A full-color reference to planning for and executing a successful wedding day shoot
Wedding photography has become a major industry, and the number of photographers getting into this field is rapidly increasing—making it even more competitive. Written by top wedding photographer, Kenny Kim, this full-color reference walks you through all the major (and minor) steps involved in planning and organizing a successful wedding day shoot.
You'll get unique advice on everything from your initial meeting with the engaged couple to the final presentation of the commemorative book. Packed with checklists, schedules, etiquette tips, and much more, this book is an essential wedding photography resource for every wedding photographer.
- Provides detailed coverage of all the major and minor steps in preparing for a successful wedding day shoot
- Explores preparation for every detail of taking unique and memorable wedding day photos
- Spans the initial meeting with the couple all the way to presenting them with their photo album
- Reassures you of your preparation, using checklists, schedules, etiquette tips, answers to questions, and more
From rings and vows to dancing and "wows", this resource will help you prepare to capture every moment of a couple's special day.
Tips for Engagement Photo Sessions
Amazon-exclusive content from author Kenny Kim
Along with what I have already mentioned in the book, I want to go more in depth about engagement session. This is not just a time where you take nice photos with your couple for an hour or two. There is more than meets the eye if you execute these elements: Communicate by Example
During a photoshoot, I see so many photographers (including myself) talking to our clients using “photography lingo”. Because we as photographers constantly talk about it, I think we easily make the assumption that others (including our clients) understand the same terms. Often times they might be just too nice to ask what we exactly mean. Or they just brush it off as it is no big deal. But a good way to communicate to your clients during a shoot is to show by example. Rather than shouting out “hold out that arm!” show them which arm and how to do it. Ask them to mirror your movement and let them know that you would not make them do things that you would not do yourself.
When I did my engagement session in Italy with Italian models, I had the difficulty of overcoming the language barrier. It was frustrating not being able to explain to them in words what I wanted them to do. So I had to resort to communicating by example. Using eye contact and body language, I was able to get them to do the things I want them to do. You are also educating your clients by showing examples of what you want them to do. As the shoot goes on, you will have to coach them less and less as they start to feel more comfortable. In almost all my engagement sessions, towards the middle or end of the session, I let them come up with their own poses and just make minor adjustments as they do.
Communicate Using the Right Words
Make sure that your words are clear so that anyone can understand it. During a photo shoot with my recent clients Dan & Joanne, I kept asking Dan to “Squeeze!” What I really wanted Dan to do was the embrace Joanne tightly because usually that lets out a laughter and/or a fun reaction from the girl. Every time I said “squeeze,” Dan just smiled at Joanne resulting in some fun moments captured. But half way into our shoot, when I yelled “Squeeze” again he stopped, looked at me and said: “Kenny, what do you mean by squeeze?” We both laughed as I realized that I did not communicate with him properly. Once I explained to him my reasoning, he understood the concept and did it without even me saying it to him through out the rest of the session!
Be Bold and Creative
Do not let small road blocks get in the way of capturing the right moment. When you get stuck in a situation, you can always find an alternate solution. Sometimes that means doing something daring or out of the ordinary. And it may not always work, but your clients will appreciate the effort you made to get a certain shot. When you get excited about your photography, your clients will too and will even risk a bit of embarrassment to get the shot that you/they want. So next time you shoot, try to push yourself more to do something different. Here is an example:
Shaun attended University of Chicago and really liked the Rockefeller Chapel on campus. He requested I take a few photos inside. So we walked over there only to discover that there was some kind of a service/meeting going on inside. The sanctuary was packed with people. Shaun and Joy were little disappointed but I did not want them to feel that way on their engagement session. I am a firm believer that when “life gives you lemons, you make lemonade out of it.” So I looked around for a bit trying to see if I can think of an alternate solution. Bing! (That’s the sound of light bulb turning on inside my head). Then, I asked Shaun and Joy if they don’t mind being little bit adventurous. I think they liked the idea of that. I had found a small pathway between the church wall and the pews. I knew we could not communicate verbally since there was a service going on. So I asked them to go over to a specific spot and come up with their own pose (I’ve instructed them on several poses during the shoot up to this point so I knew they would deliver). To give you an idea of what the setting was actually like, I took the next photo to show the risk that my clients was willing to take to get the shot above:
At first they were a bit nervous about standing there posing and kept looking over to the congregation. I thought I placed them at just at the last row of where people were sitting to be inconspicuous. After I had taken the shot, I walked over to them only to realize what was going on. Where they were standing was not actually the last row! There were several more rows of people right next to them and they were all staring at them smiling while they posed! I can only imagine how nerve wracking it was for Shaun & Joy! But I’m so proud of my clients – they stuck with it, ignored the congregation and posed as I asked them to. As a result we came up with a great photo and a fun story to share for lifetime.
In my book, I briefly talked about how I like to stay inspired through magazines and watching movies. It’s a great way to relax and get creative at the same time. For example, I always found this movie poster to be fun & creative. So, using this concept, I came up with my own signature shot called “Double take”. This effect can be achieved simply by having one subject still while the other walks behind them. I as a photographer also stand still and taking multiple shots of the same scene. Then I take these images and select the ones that I think will work and bring them into Adobe Photoshop where I place them on multiple layers and then blend them together using layer-masking and brush away the areas that I do not need. The point of this lesson is not to teach you to do the same thing that I do but to come up with your own creative ideas for your shoot. You have so many things around you that will inspire you – so take a moment, pause from your work and enjoy life. Let your inspiration come to you naturally as you engage in other things in life.
Photos from Author Kenny Kim
It is important to capture the dynamics of the couple. Capturing their emotion that comes out only when they are close together is very important. To achieve this, I use a zoom lens and take a few steps back to give them some space. I use the zoom to close in on them then wait for the right moment. I shoot everything in color first but like to convert some of them to B&W. Removing all the colors allows you to focus in on the subject more and not get distracted by variety of colors. Shot specification: Canon Mark 1d IV / F5.6 1/250sec. ISO 400 /WB: Cloud / Canon L 70-200mm f2.8 lens zoomed to 170mm.
Keep the Camera Rolling!
It is important to capture the posed shots. But don’t just stop. Keep your camera up and ready to fire even after you are finished with your posed photo. Sometimes the unexpected things like this can happen or often times Couple’s true emotion comes out after they are done being posed. In many of my shoots, I purposely pose my couple just so that I capture their reaction right afterwards. Those are the genuine moments that show who they really are as a couple. Shot specification: Canon Mark 1d III / F4.0 1/250sec. ISO 100 /WB: Daylight / Canon L 24-70mm f2.8 lens zoomed to 70mm.
See the Bigger Picture
Sometimes you need to step back and see the entire picture. While the bridesmaids were spending the last minute before the ceremony in prayer, I took a few shots of that then quietly removed myself so that the bride can share the intimate moment together one last time with her closest friends. It was not until I stepped back and was getting ready to exit the room when I saw this moment. It is important to focus on the details but you need to be aware of your surroundings to see the big picture. Try this at your next wedding: shoot with both eyes open – one looking through your viewfinder and the other eye looking around. You’ll be surprised at so many moments that go unnoticed. Shot specification: Canon Mark 1d III / F2.8 1/200sec. ISO 1000 /WB: Fluorescent / Canon L 16-35mm f2.8 lens zoomed to 28mm.
The bride and groom will plan every detail of their special day. You should, too. With this guide, you'll discover new ways to build relationships with your clients, every detail you should know about the wedding location, how to manage difficult family situations, and perfect photo opportunities you might otherwise miss. In the highly competitive arena of wedding photography, these techniques can give you the edge.