The Zuckerberg Wedding: A Tale of Two Photographers

Not many wedding photographers get to shoot a wedding portrait that receives over one million Facebook likes, and not many more go to a wedding expecting to shoot a graduation party. But that’s the story of photographers Noah Kalina and Allyson Magda, and their experience shooting Mark Zuckerberg and Pricilla Chan’s secret wedding.

Noah Kalina — known for his uber-viral everyday timelapse video — shot the photograph you see above, the same photo that was attached to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s status-update wedding announcement that garnered over one million likes. Kalina, who met the couple at a mutual friend’s wedding, received a call from Zuckerberg’s then wife-to-be Priscilla Chan the day before the wedding, hopped a plane the next morning, and arrived with only a couple of hours to spare. He shot the photo using a Canon 5D Mark II and a 24-70mm lens, and says that he spent 15 minutes editing the resulting photographs.

Allyson Magda, a NorCal-based professional photographer, was told what everyone else who attended the wedding was told: that it was a surprise graduation party for Priscilla. Even though the trick has been done before, prompting Magda to assume something fishy was going on, the wedding photographer couldn’t be sure she was actually shooting a wedding until she arrived at the Zuckerbergs’ Palo Alto home.

Details on the wedding itself are still slim, since everyone in attendance (including the photographers) agreed not to disclose any specifics. But what we do know we know because of the pictures that have been released: one ultra-popular portrait taken by a photographer who doesn’t even do weddings, and the rest by a wedding photographer who thought she was shooting a graduation party.

(via Forbes and Businessweek)

Image credit: Photograph by Noah Kalina

  • f1point0

    More than likely, different shots from a series, rather than intentional edits that don’t make any sense. Move the light string closer to her head…edit out her smile? Seems like a huge stretch to believe that was purposeful.

  • Cnestor4955

    Too true and I agree completely. This was a schlock job at best. Bride and groom look disjointed, wires traveling through their heads. Horrible! Any photographer worth his/her salt would be prepared regardless of “graduation” or “wedding”.

  • Cnestor4955

    Absolutely and right on! Just because you have the equipment, and perhaps know how to use it, does not make one a professional. It’s as much about posing them as it is well lit. And if one takes the time to set up all that lighting, why pose it in front of a strong of lights? Why aren’t they looking at each other, hand in hand, even leaning towards each other? This shot makes it look like they will be using separate bedrooms!

  • Michelle Pattee

    I have a story to add to this…my friend, who shall remain nameless, shoots the occasional wedding. She knew someone in PR at Facebook. they called her to shoot “a small event” coming up, said it would require non-disclosure, blah, blah. My friend told the woman she would love to do it, but her ten year old daughter’s birthday party was on the same day. She really didn’t want to miss her kid’s party, so she passed on the job. And guess what “the small event” turned out to be….. 

  • Dahlphotog

    oh, thats why the photos suck

  • AJ

    It’s strange, I envy his money and successful dotcom ventures, but not his personal life.

  • cnestor4955

    and yet, the strand of lights going through their head – he obviously didn’t pay close enough attention. Knowing your equipment is only half the battle. One must have the “eye” also.

  • James

    I was kinda disappointed in his work all around.

  • James

    Thought the same thing… Que the “why have one photographer when you could have 100″ ad from facebook

  • Christopher

    I photographed the IPO ceremony at Facebook HQ, a couple of days prior to the wedding. Me and another photographer were the only two photographers allowed in to shoot it. We were there for a week prepping. While we were close to Zuckerberg a couple of times, we never chatted with him. If only he had simply asked us to stay on over the weekend and capture the wedding (the above shot would have definitely at least been in focus)…

  • Taylor Venus

    I’m so behind on this article, but seems like I didn’t miss much, the photo looks like it was taken by my kid, don’t mean to be rude, but as a Wedding Photographer, Mark could have done better like by far.