EOS-1Ds. Full-frame for me means great panoramic images. The medium-wide lenses on this
camera seem to have more pixel depth and better sharpness and exposure latitude. I am not sure how it all
works—I just know it works for me!
Back at my studio, I began experimenting with the image. The sparklers you see here came from a separate
photo I made at the end of the night as the couple ran out of the hotel to their limo. It was actually the bride’s
mother’s suggestion to use them in this photo—such a great idea. The couple made this image a full-bleed
panoramic in their wedding album, and it proved to be a perfect centerfold to separate the ceremony from
the party. They loved it, and so did I!
Blackmore used a Canon EOS-1Ds
Mark III camera and an EF 24-70mm
f/2.8L USM lens. For the portrait, he
exposed at f/5.6 at 1/15 of a second
at ISO 400, and for the sparklers, he
exposed at f/5.6 at 1/60 of a second
at ISO 800.
“I love the full-frame
features of the Canon
for me means great