My love for wedding photography is all about capturing the stories as they unfold in front of me. I love photographing relationships, and the connection people have to one another. That’s the kind of stuff that gets me excited about being a wedding photographer, and I love to talk about how to tell better stories in my work as a wedding photography coach.
Now, more than ever, people want to see something real. Curated photos with your hands and the rings and all the little details are perfect, but what is your heart going to long for 20 years down the road when you’re curled up with your grandchildren looking at wedding albums? You will want to show the love and the truth present in your photographs.
Most people call me a wedding photographer or a wedding photography coach, but I like to call myself a storyteller. When you prepare to shoot a wedding, be the first one to arrive on the wedding day. In order to do that, you need to ask the right questions to get to know your clients.
Start by sending the bride and groom a questionnaire ahead of time that captures the names of the wedding party, the schedule for the day, names of essential family members, and any other information you need to show up and tell beautiful stories in your photos. Also, ask about family dynamics and any issues you need to be aware of. The last thing you want to do is create awkward tension in your photos.
Think about the 5 Ws
Breakdown the overall scene of the wedding day, thinking about who, what, where, when, and why. With wedding photography, incorporating the five W’s helps you tell a story. Who are you photographing? Who’re the most important people of the day aside from the obvious bride and groom? They’re the main characters, but the people around them are also the who. Parents, siblings, grandparents, best friends of 20 years, whoever it is, know who the who is.
What are you there to celebrate? You’re celebrating a wedding, you’re celebrating relationships, and two families coming together as one. Where are you? Where’s the wedding taking place? Take some overview landscape shots or pictures of the venue.
When is it? What time of year is it? Take photos that showcase snowflakes, fall leaves, spring blossoms, or summer sunshine. You want proof of when the story happened. Lastly, why? Why are you here? Why have all of these people come together? The obvious answer is these two people are getting married, but if you know why they love each other and how they fell in love, you can photograph the ceremony in a way that speaks true to their why.
Bring the Right Gear
My last tip for storytelling in your wedding photography is to think about your gear. I use natural light as much as possible, so I won’t use a flash until later in the evening when I’m forced to. Even then, it’s nothing overpowering. I let the ambiance shine through in my images.
In terms of lenses, I like to photograph with a wide-angle lens. It lets more of the scene in so I can capture what’s happening in front of me. My favorite is the 35-millimeter wide-angle, but yours could be something else, and that’s okay. It’s all going to come together when you hone in on your style.
If you are looking for a wedding photography coach to give you more tips on how to provide a better wedding photography experience, I would love to help you with a 1:1 mentoring.