Todd Laffler Califon, NJ lafflerphotography.com
Anyone familiar with New Jersey–based Todd Laffler’s work won’t be surprised that he rediscovered his love for photography on a road trip. Wide-open spaces are one of Laffler’s hallmarks—he often shoots couples in expansive scenes at 200mm. He likes the compression that long focal lengths give him, as well as the negative space provided by open skies and fields.
Working with large spaces also satisfies Laffler’s hunger for a challenge. “It’s kind of a puzzle to me,” he reflects. “I put all the pieces together—the right focal length, the right aperture, the right position for the couple. On their own, landscape pictures aren’t that hard. You show up at a great location and wait for the right light. The goal is to make one of those great pictures, but with a bride and groom in it, and find some great emotion. If you don’t have the emotion, you’ve failed.”
Then it’s time to get in close. To capture candid shots, Laffler uses a 24mm lens and fills the frame, using his experience as a skate photographer to inform his decisions. At receptions, he goes wider, zooming out to 16mm and shooting blind. “I’ll shoot over my head or put the camera on the floor and tilt it up,” he says. “It’s very common in skateboarding to shoot that way. I’m comfortable framing without looking.”