Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Q and A: How Did I Prepare for My Wedding Shoot?

QUESTIONS: "Damn girl! Those wedding shots are ridiculous!and you say this is your first wedding? Great stuff!" -- smc1377 from Digital Photography School.

"..How did you remember all those shots? did you have reference notes? I always go blank when trying to figure out a pose." -- AdrienneN from Digital Photography School

ANSWER: The response to my first wedding assignment has been phenomenal as my friends, supporters and instructors have all weighed in, giving me a collective thumbs up! Several people stated they couldn't believe this was my first time shooting a wedding. But it truly was. I spent a full week doing little else besides researching how other successful professional photographers shoot weddings. I got great ideas from wedding photography blogs and the Digital Photography School articles. I remembered great poses (namely the one shot that focused on the flowers while the bride and groom kissed in the background), and I kept a mental list of all the "must-have shots" including family formals, etc.

The best help I could have gotten to prepare for this though was my bi-monthly edition of the PhotoVision educational series on CD. Issue 68 featured celebrated wedding photographer Dan Doke while he shot during an actual wedding assignment. Part 1 of the CD showed Dan shooting the bride at her home before the ceremony. Part 2 gave viewers a front row seat while Dan shot at the ceremony. I took notes and memorized everything Dan did. Here are some key techniques from the video:

1) Dan shoots with two cameras during weddings, one with a Canon 70-200 2.8 mm lense attached and a second with a wide angle 16-35 2.8 lense. I already had those two lenses, and I rented a 30D to go with my 5D.

2) He generally left his aperture wide open for creating depth...usually as wide as f4

3) He was very adept at "floating along" where people ignored him so he could capture candid shots

4) He mixed up his shots by shooting at many different angles: :The more angles, the more pages you can sell in your albums.

5) Learn how to be "politely pushy" when gathering people for family formals, or appoint someone to help you bring the group together

6) Get tons of combo shots ie: the bride alone, the bride with all of her brides maids, the bride and each bride maid separately, each bride made separately, etc. etc. The more combos you have the more potential print sales you can make

7) Get on the ground to take your shot. That's how I was able to focus a shot on the flowers and blur the couple in the background.

8) Don't just shoot from straight on. Move around in continuous circles, "bounce around"

9) At the reception, aim for detail shots, including the rings, flower arrangements, decorations, etc.

10) At the reception, try to take photos of everyone sitting at a table, but only groups of people who KNOW each other. If someone sees themselves in a picture with someone they don't know, they won't want to buy that picture.

11) Take your strobes with you to the reception for lighting set up shots.

12) Use a flashlight to help pinpoint light on the couple while they dance alone.

13) Night shots add drama. Dave likes his "ending shot" to be of the couple, standing in front of his truck with its high beams shining behind them for a glowing affect.

Do you have any more favorite wedding tips or poses? Drop me a line!

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