How to get ready for wedding photography? The most important day of your life, surely you are just getting ready for your wedding? What is there to get ready for with the photography? Well, first of all there is your state of mind. Are you ready to be the centre of attention? Are you prepared to be guided by your photographer to perhaps pose or act in ways not your norm?
Your wedding day may have been structured in a very traditional fashion. If your position is bridegroom you may already be uncomfortable at the thought of the morning suit required or even just posing for the wedding photography. Even if you are just going for a normal lounge suit you may be the sort that is more comfortable in boiler suit or jeans and a high viz vest, not a tie sort at all. Wedding photography is alien to your normal life!
If you are the bride it might have always been all about the dress. But many a dream can be let down by the reality of constricting waistlines and unmanageable trains! Ladies self image and occasional body image problems can be a whole other area of confidence problems on the day. And the wedding photography is where all of these problems can come into focus. (You might also find my blog on Smiling for portaits an interesting read)
So a little thought and planning can go a long way to alleviate some of the stress and tension on the day. Remember, although this may well be your first wedding, your photographer is probably photographing weddings most weeks during the high season. A good photographer can be a good source of advice for most of the relevant areas of discussion. Because your photographer has such a range of experience they may well be able to offer advice on other elements of your wedding from wedding protocol of table layouts to normal procedures for a line out organised by a toastmaster. Bu don’t waste their key area of knowledge and that’s posing!
So what preparation can you do prior to the big day. Well, first your photographer may offer a pre wedding photography portrait session where you’ll get a chance to see how your photographer works before the wedding. How he likes to pose you, how he might like to organise spontaneous style shots etc. This is a great opportunity to understand what is involved. Maybe understanding a little more about the options for posing. A chance to see how easy you smile when working with your wedding photographer. After all, a good picture isn’t just taken, it’s given too, a photographer might be one of the best technicians in the world but unless he can get you to react correctly to his requests the results could be well under par.
Do you know which is your best angle to be photographed? Do you have features you don’t like? Share this information with the photographer as soon as possible it can save a lot of time later. Unfortunately many young ladies have particular hang ups about certain parts of their bodies or face. If you fall into this category don’t be shy with your photographer, let them know what bits you aren’t comfortable with. It’s in the best interest of the photographer not to make you uncomfortable so if he knows what you aren’t confident about he can take this into consideration when suggesting his poses.
Many brides when organising their wedding photography decide to prepare a complete set list of required shots. It’s amazing how easy this shot list can expand to 20-30 group shots of different combinations of family and friends. If this is something that happens when you start the list just pause for a moment and think about your guests.
The longer the list of group shots the longer everyone is hanging around the church or outside the venue before everyone can get on with the important bit of the wedding which is enjoying yourself!
Here’s a tip, no matter how many guests at a wedding all guests can be in at least two images within a maximum of four group shots. These are: Brides family, Grooms family, friends, and everybody attending. On a rainy or cold day you may be grateful that your wedding photography can be covered so quickly, keep this point in mind should you need to change plans on the day.
Beyond that the only essential shots are the happy couple alone (we’ll come back to that one) and the participants – Bestman, Bridesmaids, and Ushers. Anything beyond that really should be regarded as extras, for example, separating out Bridesmaids with bride, Bestman and Ushers with Groom, or immediate family members rather than all those related. If you keep the formal photography of the group shots as short as possible you can allow the guest to get back to socialising and keep them happy. This then gives you a chance to get those romantic shots you always wanted taking 15 minutes out with the photographer to do his creative stuff.
If you get to this point and find the keen amateur photographers are shadowing the professional you have hired it is polite to ask them to leave you alone with the photographer to let him get on with his job. After all you have paid him to do this so why would you want someone trying to copy all his shots? It will help you relax and it will help the photographer keep you focused on him while he does his best work possible. The amateur shots taken over the shoulder like this are seldom as well framed or as interesting as the professionals wedding photography.
If you are frightened of offending anyone at this stage by asking them to go away use the flattery and distraction technique. “Uncle Bob I know you are a brilliant photographer and I’d really like you to cover now what I’m missing, can you take pictures of what’s going on with the guests now and I’d be happy to pose for you for a couple of minutes in a while”. Flattery normally works.
Once that private 15 minutes is over then if you have more than one keen amateurs there is the time to offer them 5 minutes to do their best and come up with their own ideas. That way hopefully you will get different extra pictures rather than bad copies of what you have already paid for.
If you are a Bridegoom, remember, for some Brides this is the biggest day of their lives so far, they want it to be perfect, some feel a great weight of responsibility that any imperfections on the day will reflect on them. So as much as you might want to get to the bar, as much as you might want to hear the scores of the Saturday afternoon matches and as much as Uncle Fred is encouraging you to turn the television on in the bar to watch the match highlights try and stay focused on your Lady for just the one day! Any one of the above can completely distract from the event in hand as as a main participant if you are showing interest in other matters you will be encouraging your guests to do so to an even greater extent.
By Brian Russell