by Rick Ferro Published 01/11/2004
Family and Group Portraiture at Weddings
The bride and groom are the stars of the wedding day and the focus of our complete attention; however, the wedding day is usually a rare opportunity to gather distant relatives around for a family portrait that might not be taken otherwise. To be prepared for any special requests at the wedding;we always go over which family portraits are important to the bride and groom during our consultation process them. We let them know that we will be happy to take individual family portraits at the wedding only if the bride and groom have asked us to and provide for us a requested list. We ask that a family member be in charge of getting the family members together at the time that we are ready to photograph them because we may not know who these people are and we do not want to put the responsibility on the bride and groom that day. It is also important that we inform them that any extra family portraits other than the traditional family portraits at the altar will take time away from our focusing 100% on the bride and groom. Each family portrait requested, group shot or table shot must be authorized by the bride and groom and guaranteed to purchase. We are not at their wedding to sell our work to other guests.We are there to serve the bride and groom. So when a family that is not on our list approaches us and says, "Could you please take a portrait of our family while we are all together",we tell them that we are there to serve the bride and groom and would be happy to schedule it for another time if they will call our office.
In planning the traditional family altar portraits, the most important part is to know their names, so that we can organize a list of how we will photograph them. It is important to know if there are a lot of grandparents because it is difficult for them to stand and they get tired fast. Along with the grandparents, the parents of the bride and groom are at the top of our list.
The bride and groom always remain in position and we slowly add family members trying to keep families intact for the posing so that it makes sense in the final print. We ask that the maid of honor be aware of the bride's needs of adjusting her train or taking her bouquet. We usually take an image of the subjects facing the camera and smiling and then a second image where all family members are looking at the bride and groom and the bride and groom are kissing. For each of these poses we taken several images of each in case there will need to be any "head swapping" in the digital retouching process.
Because we are both photographing, while the traditional formal portrait is taken, a photojournalistic image can be captured at the same time.
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