There are many roles that are fulfilled by a wedding. It gives two people a new legal status, it brings together their friends and family members so that they can witness this momentous occasion, and of course, it's a good reason to throw a great party. It is also an opportunity for the couple to talk about and display the things that are most important to them.
And this is where Northern California-based wedding photographer Charleton Churchill, whose TEDxCSUS Talk is titled Exploring Adventure Wedding Photography, comes in for some people who are passionate about the outdoors. In his pursuit of the most breathtaking natural setting, he is willing to go the extra mile in terms of distance, dive into the caves with the lowest temperatures, and climb the highest peaks (thinking of Everest here), and then take the couple along with him so that everything can be captured on film.
Churchill is a man of many passions, including photography, travel, the great outdoors and rock climbing, and people, all of which have contributed to his career as an extremely exciting wedding photographer. While he does continue to take his fair share of traditional photographs, his speciality is posing his couples in settings that are noticeably more focused on the Groom than the Bride. According to him, "I've made adventure a part of both my life and my business." [Citation needed]
Being a photographer in this industry is likely one of the most stressful jobs there is.
You are going to be in a lot of trouble if you delete the photographs by mistake or if you misplace the memory card.
To put it another way, if you have the ability to take amazing photographs, you are a super hero. After that, you'll be able to charge a very high price for this service, particularly if you have a lot of experience under your belt.
It is beneficial to have a broad base of knowledge in a variety of areas, including wedding photography. The knowledge and abilities you gain here are transferrable to other areas of photography.
If you run your own freelance business, you will find this to be especially helpful. Your downtimes present an opportunity for you to photograph, for instance, portraits or events.
This is not a straightforward or stress-free aspect of photography in any way. A significant amount of time is spent looking for and talking to potential customers. After that, it is necessary for you to enquire about their wedding plans and goals.
Before I get into these pointers, there is one thing I need to make clear: if you are not a professional photographer, the best way to get great wedding photos is to hire a professional. You won't achieve the same level of success as a professional photographer by picking up a few pointers off the internet. They spend years perfecting their craft. And if there is any day that warrants the expense of hiring a photographer, it is the day of your wedding. In spite of this, I am aware that there are numerous scenarios in which an amateur photographer may end up taking some or all of the wedding photographs. For example, it may only be financially feasible to hire a photographer for a portion of the ceremony or reception. You are asked to take photos during other portions, and perhaps you are developing your photography skills and want to practise as a "second shooter," or perhaps there are circumstances that prevent you from hiring a professional, etc. In any case, you are in a position to do so. Even if you aren't a professional photographer, there are steps you can take to help ensure that your wedding photographs are as good as they possibly can be, and that's what these tips on wedding photography are for.
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To be successful as a wedding photographer on a professional level, having access to the most advanced photographic gear is essential.
You need a digital single-lens reflex camera or a mirrorless system that is capable of handling everything that this kind of event is likely to throw at you.
You will photograph in a variety of settings and use a variety of photographic styles. It's possible that the camera you plan to use will need to be switched out at the last second.
This requires the photographer to have the ability to work with a high ISO and a fast shutter speed. Having excellent focal points will also be of assistance.
It is absolutely necessary to shoot in Raw format because doing so will provide you with more creative leeway when it comes to editing. Additionally, your system should be able to accommodate a variety of lens types.
In the event that something unfortunate occurs, having a backup camera, or even two, will ensure that you are protected.
It is not unheard of to have three cameras, as two of them can operate simultaneously while the third one acts as a backup.
The use of two cameras provides numerous advantages, one of which is the ability to use a prime lens when taking portraits. The others have the ability to host a zoom for impromptu moments. Your wedding photographs will become your most prized keepsake after the big day.
Not sure where to start when it comes to looking for your wedding photographer of choice?
Always go the extra mile (or two, or more).
A couple approached Churchill in 2015 and asked if he would participate in a photo shoot with them at Yosemite National Park. They shared his enthusiasm for the park, as well as his enthusiasm for the idea of taking photographs in a less frequented location. "We discussed this cliff area, and we'd never seen photos taken there — so the day after Arielle and Adam's wedding in October, they hiked several miles in their wedding dress and suit to that cliff," says Churchill. "We'd never seen photos taken there." There, he met up with them along with a professional who did their hair and makeup.
Churchill hiked approximately two football fields' worth of distance after posing the couple on the cliff and then photographing them from a distance of two hundred yards. "Radios were our means of communication. I made an effort to move them into a position from which I could enjoy the best view without putting myself in harm's way because I place a high priority on safety. I inquired about their well-being and "He reflects on it. "They expressed their excitement by saying, "We are feeling great; a little nervous and scared." When I asked Adam if there was anything else we could do, he replied, "No, this is good.""
Churchill recalls that there were people nearby using their smartphones to take pictures of them, and that everyone was laughing because they could hear their conversation on the radios. "There were people near me using their smartphones to take pictures of us," Churchill said. Just a few minutes before the sun went down, he requested that the makeup artist throw back Arielle's veil. After that, he took this photograph, which subsequently ended up being published in photography magazines. Since that time, his contemporaries have travelled to the cliff in order to recreate the picture with other couples.
According to him, it is worthwhile to put in additional effort to find an unexpected location; in fact, the additional effort can be the giveaway that a location is one that should be considered. "If it's somewhere where you have to hike more miles than the average tourist, I'm like, 'All right, let's do it,' because that's going to be something no one's ever done before," she said. "That's going to be something no one's ever done before."
Check out the location in advance
Bring a friend along with you so that you can take some practise shots and get an idea of how the backgrounds and lighting will look at the location where you'll be taking your photos. This will help you determine where you'll be taking your photos. You should make your way around the entire area and look for places for the couple to stand or lean against, such as walls or doors, stairs, or benches.
Find some spots to take photos that are up close to the church or building if you are shooting outside, and find some spots that are further away so that the entire building can appear in the background. If you are shooting outside, find some spots to take photos that are up close to the church or building. Pay attention to where the light is coming from! It is imperative that you scout the venue at the same time of day that the wedding will take place, as you will need to position the couple in such a way that the sun will not cast harsh shadows on their faces. If photos are going to be taken during times of the day when the sun is particularly high and bright, look for open shade.
It is a good idea to take a large number of practise shots in a variety of settings and locations before the actual event so that you can determine which aspects of your photography setup will work well and which will not. (As a word of caution, when photographing a wedding, do not experiment with any camera settings that you are not already familiar with. It is preferable to keep the camera set to automatic mode and take a large number of pictures rather than attempt to shoot in manual mode and run the risk of getting the settings incorrect.
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First and foremost, ensure that you bring a sufficient amount of memory cards (my go-to brand is SanDisk Extreme Pro; these cards are dependable and offer quick read and write speeds), camera batteries (I always bring at least four spares, just in case), and flash batteries (Eneloop Pro batteries are fantastic; these batteries are rechargeable and offer quick recycle times). We have the best wedding photographer in Yarra Valley to capture your beautiful moments on your wedding day.
It is best to take pictures of the bride and groom's accessories and details before they get dressed. This is the best time to do so. When everything is in immaculate condition, the flowers are vibrant and have not yet begun to wilt, and there are no stains or wrinkles on any of the garments or accessories. I ask the couple to assemble all of these components in a single location before I arrive so that I can photograph them first and not hold up the getting-ready process. This allows us to make better use of our time together.
(if possible). Because the wedding I was photographing started at eleven in the morning on a very bright summer day, I knew that my options for taking pictures outside would be limited. I didn't want the couple to be seen squinting into the camera, so I chose to take the pictures inside. I thought it would be fun to take some pictures of the two of them the night before the wedding, outside the temple where they were going to get married. They agreed. For two very different reasons, this turned out to be an excellent plan.
To begin, we did not have a very large audience, and our timeline was able to be more flexible because we took the photographs before the event. Because of this, the couple and I were able to enjoy ourselves more, which resulted in superior photographs being taken by all of us. Because we had so much time, there were many more photographs from which to select. And finally, the light of the evening allowed us to take a variety of photographs that simply would not have turned out well if taken in the harsh light of the midday sun. They won't remember that these pictures were taken the night before their wedding rather than a few minutes after it because it won't matter to them when they look back on these memories years from now.
Include loved ones in interesting ways
Not only will the bride and groom look back on these wedding photos and cherish them in the years to come, but so will the bride and groom's friends and relatives. Include the subject's parents or grandparents in the shots if they are present at the location where the getting ready is taking place. You could ask a relative to assist the bride in zipping up her dress or putting on some jewellery, or you could ask a relative or a groomsman to assist the groom in putting on his boutonniere, tying his tie, or putting on his suit jacket.
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Bring inspiration photos for reference
Request that the bride and groom compile a collection of photographs that are particularly meaningful to them. Tell them to find pictures that they like on the internet, copy and paste them into a document that is blank, and then print out the document to show it to you. You can also collect the things that inspire you, such as a variety of poses and details that you want to be sure to remember to capture. You should have the entire thing printed out, and you should bring the pages with you to the photoshoot. It is easy to forget your plan when you are in the middle of taking pictures, and it is difficult to remember a bunch of different poses when you aren't used to photographing weddings, so having a couple of pages of inspiration photos will go a long way towards helping you get more variety and better photos of the wedding. If the bride hadn't brought an additional photo for me to study as a source of inspiration, I never would have thought of taking the picture that is shown below.
See, but don't be seen
When the bride is walking down the aisle, it is crucial to keep a close eye on the groom to observe any endearing expressions he makes the first time he sees his future wife. Stay out of the way during the ceremony and try to blend in as much as possible so that everyone else can enjoy the event to the fullest. Kneeling is the norm for me if I'm in the centre aisle of the ceremony space; otherwise, I'll wait in one of the "wings" on either side of the main area.
Lighting is key
My absolute favourite lighting for shooting outdoor portraits of the couple and the bridal party comes from a cloudy sky. This allows for a more dramatic effect. This lighting simulates the gentle, diffused light that is produced by a studio softbox. It does so without casting any harsh, distracting, or unflattering shadows on the subjects of the photograph. But because you won't always get those ideal conditions, you have to be able to work with what you're given. That's the only way to succeed. As a fallback plan, you should scout the neighbourhood for any desirable shady spots (such as beneath a tree, in the shadow of a nearby structure, or beneath an overhang) that are available.
If there is intense sunlight and nowhere to hide, I have the subjects turn directly into the direction of their shadow. In this manner, they will have an even illumination behind them, and their bodies will "eclipse" the sunlight that is behind them. You should not, however, rely on your camera's automatic settings because you need to ensure that their faces are captured with the appropriate amount of exposure. If you shoot in RAW, you'll have the ability to edit your photos later on and add more detail if you choose to do so.
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Get a list of must-have group photos.
Request that the bride and groom make a list of all of the different groups that they would like to be photographed. For instance, a bride and groom attending their wedding with both sets of their parents, a bride and groom attending their wedding with the bride's parents, the bride only attending her wedding with her parents, the bride attending with her sisters, the groom attending with his father and grandfather, etc. It is likely that you will be taking a large number of group photos if there are many families participating, and you don't want to miss any of the ones that the couple might later wish they had. The couple may believe that they will remember all of the photos they want on the day of the wedding, but there is a good chance that they will be somewhat distracted while the event is going on, so it is important that they have a list of all of the photos that are absolutely necessary to have.
Have a helper.
It doesn't matter if you're only photographing the bride and groom or the entire wedding party; having an assistant can be extremely helpful. The must-have photo list should be given to your helper, and you should ask her to keep track of which photos you've already taken and which ones you still need to complete. Ask her to keep track of who's next in line and to assist you in arranging each group so that you can stay in one place and take photos. In addition to this, you should have her check that the bride's dress, train, hair, and any other details look good in each shot. She is able to assist in carrying any equipment, including a collapsible step stool that can be used to take photographs from a variety of angles.
Keep shooting for the stars.
It is not required that you travel five miles in the dark to an ice cave in order to take wedding photos that include natural wonders. Because this couple did not have enough time to plan an adventure wedding shoot, they decided to have their wedding in 2017 on the night of the Perseid meteor shower. The ceremony was to take place in an open area close to Auburn, California, where the couple would be able to see the meteor shower.
Attempting to take photographs of a couple against the backdrop of a meteor shower is comparable to trying to shoot any moving target; it is very challenging. According to Winston Churchill, "It was possible for a meteor to appear behind us or to the side, but it never appeared directly in front of the couple. I was taking exposures ranging from ten to twenty seconds in the hopes that one would come into the frame. I also had to warn them not to move because doing so would result in a blurry picture being taken." Finally, he instructed them to point upwards, and, lo and behold, the stars, er, meteors, aligned themselves, and he captured this image as a result. Churchill suggests that photographers who want to capture a night sky filled with stars should take their pictures on a night when there is either no moon or a very little amount of moonlight.
Commemorate the weather
If there was unusual weather on the day of the wedding (rain, snow, etc.), don't try to hide from it; instead, embrace it and make the most of it! Because it is impossible to predict how the weather will turn out, it is essential to always have a strategy ready to implement, regardless of what the clouds may bring. (An awning, an overhang, or clear umbrellas are all helpful ways to keep the bridal party dry while still taking photographs of the rain or snowfall.)
Capture family portraits
Even though taking family portraits might not seem like the most exciting part of the day, it is vital to make sure you get some good shots of everyone together. Weddings are a one-of-a-kind occasion in which all members of the family are in the same place at the same time (and dressed to the nines! ), making it the ideal occasion to get a portrait of all members of the family. In today's world, extended families are often spread across the country or the world, so weddings are a unique occasion in which all family members are in the same place at the same time.
After we have completed all of the posed and formal family portraits, I then offer the opportunity for the family to take a photo that is either humorous or just plain silly. These are the photographs that my customers value the most because they capture the genuine vitality and character of the family. They are cherished by them.
Ensure that your camera is properly configured. Since I prefer to use prime lenses for my photography (a 24mm f/1.8 wide-angle lens, a 50mm f/1.4 normal lens, an 85mm f/1.8 moderately long lens, a 135mm f/2 telephoto lens, and a 60mm macro lens), having two camera bodies with different focal lengths is helpful for me. Additionally, this is a great idea to have as a backup precaution in the event that you ever experience a problem with one of the cameras.
On the other hand, if you can only afford one lens or only have access to one, my recommendation would be the 50mm f/1.4. It is adaptable, performs exceptionally well in low-light settings, and produces photographs that are stunning in their attention to detail as well as flattering portraits.
Check out our guides for all of Canon's lenses and all of Nikon's lenses if you're interested in purchasing new lenses for your camera system.
Make sure that your camera is set to shoot in RAW format. This will enable you to bring back details in blown-out highlights in a bright sky or a white wedding dress, or salvage some details in super dark shadows or a black tuxedo. Additionally, this will give you the most freedom to edit your photos in a (here are some of our favourite photo editing apps).
Take lots of photos.
If you are not a professional photographer, the best way to increase your chances of producing high-quality photographs is to take a large number of shots. Take at least 15 pictures of each pose, varying the setting or your expression slightly with each click of the shutter button. Take some close-up photographs, and then ask the couple to look at you, then at each other, to kiss, then to rest his cheek on her head, then to laugh, and so on. Then, zoom out for some shots that cover half of the body, and finally, step back for a shot that covers the entire body. Move around and take pictures from a variety of perspectives, such as from above, below, or to the side, focusing on different subjects at different times (sometimes the bride, sometimes the groom, etc.). You can get a variety of photographs that are totally unique by maintaining the same pose (see photos below). You could even put the camera down for a few minutes and let them chat with one another before taking some candid pictures of the interaction. Just keep making subtle adjustments to the photo, and maintain your rapid-fire clicking of the shutter button. There will be some photos that turn out better than others; you can get rid of the ones that turned out poorly and keep the ones that turned out well.
At long last, loosen up. Once you begin taking photographs, you should act as if you are not anxious, even if you are. If you give off the impression of being stressed, the couple will also feel stressed, and that will be reflected in the photographs. Talk to them, ask them about their plans, compliment their appearance, tell them how happy you are for them, and anything else you can think of. Assist them in feeling at ease so that their enthusiasm will come across in the photographs. Your photographs will continue to be cherished in this manner, despite the fact that they may not be of exhibition quality.
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This is a great photo opportunity to have at the end of the night, especially if the newlyweds are going to be doing a sparkler exit or some other type of grand send-off (and it also looks great as the last page of a wedding album)! Because these pictures were taken in very low light, I had to take them with a high ISO (at least 800), a very wide aperture (anywhere from f/1.4 to f/2) and a slower shutter speed (anywhere from 1/100 to 1/125). This allowed me to capture the natural light that was present in the background. I use the flash on my camera, which is attached to a diffuser, as a fill light in order to illuminate the subject while also freezing any motion in the foreground.