Thursday, 24 October 2013

Shooting a wedding

Many years ago when I lived in the UK, I did freelance wedding photography every weekend for a national company. I shot everything on medium format film (which was supplied in almost unlimited quantities) and simply covered the proceedings. At the end of the shoot, I'd mail all the film back to the company in a pre-paid envelope and receive a cheque a few weeks later.

This type of photography was a great tool in building up my confidence in dealing with people. Simply turn up at the bride's house on the morning of the wedding, introduce yourself and start shooting!

If there were any faulty images, the company would send me a contact sheet and provide suggestions such as "flash too weak here" or maybe "don't pose anyone in front of the ride in a group shot". 

I was supplied initially with a "shot list" from the company in the form of a contact sheet and carried this with me to all my early weddings, referring to it surreptitiously when no-one was watching.

After a while I discarded the list and made my own. This is a list that I try and get at every wedding that I shoot. It's by no means exhaustive and these not the only images that you should capture.

The best piece of advice I can give is to make contact with the best man and use him to gather the people necessary for your pictures. Tell him to stick with you. 

Naturally these aren't the only pictures you should take. You should always be on the lookout for candid pictures which help to tell the story of the big day.

I try and make the process of getting the group shots as fluid as possible so that people are simply added or removed from subsequent groups.

 Shot number 22 from my list.
EOS 5d MKII, 17mm lens, 200 ISO, flash 1/200 @6.3

Here are my "must have" pics.

Before the ceremony:

  1. Bride at home getting ready, last pics with mum and dad.
  2. Pic of bride and dad at the doorway. Possible taken from inside the house with them looking over their shoulder at you and one from outside.
  3. Guests mingling and waiting outside the church.
  4. Groom with best man waiting. (Maybe looking at his watch impatiently  :o))
  5. Bride getting out of car. Dad helping her.

During the ceremony: This is dependent upon the location and the permission but normally includes:

  1. The bride walking up the aisle from behind with the groom in the background.
  2. Each person placing a ring on their partner’s finger.
  3. The priest blessing the couple.
  4. Signing the register.
  5. Maybe a pic with the couple and the priest in the church.
  6. A pic of the couple inside the car. Sit on the front seat and ask them to squash together.

After the ceremony:
  1. Confetti as they come out of the church (let them get congratulated by guests etc., then proceed with these shots).
  2. Bride and Groom together (bride on your right).
  3. Bride and Groom together with her parents (boy, girl, boy girl).
  4. Bride and Groom together with his parents (boy, girl, boy girl).
  5. Bride and Groom together with both parents (his on his side and hers on her side).
  6. Bride and Groom together with her parents plus brothers and sisters and spouses / partners.
  7. Bride and Groom together with his parents plus brothers and sisters and spouses / partners.
  8. Bride and Groom together with best man and maid of honour.
  9. Bride and Groom together with his grandparents.
  10. Bride and Groom together with her grandparents.
  11. Bride and Groom together with both sets of grandparents.
  12. Bride and Groom together with any special guest(s) (maybe someone from overseas).
  13. Groom with best man.
  14. Bride with maid of honour.
  15. Bride and Groom together with bridesmaids.
  16. Best man alone (full length plus three quarter).
  17. Maid of honour alone (full length plus three quarter).
  18. Best man and maid of honour together.
  19. Separate pics of the bridesmaids.
  20. Group photo of all bridesmaids together.
  21. Group photo of all bridesmaids together plus best man.
  22. Maybe one last photo of all guests together with the couple standing about six feet in front of them. (You have to get elevated for this one. I use a small stepladder).

You can also download this list in PDF form on my website here.

Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Cover up. Or not

I was recently up in my attic looking for slides worth scanning.

As in usually the the case I got distracted and began looking in other containers as well. I came across my old lens caps. 

I learnt early on in my career that situations can change fluidly when you are on a job. For this reason, I have never bought an ever ready case, ( also known as a never ready case ) to put my camera in. There's nothing more frustrating than trying hurriedly to get a picture but first having to snap open two studs on the case, manoeuvre  it over the camera and lens, switch on the camera then bring it up to eye level ready to shoot.

 My old lens caps. Some dating back to 1982.

My solution is to get rid of the caps and to protect the front element of the lens with a good quality UV or skylight filter and a deep lens hood. In the early days I used the collapsible rubber lens hoods which also acted as shock absorbers.

 Body caps. L-R  EF, FD and FL (I think)

If I later sell a lens, I will of course include the lens cap but I do tend to keep my equipment for a long time.

It's embarrassing to bring the camera up to eye level then realise that everything in the viewfinder is dark. Also if you are using a range finder camera (without live view obviously), you probably wouldn't notice that the lens cap was on like this unfortunate gentleman. . . .

Thanks for reading.