Didn't we just address posing people? And now we are going to move you away from posing the client? What.is.happening? Well it's Monday... and you know what that means. Nothing, except that we are answering YOUR questions. And its the day after Sunday. So... here we go.
Question :: I feel like I get really good posed/people looking at the camera. However, I would love to mix in some unexpected shots and more candid photos. So how do I get better with that ?
That is a FANTASTIC question. Shooting weddings back in the day used to be very “ posey". If you look at your parents or grandparents photos, generally speaking, they are facing the camera and very posed and mostly include family and friends. It’s rare that you find anything that resembles a photojournalistic approach to taking photos when looking back.
In todays wedding photography culture you still see a HEAVY emphasis on those posed style shoots, and a lot of what photographers project are either detail shots OR those beautiful posed images from the session with the bride and groom. And our clients love that and I think they are an important element to the wedding day. However those candid images you see, where the bride and dad see each other for the first time, the bride and groom's first look, greeting friends etc. Those take as much, if not more work than the posed shots.
The beauty of the posed shot is that they are intentional. They require less effort. I don’t mean from a technical standpoint. They absolutely require attention to detail and a technical acumen. But the ability to photograph a beautiful moment requires so much more. It requires patience, intelligence and most of all, practice!
Without sounding super cliche, Henri Cartier-Bresson once said,
“Photographers deal in things which are continually vanishing and when they are vanishes there is no contrivance on earth which can make them come back again.”
I remember hearing that for the first time and the impact it had on my photography. I remember it shifting my thinking and approach to weddings completely. I went from the spray and pray method, or the just shoot it and move on, method to patiently observing what was happening. And I noticed a dramatic change in my work. It became more impactful. It became meaningful. Not to mention my editing time went WAY down! SO with all of that being said, here are a few things I have put into practice over the year to help me create and photograph beautiful, impactful moments as they occur.
1. Pay Attention - No brainer right? I don’t mean look around and be aware of whats happening. PAY ATTENTION - be engaged. I will go a step further. Be quiet, be attentive and be present. Immerse yourself in what’s happening. I pay an emotional price for this. I am not a crier, but the speeches, the dances, and other moments sometimes get to me. And the next day I pay the price!
2. Practice - Second (or tag along) shoot for someone and just focus on this part or aspect of your work. Go out on a Saturday or workday and photograph the city streets. Practice being attentive and immersing yourself in your surroundings.
3. Prepare - Know your gear. Know your surroundings and settings. Know who you are working with and know your timeline. The last thing in the world you want is to miss something because you didn’t prepare yourself ahead of time.
That’s it! Pay Attention, Practice and Prepare! 3 easy things you can do TODAY to create better, more meaningful work. The posed images of the bride and groom in front of a mountain with sun setting can be inspiring. But remember these moments in time, with their family are here for a second and then gone for ever. We are in the business of remembering them forever!