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Shooting Philosophy

Lesson 4 from: Wedding Photography: Capturing the Story

Rocco Ancora, Ryan Schembri

Shooting Philosophy

Lesson 4 from: Wedding Photography: Capturing the Story

Rocco Ancora, Ryan Schembri

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Lesson Info

4. Shooting Philosophy


Class Trailer

Class Introduction


Define the Goals of Wedding Photographers


The Importance of Wedding Photographers


Shooting Philosophy


How to Build a Shot List - Bride, Groom & Formals


Tye the Wedding Story Together


Capture Stories in Wedding Pictures


Get the Right Exposure


Lesson Info

Shooting Philosophy

We need to break it down even further, as far as shooting philosophy and what we used, the tools that we use to create a photograph. And those tools believe it or not, are not a camera, it's not about having the latest and greatest eye slide on the planet. They're great tools, don't get me wrong. This is really not where your vision starts as a creative soul, okay? It really begins, first and foremost, with your eyes. Because your eyes see things, and we get exposed to things and we get seduced by certain things, whether it's seduced by a background, whether it's being seduced by a moment, or whether it's being seduced by light. Our eyes are everything. Secondly, it's our mind really, and the way that what our eyes see is interpretated, okay? And the way we can visualize things, you know, through our mental filters. But the last one is really really important is your heart. It's about the motive side of who you are and how you connect with that Because photography is about connecting f...

irst and foremost with who you are because your work is reflection of that, so the eyes, the mind, the heart, all work together to produce our creative vision. This is why you can have, two, three, four, photographers in a room and they will all see different things. I will take a shot of the bride. Maybe it's a simple shot, next to a window, and I'll shoot it. My assistant will look at the back of my camera and then she will look around and go, "How did you see that?" "Where is that, how did you come about that?' It's about having those filters, and the fact understanding that those three filters are different in each and every one of us. [Male Photographer] I think it's looking for moments that really connect with you, we often look for moments that, at a wedding that really touched us, like, I've been known to well up at weddings and I'm sure you guys have done the same at some point, at a wedding you've really connected with what's happening. And If you think about it, if it's connected with you, as an outsider, as someone who is not part of the family, it's probably really connected with them, would you say? So we're gonna look for those things. At the end of the day I think we've gotta ask ourselves one thing and that's who are we shooting for? Is it just the bride and groom? Is it? You can interact, it's all good, your very quiet there, they're very very good. Very proper, very well-behaved studio audience. I would challenge that by saying it's for everyone at that wedding. You've gotta look at it through so many different sets of eyes. So when we look at wedding, we're looking at as well, yes, we're shooting the bride as the husband would see her. Does that make sense? And then I'm looking at it as mom and dad, then uncle and auntie, granddad and grandma, whoever they are. I think probably for us at the moment though, the two of us, it's looking at it as a dad, as a father of the bride, because we've both got little girls and it's amazing I think how a shooting star has developed since having children, especially having little girls, because who would agree, that connection's pretty special. I know Marky, you probably agree, right? Yeah, you've got a few of them. (laughing) Yeah absolutely. There's a very special bond, I mean, and it's about understanding that bond as well and said, sort of putting yourself in the shoes of the family member that wants to see their day. As a father, that connection with his little girl, begins very early on in the piece, you know? It's always dad that comes to the rescue when things aren't quite right. Sometimes it could be mom, but for us the connection is that and the next set of images we'll just, the fumy thing is we're putting this together, we realize just how many moments with bride and dad we've captured. Because it hit a really personal note with us and it was something quite special. The connection between daddy and daughter, I guess. So, in this shot here, I just saw this six foot eight German firefighter break down into, like a little baby, the minute he saw his little girl dressed, you know? And the ladies thought it was funny. (laughing) I was just, he looked at me and said, "Did you just take a picture of me crying again?" No, No, I'm good, I'm good, it's all good. And this is another great moment, you know, this beautiful embrace with mom but look what's happening in the background. Dad's just lost it, you know. Absolutely lost it. And once again, preempting what's about to happen. I think it's yeah, being in touch, being in touch with those moment and I think it's really, he did hit something in us recently, that we just keep looking for these moments to come up. And they're always there, it's being aware of it and being ready for it. So you can be see the next one, the next one's a classic because we see, this is John, and John coming in to see Lindsey, but you can tell by John's personality that it's gonna be something big, something grand, something lavish, yeah. [Photographer} Big personality, amazing guy, and yeah. But the flip side to this shot is the tender, that tender moment, and in, this is actually a wedding that Rock and I shot together, so I'd put John coming in and this big grand moment of him entering and going to embrace his daughter and then, but on the flip side of it was this beautiful tender touch. And it sort of brought together all of these feeling and emotions and ultimately that made the moment. Absolutely, you're just trying to be this, it's all about the fun today, which it was, we had a ball, but then that beautiful moment of his little girl just totally breaking up and just being so grateful. I guess, whatever happened through her life, I guess. Then you get moments that aren't really happy and they aren't sad, they're ind of confusing, like this one, where the dad is kind of looking at the bride and you know, you can capture this many ways, but the way I would capture it is, so when were you gonna tell me you're getting married? Yeah, the element of surprise, this was just one of those moments. I really had no idea what he was thinking but I was there to capture it. I was ready, I was ready. Normally the first time, normally when dad sees the bride there's that joy but not always. Be ready, be ready for the unexpected because the unexpected will always happen and will create the best shots. So we have an inquisitive nature sometimes with fathers, because the other day, fathers really don't get involved much until the wedding day, you know, 'cause all the preparations have usually been done with mom and the bridesmaids, you know, dad is, maybe hasn't seen the dress yet and he hasn't seen anything. He's left out of the loop. He's left out of the loop, totally left out of the loop. And so there this inquisitive nature on behalf of the dads, trying to sneak in and trying to see things, well, I'm not meant to look at the dress, but I just needed to have a look and he sure did have a look. It was really quite scary in a way to look at getting this presentation together and Rocko saying to me, "Oh, I need to go and find some images," as he was going through them, and he literally one after the other he would pull out these amazing amazing moments and it made me so jealous it was ridiculous. And I think there's a certain thing we can measure the success of those moments and how we can measure all that is that it's by the ability of the viewer to relive that exact moment, yeah? Ans that's how we measure that storytelling and those moments, is by the ability of the viewer to relive that exact moment. I can say this to people, do you ever remember as a toddler, as a two or three year old going on family holidays, yeah? And some of us go yeah, and some no. And I've done it, I've said yes I remember going on holidays at three year old. I probably don't, I probably remember looking at photographs of me as a three year old on the holidays. But it's triggering a subconscious memory and reliving through those moments so all of those, that story telling, creating those stories, sort of capturing those moments, is so so important at a wedding. We must know how to do it correctly. Absolutely and it's just understanding that these moments here, they just hold an incredible value in the eyes of a bride or a groom or a father or a mother or a grandparent. It's not about the glamorous fashion shot at the end of the day that we can take at a wedding, that's great. Because the bride wants that also, because she wants to, you know, look amazing. This is why they're spending the big bucks to employ us to shoot the wedding. But there's just those moments which are just priceless that you know they will cherish, for generations to come. And that's really what it's all about. Absolutely.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Posing Guide Book Chapter

Ratings and Reviews

Jerry Willis

Ryan & Rocco, in my very humble opinion, are THE best wedding photography instructors in the entire industry! I've been watching their work for years now, which just so happens to win a most grand-scaled competitions, and they somehow continue to keep getting better! I first drilled Ryan at WPPI inquiring about what made his workshop different from all the others. His response, me paraphrasing, "If you're looking for tools to learn, come to my workshop. If you're looking for inspiration and smoke blowing, don't come." That's exactly what I needed to hear. Straight tools, no fluff. THE BEST photography workshop I've EVER taken, by far. You want the best photography education, learn from the best. This CreativeLive workshop is the PERFECT complimentary refresher and companion to what I learned! Thank you so much for having them! It's not the same as the workshop, which it shouldn't be, but they ARE reinforcing many things that have slipped my memory! I'm for sure buying this! :-)

Neeraj Arora

WOW!!! I have started a few CL courses but not finished as I got distracted by "life" and it took me a while to get back and finish them. But these guys!! They were simply superb. I finished this course really fast. Amazing artists, they explain things so well, Ryan is such a charmer and engaging teacher, Rocco is a fountain of knowledge. I am an enthusiastic photographer with aspirations to start my own business soon. I learn't so much from this class that will help improve my photography even if I don't become a professional wedding photographer. Great job guys, keep it up. I will need to come back to the lessons and I very much appreciate the key note pdf. All CL courses should include the slides like they did here. Thanks CL.


I am a newborn photographer by trade, but I really want to venture out and photograph more weddings so I decided to purchase a wedding class on creative live. Of course when I typed in wedding, quite a few classes came up. But when I saw the image and title "capture the story" I was definitely intrigued. I've always been touched by the photographs that have emotion and that's what I'm passionate to photograph! Always a little nervous when you purchase a class because you don't want to feel like it was a waste of money, but this knocked it out of the park for me! Thank you to Ryan and Rocco for explaining so much, showing the pull backs, and moving your subject and explaining why! This has opened my eyes so much to how beautiful photographing a wedding can be and not so terrifying as I've been making it out to be. I'm really so thankful to hopefully being a great wedding photographer and making more income for my family, while having fun creating something beautiful

Student Work