Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Quick Hit Wednesday: The Analysis of a Wedding Shoot - Part 2

Good Afternoon Everybody,
Sorry for the late post yesterday which is why I am posting later than usual today. Things just got real crazy at the studio and I wasn't able to get the post up until late in the afternoon. We had three portrait clients come by to view their "Portrait Presentations" and everyone loved their images. My last appointment went a little long - we got talking wall portraits and portrait albums - as the client truly loved their images. I'm visiting with them at their home on Friday to finalize the size of the wall portraits and wrap the order. You know, it's always about "bending over backward" to serve your client. Heck, I might even post an image or two from the shoot - stay tuned...

The Analysis of a Wedding Shoot - Part 2
Anyway, how about we get on with The Analysis of a Wedding Shoot - Part 2. Last week I posted what happens gear wise as we prep for the weekend shoot [link]. Now lets head to the site and get to work...

The Start of The Wedding Shoot -
1 -- My team arrives at the studio about one hour before we are due to be on site. We review all the details of the wedding and what each person responsibilities will be on the event and time sync the cameras. 2 -- We arrive on site usually about 30 minutes before were due to start photography. This gives us a chance to review locations for group photographs and other special photographs of the bride and groom. It also gives us a chance to introduce ourselves to wedding consultants, florists, lighting technicians, hotel staff, etc. All this PR just helps the day go much more smoothly.

3 -- Typically the shoot goes like this for me. If the event is happening at a large hotel like Netherland Hilton, which I've discussed several times previously at Digital Pro Talk, we ring the bride's room to announce our arrival and just see how everybody is progressing getting ready. The girls are generally at some stage of hair and makeup. I love to make this part of our coverage. My first images are usually images of the bride and her bridesmaids and other female family members getting ready. That, as I said, could be in the hotel suite or at the bride's home or even at the church.

4 -- We then seek out the groom and his groomsman and his parents and try to get some photographs of them as well. I have to say, it's always a lot more exciting covering the girls. The guys are usually just hanging around, usually drinking a beer or two, and watching a ball game on TV. Nevertheless it's an important part of the story and needs to be recorded. Many of these images are recorded with just the available light but, sometimes I use my off-camera flash or my on-camera flash bounced off of the side wall to give me some direction of the light illuminating the scene.

5 -- At this point we generally check back with the bride as she goes into her final moments of preparation. This is a great time to get some great detail photographs of maybe her attendants buttoning up the back of a gown, for adjusting the jewelry, and mother placing the veil on her head, her jewelry, shoes......
This is also a great time to get those wonderful and often emotional images of the bride's father seeing his daughter for the first time in her wedding gown. It’s a terrific time to capture all those actions and reactions – the special moments - the special feelings - of the day. We take several images during this part of the day knowing that only a few select chosen images will be in the wedding album. We also know that capturing at least one spectacular expression or wonderful emotion will add priceless memories for my client.

6 -- The next series of images is usually going to be at the church or even better said at the location of the ceremony. We arrive, survey the surrounds, and start shooting several scene setters of the location. That includes exterior views, close-up of the Church, it’s signage, details of the structure, the wedding programs, floral arrangements, receiving guest book and anything else we might see that is interesting.

We also give a pretty thorough coverage to the interior of the church as well. That would include wide angle views of the church itself, close-ups of the flowers and candles, and various views from the front and the back of the church – whatever can serve as added backgrounds and points of interest that add to the finished album. It's at this point that we begin photographing some of the guests as they arrive. This section of coverage may also include the attendants passing out the programs, any ushers seating the guests, parents greeting guests.

7 -- We want to be sure to capture the bride arriving at the church and making her way to the waiting room in the short moments before the ceremony. We also like to track down the groom as he waits those last few minutes before the ceremony as well. These are great times to capture some wonderful emotional images between the bride and groom and their loved ones on her wedding day.

That wraps The Analysis of a Wedding Shoot – Part 2. Next week I’ll give you the “blow by blow” coverage of the ceremony along with another entire series of images. But, for now, what is that I smell – pumpkin pie? It must be – it’s Turkey Day tomorrow! I’ll see everyone for thoughts about Thanksgiving tomorrow – see you then. -David


  1. Thanks for taking the time to blog so extensively. You REALLY don't have to do this and readers like me appreciate all your efforts. I'll be attending the spring workshop. Can't wait to learn all I can from you! Happy Thanksgiving.

  2. I just want to echo what Cassandra said and to also say thank you!!

    Happy Thanksgiving to all.

  3. Thank-you for sharing David. I am totally engaged (no pun intended) in reading this series of posts on the "process" during the wedding. As a second shooter, I enjoy reading how other photographers do it.

    Have a great Thanksgiving.

  4. Thanks David - this is gold for those of us starting weddings.

  5. David, I love you and Digital Pro Talk. I just cant seem to get enough. I do have a quick question, you mentioned "time sync the cameras", what does that mean? I am assuming it means what it sounds like, that all cameras have the same time. Is this for post production? So you can tell when a shot was taken during the wedding ceremony? Or is it just geek speak? Thanks for your wonderful insights. Have a very happy Thanksgiving!