Beginner Wedding Photography Pathway

pathways Aug 15, 2019

Goal: Learn how to successfully shoot your first wedding.

Our Wedding Photography Pathway has been designed to give you a quick overview of our Wedding Photography Training System. While we recommend that you watch the entire workshop, we also understand that you might be on a time crunch, with your first wedding rapidly approaching. So we’ve extracted the must-watch videos below in a step-by-step format to get you ready:

  • Understand Groom And Bride Prep
  • Learn How To Capture The First Look
  • Understand The Basics Of Couples Session Lighting And Posing
  • Grasp The Fundamentals Of Group Posing
  • Learn The Basics Of Photographing A Ceremony
  • Gain An Understanding Of Photographing The Reception

Note: Be sure to log in to your account to access the videos listed below.

Step 1: Understand Groom And Bride Prep

While the bride and groom are getting ready in the morning, you’ll have a unique opportunity to capture an assortment of individual detail images of their wedding clothing and accessories, as well as action photos (the bridesmaids helping the bride as she gets into her dress, etc.) and individual posed portraits of the bride and groom once they’re dressed and ready to go.

1a. Learn the Must-Have Wedding Details for Grooms & Brides

Details are often captured on their own in a series of catalog-style product shots and they are typically the first thing you’ll photograph on a wedding day. Moving through the items quickly is critical for staying on time.

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1b: Understand Posing for Grooms and Groomsmen

Most clients won’t be able to simply “act natural” on their own. Because of this, “consistently incredible images” will rely on your ability to pose and direct your groom and groomsmen into natural and authentic imagery. It’s one of the biggest and most visible differentiators between you and other professional photographers.

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1c: Learn Posing for Brides and Bridesmaids

No two brides (or clients in general) are the same, and this is what makes Foundation Posing so powerful. Through the Foundation Posing Framework, you will learn how to pose men and women regardless of their size, shape, and natural ability in front of the camera.

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Step 2: Learn How To Capture The First Look

First looks offer a unique opportunity to capture intimate images of the bride and groom before they’re swept up in the whirlwind of the wedding day. While some couples opt out of doing a first look before the ceremony in favor of seeing one another for the first time at the altar, a first look will often yield some of the best emotional moments from the day.

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Step 3: Understand The Basics Of Couples Lighting And Posing

If you use the right framework, it’s surprisingly easy to master the basics of posing and lighting. When you understand foundation posing and basic light characteristics, as opposed to trying to memorize random poses or lighting diagrams online, you can efficiently capture flattering couples’ portraits that elicit genuine emotion on the wedding day no matter the conditions.

3a. Focus on Natural Light Couples Portraiture

For your first wedding, we recommend that you shoot primarily natural light unless you are very familiar with flash photography. With proper planning for your timeline and scene selection for your backgrounds, natural light will allow you to focus on emotion, storytelling, and variation in posing without being slowed down by the additional element of using flash.

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3b. Understand How to Use a Reflector

Before investing in on/off-camera lighting, start by manipulating natural light with a silver side or white side of a reflector. The best tools are often the simplest and that is definitely the case when it comes to a 5-in-1 reflector. It’s a great way to add a kiss of light into the scene without overcomplicating it.

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3c. Master Foundation Posing & Directing for Couples

Posing is an area that is one of the most challenging for photographers to master. There are times when you’re at a photo shoot and you feel like you’ve run out of posing ideas and struggling to get a certain look or feel, and this is why we’ve developed an entire framework for posing that we call the Foundation Posing Framework, which teaches you what you need to know.

Around 97% of poses come from 5 different positions of the feet. By learning these 5 poses from the ground up, you’ll be able to place your couple in any pose and then tweak to your liking with micro-adjustments. The framework also allows you to get in and out of poses quickly.

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Step 4 - Grasp The Fundamentals Of Group Posing

For your group portraiture, focus on traditional and candid posing for your first wedding to ensure that you get everything you need. While you can try editorial posing, understand that the style takes more time and can be difficult to execute without practice.

4a. Learn symmetrical/Traditional Group Posing

When it comes to posing groups, there’s a clear answer in terms of which style (symmetrical vs. editorial) is faster to set up, pose, and get through. The answer? Symmetrical posing is quick, relatively simple, effective for safely capturing group portraits, and works well with both small groups of six or fewer and large groups of 20 or more (and everything in between).

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4b. Understand Candid Posing

Candid and posed photos are not always exclusive of one another. Communication plays a key role in directing clients into natural and authentic looking poses.

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Step 5: Learn The Basics Of Photographing A Ceremony

A typical ceremony lasts only 20-30 minutes, which limits the time you have to creatively capture all of the important moments and people as the ceremony unfolds. If you photograph weddings as part of a team of 2-3 photographers, which is often the case, you’ll need to know how to coordinate with your team members to effectively capture all of the important moments from the best angles for stronger storytelling. In the links below, you’ll find tips for efficiently photographing a wedding ceremony from the processional to the recessional, and everything in between.

5a. Must-Have Detail Shots from the Ceremony

As photographers, we want everything to be interesting and visually compelling. We are looking for unique angles, objects to shoot through, etc. But, when it comes to details, the simple photographs tend to get shared the most. Great details can be captured with virtually any camera, but they always start with “minding the basics.”

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5b. Ceremony Positioning

As we mentioned above, wedding ceremonies often unfold quickly. Positioning yourself and your team effectively can mean the difference between getting the shot or missing the moment.

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5c. Must-Have Shots from the Ceremony

Must-haves will vary, depending on the cultural nuances present in a given ceremony, but there are some basic shots you’ll need to capture for every ceremony.

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Step 6: Gain An Understanding Of Photographing The Reception

Wedding receptions are chock full of fast-paced activities that can leave you scratching your head and missing moments if you’re not adequately prepared. Below, you’ll find an overview of lighting and other tips on what to look for when photographing receptions.

6a. Learn the Must-Have Reception Details

Capturing details serves many purposes, not the least of which is capturing memories for the bride and groom who are often too preoccupied to appreciate them on their big day. Detail images also lend themselves to telling a complete wedding story.

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6b. Understand Reception On-Camera Flash

Get set to understand the basics and then dive into different methods for lighting various reception moments.

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6c. Understand the basics of Off-Camera Flash

There are occasions during the reception that benefit from off-camera flash. Pin or spot lighting our subjects is our favorite as it’s one of the most versatile methods, but the best method is whichever one you can use within your means to get the shot.

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6d. Reception Must-Haves

Receptions are often action-packed, and in-the-action photojournalism is often the solution for capturing all of the fleeting moments. Effectively lighting and capturing all of the must-have moments requires careful planning and preparation.

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6e. Learn Basic Dance Floor Photography

The dance floor offers a great opportunity to capture candid moments. While a variety of focal lengths can be used, wide angle lenses are ideal for getting into the action.

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