Sunday, February 1, 2004

The art of amateur wedding photography, part II


By James Booth

In part one of this series, I covered preparing your equipment and scouting out the location. In this part of the series I will cover what types of pictures you should take before the ceremony. If you haven't read the previous article, go to and give it a read. It'll help you understand how taking pictures before the ceremony can make all the difference.

All photos in this article are courtesy of Gary Maiers of Robin Gary Photography in Moline, IL. After twenty years in marketing, Gary opened his own studio, and with his wife JoAnn, has specialized in wedding photography for the last twelve years. Gary left film behind three years ago and has been strictly digital since. His work can be seen at

[Due to production requirements on our server, all the images provided have been converted to .GIF format, and therefore are not at their optimal viewing quality. Gary's pictures are, in reality, of much higher quality. -- DG]

Know your shot plan

We've now reached the point where you're actually going to be taking photos. First though, as part of your preparation, you should make a list, an outline, or timeline of the photos you want to take. In the same way a movie director builds a storyboard to help her plan the flow of the movie, your rough outline will help you as you're doing your day's shoot.

The shoot will flow much more smoothly if you already know what your next shot will be. This outline should be laid out in groups, such as what poses to use with just the girls and which ones with just the men. It makes it so much easier to transition from one shot to the next and there will be less work on your part in posing the subjects.

There are the "old standards" of wedding photography and I will cover a good bit of them here, but don't be afraid to research other possibilities by looking in wedding and photo magazines. Don't be afraid to use your own inspiration either. In Figure A, Gary used the bride's train as a backdrop.


The train of the bride's dress provides a ready backdrop. (click for larger image)

Get creative

If you're any kind of photographer at all then you have some element of creativity. You never know, you may see a setting that gives you an idea, as in Figure B, which takes the bride and groom outdoors.


Don't limit yourself to indoor settings. (click for larger image)

In one case, there was a wedding near the river, so getting up onto the riverboat itself will make a memorable image, as shown in Figure C.


The bridge of this riverboat makes an interesting and fun setting. (click for larger image)