In anticipation for tomorrow's wedding, I have been putting the finishing touches on the set of Rhode Island photos from last last weekend. One of the things that is the least appreciated in this time of digital photography is the amount of time it takes to post-process all the images after the event (some photographers refer to it as the "digital darkroom" but I think that sounds kind of dorky). For a typical wedding, I shoot somewhere around 1000 images and like about 500. I spend anywhere from five to fifteen hours getting the images in a user-friendly format, including uploading full-res images into online galleries and color-correcting all the decent images. Sometimes I also play around with some photoshop effects that are interesting...
Thinking back to the Newport wedding, I have several things to be grateful for. The first thing that comes to mind is my assistant photographer, Gwyn, who did a fantastic job of freeing me up to take the shots I wanted.
Having shot a certain amount of weddings at this point, I have learned exactly where I need to stand to get the images that are dynamic and storytelling. After a very negative experience at a friend's wedding, I developed a strong dislike for aggressive photographers who stand in the front middle of the aisle and block the view for friends and family, which is ironically more common than you might think with an emphasis on "photojournalistic" photography.
I've learned to stand in the front, on the side, and move between the front and back of the people without being too obtrusive.
Another thing I am grateful for was the timing and location of the wedding. It was a morning, outdoor wedding next to the water which made some really great light situations and a fantastic backdrop.
Direct sunlight presents challenges as well, though. For one, you can't keep people standing out there for long if it's too hot - they get uncomfortable and cranky.
Another issue with sunlight is that when it comes from directly overhead it tends to throw too much shadow under eyes and causes people to squint. You have to be very attentive to this and use creative solutions. Different angles help, as does using shade from buildings and trees (though, watch the white balance and metering when you move from light to shade).
Sometimes photographers forget, or do not have a chance, to capture images of the details of the day. I find that the little things like decorations, flowers, wardrobe details, and environment are crucial in establishing the context for the big things like the bridal party, family, and life-changing ceremony in general. I try to always stop and photograph these things as they catch my eye.
And now I need to go get some sleep, because tomorrow is the MIT wedding of two fantastically quirky people! We are going to have some fun with the shots.