One of my FAVORITE times of the wedding day is portrait time! I love guiding my couples through each pose, getting a variety of shots for them! But between things going behind schedule, trying to finish before a chance of rain, or battling the South Carolina heat, sometimes we have to do portraits FAST! At my last wedding, I was photographing the bride and groom portraits in the NC mountains while watching a storm roll in! And even though we had only 15 minutes for portraits before the rain came, the couple is walking away with PLENTY of images, thanks to these tips! I want to share some tips so you can have MORE pictures in less time, so you can take a deep breath and stay calm even when things don’t go as planned!
1. Find just a couple great spots, and stick with them! If you find one place the lighting is perfect, get as much as you can there before moving! Sometimes during weddings, a certain spot the couple wants doesn’t have the best light at that point! Assure them you’ll get to that spot once the lighting changes, and focus on where the light is best! They hired you for your knowledge and photography lighting style! At my last wedding where we had 15 minutes, we did all the portraits in one place where the lighting and setting was really pretty and nearby so I could give them way more pictures then if we had moved around all over the place!! I’d just adjust them slightly to allow for a little different view!
2. Get a lot of shots with minor changes to the pose! Instead of resetting your couple’s pose completely, just make a few tweaks while moving the couple minimally! This is especially helpful when it’s a bride in a wedding dress that takes a lot of adjusting!
Below you can see the couple stayed in the same spot, but just minor adjustments created a variety of images!3. Tell your couple exactly what to do! From where they should look, to where to put their hands, to where their feet need to be, staying in control of your posing will allow seamless transitions and a LOT of gorgeous photos! This takes a lot of practice! Couples depend on me to tell them what to do, and don’t want to be left with me leaving it wide open to pose however they want! They would make them feel nervous, and take a lot longer during portraits!
4. Have an assistant! On wedding days, have a second-shooter/assistant be the one to make minor adjustments to the dress train, fix the groom’s boutonniere, or move your reflector! This way, you can move quicker as the primary shooter and get more images instead of running back and forth and losing focus!
The set below was during a really HOT summer day (real feel over 100 degrees!!!). We needed to move quick to also get the couple back to the reception, and to keep them comfortable! 5. Don’t be spastic, or you’ll miss things! Preaching at myself here! If you’re totally rushing and panicking, it will make your couple feel really uncomfortable and rushed (NOT a good experience!)! Also, you might miss certain camera settings that makes editing way harder, your pictures not as sharp, or miss details you should have noticed! It would be better to have less images but have them be good, sharp ones! It stinks to later realize the groom’s boutonniere is sideways and falling off later, the bouquet turned the wrong way, something was in the background that should have been moved, or your camera settings need to be adjusted but you missed it becuase you were in too much of a hurry!
6. Move your feet instead of the couple. I use prime lenses (they don’t zoom), and if I feel pressed for time I’d rather move in and out to get many different types of shots, or change lenses! But I’d rather just stick to moving my feet if there’s time pressure!
Below, we had 15 minutes for portraits before rain rolled in. And we were totally fine! Here’s one of the first sets! We got a lot of variety immediately, staying in one spot!
And for families, I keep the same guidelines in mind! They haven’t moved their feet at all in any of these, they’re in the same spot, we just made minor changes to the pose, and I moved back and forth to get them a variety!
I hope this was helpful for the next portrait situation you need to move quicker in! I assure you your clients will appreciate you staying on top of things and moving them through what to do, getting the photos done quick, and having a LOT of gorgeous images to send them!!
As always, contact me for any questions!
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