Ever had the opportunity to capture a few shots at a wedding? Professionals - look away now (Though I have examples of where pros have faltered as well); Others - I've just shared 3 key points that might help you in the event you do get the opportunity
Let me be upfront about it - I am not a seasoned wedding photographer. My experience of capturing photographs at weddings is largely restricted to the odd casual clicks. However quite a few years ago, I did get a chance opportunity to wield the DSLR for a couple of friends' special day. And no, I wasn't the only photographer.
The above mentioned couplings came up with a novel idea - Instead of hiring a wedding photographer, they decided to let their collective group of friends turn into a papparizzi of candid photographers, whose tools of the trade ranged from the standard mobile phone camera, to the high end, DSLR range. The "supposed brilliance" of this idea is a matter of discussion for another day.
Whilst this was by no means my first wedding photography experience, it was truly a unique learning experience, and for the purpose of this article, I've decided to pen down a couple of points to keep in mind in case you ever find yourself in such a situation.
Rule 1: Too many cooks DO spoil the broth
This is definitely true when it comes to photographers. Each photographer (yes, even an amateur one) has their own style and area of expertise. While the intention behind offering every one an opportunity to capture snippets of the grand day is nevertheless good and noble, one must never underestimate the uncanny ability of every photographer to be the pain in the back side of another photographer. Simply put, in this particular scenario, each of us struggled to get 5 simple in-focus pictures.
Reason - Persistent elbowing and blocked views; So the key is to literally be a fly-on-the-wall; move about frequently, and being pushy helps
Rule 2: There IS such a thing as "too-much" light
Let's be honest - Light is as important to photographers, as it is to plants. I mean, it is literally one the lifelines for photographers, be it at any stage in their perusal of photographic success. Now, when it comes lighting with special reference to weddings, it is a whole different ball game from what I've seen. Once again, I am not a specialist in this field, but these rules are purely based on my experience and observation. Now, it is a universal fact that decking up and looking your best is a must-do for your wedding day. Hence there is usually an abundance of make up - be it for the bride, groom, or even for the guests. The next factor to be added to this equation is the unrelenting heat which is a result of both a rapidly expanding population along with the native subcontinental sunshine. Now, add these 2 factors together, and what you get is a murky mixture of rapidly melting make up and sweat, making even the prettiest face look like it is decorated with a mud face pack. I hear you ask what has this got to do with lighting; Actually my friend, it has everything to do with lighting. Even the most basic of wedding photography set ups use a couple of studio flash guns. Not to mention the usual TTL flash guns on the DSLR. Nowadays more and more professional wedding photographers seem to go for the fluorescent lamp setup. Now add the heat generated by this lighting, along with the above mentioned 2 factors, and the normal lighting on the stage where the ceremony is being conducted, and what you have is a perfect recipe for bad wedding images.
So whilst it's always good to have the right equipments, too much of lighting, especially if you are trying to capture an Indian wedding, is not going to help you.
Rule 3: GUESTS are important too
Yes, without a shadow of doubt, it is the bride and groom's big day. However a key thing that most amateur photographers seem to miss (from the experience of having seen some of these shots), is that the guests are important too. Whilst they may not necessarily be actively participating in the ceremony, their mere presence is a testament to the fact that they care (plus the free meal helps;))Once again, to keep things in context, during this stampede of photographers all trying to take multiple shots of what was going on, on the stage, after a few good shots, preferably taken from the above mentioned vantage positions, it is best to divert your attention to the reactions of the guests. There's a simple enough reason for this - More often than not, for most brides and grooms, their wedding day is a blur (not necessarily the bad kind); I mean, the stress of getting married itself is a great deal, and you hardly get any time to notice who all have made it for the occasion. The guest photographs have a number of benefits, with the primary one being, it lets the couple know who attended, and helps plan return gifts and thank you notes. Sounds simple enough, but hardly enough photographers do this.
There you go - Some little nuggets of information from an amateur/semi-professional photographer point of view.
Now what are you waiting for ? Get those images off your camera and into the wedding album !