Shooting creative wedding portraits can be one of the most rewarding things a photographer will ever do in his career. Every photographer I know has considered being a wedding photographer as a profession at some point. Some of us got lucky and landed jobs shooting weddings and events.
I remember that I was fairly new in the photography industry when I was asked to do my first wedding photoshoot. It was a nerve-racking experience that I thankfully got through. Over the years, I have learned lessons on shooting wedding portraits after the ceremony and before they enter the wedding reception. Here are some of the most important things I want to share with you about shooting creative wedding portraits.
Wedding portraits, as with any portrait photography, is all about building rapport with your clients. Be their best friend in the most special day of their lives. Having the couple as ease during the portrait session would make your life as a photographer that much easier. Guide them through the process and be gentle when giving instructions about wedding poses that you want them to do. You also need to have the couple focus on the wedding photoshoot as they can be worrying about a million things like the reception.
Scout the Location Ahead
It would be very wise to be familiar with the location of your wedding photoshoot ahead of time. You should check the condition of the area and see if it would be fit for what you intend to do. Scouting ahead would give you a rough idea of what gear you need to bring with you like if you need an extra set of speedlights and remote triggers because poor lighting conditions.
Also check if the area is safe for the couple especially with the bride’s expensive wedding gown if you plan to take things outdoors. The last thing you would want is to ruin the gown or having shoes soiled.
Have a Shoot List
Planning is key when shooting wedding portraits as there is a very short window of time to get everything done. Create a list of poses, scenes and unique wedding photos you might want to execute during the session. It would be good to go through this list with the couple a day or two before the wedding and see if they approve of your ideas or if they have their own fun wedding photo ideas that you can work on. Highlight the ideas that you like the most in your list.
Once on location, work through your shoot list starting from simple poses first to get the couple (and entourage if they are present) comfortable with you and also buy yourself time to get your camera settings right. Once you have the couple at ease then try the wedding poses you highlighted on your list but also be flexible as unexpected things can happen during the shoot.
The things that most photographers miss during the wedding photoshoots are those moments when the couple candidly smiles at each other in between takes. The couple has just exchanged vows minutes before your shoot and surely still feel the butterflies in their tummies. One thing I noticed is that couples tend to let their guard down after they hear the shutter click and let out natural emotions. What I do is shoot the intended pose but also be ready to do a burst of clicks right after as the couple relaxes. Look for those moments as they will be priceless.
Wedding photography is a very challenging undertaking especially when shooting creative wedding portraits. The most important thing that a photographer can do is keep calm as it can really be chaotic at times. Remember to relax, have fun and keep a look out for the unexpected. Things can happen quickly so always have your finger on the shutter button. Lastly, be in the moment and connect with the couple and their emotions; it will help you get the most awesome wedding portraits.