The Wedding Portraits
A shot by shot rundown
By Jean Donnelly
August 22, 2011
The formal shoot requires that your entire wedding party and family are in the same place at the same time, looking their best and smiling big. If that sounds like a logistical nightmare, its because it is. Here are tips on how to tackle it.
Even if youre a sucker for those candid, photojournalistic wedding images, youll still need to schedule time for portraits. Formal wedding photos document the important guests and members of your wedding party, and your family will cherish them. This photo shoot, however, can be stressful to manage.
Which is why most photographers will ask you to create a shot list that details what photographs you want taken during the formal shoot. This shot list should contain both the persons full name (Mary Sue Smith) and the persons title/relation to you or the groom (brides mom). This will allow your photographer to refer to people by name as the photos are being staged.
These portraits are traditional choices:
- bride solo
- bride with her bridesmaids
- bride with her parents
- bride with grooms parents
- groom solo
- groom with his groomsmen
- groom with his parents
- groom with brides parents
- bride and groom with entire wedding party at the altar, standing
- bride and groom kissing at the altar
- bride and groom with officiator/pastor/priest/rabbi
These portrait are less traditional, but meaningful:
- bride with her extended family, as many people as shed like
- groom with his extended family, as many people as hed like
- bride and groom outside the church, kissing
- bride and groom walking into the church
- mother and father of the bride alone
- mother and father of the groom alone
Each shot will take between three and five minutes to set up and take, so the more photos you request, the longer the shoot will be. If you take these group portraits before the guests arrive, you are free to greet everyone and kick off the reception immediately after the ceremony. Weddings often run on tight schedules and due to the many guests and responsibilities, some couples want to get the portraits shot as early as possible. The couple, wedding party and family members will also look their best, in terms of hair and make-up, during a pre-ceremony shoot.
Whether portraits are shot before the ceremony or post, the shoot requires a significant amount of work and organizationespecially when time is scarce. Those with large families and wedding parties will need to ask others to assist. Pick two people: one member from the grooms family and one member from the brides family; both should not be relatives that are getting photographed. These two helpers should also receive a copy of the shot list. Ask both to make sure that everyone that needs to be photographed is nearby, prepared and ready. If Uncle Bob is missing, they must quickly find him. This will help the process run smoothly and efficiently.