by Peter Prior Published 01/10/2007
With the couple I have a sequence of shots that I take at almost every wedding and which works in almost any situation. This satisfies the couple and their parents, and should only take 5 minutes to complete. I start out by posing the bride in the classical side-on position, looking towards the camera. If outside she will be backlit at all times and will not change position during the sequence of shots.
Shot 1: Bride full length (colour)
Shot 2: Bride half length (colour)
Shot 3: Bride half length with the groom just out of focus in the background looking at bride (colour)
Shot 4: Bride and groom together half length (colour)
Shot 5: Bride and groom kissing (colour)
Shot 6: Bride and groom kissing or pushing noses together - a very close head shot (B+W)
Shot 7: Bride and groom full length (colour)
Shot 8: Groom forward of bride. Bride is out of focus. Both half length and looking away from camera (colour)
Shot 9: As above but head and shoulders and bride looking at groom (B+W)
Shot 10: As 9 but shooting past groom with bride in focus (B+W)
For all of these shots only the groom and I have moved anywhere and it is very quick to do. I shoot with two bodies, one with a fast zoom and the other with my 85 1.4 lens. Once the bride is posed and lit correctly, nothing needs to be changed apart from the positioning of the groom.
I also find that many of my 'signature' images of couples come from undirected moments that just happened in front of me, during these set-up pictures. The couple seem to feel very relaxed, enjoy a few minutes away from the guests and let their guard down. As you have controlled the lighting and exposure, you just have to anticipate the magical moment and be fast with the shutter!!
Working this way allows me to find plenty of time to capture the candid moments of the day, the details and, if time allows, location shots of the couple if required. A bonus will be that the couple, their guests and the venue will be pleased that you worked quickly and didn't delay the day's proceedings. Word will get around about how you worked and this can only be good news for future recommendations.
The sequence shown above has had the timings extracted from the metadata.
Rainy Day Wedding
Tips for a rainy day
Wet weddings throw up a few extra problems for us wedding photographers. Lenses tend to mist up easily, especially when moving from outside to indoor locations, so not only do you have to try to keep the glass dry you also have to avoid fogging at crucial moments. I shoot with two cameras most of the time and when it is raining I make a conscious effort to keep the lenses pointing downwards when they're not in use. Moreover, they are all fitted with UV filters and hoods to protect them against knocks and rain. If the lens does get wet, it takes a split second to remove the filter and carry on - it should dry out quickly if left alone. To be honest, working this way I rarely have a problem except in the wettest of conditions.
To help with the fogging problem is to place your spare camera and lens inside the church on arrival to allow it to acclimatise to the (hopefully) warmer and drier atmosphere inside. Then, should you experience lens fogging as you try to capture the bride's arrival, you can easily switch to another body and continue shooting unabated during the ceremony.
My biggest problem when shooting wet weddings is the rain on my glasses. I have shot in contact lenses which certainly helps but prefer working in specs so I always have a soft lens-cloth handy at all times. I also carry a spare pair in case of a disaster!
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