Intro by Skip Cohen
A few weeks ago I ran a post featuring a stunning bridal image and video by Vanessa Joy. As a spokesperson for my favorite lighting company, Profoto, she packed a lot great content into this short video. But, the fun of social media, for me in this case, was more than just discovering some great content to share...it kicked off the start of a new friendship. Vanessa is back today sharing a challenge that would turn any photographer's hair instantly gray - a wedding party with 19 groomsmen!
As I read the draft Vanessa sent me, I realized what an incredible testimonial it was for having a solid skill set. Vanessa is truly a "professional" and you'll understand more about her as she takes you through each step to creating the final images.
To see more of Vanessa's work check out her site, www.vanessajoy.com. Vanessa is a solid believer in education and supporting the community with content to help you raise the bar on the quality of your work. Check out her new educational site and visit LearnPhotoVideo.com.
This post is part of a "daily double" with a podcast with Vanesssa and more thoughts to help you raise the bar on your work . Here's a chance to pick up more ideas on how to neutralize some of those fears that tend to slow you down.
I recently had the chance to chat with Skip on his podcast about different photographer fears, everything from irrational ones to warranted scary moments. One of my most recent fears was just from a few weeks ago where I had to photograph a bridal party with six bridesmaids….and 19 groomsmen. Yikes!
Have I photographed groups of 27 before? Of course. Have I liked it. Not so much.
The idea of photographing a huge bridal party in a short amount of time after they’ve been drinking on a party bus for a half hour is never at the top of the list for any photographer. But overcoming fear happens when you’re prepared for the occasion. I knew that I was, both in skill and experience, so here’s how I did it – and did it quickly and with results that my clients are more than happy with (though I am a bit of a perfectionist and wouldn’t mind moving some things around!).
I started off with the easy part, photographing the bridesmaids with the bride. Seven beautiful, smiling ladies aren’t scary to photograph at all.
After I posed them and snapped off a few shots, I just asked them all to take five steps away from the bride.
Then, I called to the groomsmen and told them to go stand next to the bridesmaid that they walked down the aisle with. Once they did that, all I needed to do was tweak where they were standing to make sure I could see everyone. To do that, I first asked everyone if they could see me and 80% of those that were blocked by someone moved on their own. Finally, all I had left to do was move three or four groomsmen specifically for height and in three minutes I had posed all 27 of them on flat ground.
From there we had one more casual bridal party shot to photograph, this time with chairs. I applied the same principal: start easy, then add on. I asked all the bridesmaids to come in and placed them in specific spots and then told the groomsmen to just fill it in with taller people standing and shorter people sitting. They all did a pretty good job at that and all I had left to do was the usual tweaking and three minutes later I had my second bridal party group photo, shown above.
Lastly, I wanted a shot of just the groomsmen, so I asked the ladies to leave the area, had all the groomsmen stand and just called them up one-by-one according to height to create this last shot. This image did take about 4-5 minutes to create, but since I had already done the larger shots so quickly, I had the time to spend on this one and I’m glad I did.
Next time you have to photograph a large group, try the start easy and add on concept. It allows you to pose more quickly and effectively then attempting to lump everyone in all at once. While photographing a bridal party this large may still give you butterflies, you’ll be able to move through them confidently, knowing that you have the skill and expertise to do your best work.