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Thursday, July 21, 2011

Wedding Photography Shotlist

 Wedding party at Marble Hill South Australia. Luke and Libby.

Detail shots

Detail shots

This shot could have also been taken at cake but this was straight after their outdoor wedding at Hahndorf South Australia. Cassie and Travis

I usually get Bride and groom to put outside arms around each other and knife held with inside arms.It is easy and quick to set up.Note soft lighting. I was using film with quite high ceiling in room but bounced my metz flash off the ceilling and also the white tablecloth bounces light back up to them
AT THE GROOM'S HOUSE or where groom and family are getting ready.

*Groom Individual full,half length,head only  portraits. Indoors outdoors weather and surrounds permitting.
*Same shots for groomsman if time but important to get shots of all males in wedding party as duos or a whole group. Look for interaction.Get people looking at each other as well as camera and encourage silly talk between them.
* Getting ready shots of the above and parents if they are ok with that.
* Groom with parents and siblings, relatives in various groupings. Shots in particular with Mum and Dad. Always try to include any grandparents who are there.
Shots with wedding cars in particular if cars are a feature of the day.(Boys toys)
Mixture of formal shots and casual. Allow from half hour to an hour if no more than 3 groomsman. If more in wedding party allow an extra 15 mins.
Don't forget little kids in wedding party.

AT THE BRIDES HOUSE  or where she is changing and leaving from.
*BRIDE: These are very important shots. full,half length,head only  portraits. Indoors outdoors weather and surrounds permitting.
*Same shots for bridesmaids if time but important to get shots of all females in wedding party as duos or a whole group. Look for interaction.
* Getting ready shots of the above and parents if they are ok with that.
* Bride  with parents and siblings, relatives in various groupings. Shots in particular with Mum and Dad. Always try to include any grandparents who are there.Allow an hour if no more than 3 bridesmaids. If more in wedding party allow an extra 15 mins.
Get people looking at each other as well as camera and encourage silly talk between them.
*Bride on Father's arm at front door when leaving from house to go to ceremony.
*It is a nice photo to get shot of bride with veil over her face. If you miss it here remember to do it later.
*Use furniture and beds where appropriate for props.
Mixture of formal shots and casual.
Don't forget little kids in wedding party.

Remember it is not important that you have smiles in all photos.Some Brides may be that excited and nervous that they won't stop laughing.If you realise this try for a few what I call more "demure" shots.

CHURCH, GARDEN OR OTHER LOCATION FOR CEREMONY

*Bride and father, or one giving her away, at car on arrival for ceremony. Also with Bridesmaids. A shot through window or of bride half out of car and sitting and looking at dad or camera is nice.I think it is important to get Bride and Bridesmaids and dad or significant other lined up in front of car and on red carpet before entering the church.
*Get shots of anxious groom before ceremony starts and bride has arrived. Also try for this as she is walking down the aisle.
*Get them exchanging glances as she approaches the front and the Minister or official.
*Ceremony: Couple shots, group from back of church from balcony if there is one,exchange of rings,vows,kiss, blessing,signing register( I usually have arranged with minister to do this as set up after the actual signing) you can still take a few candids in real time.Minister handing over certificate,singers,musicians,scripture readers or other readers of poems etc,greeting parents and friends in Church after announced to congregation,walking out down the aisle, bride and groom on steps or at front of Church (add Bridal party to this)Candis confetti throwing etc.I advise people to allow 15 mins out front of ceremony venue before taking off for next photography location.
I always ask if a balcony available in churches but make sure you have pre- arranged to make sure the door to the balcony is not locked.

GARDEN OR OTHER LOCATION(S)

* Bride and groom and both lots of parents. 2 groups of 4 and one of 6.If there have been separations or divorces with parents  this may need to be done with new partners also.
* bridal party. Formal and informal. Learn to be creative. look for humour.
*Bride and Groom. Important to get a good supply of these.Vary poses ,let them be creative and share ideas if they have them.Close ups, fall length, sitting on ground or seat,kissing in bridal car, standing outside the car.
I usually have a small aluminium stepladder with me to get elevation on shots for group photos or others. Also this is helpful particularly if a large group photo has been requested of all the guests straight after the ceremony. 

RECEPTION  ( I stay up to an hour at the most at weddings.)

*Cutting cake. Set up or in real time.Capture kiss ,looking at cake, looking at camera,looking at each other. A toast with glasses(drinking glasses ie., I did have one bride who wore her glasses all day and did not want to take them off) by the cake also is a good shot.
* The cake itself,Marriage certificate on table with rings and flowers is a nice traditional shot.
*Quickly get detail shots of reception and table decorations or get your assistant to do this.One wedding I did the couple were "foodies" and they particularly wanted food shots of all the dishes being served.
* Bride and Groom and wedding party formally entering the reception venue.
* Bridal party at bridal table.
* Couple shots of parents.I usually try and get these shots also prior to the wedding but if you haven't do it at reception.
* If you have missed out on any grandparent shots do it at reception before you leave. It is sad but at my own wedding no one took a shot of my grandmother with us. She died soon after.Also my Grandfather died some years later but no shots with him also.This has happened in lots of weddings I have done.Parents have also died soon after a wedding and even a little baby from one we did a video of.
* Weddings are times to capture family memories and love.
( note my blog topic on emotions at weddings)
* guest at tables if requested and also candid shots if it is a cocktail party or do this during pre wedding drinks and nibbles.

* if staying for whole reception then:
    *Bridal waltz,candies,speeches,car decorations, throwing garter, old lang-syne, dancing,MC.


SUMMARY: When I first started out I learnt this by degrees. As in the first several years I shot film only and budget kept the number of films down,  I developed a system of 4 little cards that I kept in my top pocket during the day.I worked out how many shots per location I had pre allocated eg Shots of Bride by herself with bridesmaids, parents etc. I ticked off each shot  in groups of 5 as I went, By the time I got to the church I wasn't usually ticking as I went but it helped to keep my objectives in mind as I compared how many films I had progressively shot as to how many I had  allocated. After a while this shot list become embedded in my head and I no longer need a shot list. That should happen to all photographers  as they gain experience. You know soon what is required. You will also learn the hard way if you leave someone out. Having an assistant and going throughout the time sheet and important stuff before  the shoot begins is a good idea.Also talking to each other in the car between venues is good. If yo realise you have missed something earlier ask your assistant to remind you to get it later.A shot list like this reminds you of essentials but is used as a stepping stone to your creativity.Sometimes couples will give you shots from a magazine to try and replicate.I explain that I will keep them in mind but I cannot guarantee to re create another's shot but will attempt if opportunity and time permits.

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