by Peter Prior Published 01/10/2007
As I said, I generally take only 10 minutes or so to shoot the couple, which then allows me plenty of time to shoot theWedding reportage images. I try to then capture emotions - the hugging and kissing shots - whilst retaining the atmosphere at all times. I shoot hand held, using as slow a shutter speed as I can get away with and a very shallow depth of field. You need to be accurate and it is not always easy but with practice you will be able to produce stunning results.
Once I feel I have the candid shots in the bag, I slip away to document the banqueting suite. Brides love the shots of the room and the table details, all of which have cost them a great deal of money and have been planned for months. This also adds to the flesh of my albums and is always a nice surprise when they see the images after the event. My aim is to present them with the complete story of their day and the still-life images really add something extra to our albums. Lighting is often ambient although I am not afraid to add a touch of flash using the reflector technique or a video light if necessary to give the images a lift. I often backlight the glasses with the video light throwing shadows across the table to add drama to an otherwise mundane shot.
Sometimes we put too much importance on having the latest and greatest gear -internet forums prove this. However, when shooting weddings professionally you need decent equipment as well as adequate backups at all times. These days I keep things relatively simple although have been guilty of over-complication in the past.
My bag holds two Nikon D200s (one with a grip); Nikon 17-55 2.8, 50 1.4, 85 1.4, and 60 2.8 macro lenses; Sigma 15mm 2.8 fisheye; two Nikon SB800 flashguns; Jessops video light; Nikon remote release; Lastolite white/silver reflector; lens cloth; business cards; spare batteries for the cameras and flashguns; and a Sekonic L408 lightmeter. All of this fits comfortably into my Crumpler shoulder bag and enables me to travel relatively lightly on the day. I carry my CF cards in two pouches on my belt - one for unused and one for used cards.
I have a spare Billingham bag in the car which has my D100, spare flash, spare batteries, film, chargers, etc just in case! I also have a Leica M7 which is used at weddings when the vicar bans all professional photography as this helps me to become invisible if I set up my SLR on a tripod at the top of the aisle and then disappear into the congregation with my rangefinder complete with 35mm 1.2 lens!
The tripod is only used whenever necessary (low-light formals, and bride and groom shots) or for night-time images such as outside the front of a flood-lit venue or for capturing fireworks at the end of a long day.
Wedding photography is a great way to earn a living and is an unhealthy passion of mine but it canRainy Wedding be tough at any time! When the weather is cruel, or the couple decides to be married at 4pm in mid December it can really separate the men from the boys! You have to be confident in your technique and be able to produce in the most demanding conditions that wedding photography will throw at you. To do otherwise is unfair to your clients, you and the profession as a whole.
As I said, there is no substitute for experience and preparation. How do you gain this apart from shooting winter weddings? Firstly practise, practise, practise!! With digital it is easy and free. Try some of the lighting techniques at home or in the studio of an evening. You owe it to your clients to know how to produce your very best work regardless of the circumstances!
If you need to see or hear more, I run a limited number of one-to-one consultations about how I built and run my business, organise my workflow and how I shoot on a wedding day. I also offer opportunities to accompany me on real weddings. Contacts
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