Wedding Photography Notes for the Photographer
OK this is inspired by a book I read once by Robert Bresson called Notes for the Cinematographer in which he explained his philosophy on making motion pictures.
Needing a place to collect all this data that I collect in my head and notebooks everywhere around my house I thought it would make sense to put some of this down electronically so I myself can revisit from time to time and save it from destruction. Of course I welcome the visitor who will happen to stumble upon these posts, although I am not keeping my hopes up. Right now I am a needle in the haystack of the internet and I dont think people will easily land on my website. But you never know.
Here goes Note #1
Some thoughts on lighting for the wedding photographer.
Without going into too much detail on the theory of light (quality, direction, color, intensity) or contrast ratios I will write about what I look for on a wedding day. A more practical approach.
So the best light that can flatter people (that are our subjects) is basically SOFT, DIRECTIONAL Light. A.k.a Window light.
Anything that can kill the overhead light and funnel it through a hole (large enough to spill on our subject) is good. I think of this as a shoebox with a cut out side on one part.
Something similar is a garage with the door open.
In nature, outdoors its a canopy of trees over our heads forcing the light to come in from a tunnel. Watch out for green color cast.
In a residential area it can be shaded cover by the side of a building that happens to have protection overhead too.
The overhead protection is important to protect from the sun causing racoon eyes on our subject.
5 Tips I saw in a youtube video today for portraits of couple
- Dont forget to shoot the details.
- Find and use window light. (flat, rembrandt, shoot into it, profile..)
- Close ups of the couple (heads touching, head and shoulders – vertical and horizontals)
- Elevate your position. Flatters them, from slightly above eye level
- Get different angles. (not looking at camera, casual, behind them..)
- The V-up (touch at hips, no hands at sides, in pockets, holding hands, at hip) – (look at us, away, each other, one at us..) (hand on chest, waist) (frame placement right, left, middle)
- Open. (feet at us, separate bodies, hand holding) (groom on the right side, flip-groom on the left side). Vary shot size (cu, med, wide)
- Closed. (bodies at each other, no gaps, kiss) (hands holding, at waist, on chest, on face, back of head etc). Look down. eyes closed etc
- Stacked. (him behind her, his arms around her waist or chest,) (eyes looking off camera distance or at each other) (interactions and location)
- The Lift
- The Dip
- Staggered (one in front of other, sitting or standing,
- Meet in the middle ( with a kiss, bend at hips,
- The walk
Backlit, shooting into the sky from low position.
JUNE 2017 update
Something I consider of utmost importance and I have noticed in works of photographers I admire such as Todd Laffler or Fabio Mirulla – especially in their later current work- is the ability to ISOLATE THE SUBJECT.
They do this via 4 methods.
- Filling the frame with only their subject (walking in with a wide lens, or zooming in with a tele)
- Using a beam of light (ie off camera flash or a beam of sunlight coming in) to isolate from darkness
- Using bokeh usually in the form of objects in the foreground or other peoples shoulders etc. This blocks out the subject.
- Clearing the space around them. There may be a wider context but its non distracting. A pale wall, leaves, texture, open sky, etc. Your eye goes to subject again.
Also if we are in the getting ready stages and not in the ceremony or portraits or reception part where the emotions will carry the photo here are some tips.
- You want the subject to be in ACTION.
- Meaning he is either handling props. Reading, writing, shaving, combing hair, adjust tie, cuffs, etc
- Or he is interacting with other characters with them helping him get dressed etc
- Different stages of the actions help too. With his regular clothes, without jacket, with jacket.