Wedding Day Start to Finish Part 1


Documentary Wedding Photography: Capturing Reality


Lesson Info

Wedding Day Start to Finish Part 1

Here's what we're going to dio we are going teo um go through a wedding, right? And, you know, I kind of want this to be, you know, I'm going to talk about my my thoughts and how I approached parts the day, but I think it's an awesome time, teo asked questions as well as I go along and go from there, so I kind of I think I'd be fine if it was a little bit kind of an organically flowing type of conversation, not too much obviously because it is my show, but, you know, I don't need people upstaging me, all right? So it's so and so you know, this is this is a wedding I shot new year's eve two thousand thirteen and this is the cart, so I call it the cart, but basically my work flow with my clients is is that I edit the images down I and then I have I have actually two folders in their folder it's the finals in the cart, the finals are all in color and the cart is black and white and color mixed. And so basically the cart is like the shopping cart like they're they're proofing card of what ...

they see right? And I keep them all in color because oftentimes when I do an album design, I'm designing in all in color because that way I can make the color and black and white makes sense per page if I need to does that make sense? You know I'm not sure what happened designed tomorrow but and I'm not no no fancy shmancy pants on that but but I just you know but I'll show you how I kind of get it done easily so so this is all the images from their wedding it's four hundred thirty five the images that they saw I mean photo mechanic right now which is like there's just no other program teo edit your image is down in that photo mechanic is crazy fast crazy easy what's also cool is that photo mechanic tat tags all the images color it's not yellow or pink or whatever and it and it saves those tags so in the files they're gonna open it up in different computers so it's pretty great and does a whole bunch of other things that I don't even know what you know but he was so basically you know this wedding's interesting I asked my guys here all five of them like you know, so what what what would you want to see? And I gave him a choice and they said we would like to see one that was a challenge and I'm like okay and only had two to choose from and so I this one you know this one doesn't have like all not every wedding the cool thing about this is and with my style is that like not every wedding has the same stuff like not every wedding has prep like I usually do and they pretty much have a ceremony but they don't have like, you know, bo kay or garter tosses people still do that you know, stuff like that so I'm just going to kind of go through this a little bit and you know, phil frito raise your hands, stop me and be like, you know, tell me what's going on, you know, they're I'm also going to talk a lot about this same process in the next segment when I when when you when you watch me put all this stuff into practice and shoot live, I'm always trying to tell a story right? And I'm always trying to make images that have relevance and they matter to the story not just making pictures to just take a picture of something right? One of the biggest problems I see with with the students is they just end up shooting at things there's something there's something there's something there's something then there's no and there's not no one's being deliberate and thinking about what they're doing right? So if I'm shooting a, uh address pain from a door right which, you know I get it I totally get it I understand address is important I don't find it important, but I know that it's important to the bride, so there's often times where I have to be like, all right, you know, I am shooting for myself, but I was shooting for myself there's probably like four moments that the whole day that actually shot, you know? So I got it, I got to kind of break that a little bit, and so but, you know, again, I'm not going I'm not going to say anything, I'm not going to touch anything, I'm not goingto move the dress ever will I ever do that? I don't think, hey, I don't want to be responsible for it. And b, I don't think it makes any sense, right? And so I have shot over three hundred weddings, and I have yet to see a bride on her own hang her dress outside from a tree or something. They just don't do that right? They had literally, you know, you know, those plastic bags, they come in, I had walked in the hotel rooms and it's on carpet, people carpet and people, they will hang the dress up and they will put plastic underneath the dress on carpet because they don't want it to get dirty. Right, so I just don't mess with that stuff. And again, I don't think it's my place to interpret how I think their wedding, they should look, so I tell them I go if you want the dress photographed, you'll hang it up somewhere. If not, it'll be in a bag and you just won't get a picture of it. It's that simple, right? But if I'm going to take a picture of it, I'm gonna make it interesting, right? Because I don't think they just need a photo of their dress. They have it, they own it, they're wearing it, it's in tons of other pictures, I'd rather have a person inside of it, then it just hanging up so I'm gonna make a cool picture. So so that's what I did here, I looked around and this is a new year's eve wedding, right? And she had bought all of her bridesmaids, these little bags or purses or whatever. What do they call those things? Clutches at what they call those things may look at me and they're all these like new year's eve ones and if you move it just right, it says like twelve o'clock. And like maybe eleven fifty nine I think or something like that, right? It's kind of a cool little thing, right? So I found it it was literally just sitting there like that with the dress in the background and touch it didn't move it didn't set it up, but I had the work it in angle myself. So it's said twelve o'clock, right? And so I think that's a cool photo to kind of tell the story of that, right? And then they got she got ready in the ronald reagan suite, I think it's funny, so I decided to shoot the dress with ronald reagan as the cow, but that's hilarious, right on dso, but what I did was I bumped my focus back and forth, you guys see that I just shot both of them, just in case, you know, just in case they're like, I can't see my dress in case they don't get my weird humor and thought that ronald reagan was funny, right? So, you know, I'm looking for stuff like that, and then I decide, you know, and quite frankly, you know, I do this a lot when I walk in there's nothing happening because I'm just trying to warm up, you know, it's kind of like my visual warm up, all right? I just kind of this kind of shit and it helps them sometimes to get like really used to me being there if I'm just kind of wanted around taking pictures of things at first and there's nothing going on so I wanted around and I uh I tried to make a photo of the dress in the reflection of the ronald reagan picture was obsessed with ronnie that day but I didn't have a light with me so I had to use my cellphone the that flashlight on my cell phone and try and light the dress and it was that I was just playing around um find a notes you know pop phase klink love love your guts love ellen you know it's like that's her note to him you know it just it was just open sitting there it's kind of fun right so then I just kind of looking around looking for moments you know, the old earrings whatever um this is kind of funny this is I shot this is her sister I shot her sister's wedding ten years ago and these were her kids and they're like we're just obsessed with this cartoon is she trying to get him ready? You know great great stories there get into the dress you know showing the gardere going on um dress going on right there just getting it done there wasn't really great moment of her getting the dress it just kind of happened oh my god! Okay um mom fixing that um that flower girl was really upset so I made sure I shot her upset she's not like that at all when I did it and then my at the meantime my my assistant is down with the guys shooting all that and so basically here's how it goes, people flat out I tell my brides I go I could care less about you getting your makeup put on right and they're all like, yeah, I know it doesn't make any sense I go every other day in your life you do it to yourself, but on this day you have to have some males do it and that's a big deal like a distance making as this I don't care if it is in the long run that picture is not important somebody's sitting there getting their their their their eye stuff put on and they agree with me I go, but I am going to shoot it right if it's happening because that's the story chronologically that I might need to put the story together, but I'm usually going to try and just swing for the fences and do something funky with it she's already doing the lights up when I got there on my cans, whatever it's not a big deal, you know, so I didn't have a lot of prep time with her maybe because there's a new year's eve wedding and my my coverage time we have to go I'm really late and so we decided to cut the prep as opposed to not missing midnight it's kind of a vital thing that to miss right? And so you know, you know, you know, quite honestly when I'm when I'm shooting on talking about these weddings and stuff it's like it's like yeah, you know, I should just stay and do as much as I can for the for the for the story and shoot and get the right one o'clock in the afternoon or noon and shoot for twelve hours and you know yes, but in the end it it it is my business and I need to treat it like it's my business and this is what it's contacted for this amount of time, you know? So anyway and seriously if you got any questions, feel free to chime in ok, so dad, you know now wait you know the whole point on there for the prep aids for this story, but I'm also just waiting for moments that's it and I can hear chatter about how dad's on his way to come see here and all this kind of stuff and do what you want your dad to come up here and I'm not doing anything they're not asking me I'm just listening to what's happening so I know dad's going to walk in the room so therefore you know, you got to take a gamble on where the moment's going to be and so I'm like, well, I'm gonna go put my put my money on dad dad comes in it's all right? You know, kind of funds people's mom back there a little bit of a hug you know, a little bit of a motion blur hug like that to fiftieth of a second and I still got some dang motion blur doesn't look like it there, but it is here a little bit so you know, just kind of you know, the prep on this wedding wasn't like, amazing, you know? I'm just tryingto this's the best moment I had was when this person hung up here hold up this held out this mirror and it's funny but these hands is holding up a mirror you no it's not that great but that was that was as close as I got and you know, it is what it is I mean, like I'm at the mercy of what's happening and so I just trying to make I just try to make like, you know, nice photos of the people that matter to them um her kissing her mom goodbye, right? And then she stood in some good lights I made sure to do like a really cool picture of her dress all right um good light and go for it so that she gets you know so then we get into the limo because we're on our way to the ceremony and uh yeah you know just kind of like positioning myself to give myself the best return for my decisions does that make sense like you know I can't like be slipping and sliding around inside a limo and not like it and I don't think they would really have natural moments that was happening you know andi of course it's all about the light for me you know it's I find good light on her and I work the crap out of this right just like good like good like good light and I finally after like I wish I had the whole thing I shouldn't on that but after like I mean if I had been like one hundred two hundred frames you know I finally got the lighting the composition I was looking for right and so this is her on the way and so they see that that's like that's like that's just like my mom could take that picture no offense mama she's watching but you know what I mean right? Anybody could take that picture but it takes it takes a bit more to work through it and really find compositions right? And so what I'm doing stuff like this is you know I exposed for the light on her face and then I just waited for the stuff outside, right? So this right here is actually some riding on the limousine window, which I kind of liked because it kind of like broke up that that brighter spot of the picture does that make sense? And I was using that and then and then what I would do is I would just pay attention to what's happening outside so my camera was here locked on her she's not moved out when he wasn't looking through the viewfinder here I was watching outside as certain things would pass that I could make just always a treat to you and I'm waiting to get that that space on their side clean that right um and I got one frame I ended up using one frame we get to the church just a whole bunch of stuff like this happening yeah, no problem we'll shoot that I think that was made my assistant I don't know but you know, so you just kind of shoot this stuff looking for layers and things like this just kind of wandered around, but you see what I'm including right? You know it's like this is not going to my portfolio absolutely not right? But it is important to them because it's like it's it's her grandfather's here is his grandfather it's like you just never know right um you know a nice little moment between him and his two daughters that's the that's the guy that I shot so that's the way I don't know if he was here's a groomsman I don't think he's like the best man but that's the bride's brother in law so that some of those air nieces and is just an awesome little moment in the in the basement of the church right so I'm not upstairs waiting for the ceremony to happen like this nothing issue yet there's no wedding yet you know? So I'm always one around trying to find photos um you know, just kind of going through stuff like that um I do this a lot helps clean up compositions you know it's not fancy um that's his uh is that his dad? Yeah that's a great moment right there I don't yeah. And that was my assistant awesome shot. Um I could tell because of her lens choice so I just kind of shooting around so then processional comes around right? And fortunately this church had enough light but usually for for processional what I do is I go down to the very end in front of the front pew and I just get down on my knees and I make myself a small as I can I kind of wish I was a rat like dislocate my bones and make myself even smaller that'd be weird though when it no more lasagna tomorrow people ok so uh and basically you know this is my time to just like, you know, I I prepped them on this and I'm like you know what? I'm probably not going to get all the pictures you think you need right and that's just to kind of like give me freedom to be like hey if I need to go for it I'm gonna go for it but they're just coming down at me I'll shoot shoot everybody come down come down the aisle if I can get him right because it's just my way of making sure I get those people so these air just really kind of straightforward not so wonderful images but that's what that's what it's all about for me just making it happen right see all that boom just picking him off get him off get him off that little bit too better composition picking off picking off these never show up anywhere else right and then the kids come down these are good moments kids crying she's crying eleven kids cry it's awesome um and then my assistance in the back you know, trying to get something off her and her dad before she comes down in the cool you know, the reason I'm down front is I want to I want to be able to watch his face and get his expression of her coming in because they haven't seen each other right is really good light on him at this point gay it made his eye sockets kind of dark but it was awesome because the light was kind of harsh and made him pop off the background, right? So what I did is I turned around and I expose for his light by going to the right right, making it darker and then I could under and then I canoe I know what my cliques are my wheel to go when they're coming down and I got kind of a nice so so then here she comes coming down kind of nice stuff and then I turn around with my wide angle I'm basically doing this, I turn around and they're and they're he isn't this great this great moment see that it is they who hear you know, some guys cry some guys do that, you know, and then just keep keep shooting my assistance in the back, keep shooting, get up I stand up and get that really quick I love that she he stepped on her veil and so I love this frame actually and it's like a quick, quick, quick moment and this and then like ceremony time, you know? And so I'm looking I got lucky with this little piece of light that that's actually me with a laser pointer making it look like I'm kidding, okay I think I see you butt and then just like shooting around, you know, I'm trying to just, like, oh, there's the socks when they talk about the socks, I got to get those trying to catch the priest and a good good light, you know, getting myself in a good and a good situation, so I bumped focus there. You see that? How focuses bumped from her sister to her? You see that? Okay, he's, not rhetorical questions. You know what you mean? Boom, boom, boom, boom that's what I'm doing, I'm just going to cover my butt, to be quite honest with you trying to find good compositions. And I'm just I'm working that light so that lights awesome. Now that light falls off their faces and stuff. Um, he's a phase so he's, interesting duties. Funny. Hilarious. So I'm not trying to capture like I want to capture people to like that's. One of my biggest things is like, if I don't have to worry about all the people, I could really just concentrate on great moments. But I have tio you talked about this at lunch, I think, wasn't it it's about, you know, they everybody just wants to see their people. You know and so I try to always be like cognizant of that and be like all right along and do my best okay, well this is pretty easy all the groomsmen are lined up in a row I think I can hit like three birds one stone done right to shoot it and move on um they were trying to just catch little moments and I love these these kind of moments you know, working the composition that's where back button focus really works out because you can hit the focus and just wait and then wait for him to do something funny, right? Great great little stuff he always winks at her you know how hard it is to catch a wink it's like horribly hard right? And so I uh I got luckiest I try and I try and I try and I try and write fortunately this church had a big hallway behind the altar so I could just be working back and forth behind the altar and getting what I needed in a communion working with light you know, like that light's really extreme there isn't it but I just embraced it and just exposed for them and now everything kind of those kind of cool in black my assistant got the kiss I got the reaction um then they're having a bagpiper you know, I'm like a bad paper because like now I gotta worry about three people were coming down the aisle and not just two together right on the recessional and I was like oh and so how do I shoot and then use me when there's a bagpiper of you guys ever had this before no because you don't shoot churches little bitter about that so I think I think you know when the when the uh bagpipers are coming down there usually blocking the bride and groom right that's really unless you shoot from really high angle it's hard to see them and so I wanted to make an image of the bagpiper going up and I really like this image I think it's really unexpected it's not great it's not like amazing it's not woe but it's got a cool you know with the silhouette of the bagpiper using that light is kind of fun so and this my assistant up top getting them coming down the aisle c there's bagpiper he's really excited so use my flash here bounce my flash because they're in darkness luckily there's enough room behind him where I could get both but the problem is I couldn't get both in one frame because they were too far back right? Yeah go ahead class I think yeah it looks like this flash on that yeah this flash on that let me see doesn't isn't say I'm pretty sure I did though okay yeah bounced it behind me yeah so when I was able to get both right, I got the bag beiber check you know I mean, quite honestly I wish I could go into a wedding I have a wedding coming up this year and the bride the bride said I don't know what I was talking to her about she's really cool and she said something to the fact of ah um like like john michael cooper I talked about him he used to have this thing called the zero package are basically like, hey, dude everyone's right if he wants to shoot shoes all day in shoes, shoes all day got that right and I don't know how that I don't have any data whatever, but I got that's like palsy and amazing, you know? And I'm like I wish I could do that I wish I could just go in and just focus on what I wanted to focus on and I had to worry about all this other stuff that I may or may not need to cover, you know? And but it's not the reality, you know, the reality of it of it is I got to cover my butt, you know? And so maybe maybe cat in september she told me she's a huge everyone you know, maybe I'll maybe I'll have enough enough, you know, gumption to go do that I don't know you know, but anyway so yeah there's there's flash on that right for sure but I'm a thirty two hundred with my bounds flash you know to keep that to keep it looking natural but this is just like regular moment say there's nothing really great about the moments they're happy moments the client's gonna love them right? But they don't do a thing for me right there just like yep okay, there you go you know there's no eggs awesome stuff going on um you know, has anybody ever seen a picture like this before? Never ever it's like on every wedding website out there right? You know? But it is just it is what it is, you know? And then we go into the back and usually when I get past it's the moments between the moments that I'm looking for, you know there's a moment right that's so much better than the kiss at the end of the at the end of the island I write you understand who they are and then he puts her veil over his and I was too close but I shot it it was kind of a funny thing anyway, this time for formals you know, so we do all of our we do all of our portrait sat to the ceremony um ninety percent of the time because we're not seeing each other beforehand and our formals are usually about fifteen minutes is what I'm hoping for and there you go light him up light I'm pretty used the light on on a stick or on two stands and I just just make it happen in there you go look at him all in their beauty right get him done move on the cool thing about this formal is it suck because there's a lot of people but man theoretically if I screwed up to get pictures of any of those people who got it right here so then there's a funny moment during a formal I think that's pretty funny over there trying to get the kid to laugh and they're all looking at that guy it's horrible composition what do you do? Oh hey worked you know so you know this it's nothing fancy just get him done see all these things that look at that look at that look at that then I always make sure I always make sure I shoot the bridegroom like this and the bride by herself standing at the altar every single wedding, right? And I know that you're all like really confused right now like the record just starts thinking everybody's like looking at me right? Because I've been there I've been doing this long enough, but I know that this takes under four minutes and if all else fails portrait wise and I don't get a really great one of them then I know I have my my bases covered right and I also everybody and almost everyone and I go to they have a little table by the front door that has all these old pictures of their parents on their wedding day their grandma and stuff like that have you seen that before, right? I keep thinking to myself I used it myself when I went to those and I saw those those pictures I'm kind of like what are their kids gonna do when that rolls around all they got these funky moments of their parents you know right like what if and like you know what I think everybody from the eighteen hundreds on deserves a classic straightforward simple portrait on their wedding day I really do I did it with the people we're going to see today it takes four minutes and guess what? Everybody's happy mom's got her portrait that she can hang up next to her other daughter that that that hired a different photographer and we're not fighting that fight of we don't have a photo of my daughter full length that I could hang next to my other daughter you know and I'm like what do I do right here right? So makes sense anyway and then we get stuff like this I love this they're bustling the dress I just love that angle on that composition those eyes you know, it's kind of fun um and there and there is you know I'm trying to get my exposure is a little funky but I'm not thirty two hundred eightieth at one point eight on a thirty five does your camera even see thirty two hundred? They're all like outdoors yeah no reception yeah way have united montana to just like have this vision of california and people like a city's amazing place all like it's just like I'm gonna go move to alaska and this like, you know we're like light all the time yeah yeah yeah yeah that's what I should I shoot weddings there's I'm like I always have light anyway, um I'm leaving so then then we get on the party bus and you guys have party buses where the bridal party rides from the ceremony, the reception yeah, so a lot of times the ceremonies in the church and then the reception is at a venue like a hotel or something, so we have to get there. So a lot of times like a lot of them have a trolley and we got a trolley and I'm like and they think it's really fun, but actually it really never any kind of this it depends, but these guys got his huge party bus right? And I'm like, okay, I'm on the party bus like I'm always with them like I'm never I'm never that's why haven't assistant she drives the car because there's always a moment somewhere right and so um come on this party bus and people were starting to drink and it's crazy the bus is moving and it's dark and I'm by myself and I'm scared and I know and you know but I can't have anybody light for me it's crazy right so I just kind of like trying just like really pay attention and look for the moments in the light you know and I can't remember it looks like I had a flash on here can remember I'm pretty sure I did yeah I'm pretty sure I did um but you know just trying to hit hit some moments right and I love this time the guys I'll put their watches in that's like almost the same thing as the diet coke shot in it right yeah it is well I didn't do that was my sister anyway so but you know just these air great moments you know just like sitting there and watching them finally released from the wedding because at the ceremony there always just like there at the ceremony and the wedding and they fight they have to be like act in a certain way then as soon as they get on the bus or the reception rolls around they're just like totally ignore them and they just like go into themselves you know and be themselves um now look in my eyes so is really high up for thousand won twenty fifth it to um pretty sure no no no we had some actually pretty good light in there and so because these lights around the side see I see I see there's a light over here right over here so basically it's like you know I'm just looking for the light because at this point I am like a slave to the light I go I can't shoot unless there's light on people so that's what's dictating my photos that's was dictating my decisions so as soon as the bride and groom go into the light I'm just like I get the white goldschlager you know just trying to really so so so this guy was in the lights I really tried to like make sure I could use that pretty funny you know butt bumping my focus oh there's the moment see that shoot through the moment it's awesome um great stuff I don't know what's going on here they were little they were a little crazy now we stopped somewhere to do portrait ce right so I told me when my hey if you want to go do something really cool let's just stop on the way to the reception and she'd seem really quick portrait right like typically when I stop and especially at night and I I mean I probably spent about twelve, fifteen, twenty minutes maybe max and just trying to get some cool portrait. I'm not one hundred percent crazy happy about these portrait's my idea didn't really come together like I wanted it to, but nine times out of ten, I'm doing backlight for my portrait ce, right? Just trying to make it interesting and exciting. Um, these are the plaza lights, everybody loves the plaza light's intensity around the holidays because, there's, all these lights that are like all the christmas lights are lit up and everything is so pretty, and we could get the plaza lights like it's, like the fall colors weekly have fall colors, and our engagement pictures has the same kind of thing now, yeah, school, but let's try and make it different, you know? So I don't want this parking garage, so I make some cool stuff and I like it. This one didn't work. I climbed up on top of this light pole trying to get this make it happen, and I'm like it's not really coming together, but I couldn't like I put one in there way worked so hard on it that I'm like, right, here you go, but then but then we went down into the parking garage, and this is this started to work really well, it's really cool situation. See that? You know and I really loved this one because it has like the plot a little bit the plaza lights in the background you see that? And this just literally there were two cars parked right here and they had we had tea to lean on a car to make this picture somebody's random car is like oil everywhere kind of seven and we find it let's go over there and clean the dress later things online good of'em but anything's a good couple questions you have for him. Yes. Great. So a lot of folks are asking about your white balance, you tell us, is that done in the cameras it done in post? How do you again? Because I was a pig it's all done. And you know what? Quite frankly, when I shoot raw, I did the same thing it's all done in camera, right? Because I am it's just what I was used to and j peg, but also, you know, honestly, I just use the little the little pretty pictures like the sunlight or there that you know, whatever, right? I know I should be shooting like kelvin and all this shenanigans, I just don't understand it, so I just don't do it, and quite frankly, like I said yesterday, it's, like my clients, have no idea you know, so I just I just do it manually, because what also? Sometimes I used the wrong white balance for the situation to obtain the effect that I want to obtain, right? So many. If I'm indoors shooting something, I'll want to shoot on the wrong white balance, have, like the blew in the window or something like that, like to give it a good feel. I don't know, so I'll change it. I changed it a manual time. Yeah, I think I oughta. White balance, actually, is to cool it's, too. Uh, it's, not warm enough for me. I feel like cain and auto white balance is really cool, and I myself really warm, so

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!