Capturing your wedding is as important as life itself. If your life’s most memorable moment isn’t captured on the memory card, you are missing something. Of course, the wedding photographers are experts at getting the work done, but not all excel at what they do. So, if you want to photograph your friend’s wedding your way and ensure that he or she values your work for life, here are a few handy tips to go beyond what the traditional wedding photographer does…
Start with the weather and do some reconnaissance
Wedding photography should tell a story. Yes, the dateline imprint on the photo does it in its own way, but capturing it with a time-line story in mind brings out the occasion in a way no wedding photographer can ever do. So, take an external picture of the venue, showing the sky and the road in front of it. It conveys both perspective and the weather at the same time. But even before that, do a recce of the venue and the get the schedule of the day, so can plan accordingly.
Don’t trail the bride and groom
Why? Because the wedding photographer is already doing it. So your job is to take what he hasn’t. Close-up shots of the occasional nods from the bride and groom; their varying moods and so on. In the same manner, capture the many moods of their parents and close relatives. And yes, concentrate on the laughs more than the frowns and cries.
Trail everything else
Trail the bride and groom’s brothers, sisters and close friends. Capture them at their funny best in a group or alone. And when things are not to your liking, make it happen by asking them to act like they do in MTV videos. Make them pose funnily and act outrageous in front of the camera. Bring out all the childhood gags and capture it on your chip.
Do a ‘before’ and ‘after’
Arrive at the venue when no one is around and take a ringside view of the hall when no one is present. Later, when it is full to the brim, take another shot with the same angle and perspective. This ‘before’ and ‘after’ photo looks so good; you could even make it the theme of your photography. For example, you could the two empty chairs where the bride and groom would later sit or the catering section bereft of people and later overflowing with people.
Don’t forget the food
Here is where you can do your bit of food photography. Begin with extreme close ups of the food. Capture all the dishes in one photo and then go individual. Use varying angles to make the food look more imposing yet delectable. Shoot from below; on the side or overhead… just make sure what you capture can make anyone go hungry just looking at your images. Also, ensure that you capture Kodak moments of people at the table, both in groups and individuals.
Do a photo session
Unlike the wedding photographer who is a stranger to the bride and groom, you have a decided advantage. You could make them pose on the terrace of the venue; in the balcony, on the road and just about anywhere you tell them. Here is where you can make them do fun things or make them open up and smile whole-heartedly.
Do some people watching
Scan the wedding crowd to spot interesting faces that stand out from the crowd. It could be a well-dressed business executive, an old man with accentuated wrinkles on his face that lends itself for great portraits or a charming and beautiful woman. Just ask for their permission and follow them. Click when they are at their natural best and bring out the best in them.
Don’t forget the kids
A significant chunk of people who turn up at weddings includes babies and under 10-year-olds. Don’t miss out on them. They offer the most memorable moments with their effervescent charm and innocence. Make the most of it and capture them in their varying moods.
Thinking lateral has no barriers. You could take the same shot as the wedding photographer and still come up trumps with your different angle or composition. So train your eye on the unusual, rare and interesting scenarios. And these could be people, places or even things as this photo illustrates.
Go black and white
Experiment with black and white too, like this photo. And sometimes, when a color photograph isn’t as appealing as you previously thought, just convert it to black and white in photoshop and see the difference. It’s worth a shot.
It is up to you, the photographer, to determine how good the wedding album looks and how much life the photos add to it. The pictures must be as natural as possible and must be in the ‘photojournalistic’ style; the pictures must speak the story of the day. The album must look unique. Best of luck!
~Zahid H Javali