So, I've already got 2 more weddings lined up for the year, it's a little scary seeing as my first wedding was less than a week away, but of course I said yes, I love photography after all.
Anyway, I was lucky enough to have a bride that was all natural, spontaneous and up for anything.
I was thinking during the formals, what would have happened if the bridal party was a bit, how do I put this, meh!
How do you guys(or other wedding photogs) get the bridal party to relax, laugh and just be themselves.
Is it just something you have to hope for or do you have certain techniques to bring the best out of them.
I read somewhere a photog that takes an album the couple likes and gets the bridal party to sing along to it. Seems like a good idea, but it's not always possible.
Any other ideas?
I recently watched the PDN seminar online with Jim Garner and he likes to take the wedding party out well before the ceremony (this isn't always possible). When he gets them out together, he leaves them alone for 5-10 minutes and lets them start talking and joking with each other and then he steps in and starts shooting. You may only be able to give them a few minutes before shooting but some of my favorite images from a recent event were the family cutting up before the "official" posed images.
I recently worked as a second shooter for an established wedding photographer. She set the bride/groom apart and we stepped back equipped with 70-200mm lenses and just had them walk toward each other and engage each other. With virtually no further instruction, I was surprised at the very genuine and touching photos that looked very constructed but weren't with very little active direction.
Try to pick up on particular relationships between the bride/groom and their party. Usually, there is some person on each side that tends to consistently speak up with jokes, etc to break the tension. Sometimes you need to control these people to avoid the distraction, but you can also use these people off camera to help make the bride/groom more relaxed. You usually need someone to help with flowers and dress control anyway. Choosing the right person to help can make a huge difference in the pictures.
Planning the shooting ahead of schedule is key. Most photographers have a firm plan in their head of what they want in front of the lens but not enough think about managing the groups of people behind. Think ahead of the groups of people you will need to include and tell them to stay together but go and relax in a specific place and you will be back to get them when you are ready. Having large groups of people milling around in standby-mode can effect the mood after a while. If people are told they can go to a specific place and relax until they are needed can help a lot. Some of this is not possible due to time constraints and the way individuals behave but anytime you can use these techniques will make your life easier.
As a photographer you can't appear to be nervous or show uncertainty, even if you do; that will worsen the situation. And you will have to keep talking to the group, at least at the beginning, to find a common ground to break the ice. I suggest you bring along some wedding shots that you plan to do with the couple. Personally I have a couple of coffee table style albums from my previous sessions to use - they help break the tension and I also get to show my portfolio to other potential clients.
How do you have time to sit down with the entire wedding party BEFORE the ceremony to show them albums and previous images??? Time is hard to come by on wedding days and to think someone, let alone the bride, would be willing to sit and look through albums is a little foolish.
Originally Posted by tim11
Anco, what I usually do if someone in the group is tense or up-tight, I will crack a small joke or something to lighten him/her up a bit. There really isnt much time to dick aroumd during the formals so always come prepared!
Congrats on the new jobs!!
I'm not very good at jokes, but i am comfortable behind the camera, so maybe that'll help.
I'm just worried about the day when it's time to do the formals and the bride is grumpy because something went wrong. I'll have no idea how to get her to laugh or look friendly even.
Also, seeing another potential client(s) tonight, dunno if I'll be able to survive wedding season, but at least word is getting around. Wedding photographers are hard to come by in this little town if people are desperate enough to use me :D
That's true Jason. Most of the times I don't get to use those previous shots but the 'entire' album consists of 20-30 collages of selected poses and compositions. There is no way to show everyone the whole book and the purpose is to point out a few poses to a grumpy person to pose exactly the way I want. It's better if I have a helper but most of the time I don't.
Originally Posted by jcon
Cracking a joke doesn't always work, unless the photog is also a comedian; or depending on the personality of the subject themselves. That is also why I prepare for different approach but my suggestion shouldn't be taken to the letter either, but it is an idea to break the ice. There is no set answers to any situation.
I'd just work on the bride and groom and the rest will normally follow suit.
Also I prefer to start with some group shots so to ease the tension and when everyone relaxes a little I'd do the individual shots.