If you are looking for great scenery for your wedding photography, and convenient a venue for your guests, you may want to check out the Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay. The Grand Hyatt is popular for destination weddings because of its convenient location near the airport. It is located on 2900 Bayport Dr Tampa, right on the Cortney Campbell Causeway. On this Grand Hyatt Wedding the ceremony & reception was on the top floor, at Armani’s Italian Restaurant, “what an incredible view“. Look to the east and you can see Tampa Airport and Raymond James Stadium, great view of the airplanes landing and taking off. Look to the west and you can see the Courtney Campbell Causeway and Old Tampa Bay, and as you can see, at night-time the view is incredible (right). Look to the south and can see Tampa Bay and the Howard Franklin Bridge. The guest tables are right against the windows so that they can enjoy these great views.
We started with the bride, in the villas, the resort style rooms which is 200 yards from the main hotel, near Oyster Catchers Restaurant. There is such a variety of scenery here, from a beach and Pier at Oyster Catchers, to the well landscape grass, palm trees, and waterfalls near the Villas. On this wedding we did not do any shots at the pier, but during sunset, this is a great area. One one side of the pier there is water scenery from the bay, but what few photographers really utilize is the other side of the pier some great greenery, and as the sun sets, with the soft lights on the trees & Shrubs in the background, creates some stunning depth of field shots.
We did the first look at the elegant stairway in the main hotel area near the front desk. Due to the difference in skin tones on this wedding, we wanted areas that provided some natural light, so we took the bride and groom along the backside of the hotel in the foyer with large glass windows. This area is great in summer, because you can stay in the cool AC, yet have plenty of natural light. Another area that is set up for great wedding photography, is the boardwalk along a nature preserve which goes out into the into Old Tampa Bay. This is great because it gives you a great variety of pictures. As a videographer/photographer, we love green backgrounds because it makes your colors “pop”.
The ceremony was on the patio of Armani’s Restaurant which sets on top of the Grand Hyatt. “I love it when we have the opportunity to film a wedding in an elevated area like this”. The Westin Tampa Bay, and Museum of Science and Industry are two other wedding venues that have similar elevated areas for the ceremony. It just allows you to get unique wedding photos shooting down on the distant scenery. The variety at Armani’s is great because a photographer can get both great water scenery to the east, or greenery landscape scenery to the south, or contemporary, city shots of highways and roads to the west. The one photography challenge that a ceremony on the Armani’s Patio is the backlighting. If your wedding is at anytime other than sunset, a photographer will have to deal with strong backlighting (when the background is much brighter than your subjects in the picture). With the scene coming from the east, and also dealing with the darker skin tones, the backlighting was very strong. There is no equipment that can adequately deal with that, so I had to put 2 cameras up front with the sun to our backs and one of the cameras in the back put it at an angle and shoot very tight so it minimizes the backlighting effect. By putting 2 cameras up front, it made it a tight fit, but it had to be done. It is always a good idea to allow some room in this area when you set up the chairs for the ceremony, don’t set the first row of chairs so close to the wall, leave some room for the videographers and photographers. The more room we have back there, the further to the right or left we can be, so that we are not in the line of sight with the bridal party and not distractive to the ceremony.
This Ceremony was performed by Rev Rick Lackore with Sensational Ceremonies http://sensationalceremonies.com/), who is one of our favorite officiants, always very organized, and does little things to help the video and photoraphy. The DJ was Ben from Grant Hemond & Associates, Ben is about the most personable DJs there is, great sense of humor very professional. The photographers from Atom Image, a couple from Poland, some of the hardest working photographers I’ve worked with.
We created the music soundtrack for this video using 6 royalty free songs. We wanted a careful combination of R&B and classical and loved the mixed we created using music from Audio Jingle & Premium Beat. I’ll be doing a blog very soon about “music for the video”. For more of our Tampa Bay wedding videos see http://celebrationsoftampabay.com/videographers-tampa/. For this wedding I used 4 cameras for the ceremony. Upfront I used a Canon 70d with a sigma f1.8 18-35mm lense and a Canon 5d mark iii with a f4 24-105mm lense. In the back of the aisle I used a Canon 7d with a f4 70-200mm lense, and a Canon xf-300 Camera. These pictures were taken from the video.