Formal Wedding Photography

Each week I will share information about my experience photographing weddings.  I hope this information will assist couples considering the various decisions and choices they will face when planning a wedding.

Your wedding day should be the best day of your life, but there is an element of stress that is is inevitable when you start to consider everything that needs to be organised.

Part 1

This style involves carefully posed set up shots.
A shooting list, including group shots, couple shots.
It can involves a great deal of intervention and can irritate
people who feel that you are interfering with the flow of
the day.
The resulting images may not truly reflect the events or
even the happiness of the day.

A few years ago this was pretty much all the bride and groom would get from their wedding photographer. They would receive a few images of people stood outside the church looking very formal and not necessarily happy.  The photographer would often use a tripod and would take so long to get those few images everyone would get tired and sometimes cold.  He would then leave to process those handful of images.   All the fun and real emotion of the day would not be recorded.

Couples often ask me not to cover formal shots considering this to be an old fashioned approach which will not provide the type of images they want.  However, on the day for couples can panic and ask for a set of friends and family images at the last minute.  At short notice this can be difficult to manage and will invariably take longer than it should.

So if I am going to record formal images there is no tripod involved.   A tripod has many uses for example in still life and landscape photography but to shoot a wedding group is neither practical or necessary. During a meeting with the bride and groom it’s a good idea to produce a list of key images. At this time we can cover issues of the family which can include complex relationships.

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Being organised in this way can save embarrassing moments and help everything to flow quickly. It is also really helpful to understand who is who and also accommodate images which include people who may have traveled a long way to be at the wedding.

It is also really useful to find a friend or family member prepared to assist a little with getting people in front of the camera.  I always try to shoot down on the full party using a little humour to get group reactions. But it’s essential to move position to get different backgrounds buildings or a green belt should be used to break up the shots and introduce interest. If all goes well this part of the wedding shoot should take no longer than 30 minutes.   What is important about group shots is that people you care about may not not come together often or at all.  Considering that this point is true for family only without adding friends into these shots the fact is you will end up with images that will never again be recorded.  In years to come picking out faces from these images will bring back a multitude of happy memories.

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My next blog will consider the reportage style of Wedding photography. This is a more documentary approach to capturing natural images as the wedding day unfolds