a traditional wedding photograph

February 11, 2018  •  7 Comments

Friend and fellow photographer, Steve Immel and I are meeting on this "blog" Monday to discuss weddings.  As you know from following me online, I really enjoy wedding photography.  However, each wedding is a "once in a lifetime experience" which means the photographer has one chance to get it right. Since I have a need to control as much of my part in the event as I can, my mind kicks into gear the minute an agreement is signed.

The first task for me would be to scope out the venue/venues to determine ideal photographic locations.  Fairly quickly after that (with comments or questions gleaned from location research) I meet with the couple to determine their wants and needs as far as wedding photographs are concerned.  Giving them a form to complete about specific photographs they might want helps them think about the photography, and the photographer know and mentally set up the work at hand.  Just a hint from experience.  If tents are going to be used, encourage the couple not to use colored tents.  Unless you want to come equipped with massive fill light.  

Weddings are the one event when family and friends gather together - whether relationships are good or bad - to celebrate.  But opinions differ as to what photographs a couple wants taken and in what style.  The wedding site and its character - whether formal or informal, inside or out - is in the mix as well.  Some want traditional or "normal" photographs, wherein the couple are photographed straight on, and families are in huge lineups.  Others say they don't want "traditional" wedding photographs.  Usually, the couple wants a combination of both.  But you can bet if the photographer doesn't get a photograph of an aunt or uncle or grandparents or best friends, there might be disappointment.  Then there is the situation which actually happens quite frequently wherein a family member or two want photographs but the couple is ambivalent about them.  So the second task in the planning process is to sit down with the couple and really get a feel for what they want.  

Regardless of the style, I always try to remind myself to let the creative juices flow.  How can I make a group photograph more interesting?  In the photograph below, the wall and table enabled part of the wedding party to be on the wall with some standing in front of it, while the couple sat, giving the image a little more depth and interest.

Ashley and Gene's wedding group shotAshley and Gene's wedding group shot  

Is it possible to take traditional shots in a different way?   This is a big one for me.  If a bouquet and flowers are used, they are delicate, temporary, and expensive, so most people want good photographs of them.  In the photograph above, many of the flowers are included.

Then there are photographs of the rings.  It is always a bit of a challenge to give them a little snap.  Here are two that show the grooms' rings, rather than the bride and groom's rings together, just for fun and something out of the ordinary.

groom's hand and bride's dress backgroom's hand and bride's dress back

hands togetherhands together

Shots that usually set wedding photographs apart from the standard album are the spontaneous shots.  I loved this pairing of groomsmen relaxing after the wedding, and making sure it was made in the 21st century, with cell phones in hand.

groomsmen restinggroomsmen resting

The opportunities to shoot environmental portraits at weddings is endless.  The bridesmaid in this photograph looks like a Venus.  The wind was absolutely howling as her hand moved to keep her hair out of her eyes, I took this shot. Inclement weather can actually enhance some photographs.

bridesmaid Venusbridesmaid Venus

until next Monday,


a passion for the [email protected]



Catherine Sobredo(non-registered)
Very original and interesting images. I love the second, third and fifth images particularly. They leave much to the imagination. But the assortment is glorious! Bravo Daryl!
Steve Immel(non-registered)
Heck. If I''d read this I wouldn't have bugged you with all the questions. Not really. This is quite the treatise on the art of a wedding shoot and I will use the advice wisely and with you at my side. Thank you very much. You gave me the chance to see these in print form yesterday. That gave me ample inspiration for a well thought out game plan. If I can capture the kinds of magic moments you've shown here, my first dip in the murky waters of wedding photography big success.

Thanks Daryl.
You definitely do amazing wedding photography. Robin cherishes the beautiful photos of their wedding. I remember that incredible wide shot of all the attendees- and you were very remarkable in your ability to scale that pier for the high aspect of the group. Fred must have been just shaking his head, mentally, ha ha. Whatever it takes to get the shot. They turned out gorgeous. Thank you, so much, for being there and your great work. Made it extra special for me that you and Fred were part of that day.
Excellent and informative post! Wow! What a lot of work a wedding photographer does and that's before the creative part.
Elida Hanson-Finelli(non-registered)
Such beautiful, thoughtful, unique and emotional coverage of what is sometimes a challenging celebration to photo! Yeah for them and you that you are so Gifted!
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