Lynne Eodice is a writer/photographer and popular contributor to PHOTOgraphic
Photographing weddings can be a fun and rewarding experience, whether you're
the official photographer for the event, or simply a relative or guest who wants
to record a few memories. There are several schools of thought when it comes
to shooting weddings. For example, there's a more-formal approach which
involves careful posing, and is based on studio portraiture. There's also
the photojournalistic approach, which means that you capture candid moments
as they occur, with little or no posing of the bride and groom.
Some couples prefer to document their wedding with formal portraits
that involve careful posing and studio-style lighting. Try to
arrange a time for photographing the bride and groom before the
Reader photo by Loren B. Brown, Redding, CA
Many couples prefer to incorporate both styles into the recording of their
wedding day. Some parents want formal family portraits, while the bride and
groom may prefer a more spontaneous approach.
Weddings may appear on the surface to be routine events, as thousands of them
occur every weekend. In reality, weddings are social and political events filled
with interesting activities, emotions, action, and drama. If you're photographing
a wedding, it's up to you to try to capture some of these fleeting moments.
Photojournalism often involves capturing little details that the traditional
wedding photographer doesn't typically photograph, such as the emotions
on people's faces, and even details like the bridal bouquet or the lace
on her gown.
If you're photographing the entire event, it's a good idea to review
the wedding coverage with the happy couple in advance. They can tell you what
important shots they want, and you may choose to capture other spontaneous occurrences
as they happen.
While most couples ask their photographer to shoot the festivities
in color, it's a good idea to provide some black-and-white
images as well.
Reader photo by Vera Crosby, Metamora, MI
You can begin by photographing the bride preparing for the big event. Take
pictures of her having her hair and makeup done, and trying on her veil. Try
to capture the look in her eyes as she sees herself being transformed. Likewise,
you might want to photograph the groom and the groomsmen before the ceremony.
The main event is, of course, the most important part of the day. It's
a good idea to visit the venue in advance, so you can stake out some vantage
points from which to work. Ask about any restrictions that are imposed on photographers,
and obey them. Be prepared to photograph the customs that occur during the wedding
ceremony, and find out if flash is allowed. In many cases, you'll have
to use a fast film or fast ISO setting on your digital camera instead, as flash
is typically considered distracting to the ceremony.
The photojournalistic approach involves capturing interesting
candid moments as they occur, without formal lighting or posing
Reader photo by John Matthews, Harrogate, IN
If the wedding is outdoors, then you can use a much slower speed, like ISO
100-400. While photographing the wedding ceremony, try to be as unobtrusive
as possible while still capturing the important events, such as the exchange
of rings and the kiss.