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Choosing your perspective – 7 considerations

A critical part of how any final image will look depends upon where you are positioned and what equipment and settings you choose to use. This is the same for any type of photography, but when it comes to wedding photography, it has a particular impact on the style of photos that your bride and groom are going to see in their finished album.

This classic car was an important detail at the wedding. By moving in close with a 24mm lens, it increased the size of the car in the frame relative to the tree behind it. This classic car was an important detail at the wedding. By moving in close with a 24mm lens, it increased the size of the car in the frame relative to the tree behind it.
Are you going to take the photograph from below or from above? Would you prefer to shoot from a lower perspective to minimize or from a higher perspective to accentuate depth? Will you choose to emphasise an object in the foreground or crop in close to have the couple fill the frame? Are you going to choose a slower shutter speed to emphasise movement, or are you going to choose a shallow depth of field to separate your subject from the background? Are you going to try to incorporate flare in the photograph?
The same position/interaction from a different perspective can yield a very different photograph. If you mix and match the positions and interaction/actions, you will come up with more than a hundred potential poses. If you add perspective to that as well, you can double the number of possible photographs.
Perspective ii

When choosing a perspective, here are some things to think about:

  1. Minimize the background. Get low and shoot up at your couple. You may find that your background is only what’s in the sky (which may be some interesting cloud patterns).
  2. Minimize everything except the couple. Crop in closely on the couple. It doesn’t matter where they are at that point, since they are filling the frame.
  3. Maximize the foreground. Get low on the ground and shoot straight at your couple. If you choose a shallow depth of field, you can either sharply emphasise the foreground and keep your couple out of focus or you can emphasise the colour, shape, or texture of the foreground only, while keeping your couple in sharp focus. Or, of course, you can stop down and keep both in focus.
  4. Emphasise the sky. Think about doing a silhouette and expose for the sky. Or, think about adding a bit of fill flash or video light to balance the proper sky exposure with the proper couple exposure. Even if you rarely add any light to your scenes, it’s worth thinking about because it can yield fabulous results.
  5. Include flare in your shot. Stop down to ƒ/13 or beyond, choose a lens that flares easily, and dance around your couple until you get the amount of flare you want.
  6. Shoot a detail with the couple in the background. Choose a shallow depth of field and fill your frame with as much of the detail as you can without pushing the couple out.
  7. Emphasise the couple and the immediate surroundings. Position your couple on the ground and shoot down on them or place the flowers/leaves/ferns in the foreground and shoot the couple through them.

Stuffy, staged wedding photos are a thing of the past. Master modern wedding reportage and capture the true spirit of the event and the personalities of the couple and guests with Michelle Turner’s The Wedding Photography Field Guide. Get the latest information on digital gear, and a professional’s insight into the best techniques for covering the action. Whether you simply want to get great photos at a wedding you’re attending, if you’re breaking into the business, or you just want to refresh your approach, this book is full of useful advice making it essential reading for any wedding photographer today.

Wedding Photography Field Guide, Michelle TurnerThe Wedding Photography Field Guide, by Michelle Turner
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This PDF version retains the styling of the original print book.
RRP for print edition: £8.99