Wedding Photography for Beginners - Part 2
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On the wedding day…
Getting ready – The Bride
Get their earlier than you said as you might need to be the pace marker, ensuring all goes to plan and is on time. If the bride is getting ready at home, and happens to be getting ready in a dark room with little light or space, encourage her to get ready in a different room.
The images you capture will be more flattering due to the light source. Where possible encourage the bride to get ready next to window light.
Whilst all are getting ready, discreetly, capture the shoes, don't be frightened to ask the bride if you can borrow her shoes for a moment, and place them in the best position and composition. Beautiful pictures don't always happen, you have to create them.
Capture the flowers in the floral box, a gift that she might have received that day from the groom, the wedding gown, the bridesmaids' dresses, all the details and the romance of the day.
Stick to your times and watch the clock, as soon as you need to go the church to capture the groom and usher do so. Any images not captured of the bridal party at this stage can wait until the reception. With timing on a wedding “don't rob Peter to pay Paul.”
Capture images of the groom in flattering locations, head for top shade, whether it is in an archway, church door or nearby woodland area in the church grounds. Remember the groom will be nervous so take this into account when asking him and his best man to head to locations. Keep it simple. If the church door is the perfect location for light source, background and appeal stick to it and do not divert as you and he will already have a lot on your minds.
At this point also ensure that you get some great shots of him with his parents, ushers, and special friends as they arrive. An image of the groom chatting to the vicar often makes a nice image in the album along with those moments of reassurance from friends. Watch the backgrounds at all times, they are key, which is why selecting them the night before to relieve this pressure on the day when time will be tight is advisable. If possible call on the vicar and introduce yourself, check the format of the day and the guidelines that you need to follow in the church, when and where you can shoot.
The bride arriving
Be ready when the car arrives to capture the glances between the bride and her father, and the giggles of the bridesmaids. Don't forget to shoot from behind as well as face on. Annabel often shoots the whole scene as a bride enters the church in this way, and when the moment is right, calls the brides name, so she looks back over her shoulder. The expression on a brides face at that moment is pure beauty and stillness.
To compensate for wet weather or very bright light take white brollies with you as they are great reflectors and great for providing top shade if required, a very flattering light for faces. Wet brollies actually look quite nice in images also. Be prepared - as it will be your worst nightmare if when you greet the bride as she is getting out of the car, somebody is handing the bride a black umbrella or worse golfing brolly complete with logo!
Catherine Connor is Annabel Williams' business partner, and MD of Contemporary Photographic Training. Catherine's meteoric rise in the often chaotic, always exciting photographic environment comes from an unusual springboard grounded in the world of international corporate management. Her infectious energy never fails to motivate those around her, and equips her with an organic understanding of market direction, fashion trends and lifestyle management.
Catherine is first and foremost a people person; her unique sense of fun, determination to succeed and boundless commitment to her industry make her a born mentor, allowing her to impart to all delegates a wealth of skills and knowledge pitched perfectly at achieving the vital balance of confident ability and self-worth.
It is Catherine's passion for her subject that makes learning from her a pleasure, which her students can then take forward, and are able to apply so effectively to enhance their skills.
All images in this article © Annabel Williams