I. Become Familiar With the Couple
If you are shooting a wedding, spend time with the client before the day of the wedding so that the couple can become familiar with you and you can get a feel for what they are like before the day of the shoot.
Things to look for:
- Who is the shy one? Who is ambitious and outgoing?
- What is their personality like within the relationship? Are they comedians, romantics, shy, quiet, energetic, or a combination?
Another way to get familiar with your clients is to do an Engagement Session before the wedding. This gives you a great opportunity to spend quality time with the couple. After an Engagement Session, the couple usually are thrilled – instead of feeling nervous – to see you on the wedding day. They wont have their guards up, and will be much more relaxed.
Look for poetry to naturally develop in front of you. Some of the most magical moments are the ones that are unexpected. Be ready to capture every moment that occurs in front of you.
- Make use of some zoom lens so that you can place yourself in a spot where you can observe the whole room and get an array of photographs in a candid manner
- Don’t forget to capture the audience and their reactions
III. Guide and Encourage
If there is no chemistry there and you find yourself in a situation where you have an awkward hour to spend with them in between the ceremony and reception to do portraits of them, find a way that is comfortable for you to help “encourage” the type of emotion you would like to capture in your photography
Ways to Encourage your couples:
- Baby steps. Start with the basics like giving them a moment to hold each other and enjoy a moment of Peace during their busy day. If you are shooting on the wedding day, be aware that this is most likely the first time they are able to spend alone together after having a hectic day and getting married. During this time, you will find that they are either relieved to not have all eyes on them and have a moment to breath so they are happy to relax within each others arms for a moment, or they are so pumped with adrenaline that they are laughing and poking jokes with each other. Let the “magic” happen during that interaction and candidly capture some honest moments occurring between them.
- Romance. Some couples like to kiss. A lot. If this is their thing and they are comfortable kissing in front of you, help place them in a setting that best suites what you are looking for, then let them enjoy themselves while you quietly capture some images of them. While some couples thoroughly enjoy themselves and can really get into this, be mindful that this approach isn’t for everyone since some couples are more conservative then others, or simply shy.
- Surround them with what makes them feel comfortable. If you see that they are not responding to doing things alone and that they are having fun and enjoying themselves more with their bridal party, involve others in the shoot to help alleviate the pressure that they might be feeling. Others might feel more comfortable if you take them to their favorite joint and let them be themselves in their favorite cafe, or location of choice. Try to be very responsive to their needs and desires. It is typically best if you can get a feeling for what would work best for them beforehand so that you are not trying to second guess what to do on the day of their photography session.
About the Author:
Jana Morgan was born in Thailand and grew up in Bangladesh before moving to America in 1992. With her international travel experiences, her interest in photography began with a documentary style of influence. Jana currently resides in Hawai’i with her husband and two dogs and shoots weddings internationally.