My tip for wedding photography is to try to take some time to get images YOU enjoy creating. My secret joy is doing simple and beautiful portraits of the bride. The wedding day is the culmination of hours of planning and getting ready, and I love spending a few moments to get the bride alone for a few simple images of how beautiful she is. My goal is to provide classic images that her husband will love to look at for years to come.
Sometimes it is not the posed shots that turn out to be the most inspired. Oftentimes, it is the unexpected candid moments. We always try to have two photographers at a photo shoot, with one photographer taking the lead with formal shots, while the other photographer tries to capture candids which catch the couple when they are relaxed and have for a moment forgotten that the cameras are there. This strategy often produces pictures with that extra bit of magic.
Our weddings generally run from 6-10 hours and during that time, John and I love “paying attention to the details.” In fact, that is one of the reasons why brides choose us as their wedding photographers. We love taking ring shots and one question many photographers have asked us how we get them so sharp and interesting looking. We use the 100mm Macro lens, take the rings into good, natural light, and always focus manually keeping both eyes open. I don’t know why keeping them both open helps, but it does. We learned that using AF (autofocus) tends to have the lens focus on the prongs of the stone as opposed to the stone itself. That is why manually focusing works so much better!
For other details like the brides shoes, flowers, and the reception, we almost always shoot wide open at apertures between 1.4 and 2.0. That brings the subject to life while creating a beautiful array of creamy colors, aka bokeh, behind the subject. Weddings are so many things and we want the story to be told in all of its intricate details.
My suggestion is for all couples to choose a “First Look” for their wedding. Many couples don’t realize that the tradition of not seeing your bride or groom before the ceremony stems from the days of arranged marriages. Weddings were often arranged for financial and political gain and not having the brides and grooms see each other before the ceremony kept them from trying to back out at the last minute. Which then became superstition of it being bad luck for the groom to see his bride before the wedding. Thankfully, times have changed! Many of today’s couples have already forgone tradition. In many cases they already live together and they are often looking for ways to make their wedding more unique and personal rather than “traditional”.
Think about it this way, you are marrying your best friend. The person you lean on during those stressful moments. Your rock. Then you’re going to take the biggest day of your life as a couple together and spend the entire day apart. The wedding day goes by so fast and I want my couples to spend as much of the day together as possible, which is why I encourage everyone to have a first look. Couples are so much more calm and relaxed when they get to enjoy the day together with their best friend. They can let go of the nerves and enjoy seeing all of their planning come together.
Some are afraid that a “First Look” will take away from the moment the groom sees his bride walk down the aisle, but really there is just as much emotion, if not more. If you wait to see each other until the ceremony, nerves are high. The bride is focused on not tripping and the groom is trying to see around your standing guests and the moment happens so quickly. If you choose a first look, you have time to take it all in. To wipe each others tears, laugh together and enjoy every second of seeing each other for the first time. It’s such an intimate time that would not be there if you wait until the ceremony.
I’ve asked my grooms if they felt that seeing each other before the ceremony took anything away from that moment of seeing his bride walk down the aisle.
Antonio said… “What was going through my mind? I was thinking why me? Why did I get so blessed to find this woman, my best friend. I was thinking that after today we won’t be Antonio Romano and Emily Hall, we will forever be Mr. and Mrs. Antonio Romano.”
Chris said… ”When I saw Kadie for the first time during our ‘first look’ all I could think was how beautiful she looked. Then when I saw her coming down the aisle with me, I thought; Wow, she’s really going to marry me!”.
So you can hear from them first hand that seeing their brides before the ceremony took nothing away from that moment.