Sometimes I wonder if there is anything left to teach after hosting workshops, coaching and online resources for over 4 years now. Are there really MORE areas of the wedding day that photographers need help with? The answer is YES. I could break down the wedding day piece by piece and really never run out of advice to share! Over the years I have established patterns in the way that I photograph wedding days. It used to be that I only held myself accountable to getting AWESOME portraits at every wedding.
It’s almost like I didn’t think that it was possible to get crazy amazing shots during other parts of the day like during toasts or when the bride gets into her dress. I KNEW how to capture amazing portraits and I knew how to push myself during those parts of the day but when it came to other areas, I didn’t challenge myself for the longest time! Now I know that all of that was a lie. I CAN be creative when the bride gets into her dress and I CAN try knew things during all different parts of the wedding day!!
Today’s post is focused specifically on when the bride gets into her dress! When the bride is getting into her dress, I’m looking for a few very important things:
– I need access to natural light and it needs to be full length if at all possible. This means that I don’t want to use one small window that is up really high because only the bride’s upper torso would be properly exposed!
– I’m looking for a clean, neutral space without any distractions in the background! This sometimes means asking the bridal party to clear the clutter in one part of the getting ready space!
– I need mom AND bridesmaids to be dressed. I usually ask them to start getting dressed about 20 minutes prior to the bride getting into her gown!
So, once I have those things and the girls are changed and ready… now it’s time to process through all of the “must-have” shots that I want and need to capture.
In my head, this is what I was thinking when the bride was getting into her dress this past weekend…. and I’m actually going to write it like I processed it internally so that it really does show you how I work and achieve my end result :
– Soooo… she’s going to get dressed over near the large windows but I’ll have to over-expose the background and there is no reflective light inside the room to brighten the front of her and so I don’t want to take ALL of her “getting in the dress” portraits with such a strong back light in case it’s TOO strong and they don’t turn out. So I’ll just do a few completely backlit and then I’ll start shooting from a side angle to have some of that window light exposing the sides of their faces. I also might decide to pull the sheer hotel curtains out to SOFTEN the window light and that helped because once I scooted over to shoot from the second angle with the direct window light hitting her face, it was too harsh! Those sheer curtains softened the light perfectly!
– Next, I’m thinking about vertical and horizontal…. I always need some vertical shots of the “getting in the dress” process for blogging purposes. These vertical shots show the whole dress and once I take that vertical shot, I scoot in close for another vertical shot that is tighter. (I do this because I’m thinking of the blog post! I also want to capture one of two gorgeous horizontal shots of this part of the day too! Horizontal shots will break up the blog post AND give my couple get options for their album design!)
– After the bride is zipped, buttoned or laced into her dress, then I have a whole new list of things that I want to capture. I work hard to capture some vertical shots of JUST the bride acting like she’s putting her earrings in. I usually use my 85mm for these shots so that it’s focused just on the bride and it’s extra creamy and soft!
– Now is the time when I get to be creative because I’ve gotten my “must have” shots. In this specific situation the bride only had her mom help her get into the dress because of time constraints and she also needed to have her veil put in!! So, instead of photographing the veil being put in from the same angle as the shots I had taken before, I rotated to the other side of the room and tried shooting from that angle and I loved it even more than the first shots! And once I realized that I loved that angle more, I stages a few shots of the bride and her mom!!
So before I go I should probably share that EVERY wedding is different and this is just ONE example to learn from!!! I hope that it was helpful walking through my thought process during this 10 min span of the wedding day!!! If you like hearing my thought process and my approach to certain parts of the day, let me know and I’ll keep doing them!! 😃
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I’m so excited to share this final 2020 Wedding with you all!! It’s a special one! We photographed this beautiful wedding day on our own 10 year anniversary! Ten years ago on this day, we were celebrating in my parent’s backyard under a massive white tent too! This was my brother-in-law’s baby sister’s wedding day and celebrating with the Malizia family was such a treat! They are a family MADE for weddings!
Well, I realize this isn’t normal for KJ! I don’t shoot portraits these days but this session was my first non-wedding shoot with my new Canon R6 and I’m obsessed with how these images turned out! It was the most perfect evening for this early fall shoot and the light was incredible!
I’m so excited to share another addition of Student Spotlights from our KJ Education community! It’s so funny to us, but quite often, we find that our friends who know us in everyday life but aren’t in our industry really have no clue what we do! They think we shoot 10 weddings a year and that’s the extent of our work these days but oh… that couldn’t be further from the truth!
When we first decide if we’re a good fit with our potential KJ Couples, we’re looking for a few things…. one of those things is that this couple keeps joyful! We’ve found over the years that couples what take themselves super seriously aren’t always the best fit for us! We love it when couples let their guard down and allow us to get to know them during their engagement session.
For some photographers, bridal details seem like a fun part of the wedding day… but for many others, it’s stressful. It’s the part of the day that throws them off, makes them wonder if they’re actually artistic and leaves them feeling flustered and panicked because they never get everything done in the time they have allotted for detail shooting. In my opinion, this is a REALLY tough way to start a wedding day.
Oh, this wedding day!! What a beautiful Texan dream! I met Melanie when she attended one of our workshops years ago in our home. She had the sweetest spirit and such a kindness about her. I remember loving how she made personal marketing her own and did headshots in a pile of Skinny Pop!! I loved her creativity and her ability to envision what she wanted in her brand.