3 Tips for Better Wedding Images with Leonardo Volturo
A wedding day is one of the most important days in a person’s life, and being hired to document it is something we take very seriously. Your couple has hired you to be their eyes and tell the story of their day. For most couples, their wedding day is a whirlwind. They are so anxious to see their pictures because the day flew by. So many things happened, and they can relive the day through our photos. We often hear, “I didn’t even notice that” and, “I didn’t get to see that.”
Here are three tips to ensure you’ve got everything you need to deliver a great story.
It’s All in the Details
During bride prep, gather all of the details. These include jewelry the bride will be wearing. You will also want to grab the shoes, garter, bouquets, the invitation and, of course, the dress. Ask if she has anything that’s special, like something that was passed down. Some brides pin a medal or have a piece of their mother’s dress pinned to their dress, or something connected to a grandparent. Also look out for bridal party gifts, gifts for parents, gifts or a note from the groom, and anything else they have spent money on or have had personalized.
For the guys, you need to grab the tie, jewelry, watch, look out for fancy socks, shoes, and don’t forget to look inside the jacket to see if it’s stitched with names or anything unique. Just like with the bride, you’ll want to photograph any gifts, notes and anything else that is sentimental and significant.
We structure our timeline so we arrive 30 minutes before the guests. This enables us to photograph the entire ceremony space free of distracting elements like guests or vendors setting up. This is ideal when capturing images to use as backgrounds in the album.
Aside from taking a wide shot of the entire ceremony space, you’ll want to photograph key elements such as the flowers, altar area, unity candle or similar items, pictures or reserved seats of passed family members, programs and signage.
Here we’re looking for place cards, guestbook, centerpieces, menus, favors, the cake and place settings. Other unique things we see at receptions are candy tables, cigar bars and personalized napkins.
Your clients won’t want these images large in their homes, but they’re all important pieces of the wedding day because our clients sought and paid for those things to be there. They’re also good for enhancing your album designs.
“The moments of happiness we enjoy take us by surprise. It is not that we seize them, but that they seize us.” –Ashley Montagu
“We do not remember days, we remember moments.” –Cesare Pavese
For bride and groom prep, my main focus is the bride and groom. Melissa is scanning for reactions from family and the bridal party, while I am leading and working the room. During prep, we are learning who is important to the bride and groom. This helps us anticipate moments throughout the day.
During the ceremony, Melissa is looking for the groom’s reaction when he first sees the bride, the handoff from parent to groom, reactions from family—emotional reactions, laughter, etc. Typically the first row contains the parents and closest relatives. Key moments like personal vows and the ring ceremony spark a reaction. Paying attention and knowing what to look for is key to anticipating those moments.
For the first dance and parent dances (in our area they do all of the dances right after the grand entrance), we have the bridal party line up behind the couple, giving us a backdrop for our images and easy access to moments and reactions. Melissa is shooting the 70-200 lens looking for close-ups of the bride and groom and their hands, and scanning the room for moments, while I am shooting the 24–70 or 16–35 looking for more of a scenic shot.
For the toasts, we look around for where those important family members are seated. I stay up front with the 50 or the 24–70, while Melissa scans the room with the 70–200 looking for laughter, applause and tears.
When photographing the reception, you’ll want to keep an eye on the key players of the day, but also be sure to capture images of as many guests as possible as a record of those who attended the event. The dance floor is also a great place for some candid moments.
When thinking big, I want you to think about creating big landscape and architecturally based images, because you’re going to be using these big images to lead your clients into large print products and albums, which means big sales.
When creating these images, we are looking for scene elements like a church or a unique building, architecture or even a field. This is not going to be your typical portrait. What you’re focused on here is creating something that is more of an art piece.
This is where we break out the ultrawide lens (16–35) and our off-camera lighting (either Profoto B1 or B2). The concept here is pretty simple. You want to first expose for your scene and then use your lighting to fill in your subject, which will have gone dark since you’re exposing for the typically brighter scene. Now that you’ve got a solid base image, you may choose to keep it as is, do some editing to it yourself or do what we do and send it over to Evolve Edits for a Signature Edit. We’ve partnered with Evolve to create one-of-a-kind images that have that wow factor, allowing us to provide our clients with awesome art for their home.
Now you’re all set to showcase for your clients the impact images they will want to display prominently in their home. These images are designed to be displayed large, so make sure you’ve got samples. Direct your clients along the way to purchase these images, and set yourself up for success.
Covering these three elements of the wedding day ensures you’ve got everything you need for a great story and album. Remember, it’s their story. This is the only visual reminder they will have to look back on, and your couples are relying on you to preserve those moments.