Whenever I am photographing something, whether it is a wedding, engagement photos, senior session or details, I repeat the following 3 words to myself over and over in my head throughout the photoshoot. “Tight, middle, wide.” As a photographer, especially a wedding photographer, our job is extremely time sensitive. We have to try to time everything just right so as to be photographing when the light is just right as well as juggle conflicting schedules and herding uncooperative people to be in just the right place at just the right time. This is the greatest tool I use in order to get my clients the maximum photos in the minimum amount of time. Implementing this tool will aid you in capturing every angle, perspective and variable of each and every pose. The ‘tight, middle, wide’ concept is a fairly simple one and is pretty self explanatory. With each new pose, I have a mental checklist that I need to cross off before I move on. I start with an uptight shot and work my way further away from there. In most cases, the first shot I take is the most cropped in shot for that pose. I may move around the subject a few times to get a few different angles as well as turning my camera from vertical to horizontal with each click of the shutter.
I then take a few steps back in order to get the ‘middle’ perspective (about waist up when photographing people). I repeat the same process, getting different angles as well as rotating my camera from vertical to horizontal and back with every couple of clicks.
Finally, I step back until I can fit the entire subject as well as the background in the frame and repeat the above steps.
Go through all of these steps with each pose and BEFORE you move the subject to different location. Move around your subject getting every flattering angle, orientation and perspective. This allows you to get different looking images without ever having to move your subject. By implementing these steps, you will have a variety of angles, varying distances between you and your subject and both vertical and horizontal images at every perspective. In mere seconds you have captured almost every part of this pose, giving your clients the maximum images in the minimum amount of time. This will also give you the same image in vertical and horizontal, which is helpful when designing your website, putting together a blog post, submitting the images for publication, designing an album and ultimately for your clients so that they have both orientation options when designing invitations, thank you cards, frames and whatever else they may use the photos for. Many websites have a horizontal layout and look better with horizontal images where as most blogs and magazines read vertical and therefore look better with the majority of the images in the vertical orientation. Instead of having to try to crop one of your favorite images to fit your purposes, you will most likely have your favorite image in both horizontal AND vertical! This was a game changer for me.
To keep your subject from becoming stiff while you get the images you need, walk them through different motions as you are photographing them. Tell her to reach up her hand and gently touch his face, tell him to reach down and lift her chin towards him, tell them to move in for a kiss but stop just before their lips meet, let them kiss (because at this point they are most likely itching to and it becomes a genuine moment as opposed to a posed and awkward one). Have them pull away and be ready to get the shot right as they do so that you can capture the intimacy of her looking shyly up at him and him beaming down at her. Guide them through the same motions as you move back to get the ‘middle’ images and then again for the wide. This is an unbeatable combo. In minutes you will have all the images you need and will leave your clients mind boggled at how many different photos you got in so little time. If you don’t already do this, try it at your next session or wedding and let me know how it goes! I hope this will help you as much as it has helped me! Good luck!
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