Importance of Capturing Transitions
Next up is transitions.
It's the most fun part.
This is really the part of the day that we work the hardest on. When we know people are going from one place to another we just follow the action so closely and we don't stop shooting. Like Davina was saying before it's really the part that's gonna connect one part of the story to the next. And from a story telling point of view if you look at any photo essay, even outside of weddings, you'll always see those transitions. Same as in movies, like usually go from one scene to the next. There's people, how'd they get from one place to another is always really crucial to the story.
And as we mentioned earlier you know, that's also the unscripted moments. The moments of connection, a lot of that lives in the not obvious moments. So the car, I will always be in the car if I can. In this case I couldn't even really be in the car because there was no passenger seat. There was a box that they were bringing to the reception wi...
th something in it. So I sat on the box. But you know, my camera will be on them the whole time. And I'm just waiting for something to happen. And usually I'm hoping for like a moment, an emotional moment or a moment where they're connecting. In this case, it's a bit more creative. It's a bit more abstract because she's in a silhouette. But you know you still feel that she's looking at him. They still have the connection of the hands. So you know you can still feel that moment between the two of them. But yeah, I will always ask to ride in the car.
Yeah, on an emotional aspect you know in the slide show afterwards this is really going to build up that emotion, that energy going into the ceremony itself.
I love tension, it's come up a few times and it's gonna continue to come up. But moments of tension be it in like an expression, be it in a gesture. And so when the bride is you know, leaving one room to get another part of the venue, I'm gonna try an run up ahead. So I'll tell her, just give me five seconds count to five and then come down the stairs. It's a really small thing but it allows me to just get prepared and get myself in position so I'm not always like trying to physically catch up with her. So you know I just loved how her hand was just about to grab the railing. It serves no real emotional purpose but it serves a good transitional purpose because it is her going from one place to another. And it also serves to be a little bit abstract and different. So from the viewers point of view you go from something a bit more literal to something a bit more abstract. Visually it's gonna be interesting. That cinematic aspect is what we're really striving for in this light show so things are not too repetitive and you are visually taken through some sort of journey. We're gonna talk about that when we talk about variety.
Something more, not more obvious but literal. Really connecting the dinner where they were sitting for a few hours and then the dance floor. They're literally 20 feet apart but in the visual story telling we need to show how they go from having dinner to the dance floor. So we'll work really hard on getting a photo of the bride or the groom or maybe some kid running, doesn't matter. Just something that will tell the story that okay, dinner's over and now we're going in to party. And then the photos after this will be people on the dance floor. Here it was just the bride walking out, I think she maybe went to the bathroom and then walking back to the dance floor. And this photo doesn't necessarily be taken at the exact time where they went from dinner to dance floor. It's okay if it happens an hour into the party aspect, to the party part. As long as we have that photo to put in the slide show to create that transition.
That does happen quite often that we kind of cheat it in that sense. Maybe we'll have a d.j on the dance floor and we'll photograph that much later but in the slideshow we'll put it as a transition to go from dinner to dancing for example. Remember, we're not photo journalists we're wedding photographers. So waiting, when people are just waiting around and it seems like nothings going on that's kind of the time to. This isn't so much a physical transition because she's not moving from one place to another but this happened when she was just waiting for her cue to go outside to go to the ceremony. In the home there's a lot of artwork and stuff so I was just, you know, give me the chance to play and go further and further. The opposite of get close and try to see if I couldn't incorporate something in the house.
And in this case we were just setting them up for portraits, which we were gonna have them at the top of the steps incorporating the architecture. And as we send them they started walking and they separate and everything just kind of lined up. So just make sure you keep shooting and keep clicking through. And that became sort of our transition photo from portraits into the reception afterwards. So again, even if the timeline of the wedding wasn't exactly the transition, it's a photo that we could use that did make sense as a transition.
And this is kind of the same idea and that happens a lot that we have a portrait where they're more posed and then as they're walking out of the portrait we tell them, "Okay, you guys just "cross the street again." Or, "But just stay connected as you do that." and then it's you know it's kind of a portrait but we can use it as a transition. So this would go in the slideshow just before they walk into the reception.
Na'omi and Alex, that's the couple that we shot in Montreal. Big, big Jewish wedding. So we'll just go through the sequence of all the transitional photos. This is after she actually got ready, they had their first look, they arrived at the venue. And she's putting on her veil and everyone was kind of fussing over her.
Yes, there was a lot of tension and she's the bride who I cried with a few days earlier. So I felt very connected to her and I felt like I understood her stress in that moment. And this is when I was really grateful to have my silent shutter because I would feel kind of like a jerk to be like clicking so much while I knew she was really stressed out. But I kept my camera to my face and clicked away and she didn't know that I was clicking when I was clicking. But this is her husband's family. Two sisters and his mom and they were just really, everybody had different opinions about how the veil could go and her mom wasn't there. And she's like, "I just want my mom." I felt for her but I actually really love moments of tension. I mentioned that earlier. I just think a lot of people's personalities come out and I think in the moment maybe it sucks for her but she still appreciates remembering this moment and it's like, oh yeah, it's so them to fuss over me. So that was my first moment from the sequence. The tension continues out in the hall as she's waiting for every one to walk down the aisle. I just love the sister-in-law reprimanding her daughter and the little boy is holding a bottle of mouthwash because he needed to walk down the isle and he was super fussy and they needed to give him something to entertain him. As a mother I know that works. You know you end up giving them whatever they want just to make them do what you want. The way that the brother-in-law is looking up, out off the frame you know he's being distracted by something. Her brother is fixing his tie. She just looks like she's taking deep breaths. So yeah, that continues the transition out of the room into the hallway. This is a little further down the hall. This is okay it's time now, they're about to walk down the aisle and her mom is getting her set up and her dad. Her parents are divorced so to me you kind of feel that disconnect in this photo. Not in a negative way just in, it is what it is. And this is when the canter, who we talked about earlier. Right, they had hired him from Miami and they were really excited about him. He had this amazing voice. His voice started booming out into the hallway and even I got chills and her mom was just like feeling it. And I was on her for so long just watching all these emotions come over her and photographing her in the context with Na'omi waiting in the background. You get the sense that this isn't just an isolates moment, this is a moment where they're about to walk down the aisle. Sometimes just having a second subject like that helps to kind of give the context of where you are in the day. And then I assumed this was going to happen at some point. The deep breath and the mom looking back. So this is from basically the same angle.
Is that it? Yeah, and then into the ceremony.
Staying close to the bride is really, really important. Make sure that you or your second shooter, if you're shooting with two people be sure that you stay really, really close to the bride at all times.
And you know what's great about this whole thing is that there are no expectations from your client, right. They're not like, you're missing the first kiss. You're just going with it. Anything that comes out of it is great. If nothing comes out of it, that's fine to. You're just there and you're hoping for the best. And I think it's good for me because it keeps me in it to. If I keep taking these breaks to disconnect and do other things I feel like I just get out of the story telling groove. So I'd rather just be in it all day long and not really have those mental breaks.
Alright Lianne and Chris, another wedding we photographed in Montreal last fall. And so this is the last portrait that we took. So they were coming out of the portraits and if the next photo was this one, which is the first photo of the reception it makes for a very jarring move from one photo to the next. So we do need those transitional photos. So let's go back and start over with the transition photos. So last portrait of them walking out, getting ready to go to the reception then the next photo we put in their slide show is this one here. Where they're just hanging out in the bridal room enjoying a drink together. Just tells the story of how they're taking a pause in the wedding day, relaxing having a glass of champagne. Then lining up to go into the reception.
The little boys are playing with the toys that they've been given as bribes to be good. Bribes, very important.
Then a story telling detail. So focus on the hands opening the doors because at the reception hall they would just open the door, people would walk in. So kind of tells the story of how, that the doors would open and then everybody goes in. Followed by this image of them actually walking in and into that photo of the two of them.
So this isn't mind blowing by any means. Like they're venue was very typical of Montreal. It was a golf course, it's not this awesome house in Mexico. But they idea is that no matter what the setting is, no matter what the wedding is, like we're always employing the same formula. Looking for the transitions, taking the viewer from one place to another and looking for these special little things that make that wedding unique in those moments.
So let's take you guys back to Mexico, to Sarah and Aaron's wedding.
Speaking of nice houses in Mexico.
And with destination weddings we'll often photograph multiple days, so we'll do a rehearsal dinner, welcome dinner, in this case with Sarah and Aaron it was at the parade which they do in this town in (in a foreign language). Where they walk around with the donkey, drink the tequila, just kind of really sets off the celebration for the wedding itself. So that was on day one. And we know that obviously that's gonna make into the slideshow and we're gonna need to transition from that first day into the second day.
That's kind of one of the hardest transitions often because it's often very different locations, they're dressed differently. So bringing it into the night and then into the next day is a little tricky. And often times we don't actually put the first day into the slideshow at all because it doesn't really work. It's something we'll deliver in their full gallery but it won't make it into the slideshow but the parade is a huge part of this wedding and it's one of the things during our pre-wedding meeting that we had with them that they said they were most excited about. Like when i asked them that question, that's what Sarah had said. So we knew we needed to make it work.
In this case we're shooting all the events as they're happening but we knew that our transition would most likely happen in the form of a portrait. And we'll talk about portraits later on but as you'll see we took them out and set them up for a portrait which you'll see.
So obviously, Go-Pro footage.
So what attracted me was the lights on the outside and that very clear opening in the background. So the idea here was really to silhouette them against that sky while including the facade of the building. What was really important here was to frame them in a way that the heater wasn't coming out of their heads. Because we knew we would remove it in photo shop afterwards. So I'm just guiding Davina who is guiding them. Like move a little bit, move a little bit. So they get into position. Get them close, this guy walks by. So still just kind of getting set up but I'm already shooting at this point because I don't necessarily know what's going to happen. Did you guys see it? So there the waiter just walks by perfectly silhouetted as well. So the final photo is this.
Do you notice anything that's missing? (laughter) That heater?
And so this photo became our transition from day one into day two. After this photo in their slideshow it goes to this which is sort of a very simple photo. Groom hanging out by the pool.
Story telling detail.
Yes, story telling detail. And then followed by them rehearsing their first dance on the roof top as well. So if it went from like a parade photo into this it becomes a very jarring transition. Instead now by having a portrait it kind of says okay, the day is over then by the pool is the next day and then the events sort of continue.
I think it works particularly well in this case cause it's more than just a portrait with like an element that ties back to the actual event with the waiter and those drinks. And those drinks, which we know are important. So it kind of works even better because it's not just kind of static portrait you know. It's got that story telling element to it. This is also very important in the first dance rehearsal because when we met with Sarah and Aaron they had actually just finished one of their rehearsals. They were like moving their furniture back and they're like, "Oh, we've been practicing this dance." It's been something they were really nervous about and really excited about and so it was like a big part. Not just the dance, the first dance itself, but all the rehearsal that went into it. I thought was like a really interesting part of their day. So the fact that before she even got ready that morning they were rehearsing, is like a very fun, specific thing to them as well. So it's something that makes their wedding unique. More Go-Pro.
Yeah, a little later on in the day. So this is gonna be the transition from the cocktail into their dinner reception. So again we want to make sure we showcase how they go from rooftop from one place to the next. So scene number one, so it's sped up, a little Blair Witch Project. Everybody is kind of lining up, I get attracted by the waiter whose carrying all this stuff. I keep shooting.
I get attracted by the waiter.
Seeing if something is going to be interesting but then quickly go back to the bride and groom because I know that they're about to go down. They're getting excited. And they're gonna take a moment. Good thing this is sped up. (chuckles) Alright so I see that there's this nice view, the time of day is perfect. They start going down and then they pause and they decide to have a little moment. Very unscripted, I didn't tell them to stop. They just wanted to take it in. Just before that I had seen that the view was pretty good from the other side so I just sneak up behind them and frame myself and let them have their moment. But I know that this is going to be a good transition photo from the cocktail into the dinner. Then they start going downstairs. Get myself lined up the way I had for the waiter. Bride ends up being a little bit on her own, she stops here. Next photo. And then Davina is sort of under the arch and ready for the transition as well so she keeps shooting.
It's almost the same moment, basically two angles.
And then she just walks past me and keeps going towards the dinner. And the groom actually, you can't see him in the Go-Pro footage but he's standing at the other end of this long hallway. What I'm waiting for is as she walks through the light right there, that's when the good moments happens.
You see the groom?
This one's a little dark.
That one's a little dark but that's sort of the final walk into where their dinner is happening. They're still just a little bit of twilight happening in the sky so I'm including as much of the architecture as possible and waiting for them to frame up perfectly in that arch. And this is the final photo that comes out of that. Oh, there is one more. And then they're just about to go down, there was music playing. The friends are getting excited, they're obviously connecting a lot in this moment. And so all of those photos happen in a matter of ten minutes but if you're already down there waiting for the reception to start you miss all of those transitional moments, those little subtle connections between the bride and groom. So always make sure that you stay with them and keep working through all of those moments.
And again, like there is no pressure. That's what's really fun about shooting through the transitions, there's no expectations on their part.
No, I think we had a question here, yeah.
My husband and I are a wedding photographer team as well and my question is about when you're shooting those transitions, how do you decide who stays with the bride and groom, who goes and photographs cocktail hour? Because I feel like lately what we've been doing is both of us will stay with the bride and groom capturing different connections, different moments but then I feel like it suffers because we're missing those moments during cocktail hour, those interactions.
Yeah, I think it's definitely important to split up in a situation like that so, generally I'm the one who will go and photograph the cocktail hour and just fulfill our responsibility as wedding photographers and just get photos of all the guests and Davina is the one who will stay with the bride and groom. But here as you saw, I felt inspired to keep following them as they walked from the cocktail to the reception and so just communicate between the two of us and say, "I'm feeling this, I'm gonna shoot "them as the transition," and Davina run up ahead and was sort of ready for them to walk into the reception.
We'll talk about how we go from our responsibilities which are down here in our formula. So covering our other guests and covering our responsibilities on how we switch back and forth between doing what we think we need to be doing and what we know we also need to be doing. But yeah having them compartmentalizing like details, formals, covering other guests and knowing I'm doing it at a specific time. That helps me a lot so that when I'm not there with the guests or doing something else, I know that where I am is where I need to be. There's a song there somewhere, that sounds like song lyrics. (laughter)
There are questions online about transitions as well. So people notice that you both have black and white and color imagery and so the question is, are there rules from transitioning from black and white and color as you would to that slide show? And then I would say secondly are you thinking about the use of black and white as a transition itself?
So no, we shoot everything in color not thinking so much of color versus black and white as we're taking the photos. It really comes together in post production and variety, which we'll talk about, is definitely an important part of making sure that the story visually is well told. So we do try to mix it up between color and black and white. Our general philosophy for converting images to black and white is, if it's a strong moment and the colors don't add anything to the image then it goes in black and white. The colors really need to add to the visual for it to stay in color, that's our general rule.
Sorry, from a story telling point of view, to go from one image to the other if we're gonna have two color images back to back but that are colored really differently because of the type of lighting then maybe it's good to break it up with a black and white. So visually it's not jarring. We don't want anything to ever be a distraction from the actual image when it's pieced together in the slide show. We're gonna see that a lot when we actually piece together a slideshow in front of you.
Awesome and we're gonna be doing editing as well so post processing, so, so much to cover. We still have a couple questions on the transitions. One is from Heather who says, "I really like using "transitions, I usually separate the beginning of the "receptions with the details shots." Do you use those for the slideshow, are they used in the full gallery as well?
So actual detail photos?
Do you want to take that?
Sure. (laughter) For us the actual details, they fall into the responsibilities part of our coverage. It's something we believe the couple should have but it doesn't necessarily add anything from a story telling point of view. The way that we do photograph details, which we're about to jump into is really by getting story telling details. So detail, something about that also relates to the wedding and really tells a story.
As a human element usually is what we're looking for.
So a detail with a human element. Like emotion or hand or something like that. Or something very specific to that wedding but details I think it's not a bad idea to transition into a reception with details because it kind of sets the scene. But I think from a story telling point of view it's just important that there is that sort of, that it's deliberate in what is the purpose of that photo other than just to break it up.
Yeah, I think the challenge with the close up of a bouquet or even just a wide shot of the reception is it's missing that human touch. It doesn't have that emotional connection and we wanna keep riding that emotional build up that we're trying to create through the slideshow. And if we break it with something that's purely visual than the viewer loses that emotional momentum a little bit. That's what we want to try to avoid in the slideshow.
It can even be a behind the scenes photo of them setting up tables. Even if it's staff, something like that really does break it up and it's still more story telling than just a static detail image. Like I love when the staff do interesting things to, that add to the story. The behind the scene stuff, the bride and groom aren't seeing on the wedding day. But you know it does take a village and there's a lot of people involved. So that can be kind of fun to.
Alright one more from Bokoflo who says, "I'm always trying to capture moments at weddings "but that has me tending to over photograph." Is there a number of shots, maybe we're gonna get into this later, that you usually take at the wedding day and how many you deliver. But just in general do you find that with this style that you're taking more photos than you might?
Spoiler alert, tons and tons and tons of photos, yeah. Like 10 thousand each a wedding, yes. We're gonna get into that and why and how and all of that.
It's very purposeful.
Yes but absolutely cause we're working the shots all the way through and then moving onto something else and following them and sometimes so many things are changing that we're shooting all the way through those moments. So yes definitely, we're shooting a ton but when you're shooting with purpose it's not overwhelming to be culling after because you can see your own thought process through all the photos. When the moment peaked and then that's what you cull and then you keep going throughout the day. So, I'm spoiling some stuff.
Stay tuned. (laughter)
So question is, do you stop moments and re-pose people? Like the bride saying goodbye to her mother, their both facing the camera instead of looking at each other, what ever the case is. Or do you let the emotional moments go if you're seeing nothing but peoples backsides as that often happens where they're moving quickly.
Questions are jumping ahead.
Exposing the rest of our [inaudible 24:47]. No, so we do take control in some situations but we don't want to disrupt the moment itself. I think it's important, like in that example, is to place the bride before the mom walks in so that she knows where to stand and she's facing the light so that the moment happens in the good light. That's how we take control. Take control before the moment happens, the moment itself we don't wanna disrupt.