I was recently approached by light.co to write on “capturing the moment”. In wedding photography there are so many components happening all at once. To an outsider it can seem like a daunting task to be able to capture it all, while making it look natural. And I have to admit, my first year in business, I was a little intimidated by all that happened in those few hours of a wedding. I can remember sitting down after one wedding in particular and looking back on all the photos. I realized that I had captured everything, but not in a genuine setting. They stood and smiled at the camera for most of the images. I kept thinking “this wasn’t how the day went”, “there was much more to it” ” I remember laughter, and tears and hugs” “Why didn’t I capture that?”. From that moment on I decided to fully commit to being in the moment with my clients and genuinely capturing their story as it unfolded rather then staging the day.
Similar to my stance, Light is a new camera technology company that uses folded optics through many small apertures rather then one single aperture that your DSLR camera has. In other words, instead of a big camera with a massive lens, their new camera is about the size of an iPhone. Usually the perception is, the bigger the camera, the less comfortable clients are around you. They hope that with a smaller sized camera but similar capabilities as a larger one they will be able to capture the moments as they are happening. While I’ve never shot on the Light camera I am definitely curious about the capabilities. But today, I’m going to share 4 tips that I use daily on how to better capture the moment with your clients.
The first tip is Making the client feel comfortable. This is probably the most important out of all my suggestions. Let’s face it, it’s not normal to have someone follow you and your bae around and photograph you. That’s not a typical day so of course it might feel a little awkward and they might not be completely relaxed. It’s super important to get to know your clients and be able to talk with them, laugh with them, and all around make them feel at east. I usually do this by finding things we have in common. Ask them questions, what do they like to do, do they have a favorite sports team, what kind of pets do they have. I usually hit it off with clients who have dogs or cats as I am a mommy to two shih tzus. They are my world and I could talk for hours about their cuteness, their quirks, and their awesomeness. Find something common and then just go from there.
Going along with making the client feel comfortable, it’s also pretty clutch to find the right location to shoot. Usually I ask the client where would they go if they had the day off. If they say a park or downtown I will try and find a location that is similar to what they would enjoy. During the first few minutes of the shoot I will also try and pick a location that is more private. Like I said before, having someone follow you around with a camera can be awkward, so add a bunch of strangers walking around staring at you while getting your picture taken is going to make it worse. Find a place that is quiet, peaceful and ease them into the photoshoot.
In finding the right location it is also super important to have your camera settings correct. Sure, you could shoot in automatic and fix it later in photoshop, but for me, it’s easier to take 3 test shots and have the settings in the camera exactly to where I want them so that I am totally ready for any moment that happens. You never know when the couple may say something to each other and burst out in laughter but you want to be ready at a moments notice.
This kind of brings me to my last and final point which is anticipating the next move. By having your settings ready to go you can be more focused on what is happening in front of you. If a bride just put on her wedding dress and is turning around, be ready to photograph the bridesmaids reaction when they see her. If a bride is getting ready to see her dad for the first time, anticipate that there might be some tears and hugs, so just stay focused on the two of them. If the minister is saying his closing prayer you know that its time to get ready for their first kiss. Always have one finger on the trigger and one eye on the subjects.
Moments are what I live for, as it tells your day much better then any staged photo could ever do. I’d like to thank Light for asking me to write about this subject. I hope these tips help you in your journey to capture genuine emotion. Below are a few photos of some of my favorite moments from my 2016 wedding season.