Of all the pictures taken at a wedding, the one most important is the portrait of the bride and groom. Some wedding couples depend on a relative or a friend to take a few good photos for their album and others reserve a professional photographer to do the honors. This article is for both the real and wanna-be photographers at the wedding.
A good time to photograph the bride and groom is after the ceremony and before the reception. Ideal is an open lawn away from any building. Other photogenic locations are at the edge of a treed area, under an arcade or
at home in the backyard. Important is to choose an evenly lit background: one that does not contain light and dark areas. Place the couple in the shade at least thirty feet away from any background objects with their faces toward the main source of light.
Turn the bride thirty degrees away from the camera and fluff the train behind her so that only half of the train is visible from the camera position. Never pull the train around to the front of the bride since this is most unnatural and would never occur in real life. Pose the groom slightly facing the bride and have him offer his arm for her to pass her through. Make sure her ring is visible. The groom’s outside hand can be in his pocket or touching the bride’s hand. The bride should shift most of her weight to the foot furthest from the camera and the groom should have his weight evenly distributed on slightly spread feet. Never let his hand drop straight down at his side. The bride may hold her bouquet in her outside hand at a level below her waist with some daylight or background showing between her elbow and her waist. An alternate place for the bouquet is on the ground next to the groom’s feet. Turn their faces toward the camera but not fully straight on, but at a slight angle toward each other. Their expressions should show their happiness, but not laughing.
Angles other than the view straight on without changing their positions often present another good composition for a portrait. Consider also a view from behind the couple, requesting them to turn their heads directly toward each other, giving the photographer a profile of their faces. A variety of shots are possible with this pose. A medium shot (at the knees) with their faces closer together and an even closer pose with the cheeks almost touching make wonderful portraits. Try having them look into each other’s eyes with his arms around her. Natural light from the side is the most beautiful source as long as the reflector of some sort balances the light. Watch your cropping in the viewfinder carefully and leave some space over their heads. Pay attention to the position of the feet (no soles showing) and be sure only the sides of the bride’s hands are presented to the camera. The groom’s coat collar should fit snug to the neck.
A beautiful portrait of the bride and groom can be their most treasured reminder of the most important day in their lives. You can make it happen.
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