Documentary Wedding Photography: Capturing Reality

Lesson 9 of 36

Moments are Fragile

 

Documentary Wedding Photography: Capturing Reality

Lesson 9 of 36

Moments are Fragile

 

Lesson Info

Moments are Fragile

Um yeah, starting dio this is going to be long segment so I wanted to kind of start into it and get a little bit further along, you know so, um if you guys are ready, we're going to jump into it. Cool. So, um, this is this this kind of goes into, um there was a question I think I might go into the question about, like, how close is too close, you know, and stuff like that, we might kind of start talking it's a little bit um, you know, the bottom line is it's like it's just I can't stress enough when I when I when I need people to think about like, the wedding day it's just it's, not about you okay? This is not the clump in our show is you're supposed to be there to be involved and document what's happening that granted, this is all from my opinion, right? Because it's not about what, what, what you think it should be and so, you know, therefore letting these things happen naturally, and this is the only way that I know how to prove my point to you guys is to tell a lot of stories behin...

d these pictures, right? So hopefully this is not boring you tremendously on hearing all these stories, so I'm going to keep going but that's and then that's all I have built mikey knows that's why do we gotta do right? So this is one of my favorite and it just and it also goes teo to prove to prove a point to even the client's, right? So this, uh, this this bride's mom, it was, like just adamant about her getting dressed at the church and not getting dressed at her house because, you know, dress is going to wrinkle or what? Whatever, andi, I highly recommend people if they can, I might just get just get ready at home. It's more it's, more it's, more meaningful it's not some crappy room in a church like stuff on dso. And so the mom was so so theo bride fought her mom, you know, and she's like no, we're gonna we're going, you know, I wanted at the house and she was like, who? You know? Okay? And the mom was really cool and I got there that day and I'm just a has it going, you know, ever well, anyway, bright got dressed. Ah, dad was going to be shuffling people to and from the church. He was gonna come get his daughter to go to the ceremony and so so she's waiting in the kitchen for him to come get her and like all these people kept walking into the door the garage and they're like she's like dad you know it's like brothers you know, like all this all this exciting was being built up then all of a sudden we're sitting there and we hear the garage open and there's music blaring from the car right and it's pitbull you know that song you know I want teo you know, whatever right it's like we're like and we start kind of laugh you know? She starts laughing and then all of a sudden he like, turns the car off and just bursts in through the door dancing okay and he's just like you know, whatever right? And I'm just like, you know, but I was waiting I was ready I was anticipating what might happen because I'm like oh, is dad coming to pick you up just like yeah he's bringing the car okay? And then I kept noticing that like they everybody kept using that doorway so I'm like a bet they're going to come through here so I just sat there cause I have to make a decision, right? I'm the only one there do I shoot dad? Do I shoot bride? How do I how do I do this? And so I just stood there made my decision hit focus and he jumped in dancing and then sees his daughter for the first time starts crying and then bam the moment right that that's actually I'm sorry that's not even that's not even the moment that's the expected moment the moment to me is when he's dancing coming in the doorway right? And so I were on our way to the church and mom was really cool and I kind of turned to mom and I go there's no way that moment would have happened the church there's kind of walked off you know, but but these guys are amazing parents and she was totally cool with that. Okay, keep moving, buddy it's pretty funny, you know, just just never assume anything again same thing I know I'm beating this like a like a nick like a horse but a dead horse but this is like one of her favorite picture of the wedding this is her dad could not wait to get out of his tux and into his jeans right to go get his big truck back up and load up all the gifts and he's just waiting there for that to happen and she's like that's totally my dad it's a hundred percent my dad and I love that photo. So then I started to think of myself, you know it's like okay, so I'm not controlling this now granted granted people will do things for me there was evidence on thursday and she she produced moments for me but I'm still going to shoot those because I can't it wasn't my it wasn't my decision I didn't tell him to do it but you know I know it's for me so it's not technically riel but I'm still going to shoot it because that's just you can't draw that line completely in the sand in my opinion um and so but this is really interesting so speaking of that she I rode with the brian the dad to the ceremony right? She does this she she puts her hand on her dad's hand I'm in the back seat of my high look you little moment you know just whatever so, um I forgot how many whatever months later we were doing we were helping put together images for her album and she's like I don't want that picture look don't you want that picture and she's like I know it's you it's you not out of the ceremony and your hold his hand it's great little moment you know and I know some amazing a picture but and she's like well I don't want it because I did it for you and I'm like that's interesting she's the answer to be good picture she was but then you caught a real moment with my dad later and I want that and I'm like so then I thought to myself, if a bride is doing that to herself how would she feel if I was doing that to her telling her to do things on our wedding day like that that to me I was like, whoa, I'm not okay well, yeah, it strengthens my resolve even more and so you know I'm not sure which one is that what this was but this is her and her dad waiting in the back of the church cinderblock walls you know, and she's just kind of having our moments you know, right? And uh and there's the one right there is the one that I think she liked you way more not granted it's better you know, let's get their faces all that kind of stuff but the whole point of this is is that that conversation happened and I thought that that was extremely interesting to me of how people view their experiences and stuff like that during the wedding day, you know, coming from coming from them moments are like the problem with this style and I think I was who was I talking to you out in the hallway just all you guys yet, right? You know, you know, the problem with this style is is that it's really, really, really, really risky? Um and I totally understand why and again, I'm not saying that any photographer out there is wrong about what or how they do it's a wedding day, you can do whatever you want and it doesn't matter as long as everybody's on board go for it right? I'm just telling that this is what my style is and how and why I believe in it but I understand why so many things are portrait driven in door in door like affected throughout the day because real life is like messy you know and people aren't going to just produce beautiful moments by themselves all the time and sometimes there aren't any and I've had I've had weddings where it's like because I'm I'm at the mercy of what's happening that day you know and I have to have toe I had to hope and pray that you know this is all going to come together and it's all and and their stuff that's goingto moments that are gonna happen right so it's so it's it's difficult so I could totally understand you know why we talked about it you know you know why people do that kind of thing because it's it's like a it's like job security it's like okay, I know that I can if I if I just move them a little bit over that's going to be a beautiful photo for them and I know it's going to be done right you know I'd know it and there's nothing wrong with any of that right it's not like we're it's not like it's it's for a newspaper that is you know, not reporting the truth right it's a wedding day and they all know that but that's just not where I come from and and so with it with it with moments being that fragile you have to be on you have to be like, ready and you have to be like cranking and get him and pay attention you know um yes, I'm hearing like through your stories and so on so far today and being able to capture these moments and the anticipation of people's actions and people watching it seems like you get a lot of your cues from like really listening well he's dropping to people around you and you kind of just being like moving through the crowd and yeah, so that's kind of almost gearing your actions or where you're going to be for the next moment to happen yeah, totally I am again I'm gonna I'm gonna really go through that on on howto build the photograph, you know? Because yeah it's true you have to stop looking and start listening, okay? Right? I can't to anything else right? So you know, there could be somebody in this room clicking a pen right now and I'd be like I can't even talk to you because I can't tell him that tune that out right it's horrible in my everyday life because my my wife is a chronic pen clicker but it's great when I shoot because I can hear all of that stuff happening and that's and that's what I'm talking about like it's actually great for this cause moments are fragile you know? They it didn't work there you go it's really that's really takes a lot for those to materialize, you know and kind of you know you've seen it like people there's no walk in a lot of times and just be like, emotion on their sleeve, right? It takes a while for that to kind of them to get caught up in all this stuff to make it kind of come together, you know? And so and so that's why I think that you know, we are so you know, I am so so kind of strict in that because I don't want anything to mess with my moments like, don't you mess in my moments, right? Because I mean, they don't come along very often and I need those, you know? So yeah, yeah, I mean that's, you know, I had to let that stuff just happen and listen and pay attention, you know, and questions it's kind of run along that same lines do you ask any questions of your clients to get to know these people that we're working with beforehand to prepare for those moment totally one hundred percent yep cool is that part of your initial conversations? You have a question on their way actually way actually do a meeting before the wedding where we kind of go through and talk about a lot of things and I asked him because I have to cheat a little bit, you know, because if I was doing a story for a newspaper I would be with them for like, years, you know? And I would learn there I would learn them as people when they would accept me into their life and I would learn to anticipate, but I don't know these air like this is like, you know, accelerated storytelling, you know? And I quite frankly never done like, you know, my first rials, long term stories that I'm going to show him on wednesday and that's, why I've never really done, like, really hard core long term photo essays, you know, but I've learned from watching all these people and pay attention, that stuff and that's, one of the biggest things is like gaining that help, you anticipate, and so therefore I had to ask them questions to kind of so I could be like, oh, so, you know, I had heart surgery, okay, well, I know I need to be now, you know, it's everything yeah, do you ever go to rehearsal dinners? I'm really, really yeah, I think it's it it could help, you know, because of speeches and all that kind of stuff, but quite frankly, like, I want to spend that with my family and nine times out of ten it's like like, like the images that come out of her usually not really worth it, in my opinion got it, thank you so on that we're going to one little last thing we're going to talk about because moments is so fragile that I think I think scheduling the wedding day and helping guide people into producing situations that are going to let moments happen is really important. So therefore, this is the one part where I'm like, I kind of go against what I what I preach because I am helping them guide, guiding them on the way they schedule their day, and I'm on lee doing that because if I let them do it themselves, then they're going to probably take away the opportunities for real moments to materialize. Does that make sense? You know? So, so well, so we have we have a medium, we go through the schedule and, you know, I'm like, you know what you guys do within those blocks of time I don't care about, but we need to talk about how the fact that we're not going to schedule today around photos you know that that's really important and so one of the biggest biggest biggest things that I have that I have to deal with is the fact of first sights or the reveal you guys know what that is right when the bride and groom first see each other and all that kind of stuff we are one hundred percent against them I just think they are totally pointless in my opinion right the only time you do them now with that I'm gonna have to do one when I get back on sunday okay because like like jewish ceremonies you need to a lot of times it was like a tuba signing you know, if there's a wedding coordinator involved it has like their idea of how they need it's goes and I'm like okay, fine I'll deal with it I'll do it you know? But if it's like my client and everything I just I I don't understand I understand the point but in my opinion there pretty much only used for photos that's the only reason we're doing it is to get photos on the day right and I believe that you can always recreate a wedding day portrait afterwards if you had to but you could never recreate the day again so I don't want those two takeaway I don't have to be the priority that day, right? So so I highly recommend the people we don't we don't do first sights the first time they see each other is at the ceremony and, um, it actually makes a big difference. It makes a huge difference in my opinion. We have a gal that would edit for us and she way had a wedding where they where they saw each other and she's like what's really interesting. I'm I'm editing this and, you know, this bride actually is looking at everybody else coming down the aisle and she's not looking at her groom going after they got a first sight and she's like, oh, yeah, and she could really see now great. Now the great moments, mind you, right? But do you see how she keeps is looking at everybody? I thought that was kind of interesting. Is it bad? No, it is an interesting observation, right? And then and so you know, this next one kind of proves my point, too. I've had many things that kind of prove this, but shelley was telling talking to me and she's like, I think I want to see mike before the ceremony and I might well give me a reason why? Because if it's just for photos and that's, not a good enough reason and she's like, well, my mom has a little bit of ah nervous kind of thing, and if she starts to kind of freak out, then I start to freak out and the only but and the only person on this planet that can calm me down is mike I said that's a good reason, right? So I'm like, all right, how about we do this? How about you just play it by ear? You just see how you feel, right? And and so she did, and she ended up not not seeing him and, uh, her mom told me later because her mom didn't want her to see him but her she's on the fence about it and that shelly was on the fence about it, so her mom told me later, she's like, thank god that that that that didn't happen because I'm never going to forget that moment. And so what she did this is her, so she walked. This is the moment she sees mike around the corner and her mom told because there's no dad in the picture, her mom and her brother walked it on the aisle and she says her mom's like I felt ill never forget feeling her go like this when she saw mike for the first time, you know? And I'm like, I just don't know at that moment would have been the same and I know that I've seen a lot of emotional reveals and first sights you know, not my own personally but I've seen other people have them so it is possible to get that same emotion but to me it's just it's just that that that memory of experiencing that moment coming down the aisle you know I'm finding with um my brides and grooms these days they want to do even their formals before the ceremony because after the ceremony they just want to party they wouldn't want to be like a big pause in between therefore you were revealed yeah yeah right and tons you will do it I mean like tons of people do it and it's totally fine and it's great and it works out if it works for you and it works to calm the day down that's great but I tell my my my couples unlike portrait's are not the priority that's not why were there that day and that's not why you're hiring me and they agree right? I'm gonna give you some I'm not saying like I'm like I'm going to give you some I'm just gonna I'm gonna give you what I believe in portrait's but we don't need very many you know way do fifteen minutes of family formals and then if I'm lucky I'll get fifteen minutes with the couple and that usually happened out to the ceremony right before that you know during the cocktail hour and then we go right into it you know, so I just come up with other ways, but basically I'm like, I'm like that's not we're going to spend our priority on, but other people who hire, you know, like, you know, some amazing photography, it's, like portrait driven, like jose via or something that's, his incredible portrait's, right? Like that's gonna be a different scenario, you know? So so it's just about how you educate your clients and talk, right and what you want to do? Listen, you may feel like not come out fast, you can go party way. We'll have the wine on the side for you exactly. So anyway, so so, you know, you know, I think I think what's important is, you know, I don't know if moments if moments like this would happen or not with the first site, you know, I just it's going to be interesting to kind of courtney, who is going to be on later today? Her, her groom really reacted really well, I'm gonna I'm gonna ask her if if she would have thought that that would have happened or not, you know, had they see each other, so just lots of, you know, lots of moments like that. And I don't I don't know I don't know I mean something really emotional, right? I mean, I've seen some first sights that like they're all like crazy crying and they do the portrait in the ceremony comes the like crazy crying you know, I don't know but I think I think most people are not that way and I think I think that we're all been trained like I did and you did to try and stop our emotions right to not let it get the best of us and so I wonder if if that I think it affects think it totally affects the entire field today when you do a first sight I think that I think that kind of comes down personally, you know that's just that's just my experience with mike but you gotta guarantee of like a really good second shooter to make sure like one captures the bride and one captures the groom was alright but exactly no let's talk a little bit about time. Okay, so how long are you spending in this day with with the couple and do folks ever try and book you for let's say like just a ceremony and how do you react to that english so my coverage is my coverage is eight hours, right? It's typically ends up typically most people go to ten hours I found that ten hours is about far as I can go all right, I'm just saying it's a long day I'm done, yeah, but it's not nearly long like I know people that like, fourteen hour or three day like, you know, indian indian weddings or something like that like crazy, right? I know you know, I'm I've been I've been working on my my next project is my body, you know? Because I'm like wearing out I got this shoulder issue and my knees and you know, that kind of stuff, so I want to get stronger to help with that, but I just get just get tired. I'm just mentally exhausted, you know, so, so eight hours is about eight to ten hours on average, but most of pretty much all my weddings in kansas city there, ninety percent of them are in the evening, so most of my coverage is like two to midnight something that cool. Great. Now, all right. And then what was the other part of that? Like, how did they do they grow just a ceremony only yeah. Do you ever get folks and you try to discourage them toe or do you discourage them? Not book you for just the ceremony? Yeah, I mean, I try not to, you know, I tried to be like, you know, so much more to it you know, I mean, that is the most important part, mind you, but there is so much more that I just had a person called contact me and she's having this really small wedding on dh. I don't know if I've booked it or not, but, you know, so so she's, like it's, just a ceremony, and then we're just going go like the lunch or something like that, and I'm like, well, we're getting ready, and, you know, that kind of stuff. So I just kind of educated are a little bit signal. You know what? That be really cool if you just came earlier and, you know, so it's a shorter day by just try toe. I try to still tell us better as good of a story as I can and convince him that that's. Why I need a little bit stuff on the front of the back end.

Class Description


There is a magic and beauty to wedding days that doesn’t have to be posed or fabricated. You can take photographs that are authentic and dynamic by drawing on classic documentary photography techniques. Join Tyler Wirken for a class exploring the practice of documentary-style wedding photography.

This course will teach you how to take unique, distinctive images that break away from standard styled shoots and set-up poses. Tyler will encourage you to think deeply about why we take wedding photos and then help you use those insights to create an actionable roadmap for getting the real moments during weddings. You’ll learn how to get up close and capture the more intimate moments of a couple’s wedding day without feeling like you’re intruding or disrupting. From being more present in the moment to getting through family photographs in twenty minutes to developing your one-of-a-kind perspective as a photographer, you’ll build strategies for ensuring the moments you capture are beautiful and real.

If you want stand out in the sea of wedding photographers and take photographs that more meaningful than meticulously-posed, then this course is for you!

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