The Wedding Story: Capture Creative and Authentic Photos


Lesson Info

Composition & Framing

Let's go into composition, so before we actually talk about composition itself, let's talk about cropping rules. It's pretty universal for all photography, there are certain rules that need to be respected. So when it comes to portraits, full body is one way to crop, and then if we need to go in tighter, the next place to crop would be above the knees. We never wanna be cutting through the limbs, so never through the ankles or through the waist itself, it makes for an awkward feel in the image. Going from the top, cutting through the noses is okay. The thing with cutting through the top of the head, yet you wanna be mindful, because as viewers, we connect with eyes in pictures, so if we include the groom's eyes here, it takes away from that moment that the bride is having on the groom's shoulder. So cutting through the nose is a good cropping point. Make sure the eyes are completely out, not like half-cropped, because I do see that a lot. Yeah, and then make sure that the hands are...

always in the frame, don't cut through fingers, it's really really important, cutting through fingers is a no-no. Like in this photo, wait just kidding, yeah our notes say cropping sad face, look at that hand, but I will say, and this comes back to something that came up earlier, We delivered this photo, and it is the photo they picked when we asked our clients what's your favorite photo from the wedding, or the photo that you feel best represents your wedding, they chose this one. So this goes back to, yeah have your high standards, for yourself, and aim for these things, but also allow yourself to make those mistakes, or forgive yourself for making those mistakes, and don't withhold stuff like this from the bride and groom. This moment is everything to them, they don't care that his fingers are cropped off. Yeah. Although he's into photography, and I think he might be watching this right now, and maybe I've just ruined the photo for him. (audience laughing) And then just make sure you're always deliberate about every part of the frame, make sure that the edges, everything is relevant, it doesn't have to be 100% perfect, in camera, when we're taking the photos, but oftentimes you'll see us re-crop the images, in post production, and that's okay, the cropping tool is there for that. So what we don't want is to be half cutting someone off on the edges, looking at all parts of the frame. There's a foot here, she's cropped off but that's okay, because we don't need her, and then there's a shadow that almost completes that body, the shadow is complete, and then on the left side that shadow is also complete, so. Alright so that's cropping, now framing, which is the part where we get a little bit crazy. Framing is all about the relation of the subject to it's background, so in this case, making sure that the bride and groom are framed perfectly against the blank space on the dance floor. So we touched on this a little bit earlier, with that dance floor photo, when I explained that I had to be standing on something, but also kind of crouching down, that tends to happen a lot when you're trying to get your subject to align properly with the background, is that you're the one that needs to be making those tiny adjustments. So straight on, perhaps they would be cutting into the table or the legs of the guests that you see there, but so maybe that just means you need to lift the camera a tiny bit to get them within that space. So there's tiny little adjustments happening all day long, like your thighs should probably be pretty sore at the end of the day. Yeah, in a very symmetrical, architectural setting, here we're doing a portrait, you wanna make sure that it's a 100% perfect, so that the space behind the groom is equal to the space behind the bride in relation to-- That opening. The architecture itself, as well as on the edges of the frame, so the space all the way on the right with the candle, is the same as the space on the left with the candles. Here, it's all about spacing. So spacing all around the bride's head, with relation to the door on one side, with the pillar on the other side, and then also bringing it to the edge of the frame, with the building and the top of that building, with the sky, of those little spaces are equal to one another and that's what really creates that visual balance in the image. Same here, the amount of space on top of the hands being held together, is equal to the door, as it is equal to the bottom of the frame, and that's what creates this visual balance. It's something that a viewer who doesn't know about photography is never gonna notice, but it's gonna make for a more appealing viewing experience for them. And here again, it comes from just little adjustments, in our own body, just going a little bit more up, or a little bit more down, a little more left, a little more right, is gonna make a huge difference in how this hands connect within the image. And here cropping through the noses at the top, if we included the faces, as a viewer, you would look at their faces before looking at the hands, but cropping through the noses and not including their faces it just brings the attention straight down to the hands. By the way this is Sarah, she was a guest at a wedding, Sarah of Sarah and Aaron from Mexico, this is the first time we met her at another wedding. So we've talked about the ceremony, and how we get into position, to nail the one shot we wanna work on in that moment, and sometimes, oftentimes actually, during the ceremony, it's just about getting the cleanest, simplest shot, to tell that one story, in this case, the story is about her, and in the context of, the best man, and her sisters, that's it. But aligning myself just right, so that nobody's cutting into one another. Her head isn't cutting into any of the people in the background, and that's just where I'm positioning myself, and then waiting for her to have a moment. It's like the simplest version of that, but it gives us the cleanest version of this moment, basically. Yeah, and this is really the first step in the anticipation and the curve, is figure your framing out, figure out your exposure, get yourself into position, make those tiny little adjustments to your own body, so that everything frames out just right, before the curve even starts peaking, that's how the best photos are gonna come about, because your composition and your settings, all of that stuff is figured out, when the moment happens you just have to click through it. Seems so simple when you just break it down to that, so always figure out your framing before the moment happens. Here, you'll see it better, on this photo, so the amount of space in all of those parts of the image are equal to one another, and that's what really creates that visual balance, and again it goes back to, adjusting our body, you take a little step to the left, and the couple is against the railing, and that window, take a little step to the right, there's too much space between that railing and the two of them. If you tell them to get too close, that doesn't work anymore, you separate them, and then they're too far, and obviously the bike, is the one element that we don't really have control over, so just click all the way through, so that the framing is just right. And here we go. That's the crazy one. Yeah. So this is not a slideshow photo, it's just a photo that we delivered to the bride and groom, but the reason why it's in here, is because I remember in that moment, just going a little bit crazy in my head, and placing myself just perfectly, so that the edge of the window behind this guy, fits in just perfectly between his head and the wine glass. Do you see that, right here, I mean. Is it necessary? No. Absolutely not, but you know, by doing this in every kind of situation, when the moment actually becomes really good and the framing is actually relevant to the photo, well your mind is doing it on a constant basis. At the same time, there's the guy in the back who's sitting on the edge of the couch, he's well-framed between the two windows. Okay, and then an example again, of just how our own body in relation to the scene, affects the way that an image is framed, so this is at-- Eye level. Eye level, and then just by going down a little bit, exact same photo, everything shifts a little bit, and that creates more of that separation between the subject and the other subject in the frame. Now to take this a step further, I would've wanted to take a tiny step back, and bring the camera a tiny bit higher, so I could then bring them back into, framed into there, instead of having his head cut off by the screen up there, do you see that, so that's a further adjustment that could be made, but the foreground and the background, obviously have a better relationship in this version, okay. Now the good thing about framing and composition, is that you don't need to actually be taking photos to practice it. And, one way that we learned that, it was a few years ago, we both remember this moment so vividly, in our heads, we're driving home from the studio, and it was on a highway, and there's these electrical pillars and this line of trees, and every time we would pass the electrical wires, a tree would line up perfectly in between the two pillars, and we just remember going click, click, click, every time a tree would perfectly center between the electrical poles. And that's when we realized, we don't necessarily need a photo of this, but in our heads we're training ourselves to frame things just right, just by looking at you guys, I can move a little bit this way, and everything, a few people, they align themselves better, and now move a little bit this way, and it doesn't align just as well, and we do this very subconsciously on a daily basis with just everything in real life, so that when we do have to take photos, be it at a wedding, or personal, or whatever it is, our mind is already in tune and trained for framing things properly. So to demonstrate, we're gonna grab our camera, we're gonna show it on the TV exactly what it looks like. Thank you, working. There you are. Oh perfect. Say hi to everybody, so you know, as I was saying before, if I was just focusing on the four of you, whoops, let's drag this, You're gonna destroy the set. I can zoom in a little bit. So from where I'm standing, so far today, this has been my view, it's been the four of you here in the center, but Ari's always kind of blocked-- Oh Ari. So mentally what I wanna do, is just move a little bit this way, so that everything frames up better, so you can see the four of them now. The amount of space around her head is equal on both sides. So that's what I've been doing mentally in my head. If I still look at Ari, and then try to frame him in that tripod in the background, that's something else that I've been doing mentally, in my head. This is what's been going on in our minds, you had no idea. And then, you know, Kenna as well, this line that's cutting through her head has been extremely frustrating for me visually, sorry no offense. (laughing) So I want her to move a little bit to her side, and I wanna move myself as well, so that everything lines up properly. And it sounds a little bit crazy, but by practicing this in my head, even while we're doing this presentation, it allows us to just practice and get better with our framing so that when we are taking photos, everything comes more naturally to us. That's it, that's what they went through all this trouble for. (laughing)

Wedding Photography is a hard and sometimes exhausting business. Finding ways to stay creative while continuing to capture timeless and classic imagery is important. Drawing from their own life experiences, Davina and Daniel Kudish capture the subtle nuances of their client's life stories at every wedding. In this course, they’ll discuss techniques to personalize each individual wedding to capture the stories and moments that make each couple unique.

They’ll discuss the formula to capturing stories and teach:

  • Pre-Wedding Conversation techniques with clients to help build your shot list
  • Utilize what you know about each couple to help approach capturing the day
  • Research and location scouting techniques
  • Capture the details that matter most
  • How to work with various lighting situations
  • Preserve the mood and capture natural moments
  • Composition and Framing
  • Shooting with variety
  • Create personal and creative portraits
  • Edit a slideshow and how to create an album

Davina and Daniel are known for capturing creative portraits and important moments that tell every unique love story. Join them to learn how to implement their formula to find and capture the creative story with every client.


Class Introduction
What Are "Epic" Images?
The Slideshow Formula
First Client Meeting
Establish Client Relationship
Expectation vs Preparation
Pre-Wedding Checklist
Gear for Photographing Weddings
Capture The Subtleties
Show The Connection
Importance of Capturing Transitions
Sidelines & Story Telling Details
Anticipation & Patience
Let The Scene Develop
Sequencing in Numbers
Successful "Anticipatience"
Examples of Poor Reaction Time
HTCG in 10
Giving Direction
Have Variety With Light & Composition
Capture The Mood
Take Advantage of Natural Light
Be Creative With Video Light
On-camera Flash For The Dance Floor
Find Flattering Ambient Light
Don't be Afraid of Tough Light
Composition & Framing
Lens Choice
Keep it Simple
Purpose of the Creative Portrait
Scouting for the Creative Portrait
Maximize a Location
Unique Posing for a Creative Portrait
Experiment with Your Photography
Make The Image Personal
Post Production Overview
Stay Organized in Post Production
Full Gallery Edits
Lightroom Workflow Overview
Bring Out Detail in Lightroom
Black & White in Lightroom
Landscape Images in Lightroom
Bold Images in Lightroom
Slideshow Edits
Importance of The Slideshow
Selecting Slideshow Images For a Large Wedding
Culling Slideshow Images for a Large Wedding
Complete Slideshow Example for a Large Wedding
Slideshow Images for a Small Wedding
Complete Slideshow Example for a Small Wedding
Build a Business Around Storytelling
Portfolio for Clients
Importance of The Inquiry Reply
Price List Best Practices
How to Price Your Work
Final Thoughts


  • Davina and Daniel are fantastic presenters as well as an exceptional photo team (plus they are super nice people, too!). I love their approach and methods and felt like there is so much value in this course. Even though I've been photographing for a long time, I took away a lot of great value gems from their course and look forward to applying several to my own business!
  • It has been a couple of days since Davina and Daniel's Creative Live course ended and I can't stop thinking about all the amazing information and inspiration they shared. I'm filled with so much inspiration I can't wait to utilize everything I have learned. I learned so much and know I'll learn more each time I re-watch which I plan to do often. I believe this is Creative Live's best wedding photography course.
  • Davina + Daniel, this is a wonderful class. I've enjoyed your teaching style and watching your banter between each other. The images are simply beautiful. I'm portrait photographer with no desire to do weddings, but this has opened my eyes to a whole other view of wedding photography that's rather enticing. Your storytelling is amazing and I'm going to definitely incorporate what I can into my own photography style.