Some photos I shot of wedding this weekend and tips

Nikon D4, 14-24mm ƒ/2.8, ISO 500, ƒ/8, 6 seconds, Off camera Alienbees B1600 powered by Vagabond.

These are just some of my favorite photos from this past weekend when I photographed my niece’s wedding.

Nikon D4, 14-24mm ƒ/2.8, ISO 1600, ƒ/5.6, 1/200, Off camera with 3 Alienbees B1600 pointed at the ceiling in the corners of the room.

Looking for a different angle. I wanted something a little dramatic, so I am using the ceilings leading lines to help and then I am anchoring the photo just below the couple. For depth I have the head table in the background to give another dimension to the moment.

I kind of like capturing one of the bridesmaids on her smartphone using social media to keep everyone up to date on what is happening.

Nikon D4, 14-24mm ƒ/2.8, ISO 100, ƒ/8, 1/100 seconds, Off camera Alienbees B1600 

Everyone likes doing the jumping shot of the bridal party, so I guess this is a right of passage now days.

Nikon D4, 85mm ƒ/1.4, ISO 100, ƒ/8, 1/200, Off camera Alienbees B1600 

I was thinking I needed the 85mm for the shallow depth of field, but I needed the wedding party so far back for this I could have used just about any lens since the ƒ-stop was ƒ/8.  I didn’t want the bride and groom unrecognizable.

Nikon D4, 14-24mm ƒ/2.8, ISO 2500, ƒ/5.6, 1/60, Off camera Alienbees B1600 with umbrella

This is some detail shot to show the flowers and some of the shoes the bridesmaids were wearing.

Nikon D4, 14-24mm ƒ/2.8, ISO 7200, ƒ/9, 1/100, Available Light balanced using ExpoDisc.

While today everyone is shooting the brides dress hanging up, we went one further with all the bridesmaids dresses and the flower girl’s dress. This was my wife’s idea and who was also one of my lovely assistants. The other assistant was my daughter Chelle who was holding lights and light stands throughout the day.

Nikon D4, 14-24mm ƒ/2.8, ISO 1600, ƒ/8, 1/100, Available Light balanced using ExpoDisc.

Of course I shot the dress as well by itself. Give them what they expect, but try to deliver something new.  That is my motto.

Nikon D4, 14-24mm ƒ/8, ISO 100, ƒ/8, 1/200, Off camera Alienbees B1600 

The sky was so dramatic that even the father of the bride was commenting on it. I knew I needed to capture that in the photos, so I backlit the bride and put her right in front of the sun and then just use a fill-flash with the Alienbees B1600 to act as the main light. The sun became a great rim light for everyone in the photo.

Nikon D4, 14-24mm ƒ/8, ISO 100, ƒ/8, 1/200, Off camera Alienbees B1600

Time is of essence with wedding photos, so rather than coming up with super unique photos in many different locations I just modified them to help us get more photos for the bride and groom.

Nikon D4, 28-300mm ƒ/3.5-5.6, ISO 100, ƒ/8, 1/125, Off camera Alienbees B1600

While at the home of the bride I setup in the backyard after they got their hair and makeup done so I could make a few photos here and save some time later in the day.  Again, I am using the sun as a second light to rim light the people and the Alienbees B1600 as the main light.

Nikon D4, 28-300mm ƒ/3.5-5.6, ISO 100, ƒ/8, 1/125, Off camera Alienbees B1600

Before I did the photos of the bride with the bridesmaids, I took a good number of family photos in the same place. It helped me double check the lights and squeeze in a few more photos making everyone happy that they were getting photos of themselves all dressed up for the day.

Nikon D4, 14-24mm ƒ/2.8, ISO 5000, ƒ/5.6, 1/100, Available Light balanced using ExpoDisc.

Now while the lights really help the photos, what distinguishes me from many photographers is my emphasis on capturing moments. Here the bride is with all the women just moments before her dad will see her.

Nikon D4, 28-300mm ƒ/3.5-5.6, ISO 4500, ƒ/9, 1/500

Here I ran behind a gazebo to get the photo of the mother of the bride putting in sand into one jar. This was done instead of a unity candle since it was outside to help represent the coming together of two families.

Nikon D4, 28-300mm ƒ/3.5-5.6, ISO 1600, ƒ/5.6, 1/200, Off camera with 3 Alienbees B1600 pointed at the ceiling in the corners of the room.

Here I capture the twin sister and maid of honor giving her toast and capturing a moment again.
Some tips I would pass along

  • Have a sit down meeting with the bride and groom or whoever is paying the bill. 
    • Plan a shot list
    • Have some parameters to help them with timing. For example I tell the bride for formal line them up photos to allow about 3 minutes per photo, but for the fun photos like jumping in the air, this can be around 5 minutes per photo.
    • Encourage to get photos before the wedding of some of the groupings. Help them understand you want them to have as much time with their guests that have come from all over for that day to see them.
  • Use off camera strobes for formal and group photos.  
    • For outside I recommend the Alienbees B1600 with a Vagabond battery
    • Inside or dusk photos you can use something like the Nikon SB-900 and fire them with PocketWizard TT1 and the Flex TT5 giving you TTL control. Also, use the AC3 to control the output of the flash from your camera.
  • Use Tripod when possible. This will help immensely in group photos where one person in one photo blinks and in the next photo someone else does. You can then combine the two photos much easier when grabbing head of someone to put in the other photo with PhotoShop CS6.
  • Use custom white balance all the time. I use ExpoDisc. This will save you incredible amount of post processing time. 
  • Use high ISO to help open up the background. Way too many photographers are obsessed with using the lowest ISO that they end up sacrificing capturing the background that gives depth to the photos.
  • Use assistants. They can alert you if a flash isn’t working. They can help spot someone’s tie or dress is not straight and help adjust it while you stay behind the camera.
  • Over shoot. Shoot more than you ever promise a bride. Shoot the shot on your list and as you have time throw in some fun photos. Just do a serious photo and then ask everyone to make a funny face for one. Just doing that will give some variety.
  • Plan for an online gallery that they can give the link on their social media. I gave the family a link and a password for them to see the gallery. They can order prints and things like key chains, mouse pads, T-Shirts and coffee mugs for example. They can also just order download for social media size and they can also order a high resolution photo.
  • While I didn’t do this for this wedding, I might even offer posting the photos during the wedding for an upgraded package. This way all their family and friends who couldn’t make it could see it in almost real time. As you saw in the photo of the bridesmaid posting to her Facebook, today’s brides are interested in the here and now and not so much long term.