Our professional photographer’s essential advice for reportage wedding photography
From the first phone call to producing the album, Brett and his wife Kristie offer a complete wedding photography service. “We meet the bride and groom in our studio, show them our sample album, and talk through our pricing structure,” says Brett.
“Kristie handles all the pre-shoot planning, and I stick to the photography. We’ve found it’s best she deals with the brides, as she empathises with the dilemmas they might have.”
“Most of our wedding shoots start mid-morning,” says Brett. “I’ll get a selection of shots of the groom and his best man and ushers before the ceremony, but in the morning you need to stick with the bride: it’s important to remember that weddings are all about the bride and her big day!
“I’ll shoot her getting her hair and makeup done, having a glass of champagne, having a laugh with her bridesmaids, getting her dress zipped up, with her father, in the car, coming down the aisle – all the shots that tell the story before the ceremony. After that you can focus on both the bride and groom!”
Tell a story of the day
“For our reportage wedding photography we’ll capture the full story of the bride and groom’s big day, from them getting ready and the ceremony to the wedding breakfast and speeches, and the first dance at the evening party,” says Brett.
“For our luxurious albums we present 75 processed photos telling the story of the day, with the JPEGs on a disc. We charge £35 per photo after that.”
Make multiple shots from one location
“When you’re shooting weddings you need to make the best of the locations you’ve got,” says Brett. “When I find a good backdrop I fire off a variety of shots, from wide to tightly cropped, with my 70-200mm lens.”
Note how much more blurred the background becomes the closer you zoom in/the longer your focal length: the wider composition shows more of the background, and more of it in focus, while the tight shot does the opposite.
Don’t crash the party!
“Remember that you’re there to work around the bride and groom’s schedule, not the other way around,” says Brett. “I find that the more clients pay, the less time they’ll give you for photos.
“Of course, they still expect top shots, so you must be ready to shoot at all times, and know where you need to be for the best light. Let them get on with their day, maximise any quality time you get with the bride and groom, and take unobtrusive documentary photos when you’re free to roam.”
How to shoot with lights
“When shooting with flash you need to work in Manual mode, as you’re taking full control of the light,” says Brett. “The technique is simple, however: adjust your shutter speed for the ambient light and your aperture for your subject; the ISO covers both. You then set the power of your flash heads to light your subject.”
A good starting point is 1/160 sec at f/11 and ISO200, with your flash on 1/2 or 1/4 power. Tweak your shutter speed, aperture and ISO to brighten or darken your background and subjects, and only adjust the flash power if necessary.
Add colour and pizazz!
Brett spotted an elegant purple front door, and showed Yasmine how a little colour can give wedding shots a contemporary feel if you make good use of it.
“You can’t beat how some off-camera flash boosts contrast and colours to bring your portraits to life,” says Brett. “Set up your flashgun to fire remotely and position it to one side (on a stand, or have an assistant hold it). Using a side-light will create shadows, which help to make a two-dimensional shots look more three-dimensional.”
PAGE 1: Meet our professional photographer and apprentice
PAGE 2: Reportage wedding photography tips for during the shoot
PAGE 3: Our professional photographer’s final advice for reportage wedding photography
PAGE 4: Our professional photographer’s recommended gear
PAGE 5: Shot of the Day
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