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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.
In preparation for this course, I came across this great quote about planning a wedding which I think is relevant to us here, and here's the quote. It said that who knew that planning a wedding would be akin to staging a Broadway musical? And it's really true, isn't it? Weddings are complicated. There are so many different stages and phases and people involved. And as a wedding photographer, we need to be keyed into that. In order to be keyed into that, we really need to plan ahead to think about who is going to be at this wedding? How we're going to photograph it? What are the different stages and phases of the day? You know, wedding photography is kind of unique in a way.
Let me explain why. In most areas of photography, you practice, you practice and practice, and then you do the important shoot. In the wedding photography, it's completely the other way around. Perhaps you're good at certain type of photography. Perhaps you're good at architectural photography or food photography or kid photography, whatever it is. And so you say, "Well, now I'll translate to the wedding. I'll go ahead and shoot a wedding without any practice, without any pre-planning or preparation." And typically that doesn't work out. Just because you can play the violin doesn't mean that you can play the guitar. So, how then can we plan ahead? One of the things you can do is you can meet with the bride and groom.
By meeting with the bride and groom, you can ask them, well, what are you interested in? What's the style that you want to go for here? What are the shots that you want me to capture? How do you want me to lead and direct and guide? How do you want me to interact with all that's going to be happening? Another great thing to do is to have an engagement photo shoot session. By doing that, the three of you--the bride and groom and you--you can figure how to work together. And in those moments, when you're doing the engagement photos, your goals are to connect and also to capture some usable images.
What I mean by that is you want to provide the bride and groom with some images that they can use when they send out that save the date note to all of their best friends and family. Another way to prepare for a wedding is to take all of your ideas and kind of bring them together, and that's what I've done here. Remember in the previous movie we talked about our goals and our ideas, who do want to be as a wedding photographer? Well, I've taken all of these sketches, and I've brought them into this document. And this document is available to you as an exercise file, and what it's helpful in doing it is kind of bringing together some of the important details.
And here you could see that some of the details that you could add to this are the Wedding Date, the Location, the Theme. Is the theme vintage nautical? Well, be cued into that so you can think about how you can capture those images. What's the sunrise and sunset for that particular day? You could also write down information about the different wedding parties. Who will be involved? Here you can see I have my goals and ideas that I've sketched out, they're now in this document. And then perhaps even more important is down a little bit further what you'll discover is that I've divided up the different stages of the day.
You really want to think about weddings in small parts, because in each small part, you are going to play a different role. And if you think about a specific part, perhaps when you're going to photograph the groomsmen, you can focus in on that. You can say, well, what time of day will that happen? Where will the light be? What will the quality of light be? And what's my goal? What I'm going to try to accomplish during that small slice, during that small segment of the day? You know, one of the things happened to me as I mentioned is that I started photographing weddings by accident. And at first, I was a bit cavalier. I made some pretty big mistakes because of that.
And as I think back on that, it was almost like painting a house without a ladder. I was doing it all by myself, and I was doing it without any pre-planning. Now, I want to photograph a wedding, I take time to think things out before hand. And I also bring someone along with me. In a sense, they are my ladder, so I can reach the high spots on the house, so to speak. And if you photograph a wedding by yourself without an assistant, again, all of that pressure is on you, and if something goes wrong, if your camera malfunctions, well, you are just stuck.
But if you have a friend or someone with you, that can make all the difference in the world. And again, people photograph weddings in different ways, but most importantly, what I want to get you to think about is how you can plan ahead, because pre-planning is so important. And the more that you plan, the higher the chances that your photographs will turn out well.
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