Thursday, March 5, 2009

The Money Shots

Today's post comes from the book Step-by-Step Wedding Photography by Damon Tucci. It is available from and other retailers.

Between the ceremony and reception, you’ll have some time to work with the bride and groom alone. We call these the “money shots,” because these are the portraits that brides and grooms will invariably fall in love with and purchase. This is your opportunity to create images that will remind them why they hired you. In most cases, you’ll only have about thirty minutes for this session, so work fast.

At the Church
We typically start with a couple of shots at the ceremony venue—perhaps on the altar, if we’re at a church. We do these quickly at the end of the wedding-party and family shots, because our thirty minutes of post-ceremony shooting time at the venue has usually expired at this point.

Going Off Site
Once we have left the ceremony area and gotten rid of everyone else (including all those "helpers” like Aunt Edna) we can slow down and breathe—though we still only have thirty minutes, so there’s no time to get too relaxed. If you must travel from the ceremony to the reception site, be mindful to negotiate extra time in the planning process to allow for this. Generally we do not venture too far from the wedding and/or reception site. Instead, we make
the most out of our environment.

When we leave the ceremony site, we look for little kissy moments and record the bride and groom walking from behind. We work around the lighting and do a few closer portraits. We encourage closeness with our posing. We may also do additional bridal portraits, since we do not have the restraints we did before the wedding, such as worries about people seeing the bride before the ceremony and/or marring the dress. This does not mean we will trash the dress, but brides are much less concerned about it at this time. This allows us to try more poses and be more adventurous with our shooting.

Finding Backgrounds
When creating these photographs, take advantage of everything in the surrounding environment. Do not slip into the tunnel vision some photographers develop when they put the camera up to their eye. Train your peripheral vision and know what is going on around you at all times. You must really immerse yourself to come up with the goods consistently (and by “the goods,” I mean better-than-average photographs). In the competitive market of wedding photography, this what you must produce to survive.

During this session, we employ simple but classic techniques. We also love to juxtapose things in unexpected ways, like picturing the bride next to a downtown mural or Harley-Davidson sign. The only rules you have to follow are making images that your clients will love. We try to incorporate fashion and photojournalism, consistently looking for moments that happen naturally. However, we are not afraid to set up a great shot. To keep things moving quickly, we usually work with one camera, a tripod if the light is low, three lenses (a 24-70mm f/2.8, a 16mm fisheye, and an 80-200mm f/2.8), and a reflector.

Excerpted from the book "Step-by-Step Wedding Photography" by Damon Tucci

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