The Wedding Day Part II
Monte Zucker• Posted Feb 1, 2002
But when you turn her body away from the light and then turn her face back to the light, you get good detail in her gown as well as on her face.
The background for these portraits and the few that follow was my 4 to 6 ft Westcott translucent panel. What a simple way of eliminating background distraction!
Actually, there are all kinds of ways you can put together the same four people into different pictures. That was one of the keys to creating all these images with just four people present for this wedding. Here are a couple of portraits of the groom's mother. Don't forget, I'm actually not showing you all the pictures that were taken. Sort of just giving you an outline of how we worked this particular wedding.
I sat the mother on the arm of a chair and then brought the groom beside her to get a portrait of the two of them hugging each other. Do you think that either one of them would like to have that picture in their albums? To get these expressions my directions to the two of them were, "Push your cheeks together."
Without the translucent panel this is what the background looked like. Not bad at all for a couple of the portraits, but I liked the simplicity of the plain background better.
"No Squint" Outdoor Portraits
I really believe that most of the time photographers don't work out in the bright sunshine because their subjects squint their eyes. So, why not position your subjects in a location where they will be looking into a dark area, rather than into bright light?
A simple flash on the top of my Canon D30 was set manually to bring the light on the faces up to match the exposure of the bright sunlight. Thus, I retained detail throughout the composition. Even though the flash matched the sunshine, because the sunlight was coming from behind, the brightness of the sunlight still retained its natural backlighting appearance.
Oftentimes, photographers neglect to create portraits of the groom alone. I'm showing here two of the several pictures I made of him.
In the first one I was careful to position the height of my camera at about his waistline. A higher camera position would have resulted in a large body and short, stubby legs. I've seen too many portraits created with this appearance, simply because it was more comfortable for the photographer not to have to get down lower. Again, it's one of those things€how much effort are you willing to go through to get the best results possible?
For the bride and groom together I continued the same lighting technique shown in the "groom alone" portraits.
When I posed the bride alone full length I brought her gown out on both sides of her. When I posed her with other people, however, I brought her gown out only behind her. I like it positioned that way better than having the gown appear from behind the other people.
Once again I brought the groom's mother together with the bride and groom for a more formal picture. And then I asked them to look at each other. You have to be careful in turning faces like this that the camera sees good facial angles and not the backs of heads. In a situation like this I usually would have the groom look at his mother, rather than at his bride. In this way his mother would be more interested in having the photograph, rather than had he turned away from her. Subtle, but interesting, huh?
Before the ceremony began I sort of set the scene by showing where the marriage was to take place. Rather than taking a picture of the gazebo by itself, I posed a back profile of the bride, so that I could show the back of her gown and the train, just as it was designed--to be behind her dress.
Down The Aisle
Whatever the environment of a ceremony, I try to pose my subjects just before they begin walking. This is as opposed to photographing them as they're actually walking. In a church I usually open the door to the outside and photograph each of the main people in the procession with the outdoors being used as a background.
One thing that you really have control over now is the height at which the bride carries her bouquet. Have you ever noticed that all women tend to hold their bouquet up too high? Usually, they'll cover the whole top of their body with the bouquet, rather than holding it down below their waist, as she's doing in this picture. So, there's a lot to be said about posing these pictures before the people actually start walking down the aisle.