THE WEDDING DAY
If you want wedding photographs that truly bring out the magic of the wedding day and the love between the wedding couple, you need to look for those moments, never forget that it is about the light. Keep a careful eye on the background for distractions. These may be items growing out of people's heads, or a bright light. Try to compose without distractions. This will give you clean images. Do not pose to a formula — it is like posing by numbers. You want natural images, look at your couple and watch for those special moments between them, the eye contact, and the glints in the eyes, this is the wedding photographs you want to capture.
MISTAKES TO AVOID
Wedding photography is subjective so this is a hard paragraph to write. My view is that you are one of two types of wedding photographer. One type of photographer asks the bride and groom for input and any shot requests they have which they then comply with. There is nothing wrong with this, but I would suggest that most photographers, as artists, would prefer couples to choose them for THEIR photography skills, art and vision. By improving ourselves and our abilities we naturally move away from being the first type of photographer (who pretty much photographs by numbers) to being the second type, with artistic ability and style. Couples will clearly see this and be willing to pay more for it, assuming your marketing is good as well.
A number of readers will easily fall into the second category of photographer, whilst some will aspire to it. To get there you need to be consistent, avoid cheesy images and use few if any digital effects like spot colour or zany digital album designs.
Your posing needs to be clean, in good light or well-lit and have elegance and finesse. Getting to this level is relatively easy — it just take practice, passion and focus. Once at a good level the learning curve flattens and you progress more slowly, adding more layers of finesse, storytelling and technical ability to your work.
So what makes a cheesy image or a bad pose? A cheesy image might be described as a cliché: someone poking their head out from behind a tree, the groom looking at his watch in a very posed fashion, a bride looking surprised at something, a garter on the bride's leg, the groomsmen holding the bride up, the "Reservoir Dogs" shot of the men, the groom on one knee holding the bride's hand, the best man looking at the bride and groom in a posed voyeuristic manner, or even the use of direct flash. I make no apologies for this, I have attended many weddings where the professional photographer has run through his list of images that he takes at every wedding, and I dislike unnatural photographs. Unless you have an original and excellent variation on these wedding photos, they should be avoided. Eliminating them is more consistent with the style of work taken by leading professionals. If you can draw inspiration from them and progress your abilities you will develop quickly.
Bad posing is essentially where the subject is not in the optimum position to look elegant, refined and beautiful. The way I work is with the couple; please don’t ask a couple to pose in a certain way, if it does not suit the couple, this can make them feel uncomfortable.
Always work with your wedding couple and understand that every Bride and Groom has their individual personality.
As the couples choice of photographer, it’s up to you to provide a superb and natural service, allow the couple to stand naturally first and then make those fine changes, maybe the Groom doesn’t have his hand around his Bride or the Bride just need to bring her shoulder back, these small changes will make a huge impact on the wedding photographs.
The lovely couple used in this article, were very much up to this style of posing, they very naturally moved together, therefore with a few changes to how they stood helped me to create these superb photographs.
Wedding photography is an art, it’s not down to the camera or how much you have spent on equipment, it’s about your skill as an artist, be creative and as always look for the light.