One thing that I absolutely LOVED about Brittany + Ryan’s wedding day is the amount of time they gave me for their bride + groom portraits. They opted to do a first look (and they let me choose the spot which was also awesome) and then we did all of the family and wedding party photos at Chautauqua park. Then we had 1.5 hours to just have fun together until the ceremony! We did some at Chautauqua park, then drove up Flagstaff Mountain and wandered through the woods. It was the BEST!
Not only did they end up with TONS of great portraits, but they were more relaxed in general AND got to enjoy more of their wedding day together instead of rushing madly to get ready right before the ceremony.
I truly think that giving me extra time was to their benefit. It takes a while for couples to fully relax and be comfortable in front of the camera. It makes a huge difference, folks! It doesn’t have to be 2 hours, but having more than 20 minutes is so dope.
Here’s a little behind the scenes stuff for you:
When I’m doing weddings, I always have 2 camera bodies and multiple lenses with me. Sometimes I wear both cameras at once with my dual-harness.
I love my tilt shift lens for portraits. It almost never comes off my second camera body. I took this with the 45 mm f/2.8 tilt shift (settings: ISO 400, f/2.8, 1/640):
Then I wanted a different look, something more moody/dramatic.
My 50mm f/1.2 is my favorite lens and I love the look it gives, so I decided to that lens for most of the portraits.
This spot was deceivingly steep (the picture below doesn’t quite show how steep it was) and I was scared of dropping my lens as I changed it, so Brittany kindly offered to hold my tilt shift lens as I changed to the 50mm f/1.2.
Ryan gently kissed her shoulder while he waited (thanks to my second shooter for grabbing this).
I noticed that from their left side, the sun/shadows were more dramatic, so I shifted to a different angle to capture that.
My second shooter (Ashton + Leah) I took this with the 50mm (ISO 400, f/2.0, 1/4000):
The image below on the left was taken with the same lens (ISO 400, f/2.0, 1/4000), then for more romantic look, I moved slightly to the right side so the sun was coming from behind them (ISO 400, f/2.0, 1/4000).
For the frame on the right, I focused on the tips of their foreheads so the rest of them fell away into a softer focus – I love how it gives a feeling of a story being told, and a sense of romance, reminiscent of old black and white film.
A lot of my favorite portraits are candid “in-between” moments that capture the couple interacting naturally. I don’t like images that are stiff, or too staged. As you can see from the images above, within a matter of minutes, you can get quite a few lovely portraits, simply by wisely choosing your lenses and shifting angles.
On a side note, I rarely use flash for my portraits. I only use flash inside if it’s darker for the reception/event. I also never use reflectors during weddings/engagements. I like to be constantly moving around and changing things up. I LOVE natural light and have learned to work with it in every lighting condition.
I can’t say this enough. If you give me creative freedom and TIME, I will give you more artistic photos that you will cherish for the rest of your life.
I hope this gave you a little insight into my thinking/process!
Ps – the water bottle I carry around my waist (which is a runners belt) has come in handy so many times when my couples get hot or suddenly feel a little light-headed. I also carry snacks sometimes.
Kind of like a soccer mom.