Video： How to Shoot Wedding Location Photos
The wedding location photo session, or the bridal party photo, is one of the most exciting parts of a wedding, it indicates the true skill of the photographer and should be turned out perfectly. In this video, I’m gonna share some useful tips for working out a smooth and stress-free wedding location photo session.
A professional wedding photographer should advise the newlyweds on four important factors that are crucial to helping the couple and their bridal party work out this part in a stress-free and enjoyable way. They are the timing factor, the choosing of locations, the weather factor, and the photography style.
For the timing of taking location photos, there won’t be a fixed solution for every me, but there are still some general principles that may help the photographer and couple to figure out how much time they would need. In general, the duration between the end of the ceremony and the beginning of the reception will be the location photo shooting period.
For example, if a ceremony finishes at 2 pm and the reception starts at 6 pm, then it seems the time for location shoots would be 4 hours, sounds good, right? Well, the answer will be no, as you need to consider the time the couple takes family photos after the ceremony, as well as the preparation time of the photographer and videographer before the commencement of the reception. So, in the case mentioned earlier, if the couple needs 30 mins to take family photos after the ceremony, and you need another 30 mins to get yourself ready before the ceremony, then the actual duration for location photos is between 2:30 pm and 5:30 pm, which is 3 hours.
After figuring out the duration, based on how much time you have, you can now give the couple some suggestions regarding how long you should spend on each location. Depending on the size of the bridal party and the number of photographers and videographers working on a wedding, the time spent on a location might be different. If there is a big bridal party of more than 8 people, and 4 crew members are hired on the day, then you should consider allocating more time for such a big job in each location, as organizing such a big bridal party and letting all the photographers and videographers to finish their desired shoots will take longer time. In this case, a 1 to 1.5 hours stay at each location will be suitable. Conversely, for a wedding that has one photographer and the bridal party only includes the newlyweds, a 30 to 45 mins duration seems to be enough. Apart from the actual photo-taking time, the travel time between each action should be considered as well. By using these ideas, you can help the couple to work out their plan for the location shoots.
There are some concerns you need to be aware of as well. The length of daytime during summer and winter is different, so keep an eye on the sunset time to avoid taking photos in a dark environment as the higher ISO the lower the image quality. If the couple would like to have some sunset photos, the best time for these photos will be 30 mins before the sunset. You can also set an off-camera flash light to balance the lighting between the subject and the sky, creating a dramatic photograph. For summer weddings, try to avoid taking outdoor location photos during midday, as it might be the harshest period of the sunlight. For a winter wedding, try to set the finish time earlier as the sun will go down earlier than in summer.
Now we come to the factor of choosing the locations. Again, depending on the wedding itself, the choices of locations are various among weddings. The basic rule is always to fulfill the demands of the couple and try to find the easiest way to accomplish such a job. If possible, it’s always a good idea to stage the location photos somewhere close to the ceremony or wedding venue. When giving your ideas, remember to stick to the preference of the couple rather than recommending those locations you are familiar with. If you haven’t been to a place, do some research about it, and don’t be afraid to ask the couple to provide some sample photos, as they may give you some inspiration. In some places, they might ask for permission for bridal photo taking, so be careful of the regulations of certain places as you don’t want your couple to be upset if they find they could not have their photos done.
As for the weather, Overcast weather can often provide really beautiful photos as the light becomes softer and more even on such days.
On sunny days, the bridal party can take photos in locations that provide shade. If the weather becomes windy, I would advise that the couple stay away from the beach as the wind can easily ruin the bride’s hair. On a rainy day, you can prepare a number of clear umbrellas for the bridal party and take advantage to indulge in some creative wedding photography. Alternatively, you can go somewhere that offers shelter. So check the weather condition frequently a week before the wedding day to make sure you can finish this part nicely.
The style of photography is the most tricky part of doing wedding photos. There is no absolutely right way to shoot a wedding, the only right thing is to make your client feel enjoyable and satisfied. So asking your couple what kind of photography style they prefer prior to the wedding day will get rid of most of the misunderstanding. Some popular photography styles, such as candid, fine art, and editorial, would be the ones the couple is looking for, try to give them some sample photos or ask them to provide sample photos so that you can work out the desired style. The aim of doing this is to keep you can your couple stay on the same page, and let the couple generate more trust and confidence in you, which will result in a stress-free and delightful atmosphere for photo taking. But you should notice that saying they want candid style doesn’t mean the couple doesn’t need any direction during location photos. From my experience, not many couples know how to pose themselves, so make sure the couple knows you may give them direction during the location shoots rather than doing nothing.
In terms of the choice of lens, I would say there is no best lens, choosing the most suitable equipment is always the core concept. I prefer to use the prime lens for these photos as they will give you better quality and a very shallow depth of field. Depending on the photograph style you are shooting on, flexible and smart lens usage will facilitate you in achieving your goals. If you are looking for a dramatic feeling, use a lens with an aperture of f/1.2 or f/1.4 and get close to the subject will result in a more pronounced and smoother bokeh, which adds a pleasing aesthetic quality to the image and create a sense of depth. If you want to show a magnificent view, use a wide-angle lens and stay away from the subject to capture splendid moments. Although a unique composition will make your photo look stunning, keep in mind that the couple is hiring your to document their love story rather than a pure artistic creation, several photos of the couple’s face toward the camera with a smile will be perfect for them. Similar to the newlyweds’ photos, several pictures of the entire bridal party looking at the camera will be great to evoke their memories of the special day. You can let the couple interact with each other to capture some loving moments. You need to have several full shots, medium shots, and close-up shots so that the entire set of wedding photos won’t look boring. Focusing on the details of the wedding, such as the bouquet, the decoration of the wedding, the wedding bands, or some close-up shots will make the photos more vivid. Try not to take photos if there is harsh sunlight or the contrast between light and dark is too big, always find a shaded area or a place with a smooth light condition for your photos. You will need to consider if there is something that is inappropriate to be shown in the photos, whether it is litter, a rubbish bin, or a passing-by person. Don’t be afraid to ask the couple to move to another place or change their pose if you need to.
Always think about how you want the photo present before you actually press the shutter so that you won’t spend your valuable time deleting the wasted film.
So here are the conclusions of the tips regarding how to shoot wedding location photos, firstly figure out the time of location photos, then work out the places, and don’t forget to consider the weather condition and ask the couple for their desired photography style. It is not only the skills you possess facilities your photo-taking jobs, communication, and customer service are also important factors to fulfill the needs of the couple. Try to find a good balance between them to boost your shooting and result in a happy customer.
If you have any question, please contact Tree Studio.