Shooting the Wedding Party


Wedding Photography Problems and Solutions


Lesson Info

Shooting the Wedding Party

This session is fun because when I was thinking about the time line a lot of the students that were I um asked what would you like me to discuss creative life in terms of problems a lot of their answers where we would really like for you to discuss the way you use flash and flash techniques andi no flashes like this big monster thing scary monster to a lot of people so it's carrying a little bit to you guys like a little bit intimidating so yes yes so I'm going to not going too crazy scary flash intimidating set ups what I want to do it's just straight straight upto show you what has been very effective for me unless you make it clear because you can go crazy with a flash and all this stuff but it's really not necessary in fact, all of the photos in my website uh all of the sort of photos in my wedding's um a lot of them used flashes you can see but they use flashing away that you can barely see that it's there and just gives you that extra pop off light so one of things I really enjoy...

about flash in my type of work is being able to control the flash output so it's seamless with the background and seniors with environment the second is control the light from the flash is a small lights or so when I shoot a flash I like to make a bigger too critica soft box feet feel another thing is I do like a lot of off camera flashes you all can see um but I don't like to complicate my life when I don't have to so I keep things very simple you know there's a well talk about flash later in this segment but I'm excited tojust do basics off effective flash news that's going to be giving it gives you the most results before we do that though before we do that let me jump back into into finishing up the timeline because I think it's important to get that segment taken care of before I jump in tow to use the flash I also want to say that using the flash using this little guy's right here has been an enormous enormous tool for me to separate my work from other people and being able to give my clients a little something extra special without I repeat complicating my life so much like I don't bust out seventeen flash our ups or any of that that's just not practical for for what I do I'm a wedding photographer you have five seconds to come up with a lot without without set up okay I'm gonna go through this a little more speedy okay when I meet with clients I give him a quick rundown of what the timeline is gonna look like for for optimal results uh for optimal results I always meet the client five hours before their wedding so if their winnings of five pm I am there twelve o'clock on dh I do here's here's the rundown from twelve to one I do group portrait on that means right here that means this groom getting ready groom and portrait's groom with family and groom alone portrait ce so as soon as I show up to the groom which is that what I photographed first the reason why I photograph the groom first because the bride is mohr hard to read how long it's gonna take you to photograph for she the makeup could be taken forever and if the makeup and hair take a long time you're basically wasting time with a bribe so I avoid issues like this so I go to the groom first now they say to me on the internet we had a problem what happens if parents don't want to show up at the groom's room getting ready five hours prior to the ceremony and the answers without problem is you showed them photos off why it would be to their benefit toby there um I always tell people that when I show up at the groom getting ready the bride I'm sorry the groom's parents or the groom's men should all be ready off dressed, ready to go the reason is when you show up you want everyone to look their best the groom can be wearing his pants on his undershirt on all the photograph is him putting on his shirt his cufflinks he's tied his bow tie or whatever accessories they may have and his jacket he and so to make things quick we have lots of porters to take I have to photograph the groom getting ready putting on the jacket I have to take a clean late shot off him where he looks nice and clean with a light even I have to take a cool james bond style look what here there's more contrasting light you have to take photos with him and his groomsmen and they're pretty rowdy and they're talking so that's going really mean and if they're not even ready it's just gonna really take your time away so you ask the brights at the initial meeting that groom's mention me totally ready parent should be ready when parents object to the idea you simply tell them these are the photos that will come out if you do show up during that time um after that we move over to elements to allow elements to look out for during the groom cannon ready so it's what I do all groups we completely ready this is what I tell the brights grooms to put on jacket coverings and shoes this is what I'm going to photograph father and mother of the groom to be present so I can take emotional pictures with them which I'm either way parents photos are always great because they're never going to say I don't want my mom in the album all right I want write that in the album so he can read increase your album upgrade sells later also this is like weird requests and I asked if every single time can you please get a hotel room that the window during the time that you're getting married the son is hitting the window and you can ask that hotel that question like can I get a room that if at twelve o'clock or a two or three o'clock or whatever you're getting ready can the sun be pointing towards the window that's one request that I make the more light you have the more you can shape it bend they manipulated play with it use it okay so another thing I tell bright is although they have a lot to worry about and they have a lot of stuff and they have nachos and champaign and this and that I tried to tell himto keep to choose an area to put all the clutter on that area has to be as far away from the window as possible if you don't do this you're going to spend ten minutes cleaning out naturalism on who knows what else you're gonna be spending ten minutes doing that so it's best to just tell the bride before her wedding like two weeks or three weeks before you can say by the way, if you're going to command your gonna drop off your stuff, drop all of your stuff as far away from the window it's possible like near the bathroom it's a good place for you to put all your stuff so here's a couple of examples off why the father should be there so you have the father getting ready? He he doesn't want to show up, but who would he want? A nice photo like this it's a nice, beautiful picture so here's an example of that here's an example of the fun of the father getting involved with his son putting on the jacket so you involve the parents don't just involve the groomsmen are the best man involved a father involved the best man that's three, four hours more that more you involve people that more space you're gonna need for the album. Okay, here's not some grossman you see how they're all doing. This is very much in my style they're all doing a different thing you should know there's no pattern. You can't find a pattern in there on gum look at this guy over here you can't even see his face but that's totally ok because the groom is the brightest okay. Do you have another portrait off the groomsmen? This is where I used the first photo. I used light to separate the group the second photo, this one I just my aperture my settings in my aperture wasn't that question can about how to use aperture for creative fortress or whatever here's an example just visualization. Yeah, now is right this is not all crazy, but in this photo I decided to use my aperture to separate the groom from the group. So everyone's had a focus except for the girl here's. Another portrait when you have a large wedding party, this one I used contrast to separate the groom from the wedding party. So in this case he's sitting on everyone else's standing so that's when you can create that contrast if you wanna have everyone stand, make the groom the brightest or make the groom the brightest areas that make the groom the brightest uh, make the groom the biggest like you can change your angle. But instead of just taking photos of groomsmen randomly, just quickly go through your head and ask yourself, how can I separate the groom from the rest of the groomsmen? You could have him wearing his tuxedo jacket and the rest are wearing their their shirts like they're nice shirts that's creating a contrast you can have the groom to be the brightest you can have him to be the biggest you could have him sitting and the rest are standing there they're all gonna be cool ways to showcase the groom okay? Which technique that they used here? I used to techniques the first one I used the room is the brightest on the second technique I used aperture this was shot like I don't know two point oh so I focused right on the groom and the rest of the guys kind of got to focus on I also have the groom the brightest that was a very difficult wedding party to deal with by the way they were not cooperating they were not cooperating the only way you can get him to smile was by giving them the attention that they wanted another you're kind of jerky they kind of just want attention so you give him the attention then I say hey guys, if you give me five seconds I'll get out of your hair and stuff like that um I mean they're like uh you're gonna and you started yeah get out of it you're just not giving them what they want and they're like okay, give me all the power you possibly have, the more power you give me, the faster I can get out of here you know I don't they're all laughing so because they want me out of there everyone gives me one hundred percent you gonna play with that, right? So look at their smiles. They're like oh, yeah, if I give him a big smile, he'll get the heck out of here pronto. So they're like, yeah, you take a picture picture. I know you and I thank you so much. See you later, but if you're gonna take two photos or three, you better tell him. I just think three quick photos. Give me all you got for those three photos will do the first one right now from obama. Cool. There's. Another set up to take a picture. Three, take a picture. That's. Why? Provisional? I think it's so important, you know. And remember it's. Not that hard. All you have to remember is for every set off bridal party photos you take. How are you separating the bride or the groom from the rest of the wedding party? If you can do contrast, you could know they were in jacket them nowhere in jacket. You were in that the groom wearing the jacket, you can make it from the brightest. You could make one sitting there standing okay for brighter. Getting ready. By the way, that photo that's in the air in there is the cover of my book, right? That photo almost never happened because the bride refused to take that picture now refuse you just anyone to take it so I told her what you're seeing right? There's actually not a veil what you're seeing is the bottom of her dress so we actually had to hold the dress over her head on I told her nobody would touch her hair, nothing will touch her hair and I gave her to just give me five seconds if I don't think it in five seconds, then we can take it out and so I have two of my assistants opening up the dress right by the hand so it wouldn't touch her here that was just nicely made that's what that's what she was opposing for something if you guys are out there, you had a question about what if the bride doesn't want to do something that you think you look great that's a great, great question it's probably best to respect their wishes but it's also best for you to show your excitement towards the photo because their bride may not know it may not be able to visualize what you're doing, but if you're doing something where you could really risk tearing the dress or something could happen it's probably best to just let it go on maybe you can try it after the ceremony when she won't she won't care no more I was about to say something but I was about to say okay but at the beginning she cares about her dress after the dress she won't care so much looking after the ceremony not after that okay something's to look out for I spent an hour with the groom so from twelve to one is the group from one to two thirty is the bride as soon as I show up all the bridesmaids bridesmaids should be fully ready the bride can be winning her cute white dress I told her to wear a client meeting uh this is important if you're talking if you're taking photo journalist for a journalistic photos the solution to the problem of them wearing last night sure with a tomato stain from the spaghetti that they had last night is best to just tell them where nice clean white dress or like a rope or something that silky that when you can photograph moments like that okay okay I already said window should be facing the sun if possible on last but not least the mother of the breath the mother of the bride and the father of the bride should be in the room completely ready and ready to go okay it's good to have the parents involved so try hard to get the parents in the room getting ready if you're photographing you can say hey, it would be really great to have your parents into getting ready room so here's some photos of the bride getting ready see how she's wearing a cute white robe that's that's because she's listening to the suggestions right andi this is actually afford a journalistic picture she's looking anderson I just took the photo I didn't compose this we already went over this the first day a little bit but this is the bride pulling out her dress this is her bridesmaids getting involved this is her mom now getting involved so you see all these photos have to go in the book all of them there's the bride with a sneaky mirror reflection there is the bride with her bridesmaids there's the group you see so there is the bread giving her presents and so forth and she's nice right I look at the pictures of the father with the bride these are emotional they're beautiful they're there will be great they'll sell album upgrade so that's really quite nice look at that I mean if I was a bride I would probably want that so it's worth having the parents there this is a russian wedding they're not into close up kissy kissy there was now it's complicated you know? Yesterday I talked about the importance of being super specific on a lot of problems people were posting online where what happens if you're dealing with a difficult wedding party what happens if the groom doesn't want to be photographed we haven't see the bride doesn't wanna participate you can solve a lot of these issues by being specific when you're posing, so I told the mother to just put her forehead on the upper cheekbone us you don't have to participate just put your forehead on the upper cheekbone and she's like what? Just like this on the upper cheekbone and then I told the bright to look at the carpet design there was a little deciding the carpet just stared the design on if you don't want to do this for too long just give me a nice tender smile when I say one, two, three, one, two, three ah have take a picture done okay, now if this happens naturally where the mother gets her daughter a nice tender moment, then by all means but if it doesn't happen, maybe they just need a little push they still love the photo but they need a little push this is the father seeing the daughter for there for the first time and I just love the expression of the father look att excitement on the daughter's face so that's another set of photos the bride with the mom, the father scene, the daughter for the first time you cannot have to set this up, so ask where is the father of the bride oh he's in the lobby with the groomsmen then or not let's bring him up and then the first time the bride sees her father it's always an emotional moment it's like the first condition she's her husband so so you know it's good to capture that hears her mom with that dad and then of course, you have other getting ready for us here, which I'll probably skip them because this is the emotional stuff we discussed already. All of these wedding party photos on all of this flat pictures with her mother these are all during the getting ready section. This is why you put an hour and a half for it. If the bright say I want to do some boudoir shots or something and you're better at another thirty to forty five minutes, you have to be there six hours before okay, you know what? I'd do that right now. Okay. Before I push play on this one, I want to go ahead and show on album off how this this is an album that I would this show to a client take a look at the photos of the bride on the mom take a look at the photos off the dad, take a look at what the bread is wearing. They could look how the details were photographed with photojournalism in the background. Now that you've gone to two and a half days, you look at this lecture with a whole new light okay then you'll see why this album captures emotion for the journalism details portrait's and everything this is justus the slideshow the sound is showing online on well I'll go ahead and talk through this b hey look at the parents with women the awkward moments and all of that stuff there's how the solution to that some of these photos were taken by my by the second my photographer that was helping me in the second was a second shooter so my way of saying you like painting by then see there's a city with footage of noise in the background somewhere way I left it at home I broke a nail so I couldn't play from way way this is the fortress of the bride getting ready all of the supporters that brad getting ready you could see how someone three quarter somewhere close of summer full body and everything right there's the bridesmaids photos there's a father of the mom you can see that it's all very tender look at the expression of the groom's look how he's about to look at the father he's about to bust right there it's about over then look at the groom he's ready to bust crying right to get the father there look at that one when you show this kind of photos the brights really connect with that because you feel like you're photographing everything remember some of these photos were taken by the second document doesn't matter you have to have that you're right now this is not photos taken always from the back of the isle some of them in front of three from a forty five degree angle that's the case right there look at that quickly capture that I turn on my flash for these pictures very quickly quickly flash and when you do that you have to bring the shutter speed down towards think spirit you have to put high curtain sink I mean high speeds check out check out the groom's grossman party for us grossman with the bride I mean rice with a groom you realize all of these photos are just going to sail more on mohr album louds okay so so just think you know traditional photo fun ford of the bride from one photo of the groom with a bride you know keep adding um keep adding combinations improvisations body you can almost full body you continue dress there's the big window remember that over that area there's an abstract photograph from there's a romantic beautiful one streetscape contracted because of seventy two hundred so if you see a wall of trees or a wall of anything you could just lower your angle on contract the scene and it will look like the wallpaper in the background so that's really cool way in this reception shots you notice how the action is happening behind them so that when I'm photographing I position myself so that the guests are in the background off what I'm photographic instead of photographing where the wall is in the back booth this is the reception lighting we're going to talk about in a little bit right now it's about creating that nightclub look okay with the there you go so I'm going yeah, I'm so can you can talk about like during the ceremony where you're sitting and you sit down you know, like what's your movement like you like your plan you do sit down yeah so these are questions you should ask the bride if they're going to do if you're going to give the mother a gift in the middle of the ceremony, you need to write certain things down. For example, in a more traditional ceremony, the bride keeps the mom a gift and in the right you've seen that happen, right? They could even flowers when they give him something I think you know it or something you should have this written down because you need to have a plan of action when you were in the aisle if you know that that's happening you khun run quickly and get intimate with the moment, right? Because you've got to get the expressions I don't know if you noticed in one of the photos and a shorty in the second where the daughter is giving the mother the gift and the father's on the left like wiping tears out of his eyes and stuff so it's back what I said on the first day you have to kind of think where should I be? Where is the action goingto happen instead ofthe is the action instead of where I'm standing now so if I'm not the ceremony I'm standing here, I asked myself what's gonna be happening on where should I be to capture that if you have a second shooter which you should always have, you should have them when the bride and groom are about to kiss that's the only time where I put my second shooter right behind me and I haven't shoot above me in case my camera happens to fail at this crucial moments like I could do a great job at the wedding and if I missed the first time the bride and the groom kiss could kiss at the ceremony I am done, you know, um another important moment is when the father and gives the daughter away and we get multiple angles for that, but I get a single angle from the kiss I want to get the angle for the kiss on another they're going to be turning towards me anyway, so I'm going to get the side of their face anyway so it's not like they're kissing and I get I get the back of their heads okay, so um yeah does that answer your question? Yeah, okay, I think it does. Okay, one thing is also once you get to the front of your photograph in this intimate moment so you can back up and have your second shooter shoot from a forty five degree angle and shouldn't close up I find if you're shooting inside that prime lenses really just shine at ceremonies so I do show with my eighty five I even shoot portrait or even shoot some ceremonies with his lance with this one this is my mackerel ins and is a macro it's but when you think a picture with someone with a macro lens it seems like if they're crying or anything this will make a show even better okay not to mention this new micro lens there's no macron's by night and has a has a dual stabilizer has a vertical stabilizer is well it's horizontal stabilizer so pretty good that's the one hundred yeah one hundred micro ale siri's, by the way a lot off my portrait of my brides and all of that including the cover of my book were taken with a macro lens which is probably very strange for a lot of people um if you go to if you have a friend photograph your friend, put a piece of tape, photograph your friend from the same distance with the eighty five in the same background see what's happening in the face then get closer photograph your friend with a thirty five millimeter lens and see what happens then and then put her head in every corner off the frame the top left top right bottom left in the bottom right and see how the head this gets distorted and so forth then put on the hundred millimeter mackerel and do the same thing and then put the head on the left top right bottom left I've done this a million times then do it with seventy, two hundred on print them all out and kind of see what's happening in each lance and you'll see why sometimes the macro lenses underused it's intimate it gets you right in there you know this is just one hundred millimeter for some reason the way this matter is designed when you are photographing someone and you can't get him in the eye it's sharper than heck and it just seems like more you're right there but it's easy to make a mistake with this one it's easy to go out of focus you have to be careful roberto that's such a great exercise yeah, I love that. Yeah when you're doing that would you use kind of the same settings for all the different lenses? Would that be the direct comparison or how would you go about that? Because it's like a science experiment so you have all the variables are fixed right except for one so you do. The lighting is fixed, the background is fixed. Which is why I have this. I wanted to kind of go over some some basics, right? I think if people at home when they're practicing their flash and the practicing lances or whatever, having a little seamless paper like this can neutralize a lot of the variables and just focus on one change. I wanna change my lenses. I want to change. Um, might one light just wanna make one light change? What happens to the one light change? But if you have a background that's normal like this, you may not be able to see the light change right away. Question. What are you doing for the other two and a half hours before the ceremony. Okay, so the ceremony's at five, I show up with a groom a twelve from twelve to one. I photograph the groom from one toe one thirty. I photograph the bright from one thirty to two. I photographed the bride and the groom seeing each other for the first time and that includes scouting for the location for that to happen. Okay, from two to four, thirty or two before I photograph the brandon groom portrait, if they're not going to see each other, then I go in, I photograph the reception set up on all of that I mean, they're the ceremony set up then I photograph any kind of cute moments that the bride is having with her bridesmaids before she waits to go down the aisle if they are going to see each other before the wedding that's a great thing to photograph the bride and groom fortress and take care of all of that after that, I photographed the family pictures immediately after the ceremony and I even tell the bride that when she gets congratulated and all that that's fantastic let's do it for five minutes ten max but then we have to come back before it gets out of control. I mean, we do family photos very quickly, very beautiful and I'll explain how I do that too using flash I always use flash for family portrait after that, we go straight to cocktail hour and for my second shooters photographing cocktail hour details and cocktail hour people having a good time people spend quite a bit of money in the cocktail hour and if you don't photograph it, you are gonna have angry people, okay? And then you go straight to the reception for the reception I set off to lights in the same side one one night here one night here I do not cross them and that's on purpose because I want to be able to change the light by the angle that I'm standing at nobody where the lightest okay um does that answer your question okay, roberta well yes, I didn't see a light show pictures of like the bride's shoes or I did see a ring shot but I could show you probably the whole slideshow privately that's right? But I just want to make sure you are doing those shots as well the shoes and stuff yeah, yeah oh, yeah you you you I would be fired if I didn't have yeah, if I didn't have I photographed details like crazy yeah, um but the details of the reception are the ones they're going to make you money because the wedding coordinators that's all they care about you better toe a darn good job at those details do something beautiful ok has to look seriously nice. So that's when you we have to go from wedding photographers toby like commercial photographers almost all right? Yeah. Can we just go to the phones for one second? They'll flash what we do that ok. Quite a few people including marla, faith blue and lou um had questions about the five hours ahead of time that we had talked about earlier. Blue says five hours ahead seems rather excessive to me what is the least amount of time one should a lot for and then lou it asked what does the groom do for five hours in his tux? They drink do you drink a lot? Lot? Yeah. It's, not it's. Not that excessive it's. Actually, you can see the timeline worked pretty. It was pretty tight already. Even then. Um if they don't want to see each other before the wedding, you can meet him three hours prior to the ceremony. But if they want to see each other before the wedding, you need the extra time. So also don't forget it depends on your style of shooting. If I show you one of my wedding albums, you're going to be like, this is insane. This is like a monster, right? How do you how do you photograph all this? Well, the bride one says she hired me for a reason. If you want this, this is the timeline that I need in order to give this to you. If you don't care. If this is not something you need, then we can do a smaller I can. I can photograph you for thirty minutes. That only gives me two or three photos of you and that's. The options I have. You know that more options. The more time you give me, the more options you'll have.

Class Description

In this photography class, Roberto Valenzuela will teach you solutions to common wedding photography problems facing anyone who picks up a camera to photograph people. Roberto will use his practical methodology to give you a systematic way to break down and overcome your challenges.

In this class you will learn:

  • The 21 points for Posing
  • How to find the best light
  • Practical tips to quickly read the room

Roberto researched and polled various photography communities to find the most common problems facing anyone holding a camera. Through hands-on demos and easy to practice challenges, Roberto will show you how little changes can make big differences in your final images. 



Roberto is a great photographer and a great teacher. Roberto took me a little bit to get used to because rather than just memorizing, Roberto teachers you how to think like a great photographer. Roberto studies the best of the best photographers and painters and he incorporates it in his photography business and his teaching courses. Over and over, I have heard other top photographers referring to Roberto. Cudos to Roberto, for being the go to Pros,' Pro. Roberto is a great teacher and a great photographer that takes beautiful pictures with mastery of beautiful light, posing and composition.


Roberto is a photography mastermind. I'm very grateful for his CL courses that are available. He shares so much during these courses, I cannot help but making many, many, many notes and I'm sure if I rewatch it, I'll still learn new stuff. This course is not only for the wedding photographer, but the information he shares is applicable for all kinds of photography. If you want to learn how to make use of the gifts of any location (while throwing some very helpful posing advice in the mix), this course is for you. I'd also highly recommend his course "Location, posing, execution", which I saw before buying this one. And besides his very inspiring teaching style, he's also very funny! This course is a joy to watch.


Absolutely amazing. Roberto's background as a classroom teacher (and crazy OCD perfectionist) is a true gift to us, the students. He has analyzed, practiced, and tried/failed his techniques countless times and it shows in this course. I have become so much more aware of an environment's "gifts" after taking this course. I myself was a science teacher (and am also a goofball) so his style of teaching resonates with me. While some workshops are amazing at making us feel inspired and fantastic, these are short lived emotions. Roberto's preaching of get out there and practice is a no-brainer!! Best course to get me started on my wedding photography career! Thank you Roberto!