10 Tips and Techniques for Shooting Wedding Portraits
so these air tips and techniques that we do during production to make our lives easier and to come up with a better final product and number one is to shoot for the story or the album or whatever final product that it is you guys are creating. And this applies to every genre of photography, cinematography, everything. When we get a client that comes in, it doesn't matter if it's a commercial or a wedding. If it's a commercial client, for example, and we're shooting, say, a car. When we shot the WC GT three Porsche for a major racing company, we asked them what it is. What is it that you want a feature? What is this story? What we're trying to sell. And they told us where we did the brake kit. We did the exhaust. We did those things. And so guess what? We're gonna focus the shoot around those kind of components. Now, if you go into your shoot without necessarily understanding what the story is, what the album is, what what is that final product? Then you can end up shooting a 1,000,000,...
000 things right? You could shoot the steering wheel. You can shoot the entire car. You can shoot the door. You can shoot whatever it is and not get to your primary focus or what it is the client wants. So on a wedding side is identical. Think about the story as your shooting. Okay, so that means Well, if you're to put yourself in the bride or the groom's shoes, what is it that they would want to remember from the wedding day? Well, she got her hair done and it looked amazing. She was in this great dress. He had all of his cool cufflinks. He had amazing socks. He had all these different things. These different pieces and details that made up the day. Those are the pieces that are very often for gotten. When it comes to the shooting process, we focus on doing the portrait's. We focus on getting candids. We focus on all those other things and we lose the details. So when we shoot for the album, what we're trying to do is basically create a story with different angles and subject matters. So, for example, a close up that kind of features the bride. This would be like a sample kind of layout on maybe a spread in our album, Right? So we show the bride the groom looking towards her. We show the bouquet that she has in her hands, and then we show kind of a wider shot that sets the scene a little bit. Okay. Likewise, on the next slide, showing the details of the dress, the shoes, what she looks like in it with her hair piece and with everything. And then that wide shot that just shows the entire dress, the pool, the leg and so forth. Like we set the shot up actually in, and we did a video on it. We set it up in three minutes. We were outside the elevator of a lobby. We went to the do the first look and the groom wasn't ready. Hadn't come down yet. And so I was like, running back. And I'm like, we're gonna do this shot right with her in front of the elevator. These this is the only chance that we had to get these portrait's. We had a three minute window, so I helped poser. I helped pose because I know she wants to show off the slit in the dress. I know she wants to show off the pull of the train. I know she wants to show off all the different features. So we helped pose and get that shot that sets the scene. An easy way to think about this is to think about it from the point of your lenses. Right. So a wide angle lens at 17 to 50 those are gonna be establishing shots. Those are going to be shots that helped to kind of set the whole scene for your image. 50 to 85 is gonna help you to define your subject is gonna let you get in a little bit closer, let you show some of the details and anything that's like 50 100 leader. Plus, these are primarily for moments and details and silver. So when you get in your 7 200 you're looking to get reactions. You're looking to zoom in and to focus on journalistic kind of moments because you're you're generally shooting from a little bit further of a distance. When I go into 100 million macro. That's usually because I want to focus on the makeup, the lips, the hair, the details of the dress and so forth so think of your lenses as kind of that guide. Okay? And the next step is to make sure And by the way, we're gonna go through these 10 different post production tips and they were gonna jump in the shooting side. We're actually gonna shoot live on and take it in the post. The next tip is to leave space in the frame. This is like one of the biggest things in our studio that we have to train our seconds and our thirds and our associates, because we have the tendency to want to crop exactly how you want it in the final image. Right? The problem is, you don't know what format your final image is gonna be in. And so we all crop things super tight and maybe gets print is an eight by 10 which is a little bit of a different format than a four by six. Maybe it goes to a 20 by 30 canvas, and it has a wrapped edge without leaving space in the frame. We have a limited option in terms of what we can do in the post side. Now, that doesn't mean I'm not saying all you I know there's people on the Interwebs right now. Did he just say don't get it right in camera? No. Get it right in camera. But leave yourself a little bit of extra room to work in post. I'm gonna show you exactly what I mean. Take a look at this. I want you all to understand I love racing, but I race cars. I love racing. I had to throw this in here, so I got a ticket. Teoh the Indy Grand Prix in Long Beach. One of my clients actually owns it. It was amazing. So she got me special tickets. I went and shot and I had Ah, it was the Sony A seven are when it first was released. That's the camera that I had and I was shooting at 37 megapixels. Okay, so that's most of our cameras today are going 24 plus my five ds over here. That's up to 50 megapixels. What I'm trying to say right now is think of your resolution. Okay? You have a ton of resolution. When something goes into an album most like you, you're actually cropping in and you're showing its small inside of an album even if it's full page, it's still relatively small. 24 megapixel file without even enlarging. It can be a 20 by 30 print. There's no 20 by 30 books, right? There's no like what shelf would that ever fit on? Most of our books? Air about 12 inches, so you're already shrinking it down. So I want you guys to realize you have a ton of resolution toe play with now for this. I didn't bring my entire kit. I got a press spot with the fence, so they have these holes in the fence. All I had was my 24 70 and my A seven are. So what I did was I just went to full resolution raw and look at how much So this is Thea Frame that I really wanted to shoot, but I didn't have a lens that could get me there. Okay, so I cropped in and post, and that's the final image, and this image cropped in after its crop is still like 20 megapixels. I could still do anything that I want with that. And so what I want you guys to start realizing is that when your lenses air limited in you on the zoom, right? You still have other options. Like if I'm shooting 50 megapixels on a five DS and I've got a 72 100 but I need additional crop. I can flip to 50 megapixels, shoot it, and then crop Maurin post and end up with a 25 megapixel image that I could do for literally I could shoot anything, or I mean, I could use anything. Use it for anything. That's what I'm trying to say. All right, let me get back to English here. So look at this. This is that frame. And then once it's post produced, we get this and the detail on this is ridiculous. You can see everything is completely and focus, and all right, this is Danielle and Travis on DIS was from our incredible engagement with Harvey Course. And this is fun. This was when we're in the studio. I was like, Let's play What if the sun was setting in the background and we had rain and it was lighting up the rain and we had our couple and they like, So we set up this shop, we had spray and we had the the gel we had a jelled flash firing over them to kind of light up the spray. It was really cool. Check it out. But this shot, I actually cropped it a little bit too tight, and I wanted to show that. So when you look at an image, I want you to start thinking with different crops. This is a 1 to 1 crop. It works. Were a little bit close to his head right there, but it still works. Okay, guess what You're if you're shooting weddings, your coordinators, your vendors, they love 1 to crop images. Why? Because of Instagram Right now, Instagram. I know Instagram can now support other formats, but I'll still guarantee that most people are submitting them 1 to 1 because a lot of my vendors, they love that format. So I try and make sure when I shoot the detail shots that they could be cropped toe 121 for a square image. This is a four by five crop. We're okay. We still have a little bit of Ah, tightness Right there. This is a 2 to 1 crop. Now in a 2 to 1 crop, we need to crop at his head, the top of that, which I'm okay with. But this kind of shows you that little anger right there. This is the campus wrapping. This is where we start running into issues. So if we were to actually take this to a by 30 campus rap, what they do with the cameras, Rapids will actually take, like, an inch of the image and wrap it around the frame. They can do a second thing, which is, they'll take part of the image and they'll duplicate the edges and rapid. But I don't think it looks quite as nice as the actual gallery wrap where they're wrapping the image versus rapping like the duplicate edge of the image. Okay, with the campus rap, we end up cramping off the top of his head, and now it looks like a mistake looks a little bit weird. So there's no need to necessarily get in that tight on these kind of images, especially if we're going to go and take them to some sort of a large format print. So my tip number two with my sub minute tips. All right, so number one think of your story album Tip number one most images. They're going to stay small when it goes over the album. Even when you're blowing things up for shooting high resolution, you can you can still in large leave breathing room in your frame. Understand your resolutions. 10 verses. 24 verse 36. 50 Overs. 80. Now I'm going to say that probably most of us aren't shooting on 80 megapixel phase one type cameras. Okay, We shoot on them every now and then for commercial purposes, but most of us are gonna be somewhere in this range with the new cameras. Coming out like a five ds is crazy. I mean, having 50 megapixels in a DSLR is ridiculous. And where you can bet that within the next 34 years, we're all gonna have that capability. So what I mean is understand your resolution. Here's this is like sub mini tip number 15. I don't know when you're when you're shooting like candid moments. We have a little rule of thumb in the studio. Shoot full Ross on a five day mark. Three Full Ross, 24 megapixels, medium Ross 10. When we're shooting candid moments, moments that most likely are going to blown up. We flip to medium wrong When we shoot anything that could be enlarged. We flipped a full rock So a couple session bridal portrait grooms, portrait's anything formals, anything Wedding party we go full rock. When is the last time you saw a couple take a detail shot of a centerpiece and blow it up to a 40 by 60? Has that ever happened? No. And if your wedding like, if you're vendor, if you're coordinator says, Hey, can you blow this up and put it in my studio? Absolutely. You can still take a 10 megapixel file in large and photo shopped for those rare occasions that that that happens and be totally good. That'll help speed up your workflow if if you're not, if you're utilizing your resolution and shooting 10 megapixels when you can, and 24 when you need to, you're keeping your file. Side is smaller, lighter helps. Well, it's sped up basically. Okay, large of the file sizes slower Leiterman photoshopped gonna go so switch is needed. Okay, shoot to the strengths of the scene. We talked about this a little bit or we talked about a lot. Incredible, engages, I'm gonna talk about a little bit in here. All this means is if you have a great scene. If it seemed, just looks incredible, you can get away with shooting wider, you can get away with using less special effects, using less types of things to make the scene look better when you shoot in scenes that have a lot of stuff in the background. Like, for example, we have plugs and stuff over here. We have all these kind of things. We're gonna be shooting tighter. We're gonna be using special effects toe block out and to reduce focus on those areas. So what this is saying is, as the scene is more poor, so as the location for poor, our approach shoot tighter, less at the field, more special effects as the scene becomes better is the location is better. We should wide mawr that the field meaning we have more in focus and the less need for special effects. But by all means, you can still put in special effects, right? Stick to a cohesive vision during production. What this means is I have a little X here. I took a shot as a silhouette and I took another shot as a bright image. And the reason why is because I wanted to have the silhouette just for, you know, blogging and portfolio purposes. But does this look a little bit odd when you have a bright, bright silhouette? Dark image? It looks a little bit like they don't quite fit. We talked about that like they lack a little bit of that continuity that cohesive feel to the images. So instead we shoot another image that's brighter, and that fits the rest of the images. So as I shot this scene, I thought back and went. You know what? My dress shot was actually really bright. So I'm gonna shoot a bright set of images as well to fit those dress shots. So think about that as you're shooting through a scene, think about to what? What else did I shoot and is what I'm doing right now? If it were placed side by side, would it look good? Okay, so that's the steps set up to look in the lighting, create a sequence of images that follow tip number one, which was Think of the story, right, So we're gonna create secretive. It is based on the story. Think of the images next to each other in some sort of a layout and automatically it will click in your head, going who? I shot those really dark. So if I wanted to look like that, I need to have it dark and dramatic as well in this scene, Okay, When you complete a sequence of images, then you change your lighting and you're seeing Don't change your lighting with every single few shots because you end up with completely different looking images, Right? People have a tendency. They set up one light and they're like, OK, I got five images now I'm gonna move it again. No move your couple move your angle. Switch lenses go through a set of 2030 images with that same set up with all your angles, with your story told then switch. All right during production. This is easy. Shoot rah! Rahs! What gives us the flexibility of taking an image is my magic money. I don't want that to be my thing, and it's like, become my thing. Everyone's like, do that thing and I'm like I was getting This is the magic. We are asked to be magicians right as photographers were asked to do the impossible in any scene. To make everything look amazing, we we get the flexibility in post by shooting raw. We have all the information there. If we want to bring out dynamic range, here we can with a properly exposed raw file. Doesn't matter whether you're nature landscaper, wedding or commercial property exposed raw file is always the aim getting as much information as possible. We can take that same raw file that has all the information. We can produce it to be something more bright and airy to have a completely different feel. We can take it and go for a more dramatic feel something it looks more flat weaken. Just bring it out and make it pop. That's the flexibility that wrong gives us, and you can always go back at any point in time and redo it. If your style changes, you want to adjust it. You can do that, too, so she run. Give yourself that room, okay, have a few tips when it comes to just camera settings to help you guys shooting number one, and I've detailed this out on a fighting mark. Three guys, if you don't have a fighting mark three. Just consult the manual. We can't show all the different cameras here, but set your LCD brightness to manual. It doesn't matter what setting you use. I like using either anywhere between five and seven is nice, but the point is set it to manual in the reason why is as you're going inside and outside your LCD if it's set to auto, which is what it sets, too, by default is gonna constantly shift right, So you don't really know. You go to a dark spot on the images look super bright, so you shoot it a little bit darker, and then you get into postings like two stops under exposed, so keep it at the same brightness everywhere by going into manual, and that way you're not constantly throwing your exposures off. But that being said, we're not gonna use the brightness of the LCD to gauge our exposure. It's just a simple guide, right? Kind of look at and say, Okay, we're in the approximate area. What we are going to use is the history. So this is an example on the fighting mark three of going into a live view and turning on the history, Ram. So I'm gonna show this to you guys if I press the live you button right here, Okay? It shows the scene. If you don't see the hissed a gram on the finding mark three. You press the info button on a lot of canon cameras. It's actually gonna be that info button. It'll bring up our little hud heads up display. I don't know. Pilot fighters use the hood. I don't have photographers. Have, is that I don't know. I can tell you. Is that right? All right. Press info again, President again. That brings up your history, Ram. We're gonna shoot to the hissed a gram because my LCD, like if I had a look in this scene, my LCD actually looks okay. I mean, it doesn't look bad. It's fairly bright. But when I look at my history, Graham Well, that's telling me that Hey, that's actually pretty dang dark. Okay, Now, if I wanted that dark, great. But I wouldn't have known that by just looking at the LCD. So shoot for the history. And if I want to go and push the highlights over to the edge, I'm gonna bring it up a stop. And now we get the highlights kind of towards that edge side right there. So I was a stop under by just looking at the LCD. That kind of makes sense. Next. Once you've got the history, I'm on shoot with the highlight alert enabled. Okay, that means when you take a shot. So I'm just gonna take this shot and turn off the turn off the focus. If you go to the menu, you'll notice over here. I'm gonna talk about this in just a second, but I have a high white alert right here. I'm gonna enable this when I click Play. This is gonna blink and tell me what is actually blown out. Remember that this highlight alert the information being displayed currently is based on the JPEG preview. Not the wrong. So you actually have a little bit more flexibility with the raw file than you see right here. OK? Just just remember that in your head, I have a little bit more flexibility because this is showing me over the J peg preview. Okay? And the J preview has processing, and that's why it's a little bit different. It's being processed in camera, and that's what's being displayed here. So it's a little bit different there. But see, without that, look at this. I'm bring up the hissed a gram, right? I mean, it shows that the highlights are pushed to the right side a little bit. I've got a little bit of a peak there, but I can't tell exactly what is blown out in the frame. So the history and gives me a piece of the information, but not the entire thing. When I play this back with the highlight alert turned on now I have all the information. Does that make sense? Okay, so the whole point of this is getting to the right raw exposure. So our post production is that much easier? Cool. Okay, so that's what this example is showing is like when you look at a bright seen like this, you don't necessarily know what exactly What what pieces of this white are actually being blown out when you turned on. Then you can see exactly what areas are peaking. Cool. Now take number nine is to set up using the quick menu, so you'll notice that right over here on the cannon on the right side is your favorite menu. Set this up. This is what I have in mind. So you guys can, you know, use this, or you guys can switch it up however you like, But these are the features and camera that I use the most. So when I go and I want to show my clients the images, Well, if you leave this on like this and it's blinking, the first thing that goes there, what is that black thing over there? And you're like, Oh, no, no, that's just information. It's not gonna look like that, I promise. It just doesn't look very good, right? So as soon as I'm going over its it's muscle memory. Now I hit menu press, enter and then flip down, disabled and then play like in the process of walking over to my Just do it real quick, okay? And when you show it to him, that's it's no longer blinking. So just keep the These are the items that I have in my quick menu so you can register whatever you like. My white balance, my mirror lock up, image, quality, format and everything, and then you're good to go quick access on these guys. Okay? And I have that in the slide to okay, a step guide. We're gonna get to shooting real quick. So what I want you to do is in every single scene you're gonna think through these steps, we're gonna think of what are the strength of the scene. What's the composition and attributes that we want? Do we want a shallot field? We want more depth of field. Do we want What are the components? Are we trying to use shutter speed to drag things out into show motion image? Are we trying to freeze motion and image? Think of those components and work backwards. Dialing desired Ambien exposure. Test shot within the light direction. As is once you got your text shot, then analyze and say, Hey, maybe I can add light in the scene. That's when you add light or modifying the quality of light as needed. Now, when you get good at this, you'll walk into a scene. You'll put your hand up like we talked about and you go. Hey, I know I need this here, and I don't need to take a test shot, but this is a great way to just kind of get started. Take that test shot, Adam, modifier light, and then modify as needed. So you're gonna look at the highlights and the strength of that light. Modify. We're going to set the manual flash, and they're going to shoot our entire sequence. When we're done with that sequence, then we're going to move onto the next one.