Olympic village wedding formals.
How to create completely different looks in your wedding formal pictures.
Bride and groom has always a certain idea how their wedding formals images should look like. The only problem for us photographers is to recreate their vision whatever they described or even better give them multiple choices of the final look. The easiest way how to achieve this is by educating the couple what to expect from the photo shoot before you actually start to photograph them. My last couple Mr. S and Missis M 🙂 – for a private reasons I am not going to be including their full names in this article, wanted to have a post wedding formal session where they wanted me to recreate an artistic and at the same time unique final look in their images. They did not know what exactly they wanted so they completely trusted my suggestions and personal taste. What they new was they wanted to have Olympic village wedding formals.
So here is my step by step solution for a couple such this one who wants to have cool wedding pictures, but they do not have any specific ideas what they should look like. The first image above is what I call a warm up time pictures. I have set up the couple to a simple casual pose, it was just me and them – no assistant at all. I like to work with my assistant specially if I have to carry lots of equipment but this late evening I had only one tripod, one light stand, Think Tank roller and 2 cameras with couple flashes with me. So it was easy to get around the False creek by myself. The couple had no idea how to pose, so I simply showed and explained them what a male and female posing is about, how to position legs, hands, faces and specially how to relax the face muscles and let ti go so the images look like they just happened while they were having a good time. Did they?
It is all about the expressions and emotions when it comes to wedding pictures. Even the best posing and lighting set up can be useless when the couple holds back and is afraid to be photographed. Any bride who comes to us for creative shots like seen on our website is afraid if she can pull off those great posed shots she saw online. Well, what do I tell her. Simply this – “those pictures you admire on our websites are photos of brides and grooms such you and your fiancee and believe me or not they had the same question and hesitation if they can do it. And now here you are looking at their pictures and wow, you want to be like them…” Trust me, you will and you will look even better because I will create something different for you and yours wedding dress style so I do not copy and paste from my previous couple something what might not suit you at all. Lets create what fits you the best way. Are you happy now?
Leave the stress and fear at home guys. After you decided to book us and pay us a decent amount from your wedding budget to feed myself and my family / THANK YOU for doing that 🙂 / those two feelings has to be gone. That is why I start to work with you slowly, with simple posing and coaching. Just to get you used to my tele lens and flashes pointed at you. And do you know what works the best way. After I show you one or two pictures on the back of my Nikon camera and you just go – peep, peep, wow 🙂 After you see with your own eyes that you look like those couples showed on our websites or even better. That is the breakpoint for me when I earned your trust the hard way, and made you believe with my skills that yes, we have the right guy for our wedding pictures!
So for this particular couple we took couple shots right at the Olympic village square. You might think that is not a good place to start with a shy couple because there is so many people around they might get scared. Well let me tell you that when we got to the square it was packed even more because the TV crews were setting up for film there 🙂 If you look at the couple expressions do they look like they were worried that the pedestrians plus the TV guys were staring at them?
Once I had them in the shooting mood I simply kept the conversation going and all my questions were aimed at the photo shoot and what they like. And I started to get answers they did not know before. At the beginning they left everything up to me, but now when they saw their images on the back of my camera they got hungry appetite to get more of those. So I asked them if they like more cropped portraits or full body shots, if the locations means a lot to them and how much of it to include. Also the atmosphere of this late evening light we were experiencing was kind of really romantic so I approached it with lots of backlighted scenes and flair style pictures so loved by our brides.
You start to ask simple questions and the clients might start to give you hints of what they like. Like the first picture and this one above. What do they have in common? Well one is split toned and the other one is color but that is not it. Both of them are silhouettes. And I heard that expression from the groom as soon as we started to walk so when I found a really beautiful light with kind of Olympic village urban background I had a winner for them. To find the angle to create a flair in the lens was my extra effort to make this image even more like-able :). Always try to go one step extra to make any client happy. Even without the flair they would have a cool edgy shot but with that extra icing on the top of the cake I showed them the whole new level of my photography skills. If you look precisely to include the full body silhouette of their dresses I used the backlight grass so even the wedding dress creates a mini silhouette. If I just moved them coupe feet to either side their legs would be in a shadow and the whole effect would be lost. Have a vision of what you want before you start t order client around so they trust you 100% and they see the value in your effort and final art piece.
Search, adapt and deliver. As a Vancouver wedding photographer I have to attract my right clients. I have to be able to stand out of the crowd of other photographers. Trust me, the best way to do so is to pull out images from nothing. My clients are usually people who are not photographers / although I have photographed weddings of other photographers – that is a big thank you to my competitors who hired me 🙂 /. By saying that you have to follow your instinct how to approach every single client individually. Every bride has a different taste when it comes to a wedding cake and believe me same applies to her choice of the photography studio. When finally the wedding comes I have to be able to capture the day so once the images are revealed the jaws of at least couple people from that day should drop dow including the wedding couple. That means if the locations is not a luxury wedding venue with tons of decorations which I can take the advantage of and use it for great background I have to find a substitution for that with anything available to me. Think of me as a MacGyver with a camera instead of a duct tape in my hands. And my biggest power tool is the light. I can shape it and give it a meaning. And that is what a photography is about. Show and hide whatever should be showed and hidden! Create an art anywhere from nothing!
Here the last two images were created just 5 meters further away from the silhouette shots. Does not these pictures show completely new dimensions? Can you feel the power a wedding photographer has in his hands? I love the adrenaline rush of the weddings. My blood vessels keep pumping, hear rate slows down, excitement is really high but I have to keep myself calm inside so my handshake does not ruin the fragile shots in low light. Why people love art pieces ? Because not everyone can create it for them. I am not a wall-mart studio where you can have your snapshots taken within 10 minutes and it might you cost couple bugs 🙂 There is nothing wrong with that business type at all, it works for some people and they love it. I love the originality, creativity and uniqueness in photography and that is why I shot my own wedding formal pictures with my wife 🙂
Another different approach for a portrait of the groom just to give the couple variety and take the advantage of the environment. As you can see the sunset was about to end so the last rays of light were reflected in the False creek water behind the groom. The original idea of this image was different. I wanted to shoot his shot the other way around with the bride in the background but her modern dress did not allow her to get across the boulders lying around the cove so I used the bride as our of focus foreground and lead the eyes of the viewer to groom hiding under her wings :).
The second shot is just couple seconds apart the first one. Look at the dramatic change with the light. I had my light stand with wireless flashes ready to use next to her when suddenly the sunset light hit the windows of the building behind the Olympic village. And the reflection of it lit my bride and groom just perfect way. It happened so quick I had maybe 3 shots to capture it and it was gone for the rest of the evening. This golden hour portraits are always a high topic for portrait photographers and when you are fast enough to set your camera for this light change the magic happens with your images. Just compare the dark bride higher above where the groom is a main subject in the composition and then look at this picture and the kin tones I was able to capture.. Deliver when no one expect it and you make them happy. I love to make people happy by looking at our images.
Do they look happy to you? Was it easy to make them laugh, giggle, fool around? Was I interacting with them a lot? Simple questions deserves simple answers. They were happy and of course a little bit shy at the same moment. But that is great, they look natural and spontaneous. I have a challenge in front of me with every client. How to make them relax and photogenic at the same time. Well everybody has its own way, and I have a secret weapon in my sleeve. My European accent. I use my English as a foreign language to my huge advantage here. I can simply spell or pronounce a word incorrectly and I make them laugh. I play with my tone a lot so it sounds funny and they laugh. I can make up silly jokes from my grammar mistakes and they laugh. I know my English is never going to be as mine daughter or son’s because they were born here. But should be a concern for me. Not at all. Have a you ever seen Yervant at work? Well, I personally admire this gentleman and if I could to choose a mentor for photography he would be the one. He is one of the best wedding photographers in the world and if you judged him by listening to his English you might get caught in a big surprising judgmental mistake. He has a strong Armenian accent even though he lives and work in Australia. But again he takes the advantage of it and his clients love him. Albert Einstein English was not perfect either but that did not stop his magical talent so he could share his knowledge with all of us. Just to give you an idea why a wedding photographer can shoot a destination wedding without knowing proper language of that location 🙂
Same spot, and I shot this shot through the bush of yellow leaves in a tree. Adding a 3D look to your images is always appreciated.
Same spot again. We did not move at all. I used a low angle to cover the full body portrait and by simply editing it into split tone image I can get that loved vintage look for the couple from it.
Fun, smiles, just loose them somehow. What Have I asked them to do. The groom was asked to poke the bride to her rib and tickle her. The moment is priceless.
Here the bride was asked to spin hear head to give the hair a bit of motion. You know how much fun you get out of this kind of silly request. They simply forget about my camera. We used the sunglasses for these shots because they wanted to have some done. Is there any sunshine in these shots? Nope. The sun was already gone. I recreated the effect with my light set ups so they look like they were on direct harsh sun light so they sunglasses had a meaning. Fashion style wedding portraits are very popular for my clients and I love this kind of editorial photography a lot.
Creating and illusion and catching the right expressions is the key to a successful wedding photography. I am not the best wedding photographer in the world but I love what I do and I put my heart into this profession. Just using simple photo techniques like in this shot separating the couple from the Science world background by using a gelled flash ads a dynamic modern feeling to this image. I am willing to try techniques which might look crazy for some even at the most expensive weddings of the season just to go that extra step and deliver amazing results for those who appreciate quality and art.
Is our work for everyone? No it is not. I am not trying to please everyone. I have a certain taste for photography and I approach every wedding slightly different. That does not mean I do not have a style. I just love to experiment and offer the best possible pictures for a certain location and time I am given at it. Do not expect me to shoot a snap shot session with you if you want an art. Without a time even Albert Einstein would not get his results so be patient, plan your wedding day timeline fair enough for us photographers to give you these kind emotional looks you will cherish for the rest of your life.
We finished this excellent Olympic village wedding formals session with Downtown scenery in the background. The dusk took over the sky and atmosphere has changed to more moody one. Great for another photo shoot.
And if you fancy the night sceneries and Vancouver sights at low light then imagine what kind of images would have this couple had if we had 2 extra hours. These kind of shots with them in the foreground would be a joy for me as well. So think twice when you are preparing your wedding timeline and please, for your sake leave us photographers plenty of time so we can create and capture the beauty of the day for you without compromises 🙂
Science world with my top secret technique how to create this effect 🙂 no photoshop, one exposure is sometimes what I need to make you believe I could be your wedding photographer if your date is still available in my wedding calendar. Enjoy the summer I am heading back to work.