A Yorkshire photographer’s guide to shooting portraits at weddings
wedding photography couple’s portraits
Couple’s portraits on a wedding day shouldn’t fill you with nervous dread. Long gone are the days of a couple going off on their own for hours leaving their guests to fend for themselves. As a generalisation, we need 30 minutes to get all we need: 15 minutes after the Ceremony before the Breakfast; and 15 minutes after the breakfast before the Reception. Now this timeframe is generally for summer, to make use of the beautiful evening light around 7pm. In the winter, the second set of 15 minutes may not happen, being weather dependent, and if it does happen it will be to create dark (literally) and atmospheric shots. More often than not, the 2nd session in the evening is with a specific shot in mind. Usually, I’ve discovered something during the Breakfast more unusual or remote, something tucked away in the grounds. It is also highly dependent on where the sun is in the evening, as I want to make full use of that Gold Hour light. But the general ideas for both sessions are the same: keep everything simple and moving.
A quick 15 minutes
Let’s go for a walk.
It’s a good idea to get movement into the photographs straight away, this will help you feel more comfortable and less prone to feeling stiff and tense. After all, walking is often the most natural thing we can do. You don’t even need to be aware of the camera, you just focus on each other. And after a while you should revert to your usual tendencies as a couple.
Belly to Belly
Through walking you will have settled into the process of being photographed together, now it’s just about showing your personalities through your body behaviour. This is where being close to each other is key, what you do with that intimacy is up to you. After all, I’m just the photographer, who am I to tell you how to express yourselves. Some couples touch noses and kiss, some lean on each other, some just smile constantly. It’s not really important what you do, just how you do it – the more genuine the affection and behaviour, the more candid and real the images will appear.
Hand in Hand
Being a photographer, I’m also on the look out for a show stopping number. My aesthetic is clean, simple, and often symmetrically balanced. Think Stanley Kubrick’s love of central framing in films such as The Shinning. This is the moment where aesthetic takes over from emotion and movement. Usually this is the one moment in the entire wedding where I actually want you to stop and look at the camera.
Fine Art Film Portraits
And then there are those that want something a little different and just that bit extra special. Medium Format film, for me, has technical advantages that make images more dream-like and painterly: the depth-of-field creates an oil painting texture in the background, as well as making the subject appear to pop out of the background. But there’s also a hugely romantic reason for my love of film: light. The actual light of your wedding day is burnt into the film negative, giving you a tangible artefact from your wedding. It becomes less of a replication and more of a souvenir. You carry that exact light around with you together through life.
These images are literally ONE-OF-A-KIND. And that makes them individual pieces of art.
Click here to learn more about how to shoot film at a wedding.