I was looking through a well known magazine this week, and they had a special section on weddings. Being in the industry for so long, I flipped immediately to the section to see what was new in the world of weddings. And right there, front and center on a two page spread, was an unbelievable photograph. And I don’t mean “unbelievable” in a good way.
As wedding photographers for some of the most high end weddings around, we quickly learned what worked – and what didn’t. There is a definite art to wedding photography, and the better you get at it, the better clients you can attract.
What this magazine was showcasing as a great image (they must have thought it was great, why else was it so large?) I considered to be very not so great. So I started thinking about what makes wedding photography great; and not so great. And I came up with a few things that will take your images from “yawn” to “WOW”.
You have 6 bridesmaids, 6 groomsmen, and a bride and groom. What do you do? Line them up of course, guys on one side, girls on the other. That’s what many do; I guess it seems the natural thing to do. That’s how they stand during the ceremony, right? Yet this gives you no perspective, and creates what we term “a firing squad” image with everyone standing straight in a line.
Do something different. Instead of grouping guys on the right, girls on the left, ask them to partner up with whom they walk down the aisle with. Mix if up a bit. Use stairs, a bridge, a path or a chair. Stack people, place people on the floor, kneel down, or join in a group hug. If you do something fun, they’ll look like they are having fun. You’ll mix the color, and it won’t be a “boring” shot.
I bet you knew exactly what I was talking about when you read the title. Guys automatically pose with their hands together in front. Its what we always refer to as the fig leaf shot.
The easiest way to get guys NOT to do the fig leaf shot is to tell them about it and give them options. You can place your hands in your pockets, down by your side – anything but the fig leaf shot. They will laugh; and you won’t have another fig leaf shot the rest of the day.
Look For Angles
It’s easy to have a bride and groom stand together at the alter, and shoot a boring image of them in a typical pose. That’s what is expected. But if you start looking around the wedding and reception area, things come to life. How can you incorporate more into each photograph? Why did they choose this location? How can you make it a part of their day?
Look For Action – Reaction
These are the images I really love. How can you look at things from many perspectives? Sure you can grab one shot of cutting the cake, and one shot of feeding cake to each other. But how about focusing in on the hands? Or the cake with one piece cut out of it? Or the mom crying behind you, filled with emotion? If you have two photographers, you can capture even more angles. But even if you have one, don’t stop shooting during important times. Position yourself in a great position. Get what you need – the cake cutting – then start turning around, capturing everything around you. You’ll be surprised at the reactions you get.