Wedding Photography Postures & Lighting Techniques

Wedding photography is one of the most lucrative, yet challenging genres of photography. One of the best parts of the wedding photography includes portraiture – be it bride and groom individual shots, couple portraiture, group shots, and family shots. Wedding photography isn’t only about the technical and creative aspects like lighting and composition, but also includes the communication skills of the photographer to communicate the ideas to the clients – who are non-models.

The Lighting Techniques for Weddings

Sydney offers beautiful natural lighting. Natural light is an asset in the hands of a good photographer. Lighting techniques to use natural lighting for weddings are:

  • Getting Ready Shots: In the getting ready shots, all you need is a room with a large window. Window light offers diffused and directional light – ideal light to make subjects look flattering. You can either use the light as direct front light to create pleasing portraits, side light to add dimensions to the portrait, or as backlight to create a beautiful rimlight. It is important to note, you need to manually control the exposure and expose for the subject – be it the dress or the bride or bridesmaids etc, because in backlight, cameras will automatically underexpose the subject to preserve highlights of the window light. We don’t need details in the background but in our subject.
  • Ceremony: Churches often prohibit flash photography, and often it isn’t required also. Also, the fact that the ceilings are usually very high in a church, which leads to an impossible situation for bounce lights. Unless you have permission, and you can use flash properly, it is best to use the available lights in the ceremony. The available light is continuous, doesn’t change as per angles, and indoors is well-lit. Also, the modern day cameras are equipped to handle high ISOs and lower shutter speeds, if need be.
  • Outdoor Portraits: Be it bride portrait, groom portrait, or couple portrait – outdoor is the best place to be shooting. Natural light offers its challenges, but also helps in some distinct images every time, unlike shooting indoors which can be repetitive. Shooting with the sun can be challenging. Often the best way is to have a darker background, and have sun as a backlight. Exposing for the subject, you will get a very distinct rim light, which will offer separation, while the dark background will add contrast and help your subject stand out. Shooting in a dull weather is actually easier because the light is soft and directional. Clouds also offer amazing backdrops, as do the parks and the water bodies.

Artificial lighting is a must in the arsenal of a wedding photographer. Flash lighting is a lighting technique to master in the worst situations. To work with flashes, there are two ways – traditional, and creative.

  • Traditional: The traditional wedding photographers’ uses flash for bouncing the light off the ceiling and create an even light. The light stays almost the same throughout the shoot, and TTL flash manages the rest. It is an old and uninteresting technique for modern day creative photographers.
  • Creative: Creative lighting technique often involves using more than one flash. The first flash that a good wedding photographer uses is used for backlighting subject, so as to create a separation of the subject from the background. The second flash is often used as an angular one, at a slightly lower intensity than the backlight flash, to expose the subjects. A third fill flash may be used to cover for the shadows. Often, a photographer may mix the stage lighting or DJ lighting with the flash lighting to create stunning results.

Postures for Wedding Photography

Apart from good lighting, postures are an important part of the wedding photography. The difference between fashion photographers and wedding photographers is often about the people they are working with – while trying to get similar results. A fashion photographer works with models – often well-maintained faces, bodies, and postures, and who know how to pose. A wedding photographer works with simpletons – who are neither perfect, nor aware of the posing. Add to that, the time constraints involved with wedding photography. So a good wedding photographer must not only know about the lights and compositions, but also how different body types look best, and must also be able to communicate the ideas in a very simple manner. The best way of achieving the same is by posing yourself. Rather than telling, brides and grooms are much more comfortable mimicking your poses. So, if you want the bride to move her face towards left and chin up, you can move your face towards right and chin up – as she will be mirroring the moves.

Posing Guides for Brides

For brides, the posing guides involve a few basic steps. Some of them are:

  • Spine needs to be straight and upright. It is the first and foremost posture detail which is common to all the subjects, especially so to women.
  • Let the brides move their weight towards back leg by having them bend the front knee slightly. This creates an hourglass silhouette look – the perfect look a bride expects.
  • The arms are best holding something – be it a bouquet or wheel or just a part of the dress, and there needs to be a slight gap between the arms and the body on both sides. When arms are tight near the body, the body appears to be fatter, while a gap adds grace to posture and improves the physique.

Posing Guides for Grooms

For grooms, the spine is the common factor. The differences are often about:

  • Having the weight forward than backward, as it appears more masculine.
  • Hands in the pocket or arms folded across the chest make the physique appear further more masculine and improves the posture.

Posing Guides for Couples

The couple posing, apart from following the individual guidelines, should depict the love or fondness in an easy way. This can be achieved by taking one standard pose and moving from there, while letting them be easy with each other. This can be done when the couple is made absolutely comfortable in the presence of the photographer, and there are no awkward moments.

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