As it goes with every wedding – days,months and sometimes years are spent planning, dreaming and escaping from the daily mishaps and stresses to plan a fantastically whimsical or sometimes quite eccentric day!
The following words are for brides, grooms, mother-in-laws-to-be as well as photographers. Its based on weddings done over the past decade – things you learn, mistakes you made and chances you take! These are my own perceptions – be it things I keep in mind during the day.
Time allocation: One of the trickiest issues to put across – time allocated to certain aspects within a wedding day.
The venue for reception: Usually attempt to photograph this as soon as there is a table ready (an hour before meeting the bride – the morning) Allows me 30mins to relax and get into the mood of the day. I will focus on wide shots of the entire venue (inside and out) then also close in on table settings and macro work. Best time of day as there are no guests on tables and cake will also be available (to photograph of course).
The Bride: The bride is the next focus point, I will try be there during hair and make up – This is a great time to set the bride at ease, you will be there all day in her shadow. Capture moments of laughs with her bridesmaids, make up being done as well as getting images of them all together (bridesmaids one by one and all together). During moments in between, get her veil, shoes, perfume, earings, dress and rings – and do some macro shots and compilations of what she will be wearing!
The Ceremony: And so it finally begins! The main goal here is to capture only moments. I would stand alongside/behind the pastor. and focus on the following:
- The bride arriving, and climbing (yes, climbing!) out of the car in her wedding gown.
- Her father walking her down the aisle
- The look the groom has as he first sees his bride
- Father handing her over to her groom and shaking his hand.
- Lifting of the veil, and farewell kiss from dad.
- Bride and groom side by side as the ceremony starts
- Pastor as he speaks
- The ring bearer
- Accepting and putting on of rings
- The First Kiss!
- Outing the candles and signing of registry
- Introduction of Mr & Mrs X and throwing of confetti/rose petals etc
The Shoot: The most exciting part is the photoshoot, when you get to drag the bride and groom away from the crowd and let them relax, and spend their first moments as husband and wife, with their groomsmen and bridesmaids! To make life easier Take the family photos at the ceremony – either outside or inside the chapel/church!(it allows for easier travelling to a venue). It has to be remembered that the Images from this stage of the day, are the ones that will be displayed throughout their home and to their family and friends. DO NOT SKIMP ON TIMEFRAME. Focus on the following:
- With the car – usually hired, borrowed (or blue)
- Full length image of bride alone and with her groom (if she wants to enter in bridal competition)
- Close up of bride and groom kissing, again
- make-up shot of bride
- Groom with his boys!
- Bride with her girls!
- Remember to take a quirky or fun shot along with the static image of the groups!
- Close ups of rings
- Work the location – know what time of day it will be, to make use of setting sun or shaded forests.
- Ask the bride if there are any ideas she has, or images she was thinking of.
- Portrait shots of the groomsmen (bridesmaids shots were done as they were getting ready with the bride!)
The Reception: It all starts slowing down as it becomes a game of hurry up and wait. Here its more shadow games, and grabbing ambient light shots, the staged shots are as follows:
- Walking in as husband and wife
- Full image of family at table during announcements
- Image of everyone who has something to say over the mic!
- Sneak in to get images of the food being plated, or food on bain maries
- Groups shots with each table
- The first dance as well as dance with father/mother
- Throwing of the garter and bouquet
- Party shots on the dancefloor – usually mixing ambient and flash.
EXTRAS as photographer:
- Remember that the day is for the bride, groom and family (and in that order!).
- Dont try to overwhelm and control this special occassion as a photographer.
- Ask the pastor if he has rules in the chapel/church that you need to abide to.
- If possible and the mains are buffet – place 2 seats on the dance floor and after the bride and groom have eaten, the tables can fill in for a group photo before dishing up!
- Give images to other people who work so hard during the day – make-up artists, florists, venues (goes a long way towards building lasting relationships!)
- Be patient and consistent!
EXTRAS as brides/grooms or mother-in-laws-to-be:
- Give samples of images you do like to the photographer, but remember certain images can only be taken at certain times of day!
- “the shoot” should be allocated at least 1.5 hours – these are the images you will keep forever dont rush it.
- Try make provision for seating for the photographer, and ask if he has an assistant.