Wedding Photography Tips: Explore Spontaneity
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Happiness, laughter, sorrow… a wedding has these and many more emotions, none of which can have retakes.
Choose Your Camera Bag Carefully: Whether you wear a jacket, use a bag or a multi-utility harness, see that it allows easy access to gear. Divide your equipment into two bags, one that includes all gear and a smaller one that can carry a lens or two.
What Do You See? A group of teenagers making self portraits on their phone or two old men indulging in lighthearted banter? The couple will appreciate seeing what their guests were upto on the big day.
Don’t Just Hear, Listen: A conversation can give you an idea about what is about to transpire. So, keep your ears tuned into the hubbub. You might just catch an interesting ritual, a joke or a prank unfolding.
Err… Who is That? What if you do not have enough of a favourite aunt or uncle’s photos? Ask the couple to introduce you to various relatives and help you identify them in advance.
Wear a pair of shoes that you can quickly slip out of. Many a times, priests do not allow shoes inside the area where the vows are being made.
Make Faceless Portraits: A formation of hands or feet on the dance floor or a child looking up in wonder, while a row of legs accompanies him— frames like these can be interesting.
Find a Guide to the Family: It can be tough to keep track of all the relatives. So, catch one member of the family who will take you around to the rest.
Far Away? Or Closeby? Your choice of focal length depends on your style—whether you wish to be in the midst of action or capture people unawares from a distance.
No Saat Pheras? Rituals depend on region, religion and personal preference. Speak to the elders and the priest to figure out an event flow.
Add Context By Being Inquisitive: Get someone to translate and explain what you don’t understand. Not only will it help you anticipate future moments, but also help add context while making the album.
Learn How to Shoot From the Hip: Even when the camera is not at your eye, you should know what it is seeing.
Manage Your Time Well: Don’t get so caught up in one conversation or one photo that you miss something happening elsewhere. Ask yourself if you are missing a certain kind of shot.
Wait for Things to Unfold: If you’re patient, you may get a better picture than the very first one. Who knows, a minor ritual might make the bride’s mother tearful, or a friend’s joke may crack the groom up.
Don’t be Trigger Happy: Think your way through rather than firing away in the Burst mode. Shooting blindly may result in the camera being busy in writing files, at the time that the actual action takes place.
Gel with the Crowd: Interact with the guests and actively try to be a part of the crowd. If you have the time, stop for a few seconds and show them their pictures. You could even land a few future clients!
Read Expressions and Body Language: The groom holding the bride’s hand, a father hugging his son, a mother looking lovingly at her daughter—all portray their bond. Pay attention to the parents’ body postures and you will know when they are going to lean in towards their child.
Images are Everywhere…: …and you will be able to see them if your mind is present. Explore unexplored spaces like the lift, terrace, messy bedroom of the bride, outside the venue amongst others.
Show Cause and Effect: It is good to photograph someone smiling but it is better to show why the person is doing so. Is it because of a toast at the rehearsal dinner or because a bunch of cousins are running behind the groom for his shoes?
Other than Smiles: Focus on emotions other than happiness too. A wistful gaze, an emotional embrace or a hug, a tear rolling down the cheek are a part of the array of emotions that you will see at a marriage.
Go Beyond the Single Image: As a photographer, you must try to convey the story in a single frame. But a wedding album or photobook allows you to experiment with sequences, diptychs and even collages. Keep this in mind while shooting.
Keep a Respectful Distance: The wedding is being organised for the couple and the two families, not for you. There may be times that you may need to go a little away and shoot with a longer lens, to give the family some privacy.
Use a Compact Camera: At Times DSLRs can be intimidating and some guests may awkward in front of a bulky DSLR. So, you could carry a compact that offers good image quality and resolution, or even a mirrorless camera as a backup body. You can even use them to shoot quirky behind-the-scenes shots when not much is going on.
Use a Completely Different Approach: Document a wedding like it is a war or as if it were breaking news. Be quick and on your toes but most importantly, tell a story.
Concentrate on One Thing at a Time: One can’t possibly photograph candids as well as the traditional shots for both the bride’s and groom’s side. Team up with another person so that the task is divided.
Candids Should Not Ignore Aesthetics: In the hurry to get the moment, you can’t forget aesthetics. In terms of light, framing, placement of elements and processing, the moment must look well crafted, as well.
Let Go: No matter how hard you try, you will miss out on a few things. Let go of the moments that have passed and look for new pictures.
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