Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Tips of the Trade: Husband and wife team share tips for great wedding photographs

Yesterday morning while yelling at -- er, I mean, having a disagreement with -- my Kodak All-in-One printer, I happened upon this amazing set of tips on the Kodak "Tips & Projects Center" webpage.

Isabel Lawrence Photographers are a husband and wife team based in Los Angeles, California. Their work has appeared in publications like People, In Style, Town & Country as well as on WE TV's Platinum Weddings and the Oprah Show. Isabel's photographs have appeared in several galleries and museums including the Ventura Museum of Art and the Latin Art Museum. Her photographs were also featured at Photokina in the Kodak pavilion in 2006. I immediately recognized Lawrence candid style as that achieved from his award winning photojournalism at the Los Angeles Times and LA Weekly. All photos in this post were shot by Isabel Lawrence Photographers. Check out their tips and try to incorporate them into your wedding day coverage. I know I will be!

To ensure natural, relaxed expressions that illustrate your subject's true feelings, encourage lots of interaction. Just be sure to keep shooting because you are sure to get some priceless moments.

When dealing with a camera shy subject, place her where the light is good and where you have a pleasing background, then have her engage with a friend off camera. The pressure of being photographed is off because she is distracted by the conversation and you will be able to capture a wonderful, fun moment.

As a photographer interested in expanding my boudoir gallery, I loved this idea! For the more daring bride, suggest setting aside some extra time during the "getting ready" portion of the day for some boudoir shots. Ask her to pickup some special lingerie or envelope her in the bridal veil. Present these photos to the bride privately after the wedding so that she can surprise her groom at a later date. This is a great opportunity to create more sales for your studio. Recommend that such special photos deserve to be displayed in a special album or portfolio box.

Pickup an old Rollieflex or Holga camera at a flea market and load it with TMax 120 film. You'll stretch yourself creatively and deliver something unique and unexpected to your clients. While I won't be doing this, I will enjoy being able to experiment with lighting up the church and reception area with strobes.

Find inspiration in obvious places. For instance, with so many couples requesting wedding images that have a photo journalistic quality, take a look at the masters of photojournalism. Photographers like Eugene Smith and Elliott Erwitt were master storytellers whose photographs are relevant to this day. Study their compositions and camera angles. If you submerge yourself in classic, well made images, you will start to see the story telling opportunities in every wedding.

Approach each wedding with the mind set that it is your first. It can be easy to fall into a rut when shooting the same type of event every week. It is so important for the photographer to be open to each couple's story and try his best to depict it in a new and fresh way.

I definitely agree with this one, as I believe the groom is often overlooked in the day coverage. I have at least one photographer dedicated to concentrating on him and his family. Give the groom just as much attention as the bride. The groom's dressing room is usually overlooked but rich in photographic opportunity. Make time to check in and take some photos of the groom and his friends getting ready. The guys will appreciate the attention and the bride will love seeing that aspect of the day.

When photographing the smaller, younger members of the bridal party, kneel down and look them in the eye. Introduce yourself and explain that you are there to take lots of nice shots of them. Sometimes, in order to break the ice with some of the shyer children, I let them take a photo of me first. If possible try to choose a location that is within the parents' vision but far enough away that Mom won't be trying to coax the typical "photo smile" out of her child.

Focus on the little things during the wedding. The bride and groom have spent a tremendous amount of time picking out the favors, programs and food but because the day is such a blur for them, they are rarely able to take it all in. Take the time to photograph each element as beautifully as you can. Not only will your clients be appreciative but so will the florist and other wedding professionals who are in a position to refer more work to you.

Using a slow shutter speed (1⁄15th or slower) and a pop of flash can be a dynamic way to show movement and energy. This is especially effective during the reception.

A portrait doesn’t always have to have a face in it. Be aware of your subject's body language and look for ways to depict emotion that are not obvious.

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