Weddings can fly by. Someone’s laughing at that table, Ëœclick.’ The baby brother is sleeping in the corner, Ëœclick.’ ËœDing ding ding,’ the crowd wants the bride and groom to kiss. Ëœclick, click, click.’ With a million things going on at once, it’s easy to lose track of the creativity and focus solely on candids and standard detail shots. So to make it easier to remember, here is a list of the top 10 ways to get creative shots.
1. Use a foreground- Find something to place in the foreground. This should be something of meaning or beauty. It should help tell the story, help set the scene, or simply be something aesthetically pleasing. In the image below, taken at Bynington Winery in Los Gatos, CA, the photographer chose to focus on the bottle of wine with the bride in the background. The bottle includes the name of the winery at which the wedding took place, giving the viewer a sense for the environment of the scene. This technique should be used sparingly, as it’s more important to capture the bride’s beauty and her expressions at all times. However, in a creative album or slideshow, a couple of these can add some creativity and interest. With this technique, make sure you’re using the appropriate aperture, keeping in mind that you want the person or object in the background to be blurred, yet identifiable. For this image, f/2.8 was our ideal aperture, but if the bride were further from the bottles, we may have had to take it up.
2. Shoot through something – Shooting through something provides a unique perspective that few, if any, of the other guests would have thought of. In the image below, taken at the Newport Beach Marriott, in Newport Beach, CA, the photographer shot in between the arm and the body of a statue to an identical statue on the opposite side of the aisle. The opening provides an interesting frame and gives the image a unique perspective.
In the image below, taken at Eucalyptus Lane in Oxnard, CA, our photographer crept outside of the beautiful barn where the wedding was taking place to shoot through one of the holes, using a remote trigger to help light the room. Again, the foreground creates a unique and natural frame, with a foreground that is not necessarily identifiable from an outside perspective, but significant to the bride, groom and the guests who were present.
3. Photograph the Photographer – Needless to say, photography is a huge part of the day. Whether it’s the hired photographer or the aunt with the Powershot, there are thousands of shutters clicking through the evening. So when a crowd gathers for a point-and-shoot moment, step back and grab a shot, exposing for the screen on the camera. The image below was taken at the Montecito Country Club in Santa Barbara, CA.
4. Go high – Grab your monopod, climb onto a ladder, or find a balcony. These birds-eye views capture the feeling and environment of the scene; and gives us a unique perspective, not seen by anyone else at the event. The image below was taken during an engagement session in a field in Laguna Beach, CA using a Canon EF 15mm f/2.8 Fisheye.
5. Find a row of something interesting – Line up some products or find an existing row of anything interesting. Move 20-30 degrees to the side and shoot down the line. We prefer to keep our apertures wide open, but you can decide which look fits your style.
6. Find a Frame – Go behind a doorway, maybe even in to the other room. Use people, buildings, furniture, anything to create a natural frame. For more information, please read our article on Framing Your Subjects The image below was taken at the Montecito Country Club in Santa Barbara, CA.
7. Get in Close – Go in close on the moment with your zoom lense. The world is seen at 35-70mm’s. If we can get in really close on a moment, we’re automatically delivering something that people from the crowd aren’t seeing. The following moment is during an Indian wedding ceremony. The bride’s expression is captured by an image taken right before this one, where the photographer zoomed in on the beautiful flowers and hands. The image is from a wedding at the Bahia Resort in San Diego, CA.
8. Zoom Out – Strap on your wide-angle lens and back up to capture the grandeur of the architecture or the beauty of the environment. The Santa Barbara skies were amazing the day this image was captured. The bride and groom have thousands of close-up photographs taken by every guest at the wedding, but they only have a few of these beautiful images of the magnificent scenery and their romantic moments. This image was taken during a wedding at the Orella Ranch in Santa Barbara, CA.
9. Use a Hair Light – Use your off camera flash to play with your shadows and highlights. See our article on using the hair light for details about this technique. This image was taken at a birthday party for one of our long-standing clients in Beverly Hills, CA using an off camera flash and a PocketWizard PWP-TR 801-125 PLUS II Transceiver
10. Shoot something besides the Face – Sometimes we all need to remind ourselves that the story isn’t always in the faces of our subjects. Sometimes the bodies, hands, and feet tell us more about the moment than face. Other times, it’s just fun to leave some things to our imaginations. This image was taken at an Indian Wedding in Newport Beach, CA, zoomed in close with a 70-200mm f/2.8L Zoom Lens
The image below was taken at the Orange County Performing Arts Center in Costa Mesa, CA.
This list is not comprehensive, as creativity is never a science and involves the spontaneous use of objects, surroundings, and moments. However, these are just a few guidelines to help get your brain jogging when you’re out of ideas, or when you have a moment to step back from the madness of a wedding to use your creativity to produce timeless imagery.
By: Lin and Jirsa Wedding Photography, Los Angeles and Orange County Wedding Photographers
If you’ve found this article informative, please consider donating below: