Bridal Prep Photography – A Little Story
This is a little story about Bridal Prep Photography. I’m a wedding photographer by trade with a passion for people watching.
I want my wedding photographs to be snapshots of real, uncontrived but tender moments in time.
Weddings are where I ply my trade, but really, it’s just “people being people” – they happen to be at weddings.
As a Fujifilm Ambassador, I shoot with the small, Fujifilm mirrorless cameras and with natural light only. T
his allows me to shoot the wedding from the inside out, rather than being the photographer looking in from the outskirts with a telephoto lens.
I want my clients to be taken right back to that moment in time when the image was exposed and see it from their guest’s eye view.
It’s imperative to me that my clients don’t remember their wedding day as a fashion shoot with the photographer.
I’d rather they forget entirely about me, but in 50 years’ time when they are showing their grandchildren the pictures of their wedding they can point to real moments, real people, real photographs.
I don’t pose or direct anything at all at a wedding for this reason.
My role is as an observer and the curator of the memories. I’m not there to make those memories, I’m there to capture them.
Bridal Prep – The Image
This image is one of my favourite images photographed at a recent wedding here in the UK.
Shot on the Fujifilm X-T2 with the XF 23mm F1.4 Lens with an exposure of f1.4 1/500th Second ISO 200.
This is the story of the image:
Bridal Prep – A Little Explanation
When my clients approach me to shoot their wedding, they want an honest and sympathetic set of images that tell the real story of their wedding.
They are not the type of clients who want staged images, nor are they the type of clients that want to be directed.
They appreciate that their wedding day is a once in a lifetime event and they want images to look back on that replicate events that happened, naturally, throughout the course of the day.
This image came about during bridal prep photography at the clients family home.
This is actually a very important part of the day and is often littered with humorous moments, tender moments and anxious moments.
As I mentioned, I never stage my images, but part of my role is to watch and anticipate moments as they unfold.
For each image, there is almost always a set of supporting images.
All these images combine to tell a story within a story.
For example, this room is fairly large, but the main light source is from a window which is facing the bride.
This is good, as my primary subject is bathed in light.
However, it presented me with a problem that the bride was very close to that window.
There is very little space between myself and the bride in the image below and you can tell by the angle of this shot that I’m shooting from my hip.
I don’t want to raise the camera to my eye here, because the bride is lost in her own contemplation and by bringing the camera to my eye, I run the risk of disturbing that moment – which is the absolute antithesis to what I want as a documentary photographer.
As this Bridal Prep moment evolved and remembering I want to tell a “story within a story”, I moved away from the bride and to her immediate left.
This gave me a wider frame, and within that frame, I can build the story and fill in some context for the viewer.
Notably that the bridesmaid is now part of the story and is helping the bride fasten her dress.
At this point, and somewhat unexpectedly for me, the bridesmaid lifts the veil and starts fastening the buttons from within.
Straight away I realise this is a Bridal Prep picture within its own right.
It’s a scene that will be part of the “story within a story” but also a moment that would stand on its own as an individual frame within the wedding album.
My first attempt at the shot, below, was a little tight.
It works as it throws the viewers focus now directly on the bridesmaid and her important role at this part of the day.
I love the concentration on her face and we can see that she is taking this job very seriously.
However, it wasn’t the final picture that I wanted.
Once I’d captured the shot of the bridesmaid, it was time to link everything together for this Bridal Prep sequence.
I wanted an image that showed the bride in full, as well as the activity that the bridesmaid was doing and that’s how the final image presented itself.
It’s a sequence of images I love, and really the final image is the one that tells the full story in its own right.