The Complete Wedding Photographer Experience

 

Lesson Info

The Knot Wedding: Reception

So what you're about to see is me literally quite frankly running into the reception. I had about five minutes to shoot the reception. Now in a previous lesson I spoke about how I talked about how I educate my clients to give me 15 minutes well I educated and it did not work out for me that way and knew that because it was a lot of moving pieces. Things were running delayed, it was really bright and I wasn't given what I'm normally given. I had to make the best of it. You're gonna see how all that unfolds. So let's talk about what we're going to see. We're gonna see me shooting elements of the reception in small details because we were working with a lot of broken light. We had bright light and then we had open shade. So because I'm going into that, I had to make the editorial decision to shoot a lot of tight photos, so you're gonna see how I approach it, you'll see how quickly we do it and a matter of five to 10 minutes I was working with J.D. and I was working without J.D. You will a...

lso see me use a diffuser or a scrim for a lot of the photos, because I knew I was gonna be shooting a mid-day open, outdoor reception I brought it and it was a complete lifesaver. So that's what you're gonna see me going into, we're also going to be showing how we shoot the grand entrance and the first dance, we'll talk about toasts, you're gonna see us shoot the father daughter dance. You're gonna see how we shoot dancing, so all the stuff that's usually traditionally the stuff that's kind of like yeah, I got it, well let's just up the ante and shoot it in full sun, on a hot day, with no shade whatsoever, that's what you're about to see right now. So what's going on right now is I have about a couple minutes to shoot everything, once the bride and groom sit down, I need to get them, everybody's worried about the flowers, because it's so stinking hot. So I'm just making sure that I'm shooting everything in shade to the best of my ability but everything's broken light. I'm gonna choose this table because I think it's the prettiest, and it's all continuous. So I've noticed that everything's already set so I have the wine, I have the champagne but I don't want bread rolls, so I'm gonna take the bread rolls out of it and I'm just gonna shoot it to the best of my ability. I'm shooting this at a 200 ISO, I'm at two point two. I'm gonna shoot the table number. Now I have sweaters and jackets in the background that I need to remove. And that I will place later. So the table numbers aren't. Okay so I'm at two point two, I'm at 1250 to the second and 200 ISO. I'm at 3200 shutter speed. Now, okay great. Oh my God this is gorgeous. Perfect, 'cause I'm right handed. This is how we always sit. Okay, Sam so you just sit. Oh I can sit in the dress that's good I haven't tried that yet. Do we move this umbrella out? Well we get, they're not in shade anymore. (inaudible) No, no no. I need you to shoot this as well. Jay I think I probably need you. Uh so, let's see can we clear this side? And then Celeste can you move those people out please? So Taylor, can you put your right arm around her waist? As quickly as possible. Celeste is way too nice. We need to rough that girl up, we do. Okay so Taylor and Sam, you guys are leaning to each other. Beautiful. And pause there, you guys are doing fabulously. Good. Relax and smile Sam, relaxing and smile. Beautiful, eyes up at Tay. I just abbreviated his name, I just Taylor shorter, how is that possible? (laughter) Good now, Samantha can you have your hand on his chin? Show off the bling. There we go. J.D.? There we go, there we go, pause pause. Heck yes. Let's do that one more time, one more time Libby. Thank you, thank you. I want them to get to the party as much as possible. Uh let's see, Jeannie? Yeah, their gonna go to prep now. Oh, okay. We're back here, we're at two point two, 2000 to the second 200 ISO. We have people now in the back of the frame that I might have to move. I'm at 3200 ISO, two point two, 200 ISO. I'm shooting a horizontal, I'm shooting a vertical. I'm shooting this table in particular because this is the one table out of 12 that have continuous light. There are people in the background but I'm shooting at such a shallow depth of field that I can blur them out they'll be just part of the background. So now that I have this, we're gonna move the table number, I'm gonna shoot it by itself. It's important for me to keep the table details both with and without the table numbers. The chateau is a major sponsor. So I gotta shoot the wine. And I really want to do a good job for all the vendors because this will be hopefully the vendor that they use on their website, which could eventually turn into more business. And so now there's people in the background. I'm just gonna squeeze in a little tighter. And blur them out in the background. Is it ready out there? Yeah. Can you get a couple shots of it? Okay, so they're placing the food so I'm gonna want to make sure that I get a photo of this. So I'm shooting the food for the Fairmont, The Fairmont catering, so I need to make sure that I get a solid shot of this. And then I also want to get a menu to indicate that we're starting with the Sonoma Valley Heirloom Salad. Great, so let's move this back. Butter back, sweater, jacket back. Okay, I did not get a photograph of this centerpiece, but because there's food already here, I don't want to take this one. So I'm gonna go to a table where they don't have food on the table already. This light is broken, and I have back light. Let's go to this table, excuse me. So I'm going to remove, butter, salt, pepper, bread. And then I'll have to make sure and replace it. One thing I did notice is there's a long table in the background that's in full sun, so I'm gonna have to shoot it in full sun but I'm gonna have to make sure I'm shooting it in full sun and I know that I'm doing that and I have about 30 seconds to do that. I'm gonna shoot it this way because if I shoot it this way it will be backlit and all this is shaded and it doesn't look exactly right so I moved the wrong cups. (glassware clinking) So the light hasn't changed. So I'm gonna shoot it still the same at a two point two. 2500 (inaudible) I'm gonna go down to 2000 for the second, it's slightly darker here. Great, so now I just need to replace everything back in the order in which I found it. This is not gonna be a pretty photo. It's a beautiful table, it's just not gonna be a beautiful but at I don't have food on it. And I just dropped a bread roll. Celeste can you have the team move back? J.D., J.D. I need you real quick. I'm moving this child's chair because that never looks good. I'm gonna have J.D. move this as quickly as possible. Tammy and J.D. can you handle this? This table moves just to the side please. I'm gonna shoot this at a two point eight, ISO 125. Doing a test shot to see what my light is. 3200th of a second. Celeste? Even more. So I'm just doing this test shot. Have a vertical of it. Tammy? There's people in the background right now and I just have to get over it. It's The Knot crew. The irony. I know they're giving you a hard time? They're broadcasting. Oh just kidding, it's all good, we'll just have to take care of it in post if necessary. So I got a straight on, I'm gonna shoot down it. I'm gonna change this to a three point five. One second, ten seconds. Thank you so much for your patience, I appreciate it. Thank you, I needed to get an overview shot for everybody. The overview shot for the reception and it's just not gonna work out and I just have to be okay with it. I asked for the coordinator, and she's the one that gave me approval not to be concerned about it because the market umbrellas are actually blocking all the centerpieces. So what I'm gonna do is instead of having a lot of people walking back and forth, I'm gonna wait till everybody's seated so hopefully once I have everybody seated in the umbrellas, it will make it look like more like a lively atmosphere which the magazine will probably hopefully want to use in some capacity instead of half people standing, half of it shade, half of it in light. As long as it gives the lifestyle of the idea, then that's what we'll do so I'm not gonna stress out about it. Well guests are getting seated right now, I'm gonna go and shoot the cake and a few elements of the cocktail hour. So I need to stylize this, this is their guest sign in. And so I need the light to be, I need scrim. So what I want to do is I want to wipe down everything. Can I just grab these. Just right above it would be great. Am I not shot in the bottle? Slightly but I'm gonna see how I can shoot this. I'm at two point two, 64th of a second. 200 ISO let's see where we put that. Oh this is great, okay. This is annoying me. Okay there, there we go, there we go. Okay, over it. You want this in there? Yeah. Here, let's have you go ahead, go ahead, pull. There we go, great. So guests are coming over that was a much better call. So J.D. my personal stylist, we had kind of like a dead flower, so he just pulled something else and it just makes the biggest difference. Great, so I'm shooting it vertical, gonna shoot it horizontal, I'm gonna shoot it up close. Great now guests are getting seated, I'm gonna shoot the cake, oh I need to shoot the groom cake. Let's put those flowers back here where they were. I'm not gonna use the cutting utensils, these are I just looked and they're Vera Wang cutting utensils, so I have to shoot them separately. Because chances are somebody spent money on them and so we want to make sure that we document that but it's not gonna be important in relation to the cake right now. Back it up. My settings are gonna be the same. This actual, edifice is not branded for the wedding, so I'm just going to cut it out in a crop and shoot the cake. I'm shooting this at a two point eight, 640 to the second 200 ISO, yeah. So people ask how I meter and I simply just look behind the camera and see if I like what I'm getting. I'm gonna shoot just the topper by itself. Now I'm gonna shoot the topper in one way, just to show you why I wouldn't shoot it this way. It's blown out behind but it's scoot over slightly this way to get a darker background. So that the topper pops out from what's going on. J.D. pop in one second. Great, I'm gonna shoot the cake now. Now I'm gonna shoot the cake top to bottom. Oh sorry, can you (inaudible). Thank you. I'm gonna shoot this at a two point eight. So I probably didn't act so nice to that photographer, but she's been around us all day and so it just kinda feels like I just needed to work as quickly and efficiently as possible. So I have top to bottom, I'm just doing base, top of cake. Gonna step in a little closer. Cut out the base of the cake. So there's this tree in the background and the cake wasn't centered to the tree so if I shoot the cake at a perfect center, the tree's gonna be on the right side which is just kind of not the best situation so if I were to shoot the cake now centered to the tree, it might not be the head on angle but I want to shoot it both ways. I'm gonna shoot a close up of the topper. Awesome, so let's just go take a little bit of a breather. We got cocktail hour, we got the reception to the best of our ability. The beauty about working with an experienced coordinator like Jeannie, she just said shoot what you can, do the best you can, but given the light, given the market umbrellas and a few minutes ago the umbrellas just toppled over, these are the things she's taking into consideration saying we're doing the best we can, given what we can. So when somebody gives me that amount of grace, it like relieves so much stress. I know at the end of the day, The Knot will be producing images maybe not in a wide shot, maybe the wide shot hopefully might be of the ceremony. Maybe something that is bright light but still is all contained, this broken light is gonna be very difficult to get a really wide shot but the fact that we can get small little details and piece it later together in post to tell a complete story, is going to be a good thing. So now what we're gonna do is we're gonna take a little bit of a breather, guests are getting seated. They're going to do a grand entrance. J.D. and I will be shooting the grand entrance but we are also known that a special celebrity artist is going to surprise them during their first dance. So because we know this, Jeannie told us in advance, what we want to do is J.D. and I will be shooting the couple as they come in for their grand entrance and then they start the first dance, and then the band has been instructed to stop. They're gonna say you know we can't do this as well as we should, we're gonna bring on somebody who can. And he's a country music artist and we're gonna actually go right now, I'll let it be a little teaser. Let's go, here we go. So right now it is full sun, it is bright light. This is not normally how we shoot, but you know you just have to roll with it. So they're gonna do a grand entrance. And I believe it will just be the bride and groom. They're gonna do the grand entrance of the bride and groom, they're gonna go directly into the first dance. Now I have to understand I'm gonna try to position myself in such a way that I don't get really distinct shadows. I don't know how that's exactly going to unfold, but we're gonna kind of roll with it. So the idea for me is to maybe perhaps shoot from this angle, get the band behind them and be able to salvage some of the blue sky. If I cannot, and if I just feel like it's just not a good situation, I don't care shooting them with the sun directly behind them and blowing out the back of the sky, as long as her skin is exposed well, the dress is exposed well, that's where I'm definitely gonna go for. I'm shooting this at a three point two, ISO 100. 2000th of a second. Turn your attention over there, my apologies. Let's welcome in our newlyweds, Mr. And Mrs. Sinclair. (crowd cheering) (slow country music) So sorry, we have a better idea. Sam and Taylor, we have actually a special guest who's here to sing you your first dance song. Let's turn our attention everyone, put your hands together welcome our special guest. (cheering and applause) Mercury National recording artist, Kevin Smith. (cheering and applause) He just flew in yesterday to perform this song, he's heading to Raleigh tomorrow, on tour with (inaudible) (acoustic guitar) (singing country music) (crowd cheering) Hey God bless y'all and your marriage, congratulations. (cheering and applause) Alright we wanted to welcome each and every one of you here. And thank you guys from the bottom of our hearts. For all of your love and support for the last three months, six months or so. It's been an absolute, amazing time for us. But hard as well, we've had support from every single one of you guys that are here. And we love you guys all from the bottom of our hearts. Thank you. So thank you guys for being here, let's raise a glass I don't have a drink, I would love a drink. (laughter) Perfect. Honestly everything about this day is perfect. And having you all here is the most amazing thing ever. And we really appreciate it. We welcome you guys, cheers. Yeah, cheers. (crowd cheering, glasses clinking) J.D., J.D. do you want to pop on that side? Sam, Tay can you guys take a step back? Alright there we go, there we go. Thank you guys. (cheering) Can you guys kiss? Sam, hold it out towards me, can you hold it out? Turn it around so I can see the inside. Oh inside. Thank you babe. Brilliant. That happened really fast, good lord. We went to the first dance, we went to the celebrity dance we went to a thank you to a cake cutting and now we're back to another thank you. Am I singing, is it karaoke? ♫ How sweet it is ... (laughter) We cannot even put into words how thankful we are to everyone here, friends, family, vendors, everyone. For creating this amazing day for us, it truly is our dream wedding. We have to give a huge thank you to The Knot, I mean that doesn't even suffice. To say thank you, they have done so much and they've made this such a memorable experience today and everything leading up to today. To Chateau Saint Jean, I mean, beautiful. How can you ever ask for a better wedding venue? And to The Fairmont, who has been incredible in accommodating our guests and all the food that you guys are about to enjoy. It's just been perfect all around, thanks to everyone coming together on this. We just really really really appreciate it. So thank you, so cheers again. (cheering and applause) Okay so now we're gonna see if people take the dance floor then I'll definitely shoot this, but their food has already been serviced, I'm actually people are getting up, it's gonna be a party. Gonna switch to the 35. Great idea guys, I like it. (acoustic country music) Very good very good very good. Bravo. Okay so I just stepped away from the music real quick to kind of give an update. As you can see right now there's small tiny bits of clouds that are covering the sky so you'll see that the light is shifting so wildly on the dance floor so every time I see a shift in light I have to make sure to compensate. Right now I'm shooting this at a three point two, ISO and I'm varying anywhere from 1500ths of a second to 2800ths of a second, depending. So right now it's shaded, slightly shaded I'm at 1600th of a second. When the sun kind of peels back and hits us full force, like it does in about three, two, one bright light. Here we go, I'm gonna pop back up here on 2500ths of a second so according to the schedule we have dancing, as guests finish their salads. So I'm gonna shoot this as much as possible and by the time the second course is plated, then that's the first time I'll probably take a break for the entirety of the day. So we're cruising about right now, we're shooting like six, seven hours without a break and that's okay because they're a great couple, we're gonna get some dancing photos, J.D.'s shooting on the other side, I'm shooting with a 35 right now, but I think I might swap a lens and start shooting with a 24. When I shoot a 24, he shoots with a 35. I'm gonna come up here and get an ambient shot. The crew from The Knot is in the photo and there's nothing I can do about it. I'm gonna shoot this with a 35 and a four point oh, 100 ISO, 2000ths of a second. I'm just gonna try to set an ambient shot. Kinda create, it's too dark I'm gonna go 1250ths of a second. That's where I want to be, I'll go to a 1000ths of a second. I want to kind of create the environment and make sure there's people on the dance floor. The light is shifting ever so slightly, 'cause there's a cloud over, the drops at 640ths of a second, at four oh, 100 ISO, there it is. I'm gonna shoot a horizontal. I'm gonna shoot a vertical. This light right now is so pretty. And the sun just came out again. We're best friends and it's her birthday today. Oh we have to get a photo of you two. Oh, could we? Absolutely, let's do it right now, I'll send my assistant right now with you. Okay, so I actually have to stand up here because I want to get more of an aerial perspective. And I'm short, I'm a short girl, but this is gonna give me an extra three to four feet which is awesome. All without a ladder. Now in post during an actual lesson I'll be able to show both angles and then y'all will who are watching at home can see what you guys prefer. So the sun came out again so I have to pop this back to 1000ths of a second. There we go. Good, so that's my establishing shot. So J.D.'s gonna be shooting Jesse the best man, I will be shooting reaction shots until I tell J.D. otherwise. J.D., uh we're going to speeches right now. J.D.'s gonna be shooting the best man, I'm gonna be shooting the bride and groom to get their reactions. I gotta speak loud? (cheering) I know this is a little tacky, but I'm gonna read it from my phone. I want to say hi to everybody, and anybody that doesn't know, I'm Taylor's brother. I'll try to keep this short, so first of all I just want to say thank you to The Knot for making this all possible, this has been quite the day, pretty amazing, I know Taylor and Sam are more than appreciative. It's just been awesome overall and everything's been great. So anybody that doesn't know, I'm Taylor's younger brother by two and a half years. This was the right age difference for us to not be like right on top of each other, in each other's business all the time but just close enough where we were around each other enough, shared a lot of the same friends, we were there to help each other out, lend a helping hand and probably annoy each other just once in a while. Sure it was always me that was annoying a little bit more than him. Sorry, I'm not too good at this. (laughter) So anybody with siblings knows that it can be a little bit difficult to feel like once in a while you're in your sibling's shadow. And it was a little bit difficult not to feel like that with Taylor sometimes because he was always so awesome at everything, so like gpa in high school, there was no chance I was every getting close to his. Baseball stats there was no chance I was coming close to his either. Always there to give me a good helping hand with school or whatever it was. And he was always a humble guy too like a lot of people that are as good at as many things as Taylor is good at can be a little cocky, and he can be cocky to certain people in the right situations, I see you Tim. (laughter) Like in the Chinese restaurant near the Kimball Manor. Oh yeah, he got that one. So he was never one to like rub his successes in anyone's face, and that also made it pretty easy to just handle the fact that I have an awesome older brother that all the girls in my grade would tell me how hot he was. (laughter) Little tough to deal with. He was pretty awesome to everybody. So I had to move out to California which was difficult for me because I knew that would be the time that I would get in the off seasons I always enjoyed him being pretty close by or a little bit more accessible. (gentle music) So right now I'm shooting the father daughter dance. I'm shooting at 85, gonna get three point two, 1600ths of a second, 100 ISO. (cheering and applause) How about their taste in music? All the songs were selected by the couple today. And lucky for us they have wonderful taste in music. Thank you. And now I would like to invite Taylor up to share a dance with is mother. Also a great song. So I try to shoot each dance from like three different locations, we start it from one, two and three. So now that I'm already here I'm just gonna back it up in three, two, and one. So we're gonna end that where we started the last dance. (cheering and applause) (whistling) (gentle acoustic music) So right now, I'm looking to make sure that I get a focal point on the mom. And then as they twist, now it's on Taylor, her back is to me, so my focal point's on Taylor. And then as they twist, there goes momma, I got my focal point on her, now twist now focal point should be on momma right about now, there we go. I have a tendency to shoot a lot of vertical and I'm gonna shoot now horizontal, so that I have everything covered. Focal point on Taylor. Now hopefully she'll twist around. So they're talking so I'm gonna shoot at least three frames so that I get a smile. This is not the best angle. There we go. Waiting for mom to turn around. We're gonna go into the bouquet and garter toss. We're gonna wait for some girls to arrive. I will be shooting the bride, J.D. always shoots the reaction, I'll be shooting the 35, he will likely be shooting with a 24 or the 50, so we're gonna head in. (upbeat music) (cheering and applause) (cheering) Let's hear it one more time guys, for Sam and Taylor everybody. (cheering and applause) This way, can you guys face this way? Girl, you weren't even gonna come out here, I can't even, I can't even. Can you guys look at me? Beautiful. Thanks guys. J.D., need a card. Uh, Tammy needs that one. Yeah, tell her there's a photo booth. So right now this is the last dance or the second to last dance so I want to make sure that I do a big loop in a circle, J.D.'s shooting with the 24, I'm with the 35, I'll be standing on the stage to hopefully get to shoot over the guests to make sure that I'm getting a photo of Samantha and Taylor. (slow, gentle music) Baseball players in high school and college so I'm sure Taylor can back me up when I say that they don't have the most savory reputation when it comes to girls (crowd groaning) however, however. You want me to take care of him, Taylor? (laughter) Don't act like it's not true. (laughter) So when Sam told me she was in a long distance relationship with a semi-professional baseball player that lived in Arizona, and was totally her boyfriend I had my doubts. But, to Taylor's credit, he put them all to rest. Sam being the amazing friend that she is, a couple years ago she threw a massive birthday party slash Christmas party for me. Because I'm one of those unfortunate late December children, yeah, I never get celebrated but Sam went out of her way, she threw a party for me. And said, oh it's also Christmas, but whatever. I see that Sam, the amazing person that she is and the friendships that she has and how much you all mean to each other, he said I want everything with Sam, I want to be in there with all of you. So the reception. It came together. I walked into the reception thinking that I was not gonna be able to deliver and at the end of the day, we did and we did because it was a group and team effort and I am very appreciative for it. But let's talk a little bit about the things that we faced. During the grand entrance, it was bright sun. The sun was directly on their faces, so I tried to expose for them the best I could. When they went into the first dance, we had shadows. I had shadows across Samantha's face half the time, I had shadows across Taylor's face. There were a few moments where they were both able to look out. I will say that my exposure wasn't exactly where it should be all the time because not only were they moving the sun and the clouds were changing on us as well. However, when it comes to a curatorial perspective, I know that I shot with three different lenses. I shot with a 50 millimeter, the 85 millimeter and the 35 millimeter. And I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I nailed one photo with each of those lenses. I have a wide, I have a tight and I have a mid-range. Knowing that I'm gonna walk away from the situation saying I did what I came to do. That also goes to show for the father daughter dance and the mother son dance. I photographed those with the same lens, with the just to get more of an intimate feel between parent and child and I photographed it from three different locations to offer diversity. Do I think that I nailed at least one photo in each of those three locations, the answer is yes. Now, taking that same approach, when it comes to the cake cutting, there were so many people. There were literally six to seven different film crews. There was photographers, there were coordinators there was the entire team from The Knot. So I just found a position and I didn't move. Now I did notice that the bride and groom came in and they were instructed to stand a certain way and once the producer from one of the other shows that were here had positioned them I said Sam and Taylor, can you take a step back and open up toward me. By doing that I was able to reposition them according to my camera and nobody else's. Am I okay doing that on a wedding day? Absolutely, am I okay getting the photos that we got as a result from them? Absolutely. I feel okay with it, we got verticals we got horizontals we got both of them feeding each other. And overall it was a pretty cake and good light, delivered on all ends. They kiss at the end, I think that I'm pretty good with it. As far as dancing photos go, they're okay. It's bright light, people were having fun. For everything that I liked technically what I want to do is make sure and capture lifestyle dancing photos. Do I think we delivered on that end? I do, and I owe a lot of that to J.D. who's actually shooting right this very second as I'm out here talking to the cameras. So we're gonna scoot back into the reception, and we're gonna finish off this day hopefully with a bang.

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