Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Wednesday: Analysis Of A Wedding Shoot - Let The Competition Begin - The Bouquet Toss

Good Morning Everybody,
It's still a little "nuts-oh" around here with the DWC tour just launching and me continuing to play catch up. If you want the in-depth info and see all the goodies we are giving away, just hit the link in Digital WakeUp Call link to the right. Remember, if you decide to attend, enter the PROMO CODE - DWCDPT09 - and save yourself $20.

Can you believe it, I've got another episode of the Analysis of a Wedding Shoot today - this is the series that never ends. Yep, Still a few more to go. What should the next series be? Something to think about. Anyway, let's get right to it...

Let The Competition Begin - The Bouquet Toss
The bouquet toss is one of the high points at the wedding reception. It involves a lot of the guests participating and is always good fun. For me, this series of images covers two two-page spreads in the wedding album. As the wedding photographer shooting the bouquet toss, we need to cover it thoroughly. Let me walk you through how I put that series of images together.

Hit the "Read More..." link below for the rest of the story.

1 - I like to suggest to the bride and groom that the bouquet and garter activities happen earlier in the reception rather than later. Wedding receptions pick up momentum throughout the evening. Doing the garter and bouquet shots later in the evening tends to slow the party momentum, so try to have it happen earlier in the evening. You can easily coordinate this with the bride and groom, bridal consultant, band, or DJ.

2 – The bouquet toss is typically the first of the two events. Coordinate with the band or DJ to ask all the single girls (and all the girls who wish they were single) to join the bride on the dance floor. You can see how I prefer to have the group arranged for the shot.

3 - NEVER stand in front of the bride with all the girls behind the bride to take the shot. The bride blocks way to many of the girls and the shot will look awful. It’s always about seeing as many faces, capturing all the excitement as possible for the shot.

4 -- How about the position of my second light – this is important to get your best photograph. It’s the assistant’s job to light up the far part of the group since these girls are furthest from the camera and my on-camera flash.

5 – How about the exposure – my standard F-stop is F6.3 on my Canon 5D Mark II fitted with my 24-105mm IS lens and F5.6 on my 50D fitted with either my 17-85mm IS lens. I also like working with the 18-200mm IS lens too. It’s a great working lens for wedding candids because of the range of the focal length.

6 - Another DON’T for me is the fake toss. Many photographers ask the bride to pretend to toss the bouquet to get a first shot. For me, it looks fake, set-up, not real and doesn't capture the true feelings and emotions of the moment. I prefer to get in position, let the band start the count and then take several, even zooming in on some shots for added variety, as the bride gets ready to make the toss.

7 -- As she continues with the toss, keep the cameras rolling. I try to get at least one shot of the bouquet within fingers grasp of the person about to catch the bouquet. This is the main action shot I want to capture.

8 – It’s at this point that I approach the person who caught the bouquet and ask her to join the bride for a shot. This image is a great ending image for the entire series. There you have it - it fast moving and fun. Be sure you camera and flash can shoot fast enough to keep up with the action. Remember, these aren't the film days anymore. We've got lots of opportunities to really make a difference with how we shoot, light, and cover the bouquet toss. Hopefully this advice will make a difference in your images too.

Hey gang, that's it for me today. LaDawn and I are starting to pack our bags and get ready to head for Las Vegas! See you tomorrow for another episode of Business Day Thursday. See ya' then. -David


  1. Thanks David!
    This is another great installment to an already great series.

    I haven't done any weddings but am intrigued by the thought of doing one (which will be little ways down the road-as I am only an enthusiast and got into Photography out of necessity (In Photoshop you need photos to manipulate. But now I got my first DSLR last week and I am on the road to becoming a visionary of light!

    Thanks again..

  2. David - Does your room light make for most of the light during the toss? I can't imagine a little strobe being able to keep up like that but I do realize I could be wrong. Looking forward to seeing you in Grand Rapids in September...wish I didn't have to wait so long.

  3. Daniel,

    Let me give you a little advice.

    The very best investment you can make in your photographic future is to attend one (or more) of David's workshops!

    Digital Wakeup Call was certainly the best money I ever spent.

  4. Hi David Love the blog Just a hint in album desgine, your images are all facing out of the album? If you were on the other side of the bride they would all face into a left to right flow. and lead the viewer on to the next page. It would be nice to see you album layout also.

  5. Hi David, great post.
    I'd like to chime in and just add also that by the time the bouquet toss comes around, it's likey that your batteries may be running down too. I make it point to put a fully charged set into all my speedlites to ensure I don't have any slow recycles or worse, black frames from the flashes not firing at all. It happened to me once, but made sure it didn't ever again. Just my 2 cents.
    Thanks again.

  6. Thanks for the tips, I shouted yesterday a wedding.
    I sould have read it before...

  7. I often use my Quantum with Turbo 2x2 off to the side, perpendicular to the expected flight of the flowers, illuminating the "maids" and the flowers. With another speed light on the Bride.