How To Take The Most Beautiful Wedding Photos in the World
A wedding is one of the most unforgettable moments in a couple’s life. For many people, it’s a once in a lifetime experience that cannot be replicated. Wedding photographers have the unenviable task of capturing the special events of such a momentous occasion. It’s not just about documenting the wedding in photos, but it’s also making sure that you are capturing moments that evoke strong emotions. It’s capturing the love shared by the couple and turning it into a piece of art that everyone can appreciate.
When people see beautiful wedding photos, they immediately get the message and understand what is being communicated through the images. Beautiful photos don’t just magically happen. It takes careful planning and preparation.
After the wedding venue, a wedding photographer is most likely the next to get booked. This says a lot about the importance of photographers at weddings. Not all photographers are created equal. Each of them has different skills levels and years of experience. Some are better than the others and the good ones are much more in-demand.
Preparation is key in taking beautiful wedding photos. It’s a given that photographers would ensure they bring the right gear and equipment for the event. There may be additional things to bring depending on the location. However, real preparation happens weeks or months before the wedding and it has nothing to do with cameras or lenses or equipment.
Get to Know the Couple
The business part of wedding photography makes the relationship transactional. It’s a business transaction between a service provider and a client. While there’s nothing wrong with this business relationship, sometimes, it gets in the way of getting to know the clients for what they truly are as a couple.
Wedding photographers must care about the couples as if they are family members or friends. It may not be obvious at the outset, but getting to know a client at a much deeper level is a precursor to taking beautiful wedding photos. It would help tremendously if you spend some time talking to the couple and know their story on how they met and what they like and don’t like. This is also a way to make the couple feel comfortable with your presence. This is a way to build trust. When they trust you, they would be more open and more receptive to your ideas.
The small details you get from interacting with your client will help you in making them look and feel their best once you direct them to do wedding poses on their wedding day.
It’s safe to assume that couples often have high expectations for their wedding photographer. Even if you’re a highly-skilled photographer and can deliver on your lofty promises, it is still important to set expectations. You have to be very specific about what you can and cannot do so that the couple would not expect beyond what you’re capable of doing. This puts both of you on the same page. This will prevent frustrations and disappointments down the line.
Know the Wedding Venue
It would give couples comfort if the wedding photographer knows the wedding venue or have shot at the venue before. Ideally, a pre-wedding scout of the venue would help identify potential problems when it comes to lighting and logistics. However, technology has made it possible to do a virtual scout using maps and websites. Wedding venues are now virtually accessible so that photographers can plan ahead. They’ll have an idea on where to hold the family photoshoot or how lighting can be set up in different locations.
Whether you can physically go to the venue before the ceremony or have a virtual tour of the premises, you must get some information about the wedding venue so that you can prepare and get organized. This way, it gives you time to focus on taking beautiful photos instead of worrying about timing and logistics.
Some photographers may not be on-board the idea of doing test shots beforehand because they don’t want to have a preconceived idea that can influence their upcoming gig. Some of them also work better when there’s pressure. Experienced photographers can think on their feet and can immediately decide on what to do the moment they arrive at the venue.
However, an advance visit can give you a peace of mind knowing where the best places to shoot are at. Instead of wandering around aimlessly looking for the perfect spots, you can spend more time taking photos of the couple and the guests. It will take some of the pressure off yourself.
Identify the Couple’s Ideal Wedding Photo
Many couples have specific ideas on how they want their wedding photos to look. Some of them follow a photo philosophy which means choosing a wedding photography style:
- Traditional – This refers to the typical wedding photos where the photographer directs the couples and the guests on how to pose and where to pose.
- Photojournalistic – In this style, the photographer captures unstaged moments of the wedding. It’s essentially an unadulterated depiction of a special event. Because there is no interference from the photographer, it captures genuine emotions from the couple. It’s an authentic depiction of the wedding.
- Artistic – This style uses creative angles and unconventional techniques to tell a story. It’s essentially creating a wedding narrative from the eyes of the photographer. With this kind of photography style, the couple is giving the photographer the freedom to experiment and to be artistic and creative.
It’s important to know the couple’s vision for their wedding so that as a photographer, you can help make that vision a reality. Regardless of the chosen style, the photographer must be able to translate ideas into amazing photos.
The Secrets to Getting Beautiful Wedding Photos
- Communicate with the couple from day one to make sure you are on the same page and everyone’s expectations are clear. This makes the flow of the day more conducive to getting beautiful wedding shots.
- Prep the bride and groom. Before things get hectic, photographers must prep the couple on certain shots that they have planned out. But really, this is to remind them to laugh, smile, and enjoy the moment.
- The best wedding photos look natural and authentic. Make the bride and the groom feel relaxed before a shoot. Giving too much direction on how to pose or where to look or how to turn just puts a little more pressure because they become too conscious of their actions. The camera will capture awkward movements and this is not always bad. Sometimes, a little bit of awkwardness is actually endearing. If couples just be themselves, the camera will capture genuine feelings and emotions and more often than not, they’re always better than staged and posed shots.
- Make the couple feel more confident about themselves. It may be difficult for couples to act naturally when a camera is pointing in their direction. One of the most effective ways for couples to get used to the camera attention is to do a pre-wedding shoot or an engagement shoot. This can help couples get rid of some of the awkwardness they feel when in front of the camera. This is also an opportunity for the couple to get comfortable with their photographer.
It essentially serves as an exercise to get rid of wedding day jitters. Couples can get used to the feeling of being the center of attention and being followed around by the camera. When they see how great the pre-wedding photos turned out, they’d feel more self-assured that they can pull it off come the wedding day.
- Photographers should never micro-manage the couples and the guests. There are some photographers who tend to over-direct and make couples do unnatural poses that no longer represent their vision of the wedding. It’s much better to capture candid moments because it’s where couples and guests are being their true authentic selves.
- Lighting is key. Each wedding is unique. The photography techniques that work with one wedding may not work on the other. This is because there are so many factors at play including location, time, and logistics, among other things. But the one thing that always contributes to the success of a wedding shoot is lighting.
- Composition is key.. we’ll get to that in a second.
Finding the right light can be challenging. Without good light, it doesn’t matter if you have expensive gear, your photos would not look as good as it could. A photographer must be able to work with the available light on the wedding venue but at the same time, he or she must also know when to use on-camera flash and off-camera flash. It will depend on the time of day and the lighting conditions at the venue. If there’s soft lighting and nice overcast, natural lighting is the way to go. Unfortunately, that kind of lighting condition is hard to come by so you have to rely on other light sources. It’s a combination of calculation of light, having an eye and knowing what to look for and what to shoot for. It would require skills and creativity and all that falls on the photographer.
- Creativity and artistry in compositions. Wedding photography is not just about taking photos of the groom, bride, entourage, and guests. It requires a thought process so that you can turn an idea into incredible photos.
Sometimes you just go with what feels right. More often than not, photographers combine two or more compositional elements, whether they are aware they’re doing it or not. There are photographers who naturally pick up on them because they find inspiration in what they see in the venue or what’s available to them at that particular moment.
By using different compositions, you will be able to tell a story through captured images. What’s great about this is that even with limitations and less-than-ideal lighting conditions, you can use your creativity and vision to deliver dramatic and eye-catching photos.
Here are some of the more popular compositions used in wedding photography. They are by no means the only options you have. They serve as a guide to which you can expand your shots repertoire to deliver stunning wedding images
- Wide shots – This works particularly well at wedding venues with magnificent sceneries. Wide shots are usually used in outdoor and destination weddings where the location itself serves as a backdrop.
- Frames – Use of mirrors or windows is a way to frame and highlight the subject in a creative manner. Natural frames like pieces of wood or archways bring the focus to the center of the image.
- Foregrounds – This technique places your subjects (e.g. bride and groom) in the environment but highlighting other elements of the scene.
- Close-ups – Close-up shots add a sense of intimacy and vulnerability to the final photos.
- Symmetry – Symmetrical composition can be tricky but if you do it right, it really brings powerful images. Finding symmetry in the setting is not easy but if you find one, take the opportunity to use it.
- Rule of thirds – This is textbook composition wherein you avoid centering your subjects or landscapes. Images that follow this rule are much more interesting to look at.
- Right in half – This type of composition works well if you want to balance the subject and the background. This is often used as an alternative to a wide shot when you want to put equal weight to the couple and the background. You don’t lose the focus on the bride and groom but still letting the backdrop shine through.
A great wedding photographer will use different compositions and techniques to deliver high-quality photos. Some photography rules may be broken from time to time as long as it results in incredible wedding photos that will exceed the expectations of the bride and groom.
Beautiful wedding photos are an amalgamation of skills, styles, techniques, composition, and human interaction. It’s the seamless integration of all these elements that creates wedding photos that evoke emotions and communicate the message of love shared by the couple.
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