Despite the best intentions, the best planning, the most meticulous timeline, sometimes things just...get off track. And like I always tell my brides, there's real time and then there's wedding time. And the two shall never be the same.
I've seen it happen a hundred different ways. There was that makeup artist out of state who went an hour and a half OVER her forty-five minute allotted time. So TWO HOURS and fifteen minutes just to do the bride's makeup. I mean come on now, I'm pretty sure Michelangelo spent less time hanging out at the Sistine Chapel. Then there was that time there was an unexpected parade (I mean, a PARADE!) on the way to the ceremony. Two hundred guests sitting in a cathedral, and the bridal party is stuck behind the Fighting Irish mid-state championship marching band. Doing their salute to swing music.
Yep, anything can happen on a wedding day.
Take the last wedding we posted for example, Sandra & Sam. Like I said in their post, Sandra & Sam are absolutely amazing and they did everything right. They had everything time-lined out and made room for things like travel, traffic and hiccups along the way. It was looking like a smooth-sailing day. But like I said, sometimes things just happen. Like a priest being late, I mean really late, to the church (I blame the marching band). So that by the time the ceremony started, we were running a full two hours behind schedule. And suddenly our nice cushion of time for pictures was evaporating quickly.
By the time we got to the Fairmont, the coordinator was ready to usher them right inside. But we talked it over together and working with her we were able to negotiate fifteen more minutes from the timeline. Fifteen minutes. That's what we had to do all of the couple portraits as well as the bridal party. And I realized in that moment, I had two choices: I could either cry (tempting!) OR I could suck it up and come up with a game plan. So that's what we did.
I divided up the time as follows: 7 minutes for the couple portraits, 6 minutes for the bridal party, and 2 minutes to walk everybody back across the street to get them lined up for introductions at the Fairmont. Then I asked Julia to set a timer on her phone for 7 minutes to start the couple portraits... and we went to work.
But before I get in to how we did it, first you have to understand some of the other complicating factors that were at play. The first is that this particular weekend, just happened to be graduation weekend for all the Boston universities. That plus it just being a Sunday in general meant that the square we were shooting in was really, really crowded. So we had people constantly ducking in and out of the background every few seconds, and a row of cars parked just to the right of where we were shooting that we wanted to make sure we were keeping out of the frame. If that wasn't enough, there were also some people just to the left of us drawing on the square in sidewalk chalk. And when Julia asked one of the girls what it was for, she said ohhh it's for the protest that 's about to start.
Here's a little diagram of what we were facing:
Ok, so what did we do? How did we go about shooting for seven minutes in a way that would give us good coverage, as well as a full range of shots for our bride & groom? I think the best way to break it down, is by putting it into 5 tips. Here we go!
1. Have a second shooter focusing on getting different angles of the same set ups, so you can get twice as many shots in the same amount of time. I took the lead on all the posing with our couple, which meant that most of my images were fairly straight on, focusing on full length and three-quarter shots. So to fill in the gaps, Julia knew to shoot off from the side getting "slices of life" images like the bouquet shot you see below. I cannot express enough how important it is to always have a second shooter, or at the very least an assistant, with you at all of your weddings. This is a prime example of why.
2. Now is not the time to ask them to get into some complicated pose. When time is running short and nerves are running a little high, now is not the time to ask a lot of the couple with complicated posing. You'll waste a lot of time trying to get them into the pose, and chances are those are the kinds of poses that won't look great from other angles. Keep the posing simple, and above all just allow them to hold on to one another and soak each other in. That will make the whole experience a lot more fun for them, and remember that it doesn't have to be complicated. There is beauty in simplicity.
3. Divide and conquer Because you have that second shooter with you, it will also allow you to save time by dividing up for the individual portraits so those can be happening at the same time. I took Sandra and Julia took Sam, and we were able to shoot their individuals in about two of our seven minutes.
4. Have a few go-to poses that you have burned into your brain. Now is also not the time to draw a complete blank on every pose you've ever learned, or to look like for even one second that you don't have it together. What you need to be projecting right now is confidence. Or what I like to call "The Swan".....calm and graceful on the surface even if you're paddling like crazy under neath. So I have four or five go-to poses burned into my brain that a) I know I can always go to, b) flow very nicely from one into another so we can change poses quickly and c) incorporate movement so they don't become static and d) are poses that can allow me to get very different results just by moving my feet, having Julia shoot from a different angle or with a different lens, and can either take on a quiet & romantic or fun & silly vibe depending on the couple.
And finally, 5. Be specific. Use their names. Let them know which one you're talking to. Don't say look at your shoulder, say "Sandra I'm going to have you look at your left shoulder." "Sam I'm going to have you take one baby step right toward me." The clearer you are in your direction, the less confusion there will be. And the less time they spend trying to figure out what you're asking of them, the more time you'll have to be able to shoot.
So in summary, we flowed through a few different poses, moved our feet and worked together to get different shots, were very specific in our direction, and above all else we kept it together and didn't cry! :) And at the end of the day, we got some of our favorite couple portraits EVER. Ones that we're really proud of.
And my friends you can either believe this next part or not, but Julia can attest....what was the real icing on the cake? At the exact second I put my camera down and said "we're done!"....that 7 minute alarm went off.
BOO.. Yah. :)
Happy Pancake Day y'all!!
Also a quick note that our LAST Walk Through a Wedding workshop that will be held in the States this year is happening this month on June 13-14th here in CT!! In it we will cover what those five go to poses are, break them down and show you how to get different results, talk about directing with confidence, how to shoot the bridal party & families, lighting, shooting details, on and off-camera flash, and anything else we all face on a wedding day. If you've been thinking about signing up, don't miss your last chance to come in 2012! To find out more go to http://www.walkthroughawedding.com