Combining an intimate moment between bride and groom and a wild rush of galloping horses, wedding photographers Jelger and Tanja captured a viral wedding photo while photographing Andrea and Eoin on September 24, 2015. The husband and wife photographer team chatted with The Knot in an exclusive interview sharing how the viral shot was set up and what it was like taking pictures among the running horses.
The Sundance Guest Ranch wedding in Ashcroft, BC played with the rustic and wild nature of the location by taking full advantage of it’s gorgeous rolling hills and adding in fun details like a collection of cowboy boots and lawn games like “Horseshoe” and “Cow Roping.” Though the newlywed couple hails from Ireland, the Sundance was a special spot with lots of fond memories for the bride and groom. Tanja told The Knot that Andrea and Eoin had lived and worked on the ranch for a year.
“They both have a very special connection with horses,” Tanja said. “Andrea especially trained her favorite horse to get used to her wearing a wedding dress while riding!” The bride rode down the aisle on her favorite horse, and later the couple rode through the pastures together.
The photographers, who said they, “hadn’t photographed anything bigger than a dog at a wedding day,” told The Knot, “We think it is very important that you know the situation and the animals you’re working with. The reason that we didn’t run into problems is because Andrea and Eoin knew the behavior of the horses and they had been in similar situations before.”
“Every night all the horses on the ranch run from their stables to a green pasture for the night,” Tanja explained. The couple knew the scheduling of the horses run – the “daily jingle” – having been wranglers, and planned with the photographers and videographer accordingly.
The professional photographers were placed at different spots surrounding the bride and groom when the horses were released to capture the best shots. When asked what it felt like when the horses galloped by, they exclusively told The Knot, “Jelger, who was in the middle of the action and took the running horses photo, felt very much in the moment. All he could think of was taking the shot.”
Placed some distance away, and despite her confidence in the horses and the bride and groom’s wrangling skills, “Tanja, who was shooting with a long lens from the side, was terrified of Jelger being trampled, as the horses ran towards his back,” they confessed.
Not using any steadying equipment, Jelger shot the image by hand, Tanja told The Knot. “He chose to keep some movement in the horses by not using a small aperture,” showing the dust rising under the horse’s’ hooves and a slight blur from their motion, adding that “the couple had to be the main focus.”
As for the newlyweds, “Andrea and Eoin decided to kiss!” Tanja told The Knot. “We didn’t tell them to pose, they could do whatever they felt like,” but the moment was made all the more intimate and awe-inspiring with their decision.
“Of course there are special and beautiful moments in every wedding we’ve photographed. There’s for sure at least one moment in each of them that’ll stick with us forever,” Jelger and Tanja told The Knot. “When Andrea and Eoin were riding on their favorite horses through the fields we couldn’t stop pinching ourselves. It was just beautiful and wild. We loved their entire wedding so much!”