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Multiple ways to photography a bride

The art of the “bridal portrait”

April 30, 2015 ,
Documentary Family Photographer in Collingwood
journalistic bridal portraits on wedding days

During a wedding day if you think things will go according to plan you are just kidding yourself and as the wedding photographer I have to be ready to get “the shots” whenever I possibly can. Sometimes that means stopping the bride on the way to her bridal room after the ceremony because the light was just right and we didn’t have time during her preparations because eating was more important and IT IS! So, you do what you can when you can, you take 1 min. ask her to get down and you stand on something that you have already placed there and take the picture……then let her go. 

A bridal portrait for me should happen a minimum of 3 times throughout the day. A formal one during preparations, candid ones during the day, and 3 different length portraits during the bride groom session.   Now, on this day she had 5 min. to give to me and we were able to do some beautiful window light portraits in the hotel room before she left for the ceremony.  I have the bride sit on the floor if possible and willing, sometimes it’s not depending on the gown……. I never force them to get into a position they are not comfortable in. I place them in the window light and get above them somehow. For this shot I was standing on the sofa back and the window sill ( we were in a hotel room ) I would never jump all over mom’s furniture. I have the bride look up at me and with my Nikon D4 & 85 mm F1.4 at F1.4  I focus on the eye closest to me and keep it there…….that is very important! You can not focus and recompose with that wide of an aperture.

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Nikon D4 w/ Nikon 85mm 1.4 at F1.4 with soft window light

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Same position here with a little adjustment……she’s leaning back on her hand instead of straight up at me.

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Here she is leaning forward again, but closed her eyes. These are the images that you pass along to the makeup artists.

This portrait, the bride is in the exact same position but I have her look down and focus on the eyelashes. Again, if you focus and recompose at F1.4 you will risk missing the focus.  This image was beautiful in colour but BW wow! and I love giving my clients a variety.  Literally 5 min. is all it takes and with a little direction you can get numerous images for her without her moving positions at all.   I ask them to ” stretch up towards me and smile (click) relax (click) smile (click) smile no teeth (yep, I really say that, click) look up (click) look down (click) all the while I’m weaving and bobbing and changing my position….. yes all from a window ledge and sofa and you wonder why we wear pants on a wedding day.

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Window light from above with my Nikon D4 and Nikon 85mm F1.4 at 1.4 A quick tip here that I learned from a workshop with Scott Robert Lim on Creative Live. The key is to not let the nose break the line of the face. This one is getting close.

Again here, she hasn’t moved from her position on the floor but I have.  Now, I’m standing on the sofa and still using the Nikon 85mm 1.4 at F1.4 I photograph her straight on.

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Window Light Portrait with Nikon D4 and 85mm 1.4 at F1.4

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Again same position, but I’m directing her to give me different looks. The editing on this image is also different, but not so different. I try to avoid using filters or action or presets and strive to keep my images classic and timeless so that years from now they still look gorgeous.

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Again here….same position but looking down and changed it to BW image with a dramatic edit.

Now, during the preparations part of the day I also shoot a couple of bridal portraits unposed or candid because what if we were completely out of time and I couldn’t get 5 min. with my bride before the ceremony then I know at least I got a couple of snaps in during the last stage of her hair and makeup.

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Nikon D4 w/ 70-200mm at 200mm F4

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Nikon D4 w/ Nikon 70-200mm at 200mm F4.5 Here, the bride is still having her hair done……she actually wore it completely pinned up so I was happy to get some of her with all the loose curls while the hairstylist was working.

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The ceremony is over and we head outside for some photos and it’s extremely chilly by the lake.  She was absolutely accommodating and was willing to brave the cold for some awesome photographs.  While we were quick we did manage to snap a few of the bride alone by the marina.  Again some full length, close up and creative.

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