On some days I feel like I have found every possible way to photograph a bride and groom and have nothing new to offer. On other days I feel like everything is new, discovering ways of seeing a couple and integrating their unique personalities into photographs that fit them just perfectly.
But, no matter how I’m feeling, to deliver the quality of photos that couples hire me for, I need to work hard to continue seeing things in creative and romantic ways in order to bring out the emotions people feel on a wedding day.
Here are 5 ideas for finding creative, unique and natural shots for your brides and grooms.
Make your subjects comfortable in front of the camera
1. Get to know your clients.
Finding a creative angle is great. But what I really love is getting to know the bride and groom to find out their story and what kinds of things are important to them. If the bride is wearing a necklace that was passed down from a great-grandmother, you don’t want to spend your time photographing the shoes she picked on a whim and doesn’t really care about. Find out what parts of the wedding carry significance to the bride.
How do you find out? Ask questions. Search out a great story. Meet with the couple ahead of time if necessary. I recently shot a series of bridal portraits for a bride and groom in an elevator. For any other couple, this is not an amazing location. But this couple first met in an elevator, so the setting had particular significance. The only way to know this was to ask about their love story and to think of a way to incorporate the details into their creative portraits.
Love in an elevator
2. Make the bride & groom comfortable.
You can have all the creative ideas in the world, hang off the side of buildings, or shoot with the nicest of cameras… but if your subjects are feeling awkward you are severely limited for natural and creative portraiture. Start with giving positive affirmation. Tell the couple how good they look and how excited you are to photograph them. Make them feel like you are on their side and your first priority is making them look awesome. Build their trust by not asking them to do anything silly or that would potentially make them look foolish. Give specific direction on where to stand (or sit) and where to place their hands.
3. Create a moment.
Great, natural looking portraits don’t always happen. Most people don’t have modeling experience and have no idea how to look their best or how to have a genuine reaction when they know a camera is pointed at them. Sometimes you have to make them happen. This may mean scouting ahead of time for a spot with great light and then suggesting to the couple that they meet there for the first time they will see each other.
This may also mean coaching them through emotions or explaining a scenario, so the couple knows what emotions you are looking for them to show. It may mean just letting them talk through how they are feeling so they can fully process what is going on in their mind.
4. Get creative with cropping.
If you are feeling stuck in your creative composition, try a different crop. Focus in on the most important part of your shot and frame around that. Or pull out a wider lens and capture more of the background. Find a way to change it up.
Cropped in tight
5. Capture some movement.
For natural looking portraits, try to introduce a little movement. Rather than putting the bride and groom in a pose and snapping away while they stand still, ask them to move into a pose and capture them along the way. Ask the groom to kiss the bride’s ear or ask the bride to caress the groom’s face. Or ask them to do something funny to cause a smile. This will help to make your photos less stiff and more natural looking.
Find more wedding day portrait ideas with the Craftsy class Beautiful Bridal Portraits, and learn the techniques you need to become a highly sought-after wedding photographer!