Wedding portraits – the only wedding photography area effecting the actual ‘day of wedding’ timeline. Every other aspect of wedding photography revolves around the pre-determined schedule (getting ready, ceremony, reception). They are also an area of much discussion. Some couples have a great number of portraits they want done. Others want to keep the ‘posed photos’ to a minimum. Even if you prefer a candid, “photojournalistic” style of wedding photography, most likely you are going to have some portraits taken – they may be very natural and unposed, but they can still be considered portraits. With these tips, I will make sure you get the most from them!
1. Get Rid of the Distractions
Easier said than done, I know. I could write an entire blog post on this topic and I probably will at some point. With cell phones and cameras and most likely drinks all around, there are a lot of things vying to distract you and whomever else is having their picture taken from the task at hand. You have seen the pictures – someone or several people are looking in wildly different directions, one person is holding a drink that seems out of place, somebody wasn’t in the photo because they walked off to take a phone call (or worse, they show up in the frame talking on their phone). Work with your photographer to let everyone involved know that the whole process will go a lot faster and smoother if everybody puts away their phones, drinks, and cameras for a little while and give the photographer their attention. You are paying them for their pictures, so don’t let your money get thrown away.
2. Location, Location, Location
Where you choose to do your photos determines the background of your portraits. You may not have access to a ‘scenic’ location, but put some thought into where the pictures are going to be. Another thing to consider about your location is the time of day that you are going to be taking photos. If you are outside, taking pictures in the middle of the day, consider a spot with some shade so that you and your guests are not squinting throughout your photos (or sweating profusely if it is a hot day). If you are inside, consider when the room you are going to be in gets the best light (if it has windows). This is something that you should talk over with your photographer as well. They should be able to answer any questions you have about the location(s) you choose.
3. Stand Up Straight!
I have said it before, I will say it again. The fastest way to make your photos look better is to have good posture. This goes for everybody in the pictures. Slouching doesn’t look good on anyone.
4. Be Practical
I am not trying to stomp on anyone’s dreams here, but if you have 45 minutes to take pictures, trekking 20 minutes away to a location doesn’t leave you a lot of time to take pictures. Very large groups also take longer for the photographer to shoot, because they have to arrange all the people and make sure they can be seen in the photo. Consider how much time you have to take pictures. If you have a strict window of time, don’t try to put too many things into it. Less is actually more. You will get better pictures if you are not feeling rushed.
If you are going to do a ‘first look’ before the ceremony, that gives you the opportunity to do your portraits before hand as well (most likely you will have more time to do them than during a cocktail hour) and then you can spend time with your guests after the ceremony!
If you are not doing a ‘first look’, consider doing as many groups of family and the bridal party (as well as each of you on your own) before the ceremony. Whatever you choose, getting the biggest groups out of the way first leaves you with more time for photos of just the two of you (which is what the day is all about, right?) and less time trying to gather stragglers who may have wandered away from the portrait area.
If you have A LOT of groups you want pictures with, I would even suggest adding a ‘photo booth‘ to your wedding reception – that way you can take pictures throughout the evening with guests and you won’t feel pressured to pack them all into a short period of time. You might also consider doing a ‘day after’ portrait session with your photographer so that you can spend more time on photos of the you as a couple in a less rushed environment.
5. Talk To Your Photographer
These are obviously all guidelines and tips. Every wedding has its own unique situations. The person who will know best (or should) how to handle your portraits is your photographer. One of the things you are paying your photographer for is their expertise. They have done this before. Talk to them about what you want to accomplish in your portrait session and get their feedback on the best way to achieve your goals.