I’m starting a new lil’ series over here called FRAME BY FRAME. I originally got this idea from one of the photographers I follow, Jordan Brittley.
In these posts, I’ll be highlighting one image and breaking down EXACTLY what I did to take that shot. Let’s do this!
Contax 645 camera body, with my Zeiss T 80mm f/2 lens.
I used my Sekonic L-358 Flash Master Light Meter to meter the light and figure out what my shutter speed should be.
Shutter Speed: 1/250
This was on Ehden & Angelo’s wedding day, in the middle of June in Ohio around 4pm, and the sun was fairly high the sky with no cloud coverage. We were at the Toledo Museum of Art, which has gorgeous white marble steps. This was a very large wedding party, with 11 bridesmaids, 10 groomsmen, and of course the bride & groom.
You can see in the picture that the sun is BEHIND the wedding party, and a little to my right. You can see that when I take the picture, my subject (the wedding party) and the sun, form an approximate 45 degree angle.
I find this lighting scenario to produce awesome, clear, light-filled images. If I would have positioned myself so that the sun was directly behind my subject the sun would have probably come directly into my lens, which usually causes the subject to be overtaken by the sun-flare, which means less contrast and clarity in my picture.
The thing I absolutely LOVE about this shot, is how natural, candid, and organic it feels. It doesn’t feel ‘posed’, it almost looks like it just happened. Let’s break this down by backing up a few shots. Below are three pictures in order of how they happened:
The Far Left Picture:
The picture on the far left is where I started. The Toledo Museum of Art has steps that are really great for layering the whole wedding party. Positioning the wedding party on the steps in a big group (versus one long line), was an especially great option for this group since there were so many people.
To get everyone in this pose I said: “Alright, Ehden & Angelo (the bride & groom) you are going to stand right here (I pointed to where I wanted them to stand) and I want guys & girls to mix up and group in all around Ehden & Ang! Make sure you can see me, if you’re shorter stand toward the front.’
Usually the group gets into a pose that looks pretty good, but I always back up, look intently and make sure that I can see everyone’s face and check to make sure each side looks symmetrical. If anything looks off, I move people around.
I backed up, metered my light, made sure I was in focus, and told the group ‘Smile right toward me!’
After I got that shot, I moved a little closer in, and told the group: ‘Ehden & Angelo go in for a kiss, EVERYONE BE EXCITED!!!’
It’s important to note that in order for this to be not awkward you’ve got to bring the energy. If you want your wedding party to be excited, show enthusiasm, and laugh genuinely with each other, then you need to model that! I wrote ‘EVERYONE BE EXCITED’ in all caps because I legitimately yell that in a very excited way when I direct the group.
Far Right Picture:
After I got that shot, I moved in even closer so that now I could no longer see the entire wedding party, only the Bride & Groom and the people who were physically closest to them. I continued to encourage the wedding party by saying ‘Keep looking toward each other, talk, laugh, have a good time!’ I encouraged the bride and groom ‘Get really close, snuggle together, big smiles!’
To recap: In order to get this shot, I first positioned the subject so that the sun was behind them and slightly to the right.
In order to work the group into this really natural/organic/fun pose, I started with them all looking and smiling right toward me, then told the bride and groom to go in for a kiss and everyone to be excited, then I physically moved in closer, cropped the shot so that the focus was on the bride and groom while everyone was laughing & talking with each other.
What are some other ways you encourage laughter and movement in your images? Shoot me a DM on Instagram and let’s chat!