Friday, October 15, 2010

Friday: It’s the Little Things That Count In Good Wedding Photography

Good Morning everybody,

Door Prizes We wrapped leg 5 of our CBTL2010 Tour in Boston last night where we had one of our biggest east coast audiences. I love meeting everyone and I love their enthusiasm for the program. As usual, the audience loves "Door Prize Time". To date we have given away nearly $100,000 worth of door prizes - WOW!!! I can't believe we only have 4 cities remaining. Our round trip for these last two legs had us cover over 2,500 miles.

Rob Washington DC Also, I want to thank Rob, of Towner Jones Photography, for the shout out on his blog about our CBTL2010 tour in Washington. 

Here is a quick excerpt from his blog post – ”…For those of you that have seen David on his online training videos - yes, he's that energetic in person too. He's got a level of enthusiasm that is contagious, and as a result, you can't help but get "fired up" about taking your own photography to the next level.”  You can read his entire review right here. Hey, Rob,THANKS a bunch!

Today we begin the long two day drive back home to the Kentucky side of Cincinnati, Ohio. Being on the road has been fun but it will be nice to get back. We'll arrive late Saturday afternoon, but don't get much of a rest with my Digital Master Class [link] beginning on Monday.

Once again we have photographers coming in from all around the country to LIVE, EAT, SLEEP, and BREATH photography for the entire week. I'll keep you posted.

Hey gang, I'm going to keep it short and sweet today. We just want to enjoy the drive back and we've got a brand new book on tape we're listening to - the Life and Times of Billy The Kid, sounds interesting so far.

On with today's post....

It's The Little Things That Count

In our travels we occasionally will spend the weekend in a hotel hosting an event, a big wedding or Bar Mitzvah. That happened again on this trip. My inclination is to always stand around and observe the photographer work from a distance, not so much to be critical, but more so to see how different photographers work.

In many of my observations I am always surprised by how many shots seem to be missed. Don't get me wrong, I’m not saying the photog is not doing his/her job. But, I am saying, I try to be more aware of ALL the action going on around me and try to capture as much of it as possible for my clients.

Hit the “Read More…” link below for the rest of the story.

While recently observing a photographer working in a major hotel, I noticed that the coverage of the cocktail hour was completely absent from the coverage. The photographer was concerned with getting the group shots. The second shooter was doing a few peripheral shots still focused on the wedding party / family groups.

If it was my shoot, I would have my second shooter doing what we call "cocktail candids" - casual small group photographs of the guests just enjoying each others company as they wait for the reception to begin.

These aren't necessarily big sellers for the album, but getting these shots rounds out the coverage for the bride and groom.

I am digressing just a bit  because what I really wanted to discuss was some of the little things this photographer did that could have been done differently to improve the shoot. So today, let's begin with a possible new series entitled "It's The Little Things That Count".

The Case Of The Corkscrew Wedding Gown

Princess DianaSo is there a right way and wrong way to arrange a wedding gown when posing the bride? The answer is a resounding YES.  Remember when Princess Diana walked down the aisle at St. Paul’s Cathedral years ago. It was a magnificent sight with the beautiful train following the gown down the aisle.

Folks, that’s what the train of a gown is supposed to do - follow the bride down the aisle. That's how it was designed and that is how the gown and train look there best.

OK, you're thinking what's my point? My point is why do so many photographers want to bring the gown and train around to the front of the bride when photographing the wedding formals. It just looks silly and totally unattractive all bunched up like that considering the style and design the gown designer had in mind in the first place.

Bad DressIMG_9084 Take a look at how the bride and her gown are arranged in this image. Do you see what I talking about. It looks as if she tried to take a step forward, she would surely trip and fall on her face with the gown wrapped around her feet like that.

I know the photographer was trying to show off the gown and train in this shot, but this is not the way to do it. It goes without saying that we need to show the beautiful gown in all of it's glory. So, why not set up a few photographs that photograph the bride (bride and groom) from the back with the beautiful gown extended back to the camera trailing the bride as it was designed. This is a much more beautiful way to show off the gown and train and it shows it off as it was designed to be seen.

The bottom line is this - NEVER put the gown in an "ankle strangle" around the bride when doing the formal portraits. Take all the group photographs with the gown completely behind everyone posed in the group. Again, NEVER bring the gown around to the front of the group.

Bride with Gown ALWAYS set aside a few minutes to feature the gown in a few of the images. My favorite way to show off the gown and train is to have the bride turn slightly away from me. Next, I'll "floof" the gown to catch some air, and then hold it and let it gently come to rest on the floor.

I'll make any final adjustments to be sure the gown looks it's best and then continue with the shoot asking the bride to turn back slightly to the camera. It always makes for a great image particularly if you are lighting the shot with an off-camera flash.

That's just one of the little things you can do to flatter your bride, enhance the wedding gown and separate your wedding images from the competition.


Hey gang, that's it for me today. It is time for us to hit the homeward bound trail back to Kentucky. We've got quite the drive but we plan to enjoy it. How about I catch up with everyone next week, same time, same station.

Have a great weekend and I'll see ya' then.

Adios everybody, David


  1. David:

    Just wanted to thank you for a great seminar in Boston on Thursday! I really enjoyed it and learned quite a bit. Wish I had won one of the door prizes, but I got your book autographed, so I was happy with that! Hope to see you in Boston again soon.

    On a side note, I have to agree about your comments on the wedding photographer missing some shots. I was a guest at a wedding last month, and the bride and groom were having some spontaneous fun on the dance floor with part of the wedding party. I looked around and saw that the photographer was on the other side of the room taking table photos and missing some great shots of the new couple and their friends! She had a second shooter, but he was nowhere to be found.

    I guess it can be a problem when you work on a set schedule with set shots that you feel have to be taken, but a wedding is about celebration and capturing the moment. Your seminar really demonstrated that!

    Thanks again,


  2. David... I can see where you're coming from, but this post is awfully sanctimonious. I don't think posing is that black and white. Maybe it is for you, but you make it sound like any photographer who ever does this is absolutely doing something wrong, and that may not always be the case. I agree that I don't like the posing in the shot you showed, but that's okay. Other photographers can and should try new and different things. Calling somebody out after a quick observation doesn't seem helpful.