If you plan on taking some pictures at a wedding, there are a few shots that seem to end up in every album. All you have to do is capture these events, and you’ll get a rep as a great photographer!
Number one is the cutting of the cake. The usual sequence starts with a close up of the cake, followed by both bride and groom looking down and cutting, then looking up (this is the best shot). It ends with a ritual feeding of each other (and hopefully not a smash job.) One full length shot is enough. The rest should be cut at the knees for a medium crop. The feeding can be closer.
Second is the first kiss after the ceremony. This event can come quickly, so you’d better be positioned ahead of time with your finger on the button and the camera to your eye. You only get one chance. This picture is mostly symbolic so it doesn’t matter if you can’t see all of the faces.
Third most popular is the picture of the bride and groom getting in the limousine after the ceremony. Right after the throwing of the rice shot, you must race around to the street side of the car, open the door and be prepared to stop the bride from entering prematurely. You must get the bride and groom’s faces close to each other for a good shot. Take two to be sure.
Beloved by brides, grooms and parents alike is the close-up picture of the bride looking up into the groom’s eyes. Include the bouquet and show the rings in the shot. Make several variations: looking at the camera, touching heads, and looking out to the distance. Of course take some full length pictures, some with the flowers on the ground , the bride and groom hugging.
Fifth is the toast picture. It makes a great wallet and thank you card as well as ending up in every album. Because it is so popular, take one toasting each other and two looking at the camera. The same shot works well with the parents as well. If engraved, be sure the glasses are turned toward the camera.
Pictures in the house are kind of anticlimactic, but there is one shot that gets all the oohs and aahs: the bride with her bouquet, peering out of the living room window while she waits for the limousine to arrive. Usually no flash is needed — the light from the window lends the perfect portrait quality. Her left hand can be parting the curtain, and her right holding the bouquet. The lace always looks great.
Finally, the first dance picture emphasizes happiness, togetherness and action all at once. The ideal shot is full length, taken as the bride and groom tilt toward the camera. Ideally, thephotographer is at a low angle, and the bride and groom are cheek to cheek. Because the timing is so difficult, no one will mind if you take several tries at the perfect shot.
Though these wedding shots are the most popular, don’t forget that the most important shots of all are the family picture and the portrait of the bride and groom.
Kenneth Hoffman is a retired portrait and wedding photographer.