Your wedding photos should provide you with a lifetime of amazing memories of your special day.
The traditional or classic style of wedding photography is the one that most people are familiar with. The photographer often works from a ‘shot list’ prepared according to the bride’s requests and takes posed photographs throughout the day to complete the list. Experienced photographers will provide you with all the photos you requested with this type of photography. The advantage of the traditional style is that you can pretty much predict what your photos will look like. The disadvantage is that the photographer will be directing a good portion of your day.
The documentary or photojournalistic style of wedding photography has grown in popularity in the last decade. The photographer is there to document the activities of the day without interference in order to provide you with a series of images that tell the story of the day. Experienced photojournalists will provide you with unique photos that show the events and interactions that took place while depicting the atmosphere and emotions felt throughout the day. The advantage of the documentary style is that you can pretty much ignore the photographer. In fact, most of them will tell you to do that. The disadvantage is that the results are unpredictable. They depend entirely on the interactions that take place among the people at the wedding and your photographer’s ability to capture those interactions.
Once you have chosen a photographer, you can help him get better pictures of your wedding by letting him know your wishes and about any unusual events or significant circumstances that he should be aware of, such as surprise quests or events at the reception, or family and bridal party members who don’t get along.
If your photographer works from a ‘shot list,’ he should give you a copy to which you can add or subtract entries. Even if you are going with a documentary approach, let the photographer know about any people or encounters that would have special meaning to you. If you have seen wedding photos that you particularly like, let your photographer know about them. If they are his photos, point them out. If not, show him examples or tell him where he can see some if that’s possible. Try to tell your photographer as much as you can about what you hope to see in your wedding photos.
The group pictures or ‘formals’ will go much faster if you can create a list of the number of groups you would like photographed and the people who you want in each group. It’s also important to make sure everyone knows that they should stick around for the group shots. Stragglers slow down the group shots more than anything else. You can expect average times of between three and five minutes per group depending on how organized and cooperative everyone is.
In addition to the traditional bridal party formals, or instead of, you may want to try a more illustrative approach with the group in unusual or more active poses. Discuss this with your photographer, and let your bridal party know about it before the wedding day. These shots work best if the entire group is on board with it, and the photographer isn’t trying to get people to do things they don’t want to do. This applies to an illustrative couple session as well. If the bride is all for it but the groom just wants to get it over with it shows in the photos.
One of the best things you can do to get good pictures of your wedding is to relax and have a good time. Something is probably not going to be the way you planned it, ordered it or scheduled it. In fact, your wedding would be the exception if everything went exactly according to plan. It would also be the exception if everything didn’t work out just fine in the end. So try not to worry. The stress can show in your pictures.
The day is a celebration of your affirmation of love and commitment to each other. Everything else is incidental. Keep that in mind.