Bride and Groom portraits.
During my time as a wedding photographer there has been a comment from couples that pops up again and again. “We don’t really like having our photo taken”.
The actual truth of the matter is that most of us don’t.
I always point out the importance of Bride and Groom portraits when speaking to my couples during the planning process and I can usually sense a feeling of nerves, discomfort or all out fear at the idea of this key part of the wedding photography process.
If you’re uncomfortable in front of the camera, you’re not alone.
Despite what we see, if we spend just a couple minutes scrolling through social media and it’s array of perfect selfies; the reality is that most of us are incredibly self-conscious and downright uncomfortable with being in front of the camera and of the images of ourselves it captures. We see images of our friends, colleagues and flawless looking celebrities and we feel that we fall short in some way.
We become incredibly self-conscious and start making judgements about ourselves or others based on how we look (or think we look).
I feel this discomfort too – I have been planning to update the photos of myself of my on my ‘About Me’ page for at least 3 years now, but it still sits somewhere near the bottom of my “To Do” list.
I personally have mixed feelings about selfies. It’s great when we can capture a flattering shot of ourselves that shows our personality and portrays happiness and confidence. Often however, a selfie can lack any depth or meaning. For me, great photography of people is about capturing much more feeling and emotion than a selfie really can.
Portrait Photography is about so much more than looking good.
Fortunately, great Wedding photography is the antidote to those somewhat shallow selfies. For me, wedding photography it is about 3 key elements; Emotion, Connection and Moments.
Hopefully your big day will be the happiest, most relaxed and joyous you will have ever felt, or will ever feel in your life – making it the perfect time to be photographed. When you are relaxed, full of happiness and love, you will naturally radiate all of these feelings. Combining these elements whilst looking your absolute best opens the way for awesome, natural and emotive portraits that really have both personality and soul.
My absolute favourite portraits are the couple images that capture something about the bride and groom’s personalities. It could be that the environment or surroundings are of personal significance to the newlywed couple or maybe it’s something that defines the relationship between them. Lots of my wedding couples are fun and playful so I like to reflect this in portraits that capture their fun side. When considering the importance of bride and groom portraits, how I can bring through the personality of the subjects in the picture is always at the forefront of my mind.
Taking time out
Something that I always talk to my couples about before their wedding day is the time out away from the celebrations. How welcome this opportunity can be for newlyweds to catch breath and spend 15 minutes chatting to catch up on everything that’s happened so far during their wedding day. The bride and groom often spend much less time in each other’s company on the day than they imagine, so couples often really value some quiet time together.
During the portrait sessions, I will spend some time offering some gentle guidance and direction for positioning and posing to ensure everything is right to get a great shot, but often the shots captured during the in-between moments can be perfect opportunities to capture stunning natural candid portrait photos.
I let my couples wander gently around giving them space and precious time alone together. During this time, I scout the area for best lighting and backgrounds I can find for the next set of shots whilst always being ever ready with my finger poised over the shutter ready for a spontaneous shot of the couple alone together.
Using light and expertise.
The importance of Bride and Groom portraits means that it’s vital your choice of wedding photographer is experienced in this area of wedding photography.
Trusing your wedding photographer’s knowlege of their equipment, environment and lighting will be one of the reasons you hire them. A really good wedding photographer will be at their most creative during the couple portraits. This time will be the one aspect of the day they have a certain degree of control over. The photographer will use all of their expertise and experience to make the best use of the lighting available and will also know how to direct couples to capture the most flattering angles. I personally apply a few simple techniques to help couples feel relaxed and keep the connection between them really natural and unstilted.
An image you’ll want to hang on your wall.
Nowadays you will find many wedding photographers online who describe themsleve as puerly documentary wedding photographers. This is of course what I am too for the vast majority of the day but it is important here to point out that many documentary photographers will spend very little or none of your wedding day taking time out with their Bride and Groom for newlywed couple portraits. Having expressed my feelings here on the importance of bride and groom portraits to me, I hope you’ll value them too.
Even just taking out a couple of 10 minute slots during the day’s celebrations is vital at any wedding (regardless of size or location). In my 5 years of experience as a Cambridge wedding photographer, one of the key things I have learned is this.
When asked if they could pick out just a handful of photographs from their wedding day to keep forever, couples always chose at least one of their bride and groom portrait images.
As much as the documentary images are vital in creating a visual storybook of the day; As standalone photos, the portraits are the show-stoppers that hang on the living room walls of many of the happy newlywed couples I’ve had the pleasure to work with.
As they say a picture paints a thousand words.
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I am a Cambridge based wedding photographer working with easy going and fun loving couples all over the UK. Please have a look around my site for a feel of my photography style.