After shooting weddings for over a decade I quickly learned to blend candid photos with posed and directed photos for my couples and their families. It took time, trial and error, lots of gut feelings and plenty of mistakes to learn that fine line. In the beginning I had a hard time inserting my self, taking charge and prided myself on being at the right time, at the right place for those signature photos.
It wasn’t until I started being a little brave, asking for posed shots and encouraging a little more interaction on wedding days that I noticed I was actually helping to make memories and not just pretty photos.
Now, this post is not about the best lighting or posing your clients with the best background options, but more about the tiny moments that we can create that our couples weren’t even expecting to happen on their wedding day! The kind of gedi mind tricks that we ask for that they end up cherishing and making their wedding experience FEEL so much better!
These moments are so much more than a dog pile of girls in robes or cute jammies on the bed. During the whirlwind morning of hair and make up and all the chaos it literally makes your bride squad (and your mothers, too!) pause and celebrate the fact that todays actually here! I love to have my brides holding a bottle of champagne for group pics with everyone, celebrating and having fun! Then I also like to catch a couple jammie pics with each bridesmaid and the bride/sisters/mother daughter photos as well, just seconds before everyone gets dressed.
Yes, most photographers grab these moments and many capture them beautifully. I’m including this part of the day as a reminder that the act of actually getting dressed isn’t that elegant and beautiful, but the magic that happens once my brides are fully dressed it what matters! I love taking the time to have bridesmaids fluff and mothers perfect every detail. This allows the reality to set in for my brides and helps them truly begin to feel like the bride!
These moments are so fun to create! Maybe your bride has a cute, customized vow book for details or maybe she’s frantically rewriting it on a notepad, referencing her phone notes! I love shooting the details and including vows, especially to capture their hand writing and ring shots, but I also love taking a moment once they’re dressed to hold the vow book, practice reading it and once again, soaking up those moments!
Typically this act of putting on jewelry takes a couple seconds and doesn’t seem like a big deal to capture… but I adore taking these photos for my brides! Once again I’m just asking my bride to pause, breathe and soak up the fact that today is her day. I love positioning my brides in gorgeous window light and challenge myself to create iconic images, the kind I envision to see in magazines, but really the images that my girls will be proud to share with their children and grandchildren one day!
Once again, these moments are fleeting and only take a couple seconds to actually get on, but I LOVE to stretch out these moments and actually make them a part of their day. I love asking a maid of honor or sister to help with the shoes, but I also love capturing my brides holding the shoes for epic photos! These photos aren’t really about the photos… they’re about making time to enjoy the experience of getting dressed for the wedding!
I love these photos because it feels like I’m creating history for my brides and their family! These could be moments with her mom, aunts, godmother, grandmother or even future mother in law. One of my favorite photos to create is the hand holding shot… I ask my bride and her mom to stand tummy to tummy, step into each other and to grab each others hands. Within in seconds those laughs turn into tears and my heart melts. These are the moments that photographs can create to enhance their day!
These moments can be tricky… Mostly because flower girls are like ticking time bombs on wedding days! Some are still in diapers, running around, some are in between naps and meals and just over stimulated, but sometimes they’re at the perfect age to take their flower girl duties seriously! No matter what age these sweet girls are I always try to carve a moment for the bride and the flower girl. Just the two of them. It may feel like a forced photo at first, but my brides are pleasantly surprised that this memory of the day wasn’t even something they were expecting to happen!
Now don’t forget to make time for the boys, too! All of the above can be applied to their getting time as well! I always encourage my second shooters to be assertively friendly to get the job done! There will always be push back for photos, even with the girls sometimes… but it’s so important to help make these moments happen! There’s typically a best man or recently married groomsman that understands the mission for photos, he’ll help you wrangle the boys!
The best advice I can share about stepping in to help facilitate these photos is to not only be intuitive, but please be extra aware of what’s going on before requesting these poses. If your bride is having a private conversation with a bridesmaid about her hair, wait until it’s resolved. If the mother of the bride is running around in yoga pants with her hair in a pony tail (nowhere near ready for photos), encourage her to get dressed by the time your bride will be getting dressed, but if she pushes back because of stress and getting things done last minute, just capture those images before the ceremony or even recreate a veil shot after the ceremony!
As photographers it’s important to understand the dynamics and flow of the day, capturing both the candids naturally and being the professional to help guide your couples for the best experience possible! Because really, yes the photos are what you’re hired to capture… But blow them away with your service and experience to help make their day FEEL even better than it looks!
Wishing you the best as you blend photos candidly with a documentary style, but still use your experience and professionalism to create moments and memories that last just as long as the photos.
With Love, Quianna Marie
Venue: Palm Event Center
Wedding Gown: Matthew Christopher
Florist: Ribbon and Roses
Bridal Make Up: Jessica Lyn
Videography: Megan Deming
DJ: Deejay Pros
Second Shooter: Regina Popova
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