Documentary Wedding Photography: Capturing Reality

 

Documentary Wedding Photography: Capturing Reality

 

Lesson Info

Think Beyond the Wedding

So what we're gonna do is we're gonna we're gonna show you but I'm talking about and talk about, you know, moments and you know, this is kind of still going beyond you again I'm still going to be hitting on kind of like this like philosophy you know of of of why I believe that this is important and so um so I love this photo it's like one of my favorite photos I shot last year and you know, I got it was really funny when it was happening and I'm sure I'm sure you and this is something that that we can certainly talk about at some point and I'm sure they'll have to be questions about like, how do you be in the room when like brides get dressed and stuff like that? I don't know if I have a statement I can't talk about it maybe tomorrow when I go through the wedding day but you know again the very wise we win once said to me or said said, if somebody says well for your guy and you're doing it, all you got to do is just don't stop taking photos because if you stop shooting than all you are...

is a creepy guy in the groom with the camera watching I'm like true um so I mean why I love this photo it was there I was getting ready really high end wedding on dh she's just you know obviously a fun fun gal and I'm shooting from over like mohr on her face area you know when they're putting the dress on and then and then all of a sudden I just like I heard a bridesmaid say something about like laughing about her underwear and I'm just like just quickly ran over there and just, you know, basically focused on her butt and went for it and got a little bit of like laughter from the bride's means I go hey just shut your underwear and answer is over and I'm like you you're dang right idea I think that's hilarious you know and so basically you know again I'm trying to talk about like how do we how do we think beyond the wedding right? So we talked about this already tonight about how I tell the bride's I don't only care about the wedding um you know, I you know it's just so true it's like it's like it's it's what's the point in my opinion to just show up and shoot the wedding you know? And so I'm trying teo I'm trying to just do what I can to make pictures that are not only what I find interesting and funny or meaningful or whatever but also what I think the you know, the couple's personalities and so you know it's it's honestly it's quite honestly what has what keeps me going through a wedding you know it's kind of like that's kind of like if you're in any job you do there's always like like little things that happened that gets you excited and keep you going you know, in journalism you know, a lot of people I've heard about you know, like they do like a lot of like really mundane assignments but then though I get sent to you know, warzone or something yeah, you know that like kissing going for the night you know yeah, that is what jobs you guys have been in you know you're probably gonna end up doing like I don't know what kind of medicine you're going into but your bucket and doing like the routine thing like every day you do with your eyes closed you know but then one day someone's going to come in with like, you know, a third nipple or something they coming from friends and you think whoa this is really cool you know it's the same is the same you know that from friends right? Yeah anyway I know I can count on jim so okay so yeah you know it's like to me hey it's just it's just you know it's not what I think wedding day photos should be right and that is really funny people on dh I do see it you see the dog pooping in the background what I find hilarious is this is a portrait and they're literally just like staring at me thinking I'm taking this like, really funny foot, really beautiful foot, which I did, and then I just decided to focus on the dog funny story about this is is that, you know, you know, that whole thing it's funny, is it like a delayed reaction or are you just afraid to left? Yeah, okay, it's okay to laugh. It's it's not like silent live, you know, it's it's, creative, live weakened and so, you know, but basically it's like it's, so funny because there that whole, like, shoot what you want and show what you want, you know, type of thing, so I think that sometimes the extreme, not his extremes, I probably could, but this is really funny because, uh, so I have viewings for all of my client's, so when they first see they're putting images, they come into the studio and often times faced with the struggle on when I'm building their slideshow on howto had to build the slideshow, and I've actually was working on the slide show last night for the for the live free shoot for tomorrow and, you know, I'm starting their slide show off like it was a lot of of ah, a portion of them right, which is kind of funny because I'm not about the portrait's but it makes sense to start a slideshow of eidetic kind of like establish who the people are you know and let things settle in well, this was their title slide in there slideshow for their wedding all right in there names was really awesome and their names like faded in right here, you know? And, uh I wish I could tell this exactly like it happened but I know I'm on tv s o uh they all came in for their viewing and their parents came with him and I and this lighter was already made and I'm like, whoa ah, that was a bad idea but you know what? I couldn't think about it so I had to go with it and slide show pops up that image shows up and here dead goes and I'm trying to think of a word that's not the word I'll say crappy you go he goes he goes well that's a crappy picture I loved it, they loved it they're very inside of his hilarious, you know, and it's just like it's just like you know, I've learned I've learned so much about about life and about how to be, you know, a person and just be fearless is it's like, you know through all this and through all of my friends and things and it's like it I've learned through teaching all these students that like I will have somebody come in at a workshop or whatever or mentoring session and just be like I can't read them like I don't know you'd probably be that because you know you're kind of quiet but I can't I can't read them you know and like kind stuff and I'm kind of like but but then by the end of it I'll stay like some of the most ridiculous things that I shouldn't be saying and they're all like laughing and they were like yeah totally love that you know it says that you just never know you just can't assume that people are going to react a certain way you know he's got to kind of go for it sometimes and I certainly went for it on that one I actually saw them at a wedding a few months ago when I was talking to philip about it and he said I go I go I still can't believe I did that because hey dude, I love that picture that's like one of my favorite photos in it so it's just you just never know right and so it's just it's just all about thinking beyond the wedding and showing photos of people in humanity and their personalities yeah no idea right why would you be holding a sign that says massive meet sale so this this this is a great story to this this guy, the groom and the bride and groom are both like singers, right? I don't know how we're what whatever, but so they decided to sing their vows to each other, right? Okay, so he's, he was, like, constantly practicing with all of his groomsmen who are all like these, like choir guys, you know? And they're all in these different rooms the whole time, like, I think his was that that adam sandler song you know you're talking about like I wantto anyway, it's not about like, you know, like, I want to grow old with you want to grow old with you, right? Yeah, right? And so he kept singing it over and over and over again, and I kept, like, falling around, like, over here, there's like they're in this little hallway so I'd find a way to shoot him there and then I'm like, oh, they're singing again there are other in the bathroom this time shoot him there and then like, oh, I'm gonna try this shooting there and then because I didn't just stop because I had like one photo of them singing, I kept making it better, trying to find the better picture I could that I was certain I'd come around the corner he's in a room holding this sign, and I'm like now could I have ever gone out I mean I did not have a massive meet sale sign in my car and be like hold on a second you know I make this better is if you held us this like I can't make nobody can come up with that you know what I mean and it's like it's like but you know to answer your question about they're you know, not setting things up or whatever or would you move people you know to me it's like it's like had I interfered with any of that scene they and I and I'm like oh can you guys practice singing over in this room then that never would've happened because they would have thought that it needed to be a certain way does that make sense? You know so I love that photo the reason he has that sign is one of his groomsmen was driving there and saw that sign took it and right into the wedding has no idea what it's funny though isn't it yeah, you know kids are amazing at weddings because they don't care and they'll do whatever right this is a really high end wedding and I just totally totally love this photo it's just it's just so simple and so straightforward and just a pure amazing moment right? Perhaps though my my my favorite kind of funny moment because trying to catch your humor in photographs is really hard actually on dso because you have not only you find funny but you have whatever you're what you're trying like, you know, like you guys had happened laughing a lot of my jokes jim and I are on sink, but you're not, you know, it's like, you know, so so you're trying to just kind of like, you know, capture something funny and this is in our bathroom in our studio, so it's kinda like an easter egg picture like I call that like like people that come in to see you have to kind of find it, you know? So I give him a lot of water to make it go to the bathroom, but I just this is one my favorite one of my favorite photos I've ever shot, all right and it's like it's so simple and so straightforward and there's nothing fancy about it, but it's awesome, this was, you know, the ring bears nowadays that they carry these signs down. I really don't know why it's probably a pinterest thing I would imagine they they got this was right after the ceremony before we're starting formals and they're just like talking and laughing with their friends and he just he's so funny like he's really dry, but he's like just really kind of a funny guy he just liked was holding that side and standing there and I'm like that's hilarious and I just shot like one frame and then you put it down and it's just so so, so funny so it's not only like thinking about it and trying to like funny photos or funny photos or whatever it's all about a cz well, just just you know, thinking beyond what's there and what's I shouldn't say beyond the wedding but maybe beyond what's expected right? So if I if if how many of you have had friends that have been married everybody right? How often have they been like maybe not even close friends but ones that are kind of acquaintances right? And they're like, hey, you want to see our wedding pictures, right? How many of you guys have, like crazy excited to do that no hands okay? Why anybody have have a reason why you weren't excited to see their their wedding pictures? I mean it's, probably because you don't have the context, the relationships with the other people at a wedding it's like you don't get it, you're just kind of the outside looking in at someone else's moments that have no real meaning to you. Yeah, yeah, and you're probably expecting what you're going to see right? That's what I would do but that story right and then and then and then if you're if you're seeing just like you're hoping there's moments, though, is that we should ask him questions, right? But it's like, you know, if you're you're probably expecting to see wedding photos and you're basically like I really don't care, right? You know, that's? What? That's, what I would come back, you know? And so and so my whole goal was I just want to make I want to make a cz many unexpected pictures is possible that makes people want to look at him, so when that when that album gets plop down in front of their in front of their acquaintances in there, like they can't put it down and they keep going, you know, does that make sense? So it's hard though it's really, really, really, really hard for the couple even to rise above the wedding sometimes, you know, on dh so this is I shot a wedding this past summer and there are a thousand guests, right is insane, like it turned out every noises I don't even have a thousand friends, you know, whatever. And it turns out that these air these are wonderful people when they're from a really small town and literally, like everybody from the town came right, and it was just it was just a huge wedding, a great wedding corner that I work with. Um his name is michael nulty I work with him a lot in kansas city and he did this amazing stuff like just designed craziness right but there was just so it was so much that it was it was kind of you know, the bride and groom you know, I was worried they're going to get swallowed up by the wedding by all this stuff you know and and so you know when you have stuff like that it's it is hard the moments often times aren't there is much and so you had to kind of really fight for him and you have to believe that they're gonna happen and not succumb to the idea that like nothing's happening nothing's happening I got to do something you know you just got back okay we're going to get wedding photos today you know or whatever right? And so I fought and I fought not fought with them I just fought trying to still find the most genuine moment I can add to the ceremony this is like the best part of the whole thing now they actually had to they had to uh to ceremonies basically who's too many people have in the church so they had uh annex across the street in the gym and they closed circuit tv the ceremony into the gym to have the overflow of people right? So the cool thing was though at the end of it they they isolate how did that go? They went they went out oh no during communion they went out across the street and over two and kind of paraded through the the gym so the people in the gym could actually see a physical bride and groom right? And then they came back around and back in and then add to the ceremony everybody was out in the street on their exit like it was incredible the amount of people flowers, petals like everywhere. Anyway, I got a nice frame of that but it's kind of typical to me you know it's coming in how many pictures I've seen of people with their hands in the air and flower petals and I've seen a lot people doing a lot better than me and so you know, but then they were going to jump into there to his father's old cadillac and just go for a cruise together with the top down and and you know this I was like, I was like, yes, I am going to be in that car like one hundred percent and so I jumped in the front seat on dh there sitting upon the back of the car and then I'm just I'm just trying to keep up and try and make a picture of them and they drove through the city a little bit and the interesting thing about it is is that like he was in the newspaper in this little city like this is like a huge deal and so everybody knew about the wedding so you know, I was able to make this image and I love this image um got totally lucky with that gal thumbs up in her thumbs up in them in the back you know, in the corner frame right? I shot the crap out of this I mean they may be gone for like twenty minutes maybe twenty, thirty minutes and I shot probably eight hundred frames thousand frames of this like just trying to get everything the lineup trying to make it happen and I finally got lucky and this is one of their favorite absolutely favorite what you know, images from the wedding because it was unexpected it wasn't something that they that they thought they were going to get you know and so just about kind of going further look yeah go ahead question about how many frames you shooting for wedding so you find a scene and it just is a burst mode like machine gunning it no, I'm just not sure how do you get that volume of shots just physically, you know, fingers fall off, I have it on I mean certainly we're going to go over that in the editing but yeah, I have it on I have it on like a motor drive per se, but but I'm very deliberate about what I'm shooting right? It doesn't make any sense to me or for instance like, you know not to rip on a lot of reading tigers out there but like, you know, the problem that people had that they have to shoot the picture of the makeup artist's brush is laid out that doesn't make any sense to me has no relevance to the story whatsoever, right? So I'm like I'm not gonna shoot that like I have learned to know what I need when I need it and know what's gonna work over years and so therefore but but when something happens something is great, I attack it and I'm just like because it's all about improving the photograph, right? So it's it's like there is no one and done here there's no shot got it drop the mic, come out, you know it doesn't, it doesn't work that way a t's for me, right? So so like the way that yes, so so I'm averaging it's funny as I get it, I get beyond in my years I'm actually start shooting less, which is interesting because I want now I'm learning I shot about I think I shot about I shot about thirty, five hundred images in about four hours on thursday at that at that live shoot right there's a lot happening a lot of moments so when there's a lot of stuff happening I shoot a lot so I'm averaging about like five five to six thousand a wedding I feel like I'm undershooting you probably yeah. How many did you shoot yesterday? I remember how we shot yesterday two thousand how long? It was like a long day too like eleven to eleven so I have few thousand images in an engagement session okay, usually so yeah, yeah, yeah, I'll give you a heads up on that that's just my approach right? But it's all about perfecting the image and I'm going to dive into that a lot um tomorrow and uh and and wednesday trying to like how to build the photograph and how to shoot through things you know, but yeah, but you will see it but it's not just you know, I had this a long time ago I was a part of a photographer's form a bigtime photographers for him and I got involved and I learned this is what I learned not to get involved informed discussions because it's justice it's like never argue with a fool type of thing on dh so I got I got involved in a in a big long discussion it was it was the thread was titled machine gunner versus sharpshooter right? And when I said how many images I shot at a wedding than all these guys were like s so you spray and pray basically and you do this and you do that dude and fortunately my french china and the like so you haven't seen tellers work you know but you know this means you know, people were like I wait for the best moment toe happen and then I click the shutter right? And I'm like, well, you're better than I am because I can't do that and I need it and I go so in your mind you're wth your like this moment can't get any better this is good as it's ever gonna get and I'm done right not me I'm like what's next what they gonna do next if they turned this way they do that or they moved this where they do this little look you know? So that's why shoot so much it's just gonna add so if you're like shooting eight hundred frames to get this shot from, like one angle and kind of every perspective you could think of, it depends it depends on the situation, right? And I'm going to show you I'm actually going on wednesday um I'm going to go through a completely unedited wedding I'm gonna show I'm gonna be photographically naked in front of you guys, right and so basically going to show you an entire wedding and how we edit it and everything and you'll see kind of my thought processes and how I do stuff right? But it but it all depends on the situation and it all depends on how confident I am that I found my composition that makes sense yeah, I assume like with this you're constantly moving teoh right the car's going steered well I'm in the front seat yeah yeah but I mean like your backdrop everything is cancelled actually you see I'm running behind the car and you weren't driving you weren't driving the car but I do have an example that later why what's so and shooting at the same time at night in the rain like seven thousand images per wedding is that only you are that included? I mean seven years take a fishing story just started to grow but it's like a maze with like you know it's like yeah no no it's just me you shoot I'm honest am use around like forty, five hundred five thousand ok, I have friends that shoot ten ten thousand themselves and easy you know, maybe I'm lazy you know but yeah yeah I just feel like so I love shooting I hate everything else absolutely hate editing editing is you and kirsten went through this but editing is calling tio non newspaper people you know, calling editing down the images I hate that word cooling it sounds bad but I'm so I hate editing and I really hate tony so therefore I try not to shoot as much because I don't want to you know, tell you what why don't I set down but yeah okay, we'll get to that I'm going to talk about editing on day three okay at the end in the editing and we'll kind of go through that whole process it's look like that so I'm saying way but yeah, I mean it's just it's it's a lot of hard work because when you're not affecting things and you're not stopping things or you're not re creating things that you're not being like oh, hey, can you slow the car down or can you guys move this way whatever then it then you have to now work to make all that happen and or hope I know kirsten talk about the photo gods you always pray to the photo gods line up line up line up please please, please please, please moment. Okay, good. You know, right now it's just about finding interesting photos. I mean, that's that that's just all I'm trying to do totally love this photo of ah grandma at the reception, right? And it was you know, it was again like I left the reception and I wandered around and I just found them outside having this moment with their with their family and stuff and uh and I just you know, I just went for it I love it just and and and they loved it you know, it's just totally shows your grandma um this wedding that I told you that I drove drove the car and then I shot is my good friend dear friend for ten years plus her name is janine she's she's in omaha, nebraska and she asked me to shoot her it was her second marriage and there's just this past june and I loved everything about it I mean, she you know, it was just it was so non wedding me and just really stuff happening this huge storm rolled through and basically shut down our whole reception like she brought in this awesome band teo to play all night they played three songs and they had to shut down because of the lightning storm and she was just like she's like now that those were fun three songs she was awesome about it because she understands, you know, she's a wedding photographer, you know, she knows that this stuff it is not you can't think about it and actually ended up being one of the best things I think that ever could have happened because it produced one of the best moments I've ever seen and the band decided teo do one last song of the reign of the night on the porch of this of this house totally acoustic with just them dancing and all of us watching and it was to a wagon wheel you know that song wagon well, it was just it was the best like my my kids were there my wife and kids were there like we all like love that song now because we didn't reminds us that that moment was so cool and this is from there this was that the the wedding you know, the rain came in and the kids started going crazy and getting out there playing in it and I worked my butt off for this picture yeah, that was hard you know? The kids are moving and I shot like I can't I don't know how many frames of these kids you know, playing in the rain like that and that and that's the one that it just all came together you know and it's like that can run in anything not just a wedding scenario does that make sense? You know I love stuff like that you know, sometimes sometimes you know you just got to keep shooting and sometimes you get lucky um, you know, this was thiss was complete look um and what's funny is that I'm going to talk about this tomorrow, but I talk about I talk about uh, my gear and I talked about my my process of learning what gear I used and what fine tuning that process and I talked about how important I think the thirty five millimeter lenses and and this was shot I think on a twenty four and thank god I had twenty four because I would have got the brawl you know, but there's a quote you know here often but anyway so I just you know, I love that photo just trying to you know, and maybe this is just things that like, you know, I don't know that bright has that printed it doubt she does because why would she but it's like this is what keeps me going, you know? Um another another good friend eric largest he's out of he was out of boston and now he's in virginia but he's such a talented photographer crazy, talented photographer he asked me actually he didn't ask me he he left it up to his fiance to pick the photographer for their wedding he's waiting to talk over and he's like he's like I don't want I don't want to deal with it and he goes he goes, he goes, I think I think she needs to have that experience with that was amazing so he gave her just like a whole bunch of people like big time people like people that are way better than me in my opinion and and she went through and she's like I really want to talk to this guy and he's like that works out perfect because he's a good friend of mine you know, because I want to shout their wedding it was horribly hard but like they were trying to light these like little smoke things is like some sort of ceremony thing but they couldn't figure out how to get him lit and once they got him lit the smoke was smoking him out so bad and I'm like that's eric you know he's on and I just totally love moments like that you know, it's not always just funny moments it's also moments that like mean things to people you know, this is, uh this is, uh what and in kansas city and both of them are very faith driven and you know, being able to I think I think, you know, obviously I'm drawn to photos like this because there's emotion you know, and that and that's like a given but again I like like oftentimes I think to myself like, okay, well, what am I doing like why why? Why am I why am I drawn to this and why am I seeing this picture other than the fact that it's just a great emotional moment and you know, I don't know, you know, you know, the thing about the style is I just don't know I haven't been around long enough teo like, let these really sink in you know, I have a story in the next segment about that, but I'm hoping that one day you know this could this critics be used to maybe explain something to somebody or or be like, you know, this, this is what it means to me, you know, you just just you just never know, you know. And so I think I think it's just really important to you, not just assume you know what they're gonna want her like, because you've been there before. That makes sense, you know, um and I and I and I, I can't I can't stress that enough. I mean, it's, it's, it's, it's, kind of the no, you know, no, no, no, no different than then. Why don't I set things up? You know, it's the same thing it's like, because then I'm making it my interpretation of what their wedding they should look like, not what it actually wass one hundred percent, you know.

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!