In this 4 part series I look at the 48 shots that I pretty much shoot on every wedding in one way or another. The shots are the back bone to the whole day and each of them can be developed into a short series or help develop further ideas or concepts to concentrate on for a short time during the day.
The wedding I have chosen is available to watch on The Photographer Academy website as it will allow you to see the flow and interaction to gaining the shot as well as how it then flows from one image to another.
The second 12 images cover the wedding service, the post wedding atmosphere along with the start of the Bride and Groom images helping us to unravel the wedding day story as well as concentrate on certain key characters.
13 – The Bridal Party
The traditional image of the bridal party at the church door before the ceremony is still one of those images that feels to me to be recorded and is chosen for most wedding albums. Whether it is a formal posed image or a candid shot the group picture ends a chapter or starts another depending on how you look at it. With traditional groups I like to lose one shoulder of each subject as this adds a natural turn to the body and has a slimming effect.
14 – The Service
Many churches don’t allow you to shoot during the ceremony but no matter what I always try and get a shot of the ring exchange or the first kiss. Sometimes I have to shoot from outside of the church on a long lens or from the isle but no matter what way the use of a high ISO is going to be a must. The great thing about the modern DSLR is its ability to shoot in low light and still turn out a great image.
15 – The Registers
It may be a tacky image for some clients but whether posed or candid it usually gets chosen to be in the album, if only by parents. I tend to shoot two types of image one with flash and another without. This stems back to the film days where film was expensive along with the processing, so the shot looking at camera was taken with flash and the one looking down was taken without flash, this was so you could not tell if the subjects were blinking.
16 – The First Candid
The bridesmaids fussing the brides dress and the greetings from friends and family always create great expressions so it is important not to miss these candid moments.
I have always tried to mix candid and formal, no matter what a client asks for this is so I can truly tell the tale of the day. I would have shot the candid Images on 35mm compared to the formals on medium format and when I went part digital in 1997 it was the 35mm film images that where replaced with 2mega pixel digital files.
17 – The Key Portraits
During the day I always capture several portraits of each of the key players and outside the church is a perfect time to capture the more candid portrait especially when working on a long lens.
18 – The Expressions
You can guarantee that at some stage the bride will have a baby or young child thrust towards them to either kiss or embrace. The child may be their own or more often a god child or friend’s baby. These images add a nice touch to the variety shot on the day allowing the camera to feature on other subjects than the bride and groom and the immediate wedding party. As a rule I tend to use an aperture stop higher than minimum aperture to ensure a better depth of field, so if I am using a F2.8 lens I use it as F4.
19 – The Confetti
No second chances here, so making sure I have enough card space for 3 or 4 images is essential. I tend to gather the confetti throwers mainly behind the subjects and to the sides, this is so I can see more faces than the backs of heads as well as to ensure that the confetti when first thrown is going up and over instead of straight into the faces of the couple.
20 – The Group
If possible I like to do a big group at the church as it takes only a few minutes to arrange. The basic image as seen here can be followed quite quickly with a variety of fun shots as the guest are asked to interact in some way. I prefer a high viewpoint if possible, like the church wall, as more faces can be seen. The only disadvantage of shooting from a high point of view is the cluttered or unwanted background that comes into shot.
21 – The Arrival
Walking, talking, running, I don’t care how they get to the shoot location as long as they get their quickly and I can get a few candid’s along the way. This is a perfect time for a natural back of the dress shot, even when it is being picked up as it reveals the textures and underskirt as well as a hint of the shoes again.
22 – The Reactions
As well as the more formal images it is important to bring out the character of the subjects so creating a fun atmosphere and banter between the bride and groom which is essential.
23 – The Animation
A groom swinging his bride around in a long dress is not the easiest thing to choreograph, especially when falling over is almost guaranteed if you do it for too long. To be honest I am usually looking for the bride’s face to be facing towards the camera but when the groom’s expression equals or betters the brides I will of course shoot more images and then obviously edit hard in post-production.
24 – The Bride
Full length, three quarter, head and shoulders, basically any which way I will be shooting the bride however it is not all about shooting the same image every wedding but more about interesting the bride and location to come up with a set of images that represent her and her character as well as how the scene is used to either compliment or contrast. Composition is always important, making sure you allow enough space in the image so as not to crop feet or dress is the basic start point but more importantly creative composition and placement of your subject in the scene can seriously change an image’s dynamic.