The Slideshow Formula
Now that we got like, a lot of the emotional stuff out of the way.
Gosh, we did warn you.
Uh, well we are emotional and we do have, well, our job, everybody's job as a wedding photographer is very emotional. There's a formula, so we get very technical in our approach and make sure that we follow a certain formula to capture certain parts of the day in a certain way. So we're gonna try to break that down for you guys.
This should be a welcome change of pace.
Yeah. (all laughing) Alright, so the inner circle, we already kinda touched on that a little bit, but obviously whenever the bride and groom are in a situation where their closest people are with them, we really hone in on that and try to stay focused, and show the people that are close to them in the context of the wedding. We do the formal photos, we do all of that stuff, you know, that is expected of us as wedding photographers, but we wanna try to get unique photos that are also gon...
na showcase all of these people.
Right, so I mentioned that before, the last thing we want is to be going through all of our photos afterwards, hoping that we got, you know, a great moment with the bride and her mom or someone who is really significant. So having this formula in mind at every wedding that we shoot, it makes sure, it makes us confident while we're shooting, that we are getting the things that we need so that we're not worrying about it later. So the obvious moments, obvious. Ceremony, reception, you know, the obvious moments, the things that you expect from any wedding photographer, that needs to be there for sure. But where it gets interesting is in transitions. So, we need the transitions for the story, which is what we're talking about, right, for the slideshow, so it brings the viewer from, you know, between the obvious moments, between getting ready to the ceremony, from ceremony to reception. But more than that, that's where all the interesting, unscripted moments happen, and a lot of the moments of tension or emotional moments or, you know, funny moments, a lot of that stuff lives in those transitions. So we spend almost most of our effort on the wedding day, you know, just working those transitions and just never, never leaving the bride and groom to make sure that we get those.
Yeah, it's almost like another dimension. Like, the weddings, you know, a standard, if you look at a shot list, it's gonna list you all of the obvious moments. Nobody really talks about the transitions, and that's sort of like the extra dimension. To document that really brings the coverage to, uh, you know, another, another place. Along the same lines, sidelines. (Davina laughs) I didn't mean to rhyme those two words but. (laughs) So the sidelines are just as important, you know. It's everything that is beyond the obvious. So, something like, you know, kids! Just playing outside of the church, you know, while everybody's coming out. The obvious stuff is happening behind that car in front of the church, and we're two people so one of us allows themselves to walk around and look for interesting action in the sidelines.
Sidelines is really where also a lot of what makes a wedding unique is going to be taking place. You know, it's again, the unscripted stuff, but also a lot of really specific things to that wedding, because the sidelines are always going to be different, you know, with every wedding. Storytelling details, so, these can take so many different forms. Um, hands are huge for that, um, anything that kind of, yeah, that's a detail but we can use in a storytelling way. The fact that (laughs) they were wearing red dresses, yeah, this is a mannequin that they had at their, it's like an inside joke in that group of friends, so of course, her name is Cassandra, she had to come, um, to the wedding as well, so. You know, these are very specific to that wedding, so that's the type of fun, like, storytelling details that we're looking for.
So, also a strong opening photo. You know, we need those to introduce the wedding itself. So to open our slideshows, to set the scene, to really, you know, it's just one image but we work super, super hard on making sure that we get something really strong to kick things off in the story of the wedding.
So this is more, like, epic in terms of, you know, the traditional sense of the word that we discussed. But the idea with our opening photos is that they be relevant to the locations where our couples are getting married so they don't, they're not just, you know, epic for the sake of being epic, but that they actually showcase things that are important to the client in the context of a portrait.
Yeah, and then beyond that, obviously we wanna photograph all of the other guests and fulfill all of our responsibilities as wedding photographers. So photographing the details, photographing the families, you know, making sure that all the important people are covered, the cutting of the cake, all of those things that are standard, we make sure that those are covered as well.
These are the types of photos that you probably will never see in our portfolio, especially when it comes to, like, family formals and details and stuff like that, because it's not who we are as storytellers and that's not how we want to set ourselves apart. But we actually feel like they're really important. And even if we have clients who are so into storytelling and so into moments that they say, "I don't even want to do family formals," we actually still encourage them to do it. I mean, I won't force them against their will, but I will always recommend it because they're classic for a reason, right? You know, grandma and the parents and, they will want those photos, and one day, I think our clients will also want them. We actually didn't do them at our wedding, we were really against it, and I really, that's the only regret that I have is that I didn't just take five minutes to do those photos with my family.
Now, while we're trying to fulfill our formula, we're also thinking about how it feels and what the mood is like in each of the scenes that we're in. So, how it feels and mood will apply to the inner circle, to the obvious moments, to the transitions, to every part of the formula. It's, you know, it's something that is more abstract, it's an abstract concept and we try to apply it to every part of the formula. Whoops, sorry, I forgot there was a photo. But, something like this, you know, it's sideline action, but it also conveys the mood and the feel of the reception.
She's my spirit animal. (all laughing) Um, emotion, connection, you know, again, with all of these, we're looking for that. So, even in a storytelling detail, you know, there can be a moment of connection. You know, if it's hands, that's a connection, so, um, yeah. So whenever there's emotion and whenever there's just, in every part of the day, that's what we're striving for basically.
And lastly, you know, we wanna make sure that we get visual variety so that every photo looks a little bit different than the others so that, as a viewer, you don't feel jaded by the images that are in front of you and that you're interested in everything that is shown to you.
So we're gonna go through all of this throughout the class in detail with many examples, it's just, it really is central to everything that we do at every wedding, and we'll show you how we've applied all of these in very different ways at different weddings.
So my question is, when you're taking pictures of the inner circle, do you find that people tend to fall into cliche poses, and how can you help direct them towards more moment driven photos versus like, "Hey, this is what we wanna do!"
Oh yeah, that's a great question.
It's a great question, do you wanna take it?
Sure! (David and Davina laughing)
It's so great, neither one of us are gonna answer it! Just kidding! (laughing)
Um, so, you know the preparation, it's sort of like a multifaceted answer. It's, you know, what we show in our portfolio and how we train our clients before the wedding plays into--
Well yeah, it's just sort of like, you know, subconscious training, you know, plays a big role in that. So because they don't see those types of photos ahead of time, they don't have that association, "Okay, this is how we act in front of Davina and Daniel." So their tendency is to be more natural because that's what we show in our portfolio. And then in the moment, it does still happen obviously, you know, parents and other generations, or even just friends, they don't realize that that's our approach necessarily, so they'll do that. We'll usually take the photo and then very quickly remind them, you know, "Please, you don't have to pose for photos, "we're gonna do those later on during the day. "Try to be as natural as possible, I know it's a little bit "awkward with the camera, but just be yourself, "and we're taking candid photos all day." So you know, and the thing is, you tell it to the most important people, so you tell the bride and groom, obviously they know, but you say it to the maid of honor, to the best man, to the parents, and then it seems to kind of, poof, you know, like, disperse across the entire wedding. 'Cause the more other guests see other people not posing, well the less posing they're gonna do as well.
Yeah, so I think there are two things. So one, when that happens at the beginning of the day, it's a really great thing 'cause it allows you to set the tone for the rest of the day and, you know, after that they'll get over it. And the other thing which we will cover is how we prepare our clients for the way that we work. And one of the things that we do tell them is, "Talk to your friends and family, your closest people, "about what our work is about, and, you know, "what you're excited about in our work, "and let them know that they don't need to be posing "for the camera," like, we flat out tell them, yeah. So that's gonna come up, too, in some of the things that we tell them, good question.
I think you might get into this, I imagine, but this is a question from Alice who says, you were talking about getting close being one of the things with adorable acts, telling us that, truly does make it memorable hearing him say it! But how do you get close during the ceremony?
Mmm, ceremony. Um, I think every ceremony is different, you know, it depends on the culture, it depends on the person who's officiating. So, you know, I think we just make our way in, in there and try to be discrete, and also try to prioritize, like, the most important times for, to be close. Like when they're exchanging vows, that's usually where we wanna be up there, because that's where we know, when we know that there'll likely be emotion or, you know, and emotion, tension is emotion too, nerves are emotion, you know, it's not just tears all the time, so that's kind of, like, when we'll prioritize that. And that's a good time too, because that's not when the officiant is speaking, so they kind of, like, take a step back and it's not about them, it's about the bride and groom. So we kind of find the right times, the right moments to make our way in there, I think. We don't stand up, you know, the middle of the aisle the entire time, and just like, "This is my spot!" You know, we do move around to make sure that, you know, we are still respecting the ceremony.
Outta the hundreds weddings we've photographed, only one of them was in a church with church ladies, that, you know, had very strict rules. And for that one I just remember every time there was singing or clapping, that's when we would, like, get up and change positions 'cause they wouldn't notice us, and then like duck down and be quiet, and then, you know, click, and then, you know, clap again and we'd move around again.
It was so sneaky, it was like Mission Impossible, it was, yeah, but it's true. (laughs)