A wedding photography service is usually divided into several moments that can be summed up briefly: wedding preparations, ceremony, greetings, couple’s photos, toasts, lunch/dinner reception, cake cutting and dancing.
While photographing a wedding, one must try to understand and interpret different moments with the right key and a mental record that changes a lot, depending on the situation. My way of photographing a wedding is basically to tell what happens without interfering too much with the normal course of the day.
I do not want to talk about style, in general, but rather my own way of shooting. I like to highlight the romantic side of the wedding and the couple.
So, during the wedding preparations, ceremony, toasts, reception and dances, I try to be present, but at the same time non-invasive. While I’m working, I photograph everything that is happening, and that requires me to move around a lot during these moments to try to find the best shots.
Of course, during the couple’s photos, I can not behave in the same way. It is not possible to have the same approach, because at that time, I devote all my attention to the bride and groom. Consequently, they await further instructions from me.
This is one of the most special moments of the photographic service for several reasons:
1. The bride and groom can become nervous and embarrassed during the couple’s photographic service. The vast majority of spouses do not feel comfortable being photographed, especially at the start of the photo shoot when they still have to get used to the lens and, above all, trust the photographer.
2. The photographer must empathise with the couple, and work at ensuring the confidence of the bride and groom, which will allow him to get in closer to them. This creates the most natural situation possible for the photographer to capture the moment.
But, let’s go in order in this article. Point by point, I will broaden all the most important aspects in my point of view.
Point 1: Tricks for poses – First Approach
In my opinion, this part represents the starting point; the point in which the whole photo service should be based. Establishing an approach with the people you are photographing is as important as the photos you are going to take. I would even say that the result is a direct consequence. It is also the hardest part for several reasons, including the fact that time is limited.
There are some small tricks I use that help me to truly get in touch with how the bride and groom are feeling.
During the first stage of the service, I try not to concentrate too much on the photos and the end result; instead, I focus on getting in touch with the bridal couple. For example, I might start by having them walk together hand in hand, and having them look at each other——this helps them relax a lot. I try to stay closeby without invading their personal space, so that they can get used to my presence. At the same time, they are focused on doing something else——walking, looking, etc.
From the beginning, I always explain how much I like photos that appear natural and unstaged, even though they are, in fact, posed pictures. It is my intention to make the couple feel as comfortable as possible. So, if at any point during the service they begin to feel unnatural or forced, I ask them to keep me informed so that I can make some adjustments. Each couple is different, making it impossible to establish a rule that determines how and to what extent I will be able to get in close to them.
There are couples who start to relax after a few minutes, while others are never truly able to let themselves go throughout the entire service. This all varies, couple by couple. I give them the option of interrupting the photo shoot at any time, in case they get tired or just do not want to be followed anymore. The latter option has a strong psychological power because it somehow gives them the control to say stop if they need to … but it has never happened to me. 😉
Another thing I have noticed that helps gain their trust in me, and at the same time, gives them the perception of having the situation under control, is to talk to them a lot and describe what I am doing; the shots themselves, and the type of shots that I am trying to create. It also makes them an active part of the service, and they remember that they are the protagonists and acquire awareness of what they are doing and the reason they are there.
I always try to keep a friendly and cheerful tone; it helps a lot in this first phase.
When they realize that the result of the photographic service depends as much on on me as them, they often take initiative on their own——this is a good sign! It means they are getting in touch with the situation and interpretting it.
At this point, I usually pass to the next stage in which I draw in even closer.
Point 2: Tricks for poses – First poses
When I understand that the time has come when I can get closer to them, and that they have overcome the initial embarrassment and we have broken the ice, then I start to work differently. I begin to put them in poses, but still avoid ones that are too intimate.
While it is true that I have established a certain trust with the spouses at this point, it is also true that it is still not quite time to venture too far and push further.
Having said this, I usually create the traditional poses “for the parents” or “for the bedroom frame” during this stage.
(They are usually printed and framed in the parents’ home!) 😀
I am joking when I tell to them this, but there is also some truth to it. There are certain poses that have traditional and classic traces and are somewhat more descriptive of the event. They are simple poses, and it is easy to see faces, clothes, location etc …
I’ll put up some examples of these types of photos. They are not among my favorites, but I am convinced that they are an important part of a photo service. They are not very romantic, it is true … but this stage is crucial for getting the bride and groom used to the camera and to my presence. I always make sure to keep them close together, and I try to get them to look at each other.
When I have captured a few shots like this in different situations, with different poses from different angles, I realize that the couple is starting to feel at ease, and I can think of moving to the next stage, the most creative one.
Point 3: Tricks for poses – get closer and free the creativity.
This is the stage of the photographic service that I like the most and that I feel most free to experiment. It is at this moment, using my romantic approach, that I try to take photos more freely.
If the spouses are ready, I give them instructions on poses that are a bit different and much more intimate.
Now I am more confident that I can get even closer to them, for example, getting close-ups as they hug tightly——all in more relaxed ways so that the photos will have a much more natural feeling.
If I worked well with them in the first two “stages”, it will be much easier for me to have a more relaxed bride and groom during this phase.
Unlike the first stage, I now pay close attention to the photographic side of things, and I care a lot about the end result. Even everything preceding in the first approach got me to the point I am at now in the service, and I am much more free to move.
I can allow myself to give much more precise instructions and to work on posing in a much more accurate way.
I like to describe the romantic side of the couple and find that having them close their eyes in some poses can help them relax further. It often happens that they even do it spontaneously, just as they would if they were hugging without my presence. This is perfect because it means that we are on the same wavelength, and that the fact that I am photographing them and giving them instructions on how to hold the pose, what to do etc. is not bothering them.
Tricks for poses – Conclusion
Based on my experience as a wedding photographer, this is the “method” I normally try to use with my spouses.
This is not a rule because there are no rules when you have a couple’s photo service. In fact, I can not say with certainty that it always works. Everything depends on the personalities of the bride and groom, from the predispositions in that exact moment and that exact situation. This is just what has worked for me quite well so far, and it has allowed me to work quietly and at ease with the bride and groom and produce results that I had in mind.
On the web you can find many many sites that explains techincally how to get the best poses with the bride and groom but is important to build a feeling with them at first, otherwhise the risk is that these poses will never be natural and spouses won’t be relaxed enough.
And you? How do you usually approach the wedding couple during their photo shoot? What is your procedure when you need to take photos of the bridal couple? Let me know in the comments! 🙂