List of 10 things to help think outside the box with wedding photography.

Posted by on Jan 29, 2012 in Blog, Wedding Photography | Comments Off

Creating unique wedding photos with fresh artistic elements on a regular basis, while still consistently exceeding clients expectations can be a real challenge. Most couples will request the tried and true traditional posed portraits at their weddings, but many brides and grooms these days are looking for uncommon, exciting portraits and photojournalistic candid shots that will distinguish their wedding from all others.

It is my job as your wedding photographer to provide you and all your loved ones with treasures of the heart. My photographs will become beautiful tangible memories that will be heirlooms for generations to come.  As a proud husband and an artist, I understand that being chosen as the photographer on your and your partner’s wedding day is a great  honor.

I have created a a system to hold myself to my highest artistic standard and I use it continuously provided excellent works of art to my clients and to always think outside the box. Here is the list of ten techniques that I use to assure that I will approach each wedding from a fresh perspective:

  1. Get to know the client – Each couple is completely different from the next. My first step is to gather information about both the bride and groom, and what their desired outcomes are with the wedding and photographs. I take the time to soak in the personalities of the future husband and wife. I learn about their many likes and dislikes, favorite styles and colors, and most important, their expectations. This often involves an interview and a questionnaire.
  2. Visit the site pre-wedding – Before the wedding, I find it beneficial to visit the ceremony and reception sites to find the best angles and vantage points. It helps to take the time to research the sites online in advance to see what other wedding photographers have done there. If I find something that worked than I will build off of that idea but still make it my own.
  3. Plan ahead – By planning ahead and being prepared I avoid as many last minute stresses as possible. I fill my camera bag with several camera bodies and lenses, a cleaning kit, backup power and extra flash drives to store enough to take three times that which I need.  I look up the weather reports for the average weather at  I bring a step ladder with me to get  some of the best angles. I bring a reflector kit and tripod, and did I mention backup power? I bring light stands and umbrellas for each flash, a flash triggering device, and a hand held flash meter.
  4. Constantly adjust perspective -During the wedding ceremony and reception, I continuously search to find the best angles and vantage points.Although the bride and groom are always my main focus for the day, it is important that I keep my eyes peeled for the special moments and beautiful details.
  5. Make each shot a work of art – Thanks to many years of artistic training, education and professional experience in fine art painting and photography, I have a tendency to see everything from the artists’ perspective. Sometimes that means I will look for lines and angles in surrounding buildings, bridges, and man made objects. Other times I may use the traditional rule of thirds as it is fairly close to the golden ratio and has been proven to be pleasing to the eyes and works in creating beautiful art. Also, I keep my eyes on geometric structures and their lines,  patterns and symmetry. All of which make for interesting backgrounds in images. I also keep my eyes open for unique ways in which light plays on the wedding party, guests and surroundings. In the composition of each shot, a balance between objects is desired. If an image is heavily weighted it draws the viewer to that part, sacrificing the rest of the image. Similarly, voids in an image can also be distracting. The whole image must work together to keep the viewer engaged. I tend to isolate all of the shapes in an image as if they were puzzle pieces, and have found that a solid composition is one where the different pieces hold each other together.
  6. Watch for colors – The use of color or the lack of it can help keep a photograph fresh and unique. The use of complementary colors within an image helps to balance it and is very pleasing to the eye. The opposite can also work if tension is the purpose of the image. Monochromatic (one color) images convey mood and feeling.
  7. Slow down time – I will occasionally adjust the shutter speed, to stop action and see things I could not see at normal speed. Many camera exposures are faster than we can see and stop the action of our world.
  8. Zoom zoom zoom – I play with my zoom, changing from wide angle to telephoto to see if something unique strikes me.
  9. I love what I do, so it’s not work – My creativity thrives when I opt to photograph people or things that excite me. That is why I do not accept every request for my services, and limit the number of weddings that I will work. I believe that by being selective about what I work on, my art will always stay fresh and inspired.
  10. Post-wedding creativity - We never learn anything different if we keep doing things in the same way. I look at each picture as an opportunity to explore the possibilities. I find it helpful to regularly ask myself, “What kind of adjustments or design elements can I tastefully add after the photo has been taken?”. This is where I like to play with the possibilities using Adobe Photoshop, specifically CS4, but any high end photo editor will do. I usually base my design decisions on the choice to build on a photo’s strengths, so the first do is assess the photo’s strong points. The main variable to conceder is keeping in cohesion with the styles that were requested by the client. Throughout all of the  can I make this photo even better?’, and if the answer in, ‘It’s perfect!’ than I have achieved my mission.
Most of all, have fun!  Everything will be perfect.
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By Alan M. Schwartz