If you are looking for natural wedding photography to capture your special day then you may be wondering how, especially if you feel awkward in front of a camera! Here’s my take on what, why and when on your wedding day …
I use the terms reportage and documentary when I talk about photographing weddings. As far as ‘people’ imagery is concerned this is the more candid side of my photography which plays an important role in creating the visual story of the day during key periods such as your ceremony, drinks reception, speeches and first dance. There is no intervention from me during these times although I am still looking for the best angles for light and composition of my shots. It focuses upon your guests as much as you and captures many reactions and situations that you may not actually see through your own eyes on the day. The pride and emotion from your close family as you walk up the aisle, a tender moment between guests or a child playing are good examples of this and not forgetting one of my favourite things, the nerves and anticipation of the groom waiting for his wife to be.
I also document the asthetics of your day, photographing your choices for bridal and groomswear, reception decor, flowers, favours and your cake. Some things I will capture just as I find them and others I will position and photograph more artistically. These are all the unique things which you have painstakingly planned and again I believe this imagery plays an important part in your memories of the day. I love all the imagination and creativity that both yourselves and fellow wedding suppliers have injected to bring this all together.
During the rest of the day I take a more considered approach towards photographing you. During bridal preparations I will respond to the situation using a combination of reportage photography with some adjustments to help create more pleasing results. I may do some tidying or might ask you to change position finishing your make up or getting dressed for better light and creativity. You can then continue knowing I am capturing you in the most flattering way. As for photographing the groomsmen before your ceremony cameraderie tends to take over and with some ideas thrown in to position the group this part of the day is good fun and naturally relaxed.
If you would like group shots, which most couples do, more organisation is needed. I ask for help from your wedding party with this, usually from your ushers. When we have ‘ushered’ the right people together I then concentrate on poses which look as relaxed as possible and show the connection between people. Without this direction guys often default into what I fondly call ‘free kick’ pose and girls can become coy. I might ask you for example to casually drape arms around each other, change the way you are facing or holding yourself. I am looking for things which look un-natural in this situation and make changes to remove them. Sometimes I will have someone I have recognised as a bit of a joker to stand behind me and stir up some more reaction – that gets a much more natural smile or chuckle than me just asking you to smile. I might ask you as a couple to have a kiss which always gets a happy swoon from the rest of the group. So this isn’t a reportage approach of capturing things as they happen, it is making things happen to keep a relaxed feel.
And then there is your couple imagery, just the two of you, the whole reason for the day. When I first started photographing couples and weddings I thought that getting you together and just asking you to be yourselves for a while would create the most natural images. For some couples that does work especially with more outgoing individuals who tend to be less self conscious. Actually though those of you looking for more natural imagery can often be more reserved, perhaps even worry about being photographed, that’s why my style appeals to you. So what do you think happens if I ask you to just relax and be yourselves? The answer can be the exact opposite! Again this is where gentle direction helps achieve the right result, I’ll offer suggestions for poses and gestures all the time looking for how to make you appear most relaxed. Simple things like how you hold each other can make all the difference. Posing to me doesn’t mean grinning for the camera – it is about how you sit, stand or walk ready to be photographed in a flattering way.
Why do I choose to combine these approaches to create natural wedding photography?
It lets me be a storyteller and creates images which work together as a collection rather than a set of individual images. It also enables me to use the best available light and backdrops in some scenarios, especially your newlywed images. And it lets me take you away from prying eyes and allow you a few minutes by yourselves to enjoy each other. My wedding photography package collections include an engagement or pre-wedding session which gives you some practice with this part of the day and you can let me know what you feel most comfortable with. I always enjoy the reactions to imagery from these sessions because I know it will help you feel a whole lot more relaxed on your wedding day.
Finally a few words about my editing, an equally important part of my wedding photography where I give your images their finished look. I don’t follow fashion here because I want your images to be timeless. I look to naturally enhance your imagery while keeping a fresh and real style so that the pictures reflect the colours and look of your wedding day just as you remember it.
I hope that helps you understand my approach to natural wedding photography a little more and is maybe even starting to make you feel more comfortable about being photographed. Having a chat is also good so that you can get to know me some more – it’s important that you like me too, your photographer is with and around you all through your special day :) x
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