Documentary Wedding Photography: Capturing Reality

 

Documentary Wedding Photography: Capturing Reality

 

Lesson Info

Tell it Like it is

The whole idea of you know telling it like it is and this is where the fearlessness comes in is don't be afraid to tell it like it is you guys I wish a little bit of you so wait we're talking like you know all these things were starting to resonate a little bit with your wedding you know you did yesterday and stuff like that I mean how many of you guys are new to this right but how many times have you have you found yourself in a situation where you're kind of like should I be showing this should I be shooting this right and you know nine times out of ten people defer to the easy route because they don't want to be confrontational or whatever you are get in trouble right? I set the expectations that pretty early with my clients that I'm like I'm supposed to be a witness to that day so I'm gonna shoot it all right that should the good the bad the ugly that happy the sad the mad right happy is happy in the in the pretty are easy to shoot the mad the sad is kind of okay to shoot is easy s...

hoot the mad is really hard to shoot when somebody's mad my cousin um shot when I shot her wedding her parents surprised her with a horse and carriage to take her to the ceremony and she was having none of it and she walked out the door and she saw it and she goes absolutely bleepin not right and I shot that then I looked at my aunt and I go that'll be funny one day right now it's a little sensitive but it's going to be funny one day you know? And I just I just you know in the end I have to I have to remember it's like, how bad is it? You know really you know it's like it's like this is where this is where this is, how I live my life and I try to live my life but it's, like I went to africa about eleven years ago and I came back from that a little bit changed because I'm I'm seeing I'm seeing these people in africa and I'm seeing these kids that literally have two liter coke bottle like you two liter bottles as shoes right? And they're happy is khun b and they're running around and I get back home and I hear somebody complaining because their coffee's not hot enough I mean it's silly like what? Why? Why are we doing this? You know, and I try to just remember to myself and remind myself it's like, you know what? This might seem like a catastrophe but in the end is a horse and carriage you know, it's like nobody's nobody's hurt no he's got cancer you know it's just kind of just laugh about it and move on you know and I get that from my dad I think you know in the way that he approaches things and I think I'll take that into my photography right because I've shot every one of these daughters weddings now right? I love this photo okay I mean I just shot amy's wedding I love so her sister her sister is like freaking out right there's something wrong with the dress and she's dolled pissed off and she's like you know drop in drop in curse words and everything and and they're all trying to figure out an amy just comes over and is like just thiss years but right love that totally love that picture and they love it too and then you know you can totally see how annoyed her sister is is in here and you know, I just I don't have any problem showing that to people you know because it's like that's what it wass you know and and I don't really know in the end if it's a good thing or a bad thing but so far people seem to be okay with it a cz long there's nothing major of course you know but this is another great example see that spot on her forehead you see that right there, huh? So that's ah that's a curling iron burn all right who everybody always does that I was speaking in amsterdam in the whole place e mean it was like you thought like somebody just died right? And so that's that's a curling iron burn from the hair lady earlier in the day burned or forever the curling iron right and uh there's best they never have into our wedding right? Because it changed things you know and again it's like you react that way when you learn that somebody is dying or somebody has this is just a curling iron burn on a wedding day you know I got a picture of the text she sent her her groom that day this is a g g curling iron burn like it was she was livid and the make up artist within twenty minutes it was gone wedding without what wedding went off without a hitch and it literally it changed the dynamic that day just enough that the whole all the spirits lifted and everybody was so happy and all their friends are like, we're going to get through this together, you know? And they and they did and it was an awesome day and so but but but you know by the time they got in the car the makeup wore off and I did not photoshopped that out because that is part of their wedding that happened on their wedding they're going to talk about that years down there with right doesn't matter there's a photo of it probably not right? But I got to just do what I do and be who I am and not mess with that stuff doesn't make sense, you know, cool couple more examples shooting things that are emotional is really, really, really hard um so this was, uh it was just me and her and that's her sister in the hotel room together getting getting and she's getting ready and she's like this is like the second time that day she's had, like, a breakdown like crying and upset and it's not one of those like she's getting married today it was just like things I don't know what was going on, but something wasn't quite on track, you know? And so I'm in the room with him and I'm just kind of shooting or getting ready whatever and then, uh so this is a hotel room, right? So, you know, when you walk into hotel rooms sometimes there's that closet right there, so there's the door right behind you so she goes over, she gets dressed, she goes over to look in the mirror and she just loses it and I'm like, and I'm and I'm literally like in the corner right here in the window and she's right there, and I'm like, okay, okay you got this you know and then her sister comes over and hugs there and they just sit there and they hug for a while and you know what I did was I was I had to make a photo of that moment right I mean you know it was because you could feel it have you guys been there you feel it in your in your soul and you're like this is not a happy cry like something's going on but I didn't show I didn't choose to focus on her right you see that I chose to focus on the sister because to me that was the story it wasn't the story about like oh she's freaking out about something it was the story about that's sisterly love and her sister helping her and what I did was I got down a big thing I do all the time is I'm always shooting out of eye level right so there's an emotional thing happening and if I was sitting right here at the sister be like you know you hunger it's good you know I mean it would feel weird right so I just kind of quietly get myself in the corner and I sink down and I shoot up I shoot up with things to kind of kind of remove myself a little bit from the situation right? So you know and I didn't I didn't I didn't I didn't hammer down on this one you asked us I was just you know, because it is vital people cursed and talked about this it's vital that you respect the integrity of the moment, right? You have to because it's not about you and it's about them experiencing what's happening, right? But but you still got to shoot it. You know I love the five d mark three the cannon fire demark three who shoots cannon is anybody? Yeah, okay, I love the five mark three with the silent shutter mode actually use that quite a bit now just to help, like, just take that down a little bit on on the intrusiveness of what I am to the moment somebody talked about that and the gender and somebody asks a question about that how close is too close? You know, that's hard to say I've had I've bumped to the back of people's heads with my lens because I've been too close, you know? But I think I think you just have to you got to feel it out and your soul and feel it out what you're comfortable with, you know, and then find out ways to kind of just like I adapt to what's going on and make the moment has natural and realist possible because it's going to be already kind of a little bit unreal because you're there, you know, but you do the best you can and tell her I just want to let folks out there know that later in the workshop we're gonna be talking all about your settings yet all about your equipment all about that stuff were just not delving into its totally I mean this is just saying all that stuff up right yeah we're but they're they're asking we're stay tuned we're getting there we're going we're going to go through tomorrow I'm going to give you like the like a couple of game changers secrets in my opinion on how to shoot how I shoot manual and the way I keep up with things really quickly and I'm also going toe talk about some another another secret that I think makes the difference you know so so we're going to dive into a lot I know just hang hang in there with me I got to get all you guys on board first and then I can tell you how to do it is that cool with the cameras you okay? Hey so uh you know, I'm getting I'm getting close to kind of kind of wrapping this stuff up hopefully but you know just don't be afraid to show it who it is this guy was freaking out before you walk down the aisle I shot that through the crack of the door right after the ceremony he always has his phone and she's not happy with him shot that you know, this is what he did during the first dance which I find hilarious, you know, but it's it's like you can't you just can't put judgement on them like I can't believe he did that to his first dance because if you put if you pass judgment on these people and who you're photographing, then you're not going to photograph the real moment because you're just gonna wait for the moments that you think they should be having that makes sense, right? Unfortunately find it funny is the cake cutting for my favorite photos of every shot and no idea what what they're doing but that that's hilarious, right? So somebody had asked, like, how do I deal with things that go wrong? Um, this is a wedding in, um in ah traverse city, michigan, right? So I can give you a little heads up on this. Um uh, I'm just telling I'm giving you guys wasted, like, embrace things that you all think our problems and used them to your advantage and make stories and interesting pictures out of him. Does that make sense? Like so I'm hoping you guys air seeing through my story's kind of why I approached it in this way and how this actually starts to make every stinking wedding unique for each person, right, um, so, uh so I love this wedding was amazing really awesome it started out so they so they hired us to go to traverse city michigan and shoot their wedding amanda yes and uh then they ii and then and then and then they wrote us like phew months later and they're like okay hey you guys mind going to bermuda no aruba ruba instead I'm sure I don't care if it's on the same day I'll go wherever you want me to go and bother me right great going to aruba pam okay, you know and then a few months later never mind it's back in traverse city on and I'm like what what what happened you know and what's so funny about it is that they were like they're like, you know what? We wanted our wedding to be small but because it was in traverse city michigan, the guest list started getting bigger and bigger and bigger so he said, you know what? Screw it we're going to take it to aruba where half of you people can't come right nothing was brilliant by the way um and then and then she said, you know what though it's our wedding I want this we want this thing in aruba I mean in traverse city, michigan so you know what? We're moving it back to michigan but only the aruba people can come right right now that was genius right take until your wedding day so she dreamed about this location she had this all this barn down the hill is this pond overlooking the river the lake and in like you know all set up in these you know all this beautiful nous whatever and forty five minutes for the ceremony we get this see where they're at no actually I'm sorry their way up here so that's literally right in the path right and then it's all going downhill right everything's unraveling everybody's unhappy my wife pam I'm going to throw into the bustle of it should be really mad at me I think she's picking the kids up from school so you won't see this but to shooting with me and you know, in her defense she's just not as hardcore as I am and she was down shooting the shooting the girls are you know amanda down than anything and she comes back up like hey what's going on down there and she's like she's really upset like really upset so why aren't you down there? Why don't you? Who wants pictures of that and I'm like I do so I went down there and you know, and I and I just I just started documenting the story and I'm showing how she felt right and have you ever dealt with any weather things where people are like freaking out yeah, yeah, I had one earlier that summer. It rained hard all morning until noon and she had been praying for four and a half months for no rain and that's why I trained, by the way I didn't order that way every wedding planner in tennessee that says I tell them like, don't be weather watchers if your weather watchers it's gonna rain just let it go you know? So yeah right? And she was freaking out she was but it was amazing amazing light was turn the mountains is beautiful, deep green I kept telling her at the makeup places like, don't worry, this is better than sun I promise. Trust me. Yeah, and the photos were great, right? Yeah, works out it always works out right it torrential downpours on our wedding to the point where that weekend a family sadly got washed off the highway and they all died is horrible, not for a wedding but you know, I mean just like like what is going outside, our dog was going to be in the wedding and like all that stuff got scrap because of the rain, you know? And if I had one more person tell me rate is good look, I was going to just go nuts, so take my chances you know and so I mean I get it right you know but but you just have to kind of deal with it it is what it is her mom you know, comforting her um and then you know so but you know, this really made and everybody's like watching the rain it's just funny to think there's literally nothing you can do and they all were just like exterior and all day long and I'm like you know, um but they uh they ended up moving the ceremony up into the barn he's the best thing that ever happened absolute best thing ever happened and you know, she I think her emotions were really heightened that day and that really made the moments really pop out I absolutely love this photo of her waiting to go down the aisle right that's that's that's the chef he's just sitting there with an umbrella you know? But but how do you how do you tell this story? You know? And that was a photo that really you can tell she's just kind of like, ok, I guess we'll go get married, you know? And then she and then she gets up there and her parents walked through that look at the guy looking at me dad look at me like I'm a date well, it is what it is ceremony what so we did have a comment in the in the chat rooms. I just want to pass your way not picking up the kids and just heard him throw me on on the way. Can you apologize for me? I think you just did. E she's awesome. Okay, so, um, nice. Jamie, I'll get you back for that one. Okay? So so yeah, you know, so that so they moved the ceremony into the barn and it was just really, really, really, really fantastic and it was hot, right? This is there a friend who was officiating and I just love that photo says such an onion it's just like a unique photo, but it just shows the story of how it felt that day. Um and, you know, it's just awesome stuff great light coming in, right? And then I'll never forget, you know, this moment um, son came out right? Amazing light, amazing day they come out the barn, they go around the corner to this and all I can hear her say is oh, my god, that was so much better than I ever could have imagined, right? And so it's like it's like you just just encourage people just to let it go, like, what is that song you're staying with me? Let it go okay, okay and you know what right? You know but it's just like it's just like let it go just let it go it'll be what it will be and just let it let it progress and let life take over and to me it's just the way the way I got to do things you know it's the way I do things in my life the way I do things in my photography then they had and I decide that show you some you know, first dance um was great there's great light they released those things what are those things called? They have the like chinese lanterns don't know yeah, it was kind of fun it's just you know and then and then uh you know, on the way back to their hotel he's in his t shirt I love that he's buckled in you know, I find that there's yes, you go to their hotel with him sometimes. Okay, we'll talk about that, okay three all night coverage talk about that on wednesday, okay? Don't get ahead of me. I got had myself right? So yeah, you know I mean like it's just it's just one of those things where it's like you know, I'm not a wedding photographer I don't consider myself a wedding photographer even though I shoot it weddings right? And the reason I do that is because weddings what do you get me, a cz close to photojournalism as I came without having to get into photojournalism again because of not wanting to, I want to, but you know, you understand it, it gets me as close as I can, and so, therefore I have to approach it in that way. And so I tell people, I'm like, yeah, I don't consider myself a wedding photographer. I consider myself a doctor, bernie photographer, that does it at weddings, you know, and the cool thing about weddings isn't why why, even though I don't like actual the what wedding practices have come to, I love weddings because everybody's emotions are on their sleeves, everything's heightened, and those opportunities come out more. You know, which is really fantastic.

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!