Let’s face it; the crux of wedding day photography is typically centered on the bride. Not to say the groom doesn’t matter, but usually it’s the bride that requires a heavier amount of the photographer’s attention. So here are five tips that I use to ensure I optimize every photographic opportunity with the bride during her formal photos.
1. It’s all about exuding confidence with the help of plenty of instruction.
Typically, when I first start any session, the tension and nerves are high. In order to ease into things, I will start with what I call “photo calisthenics”(can I patent that term?). I will simply walk around the area we will be photographing, and discuss my vision and plan for the photo session with our client. By articulating this vision, it puts the bride at ease and she will know more what to expect. I don’t always stick to the script, however. Many times, once I feel that the bride is at ease, I will do a lot of ad-libbing once we get into our groove and she is a little more comfortable with the process.
2. Keep it light-hearted with continuous encouragement and a sense of humor.
Everyone feels better about themselves with encouragement and accolade right? Brides are no different. Already they might be extremely nervous. Offering up consistent encouragement and light-hearted humor will put the bride at ease and allow for a more enjoyable experience.
3. Do not confine yourself to “typical” and use variety.
A typical rule of thumb for me is to move in a full circle around the pose that you started. Different angles offer up variety and typically result in shots you might not have visualized. Don’t be afraid to go low, lying on the ground shooting up. Go high, bring along a ladder or climb a tree. Don’t be afraid to step outside your own comfort zone. If you are willing to do this, so might your client.
4. Plan your session in advance.
I like to look at other photographer’s work for potential inspirations. I research the venue. I typically visit the venue if I’ve never been and I visit at the same time I will be photographing. I want to know what the light is going to do at that certain time frame. After all, isn’t most of photography about working with light and manipulating the light to suit your vision? I walk around the site, look at everything, and I visualize what I might do. I take copious notes, review them the night before the session, and also keep them in my back pocket and reference them often during the photo session itself.
5. Rework your vision during the editing process.
Remember those detailed notes you took on your walk-through? I even reference these when I edit. Initially, when I first saw the shot I wanted, it was a vision; I use that vision to enhance my editing and create the final image.