Wedding Photography for Everyone: Fundamentals

Photographing the couple


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Wedding Photography for Everyone: Fundamentals

with Chris Orwig

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Video: Photographing the couple

After the ceremony and before the reception begins is a great time to capture photographs of the bride and the groom. You really want to take advantage of this window of time. Often you'll set it up beforehand, you'll say after the ceremony, let's take 5 minutes or 30 minutes or whatever you can get, and let's create some interesting portraits. And in weddings, one of the things that's so unique about them is that people want to have their pictures taken, whether it's the guest, like we saw in the previous movie, or it's the bride and the groom, and you want to take advantage of that, and you really want to explore how you can capture the emotion of this unique time.
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Watch the Online Video Course Wedding Photography for Everyone: Fundamentals
1h 32m Intermediate Mar 01, 2013

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If you're a photographer (an enthusiast or a pro), you'll eventually be asked to photograph a wedding: a task that's both a privilege and a challenge. You're capturing one of life's most significant milestones. You're shooting an event filled with unpredictable moments that can't be re-created, and you need to be involved without being intrusive. It's a balancing act that professional wedding photographers work hard to perfect.

Chris Orwig has been in exactly this position, and in this course, he shares his experiences and creative insights, all liberally illustrated with examples from weddings that he has photographed. The course begins with details on preproduction—your gear and equipment decisions and the importance of talking to the bride and groom about their goals for your photographs. It also explores some key strategies for documenting the ceremony and the celebration afterwards. Lastly, Chris reviews some postproduction strategies for enhancing your images and delivering them to the happy couple.

Subject:
Photography
Author:
Chris Orwig

Photographing the couple

After the ceremony and before the reception begins is a great time to capture photographs of the bride and the groom. You really want to take advantage of this window of time. Often you'll set it up beforehand, you'll say after the ceremony, let's take 5 minutes or 30 minutes or whatever you can get, and let's create some interesting portraits. And in weddings, one of the things that's so unique about them is that people want to have their pictures taken, whether it's the guest, like we saw in the previous movie, or it's the bride and the groom, and you want to take advantage of that, and you really want to explore how you can capture the emotion of this unique time.

For the bride and the groom, you also want to carve out some space for them, because weddings, they can often be a blur. Your job as photographer is to add some clarity to that event, so they can really savor and remember it. So let's take a look at a few different weddings and a number of different photographs, that will help us think about capturing good bridal portraits. We'll start off with this image here. Here I asked the bride and the groom and their daughter to step away from the guest, and you can do that as a photographer, come over here for a minute, and let's capture a picture of this new family.

And then I captured a picture of just the bride and the groom, and I love the expression, the connection, the passion, of this picture. It's so fun, I asked her to give him a kiss, and they're so happy, literally, they're glowing. And as you capture these pictures you want to keep shooting. You never know what type of slight nuance you'll catch, like this covering the kiss, I think that's so fun and then this picture of this new happy family. You also want to try out different locations. Here I said, "Let's take a walk. Let's go back to that car." So we went back to the car, and I captured a photograph of it, and we were talking about it.

And the groom loves this car. He restored it, so fascinating, I said, "Well, let's do some photographs in front of it." And they were glad to do that, and again, it's all about just capturing these little small moments of them together. And when you're in this moment, one of the things that you can do is you can direct, you can put on that director's cap and say, why don't you climb into the car, why don't I capture a picture of you driving it? And she said, "Heck yeah. I am going to be driving this car now," and she was excited. This car was previously her fiance's, and now it was hers as well.

I also had both of them get into the car, and again, we were just having fun. Afterwards we stepped outside of it, and I love this image and this one as well. And so what you're looking to do here is to really make the most of this time. You're no longer documenting, rather you're directing, you're crafting, you're inviting, you're trying to create unique handcrafted photographs that capture the sentiment of these moments. Let's jump to another scenario. In this particular wedding, the reception had already started, everyone was enjoying themselves.

I asked the bride and the groom to go for a quick walk. I just wanted to give them some space to breathe and to be together. And as you do that, often you can capture these little quiet moments, which I think are so important. Here we walked to another area, and again, I think you really just get the wonder and the connection of this particular moment. Often the light in these situations is great, because it's near the end of the day, or it's some sort of situation where the light is good, sometimes it isn't, like with this situation, the light was harsh, you can still work with that.

Go for a walk, have the bride and groom stand with their back to the sun, and it takes away all of the harsh edge, and you can still create beautiful pictures like this. All right, well, let's jump to one more wedding. In this wedding, it was out in a field, and the sun was setting, it was gorgeous. The bride and the groom were so happy. Here the groom has his coat on, and you can see the warmth of their expression, and as you capture these images you want to mix it up, I move to the other side of the couple. Now I get something completely different. Then I change my exposure and recompose.

I love this photograph, I love their connection, how comfortable they are in each other's arms. You really have to work it. You have to work for those photographs and see if you can experiment and direct and invite in order to get those images. And we tried other things as well, the bride by herself, the bride and groom together kissing, the bride and groom silent, side by side. And as I'm capturing all of these different images, I'm just looking for those special moments in between.

It's a mixture of directing and looking for perhaps that decisive that moment. And as you work with this scenario, you also may want to try something which is a little bit more formal, try the informal, try the formal. Here you can see they're really present, or maybe you want to capture some images where they are side by side, apart, holding hands, ask her to look at him. Perhaps you have a vision to create some compelling and strong black and white photographs, like this one. I love the intensity of this picture. And try other things out.

In this case they're standing in front of an arch, other times they're kissing, and again, if you have a vision for certain photographs, try to make those happen in these moments. Other times what you might try to do is introduce a prop, whenever you introduce a prop sometimes it puts people at ease, because they can focus on that rather than on having their picture made. With this first image the prop didn't work. I love the handmade sign, it's beautiful, but their expression isn't good, and I don't necessarily like the composition, so I tried to get them to smile and to laugh.

That's a much better photograph. And then I got a little bit closer, but I wasn't quite getting the picture that I had in mind until I changed my camera orientation, that's what I needed to do. This picture is better, but still the expressions aren't there. I said, why don't you give each other a kiss, and voila, there is the photograph. And so as you're working with the bride and the groom in these moments know that it's a special time, and know that it's your time, it's your role to direct and invite and try to craft or create photographs, and as you do that, make the most of the time that you have and shoot a lot of pictures.

You want to shoot a lot of pictures, because you never know when you might capture that special moment.

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