Great pictures are timeless – a fleeting moment that draws your attention. It wasn’t a moment before. Neither was it a moment after. It was at that exact moment time was captured.
This is why I love wedding photography. It’s a sea of emotion, from the nurturing of anticipation to the infectious glee that lingers throughout. It is a place where moments present themselves more often than not. Nevertheless, a wedding can be an intimidating experience.
The intimidation, however, can be overcome with just that extra preparation and confidence with each passing time. My preparation typically begins well before the actual wedding – with the couple.
I use this time to get to know the couple as much as I can. They will have requests, and certain nuances to certain scenes and characters. You may not agree with them, but it’s good to let them be as comfortable as possible – especially during the big day. It is after all their portrayal of love. And each couple is as different as the next. And it will show.
For the ladies
Yes, of course. The bride in all her charm, and a room swaying from excitement to anxiousness, it’s hard not to enjoy the pre-wedding bubbly and toasts of romantic fortune. It’s very easy to get caught up in all the action. Any woman would, but it’s important to get the unique connection between the bride, her mother and her easing bridesmaids. Being a fly on the wall is most effective. It is important – and will be important throughout – to let as much of it happen as authentic as possible. It’s these moments that will help build their story leading up to the last clinking of glasses.
The First Look
No – not the first look between the bride and groom, but rather that of bride and father. I feel this is one of the most beautiful moments of a wedding. The father will be wrought with emotion – who wouldn’t? His daughter’s beauty could well easily prompt a memory of her mother in a similar setting not so long ago. It’s his pride and final acceptance of sharing his baby with another man. One that you hope he has become very fond of. It is also that brief moment of the unfamiliar, as the bride leaves all that grew up knowing, to one that she’ll have to start learning.
And the Moms!
Time to Go!
WALKING DOWN THE AISLE
Be prepared for this as this is a big part of the story of the day.
There is so much to capture in this five minute moment.. The groom standing nervously with his groomsmen wondering when his bride will arrive. The moment when the music starts to play and the bride makes her entrance. The bride being walked down the aisle by her proud father, his chest puffed out like a proud peacock. The look on the Grooms face as he watches her slowly and gracefully glide towards him. The look in her eyes as she locks her eyes onto him and lets go of all her nerves. The guests admiration as they see the bride for the first time. The moment when dad lifts her veil, shakes the grooms hand and hands his daughter into the care of another man. The Moms faces, filled with emotion, happiness and a tinge of sadness as they realise that their lives are starting a new chapter. There is no better scrip, the emotions are all there and a good director knows when to let the story be unfold and let their main players run with it.
The Group Portraits
The bridal group and the family portraits definitely need some organisation, especially if they are big groups. Putting them into the right light and background is key. Getting their attention is paramount but also allowing them to mingle and laugh and be happy as the day is a celebration for all to enjoy. Be a clown if you have to because if you let go of your inhibitions, the group will do exactly the same!
Bride and Groom portraits
Its over and they realise they have done the deed! Now its time to relax and enjoy being together for an hour or two before they join the party. Its time to breathe and celebrate the start of their new life together.
Most couples need to be eased into this part of the shoot. You do not have to overdirect it but you do need give some prompts in the beginning. Very few couples are natural born models and therefore appreciate some direction at this stage.
Firstly, they need to forget about the camera and I do this by telling a few risqué jokes, asking questions, reminding them about something about the wedding ceremony. I find that while I am chatting and they are listening, they overlook the camera and I can lift the camera to my eye and start taking images and they hardly notice. The Light Co L16 camera would be perfect for couples to overlook.
I will also pretend to be changing lenses or changing settings on my camera, as I find during this period, moments occur and they forget that I am even there. When I see that happen, I do not interrupt and I continue to get those intimate moments that they are unaware that I am photographing. I believe in giving couples those moments.
Walk away on the pretence of location scouting and giving them the distance to enjoy each other and once again I capture from afar. I will make sure that I have two camera bodies with me, one with a wide angle lens and another with a telephoto lens.
The last bubbly’s poured and the bride’s father announces himself. It’s time for the speeches, and with it, raw emotion. From the best man’s cheek and the bridesmaid’s flirt, to the father’s stress and the mother’s pride. It’s a chance to catch everyone unaware, as they’re fixated on the tales of love before them.
One of the best things to do during the intimacy of the speeches is to “disappear” – no, not literally, but as much as that you aren’t interfering with the speaker, or guests. Now if the venue is a bit irregular this can cause a frustration. It shouldn’t. All that you need to consider is not to be in the immediate attention of your subjects. The right moment will present itself
Then before you know it, the cake has been cut, the garter and bouquet thrown and the first dance done and the party is about to get started. Spend some time capturing the crowd enjoying the evening but as soon as you feel you have everything captured, quietly go find your couple, say your goodbyes and sidle out of the venue and allow them to get back to their party and enjoy themselves.