Our wedding photography techniques are little secrets to help make things go easier – so you can enjoy your day and still have images that “capture the moment”.
Today’s brides want a far more relaxed and casual feel to their images. This compares to earlier times when the emphasis was on staged group portraits.
True, many will want some family groups and these photographs should fit into a well-balanced wedding portfolio.
You could, of course, go to the opposite extreme and have NO family or group photographs.
This is often the case with true reportage photography where the photographers brief is to capture the day as it happens.
At first sight this may appear an extremely attractive option but in practice could result in a portfolio, which omits many of the key personalities.
Woe betides the photographer who hasn’t included Mum in all her finery!
How to have relaxed family photographs without standing around for ages
One point which always crops up, is how long the guests are kept waiting by the photographer.
It can seem an eternity for the photographer to complete the shot list. But, why, is this? Well, the reasons are many but a lot of the blame is unjustly, in my view placed upon the photographer.
The photographer is contractually bound to take ALL the photographs on the list at some stage of the wedding.
There are lots of reasons for the delays, some people nominated for a particular group may be unavailable or need to be coerced to attend.
Group photos at the ceremony can usually be completed very quickly as the photographer will have a “captive audience.
Guests will be in situ and easily invited when their turn comes. That same list left to the reception venue can take 50% longer to complete.
This presupposes that the ceremony venue is a suitable place for the photographs.
It may not be particularly picturesque or desirable from the couple’s point of view. If a second venue (reception) is to be used, more time will be needed to allow the guests to find their way there.
Guests have been known to lose their way between the ceremony and reception venues!
Most couples these days are looking for a far more spontaneous approach to their wedding day and their photographs should reflect this. So how do you do this?
Here’s a few tips.
Take fewer groups photographs and don’t do them all at one time.
Check out which members of the family must be included. The family can be photographed, either before or after the ceremony, be it a church or civil ceremony.
Before the ceremony, photograph the bride and her immediate family and then (out of sight of the bride) the groom and his family.
At a stroke, we have cut in half the list that would have been traditionally photographed after the ceremony.
This, of course, leaves fewer groups to be photographed when all the guests are standing around with nothing to do.
They’ll get to the reception and a glass of bubbly lot quicker and thank you for it!
If you are having a lot of group shots, an assistant, preferably someone who knows the family, can be very helpful in speeding up the process.
Cutting down the number of groups (and when they are photographed) allows you to have more fun. It allows the wedding to proceed seamlessly.
There is far more spontaneity.
You, your guests and photographers will probably enjoy themselves a lot more. Youï¿½ll be able to mingle with your family and guests, which should provide many more opportunities for the photographer to capture the mood of the day.
One aspect of weddings that is guaranteed to have your guest standing around for ages is the “receiving line”.
Usually it takes place at the reception on the way into the meal. Sometimes and it is usually unintentional the couple greet their guests out of the ceremony.
This will cause a real bottleneck, as people are unable to exit the church or ceremony room. It may be that you want to greet people right after the ceremony.
It’s ½s your show but it can be very time consuming.
A formal receiving line will need approximately half a minute per guest, which for 100 guests adds up to 50 minutes standing in one position exchanging greetings.
It is, of course, for you (and sometimes your parents) to decide how you wish to spend your time.This is definitely a point to consider.
If your goal is to get a good collection of relaxed spontaneous photographs, receiving lines are not good for this. It is difficult for the photographer to have an unrestricted view of people without guests inadvertently jumping into frame!
The time spent in a receiving line might be better spent chatting with your guests and would almost certainly result in a more interesting coverage of your day.
That pretty much covers the family groups except to mention the photographer.
Try and find someone capable of switching between the two distinct photography styles, i.e., relaxed family groups and spontaneous unposed reportage shots.
It takes personality to gather the correct people, chat with them in a friendly positive manner and most importantly, produce pleasing images of everyone with all with their eyes open!
Look for someone with a tactful manner, a sense of humor, who can put people at their ease and help them to enjoy the day.
I always think of weddings as one GREAT BIG party.
It’s great being asked to photograph a really important day.
Ask yourself would you invite the photographer as a guest? Follow your gut reaction and choose accordingly.
However, It’s a fact. Not everyone can photograph weddings effectively.