Wedding Portraiture Tips

Wedding portraiture begins as early as when the bride and groom are just getting dressed up. It is ideal to take the series of portrait shots at the beginning of the wedding before the ceremony begins so everything from the make-up, hair, clothing and emotions are all fresh. This will also prevent any delays in the ceremony and it’s easier to round up members of the family for family portraits.

Orchestrating the perfect wedding portraits entail dealing with a client base that comes in all shapes and sizes. This also goes for the venue and the weather. It would take a lot of lighting skills and different poses to achieve fantastic shots. Make sure you’re familiar with the types of lighting you can use in different types of weather and a variety of traditional and not so traditional poses for your subjects in any given situation.

Although candid shots can make the poses appear natural and sweet, it would be important that you include static and formal shots such as the bride and groom looking straight at the camera. These are the more typical shots families would like to have. One such pose is the classic portrait of the bride and groom in solo shots, as well as shots where they are together. Typical sizes included in this type of portrait shots are full length, 3/4 and close-up forms of all the portrait shots.

Once the traditional yet important portraiture portion is completed, the fun part of showing your creative side now comes into play. Start by taking a succession of informal and relaxed portraits of the bride and groom. Try to make it fun for the couple and treat the next sessions as part of their own collection of their memories.

When doing group portraits, include the families of both the bride and groom as well as the wedding entourage. Make sure that you are familiar with the guests and the important members of the family as well as friends that the couple would like to include in the group portraits. It would be handy to have a list of names and their relationship to the bride and groom to keep you up to date on such a busy day.

Pay particular attention to being equal in terms of covering both sides of the couple’s family. Make sure that whatever portrait shots the bride has from her side of the family, the groom also has on his side.

Most times, individual shots of key figures are also essential. Don’t miss out on having enough portraits with parents, grandparents, siblings, and key members of the wedding such as the best man and bridesmaid.

The venue plays a major role in a wedding shoot. It’s important that the full glory of the place is captured in the photographs. Place emphasis on the beautiful areas in the location so you can position the bride and groom here for a few poses.

Wedding portraits are mementos that the bride and groom and family members will display and share with everyone else. This would be the time when your shots have to shine since your clients depend on you to record their most special day. You can let the photographs speak for themselves and satisfied customers will want to refer you to others. 

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A General Guide to Portrait Photography

Portraiture is one of the most popular approaches in photography since people as subjects are just naturally interesting. Whether it’s our loved ones or complete strangers, we seem to gravitate towards images of fellow human beings, especially if the photographer has managed to capture their distinctive appeal. A portrait is generally defined as a posed image of a person (or persons, if a group portrait) with the face as the main point of focus. However, the term ‘portrait’ now has evolved and has a looser meaning which can include candid, animal and partial portraits.

Focus on the eyes – as the saying goes, ‘the eyes are the windows to one’s soul’. Eyes are very expressive and you can take advantage of this in your image. A person looking straight at the camera can give an impression different from someone gazing off-camera.

Show the subject’s mood – the human face is capable of expressing a myriad of emotions which can evoke a response from the viewer. More than that, other body parts can similarly show one’s mood. The hands, for instance, can be very expressive and can portray what the person is feeling at the time.

Be creative with the camera viewpoint – the usual camera angle when shooting portraits is straight forward at eye level. Changing the camera angle and viewpoint can make the image look more dynamic and can present the subject in a more uncommon manner.

Show the subject’s personality – the subject may be filled with life and cheer but if your composition is drab and dull, it will hide any signs of life. Work the subject’s personality in your composition. Make full use of lighting, secondary elements, the environment, colors; whatever you can include that will help reinforce your image’s intended effect.

Play with lighting – lighting has a major impact on mood of the image. Soft diffused lighting is often used with baby portraits since it enhances their aura of fragility and softness. Dramatic lighting with hard shadows can make the subject look more dynamic and edgy. The direction of your light should also be considered. Sidelighting can show off the textures of the skin and backlighting can turn the subject into a silhouette. Experiment with different light sources. Although sunlight and studio lights are most often used, try lighting your subject’s face with some candles, or the glow from a TV screen or a flashlight.

Try partial portraits – instead of making the subject’s face entirely visible, try framing only half the face or just the eyes or the feet. By showing only a part of the body, it adds a sense of mystery and drama since it is less conventional than the regular portrait. 

Include a prop – take advantage of items or objects that support the subject, either just visually or also physically. Props can be anything from small things such as toys or household items, to large furniture. Using props can give the subjects something to relate to in the shot, which in turn can present a story.

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