Secret of relaxed bridal photography - Dee Jay Photography


Lighting, makeup and clothes can transform the mood and 'feel' of a photograph and tell different stories. I had the opportunity to photograph Roseanne, a professional model recently and the photos above, I believe demonstrate the point. Of course, it is easier with a professional model as they require much less direction but the principle is applicable to bridal photography in the same way. With weddings, however, there are constraints that one doesn't face in the far more controlled environment of a studio. Often, locations can be challenging so a pre-visit to the venue is essential to identify best settings for bridal and couple photographs as well as group 'formals'. Time is another constraint. The photographer cannot impose himself or herself on proceedings even though they have the responsibility for making images of lifelong memories and invariably carry the can for any photographic disappointment even if it isn't their fault! The challenge of having only one opportunity (you could hardly ask for a re-run!) to 'get it right' and often imperfect conditions (location, uncooperative guests and the iPhone brigade) can be quite daunting. Photos of the bride in a less formal setting are best done in a pre-shoot which allows you to get to know the bride better with the added benefit of making a collection of images she will love and likelihood of her being more relaxed on the big day. Simple lighting setups can be done at the bride's home or even at the venue, if accessible beforehand, when a studio is not available. The single most useful background I have found is a roll of neutral grey paper which with a couple of flashes and gels can give a variety of effects. The main (key) light is best  used with a diffuser - a soft box, shoot-through umbrella or some translucent fabric at a push - to make the light as soft as possible for the most flattering portraits. Experiment with positioning your lights in a 'safe' environment beforehand so you have a few ideas to go with before doing it for real. Find a willing friend or relative to act as a model and give it a try!

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