Using Wide, Medium, and Tight To Take Amazing Wedding Portraits
Improve your wedding photography and make your wedding clients happy
Have you ever shot a wedding and things are running behind? The make up artist is taking longer than expected or the bridesmaids are running late and the bride needs help with her dress and you do your best to help out where you can however your thirty minute window to do a “first look” followed by couples’ portraits is now beginning to look more like a 10 minute window and now all of those poses or looks that you had in mind from the time you woke up in the morning have rapidly disappeared from your mind and now you’re wondering what you are going to do with your couple once you begin shooting? Me too! I have been there many times before and no matter how many poses or ideas I may have had for my couple, when things get hurried and plans go awry its so easy for your great ideas to go out the door!
However, with these three little words, wide, medium, tight–I have been able to come up with a nice variety of looks for my clients on their wedding day and I believe will help keep your clients glad they hired you! So without further ado, here are how I use Wide, Medium and Tight to keep my clients happy when I feel overwhelmed!
For your wide shots, simply place the couple in the environment in which they are getting married, at the venue, or near the venue. You want to show the scene in which the story of their day takes place. In the images below the couples were placed in front of the venue they were getting married and asked to hold hands while standing next each other. You can do a variety of poses and ask them to hold hands, face each other, or give each other a quick kiss, or my favorite is for the couple to face each other and take a long embrace while simply talking to each other and reflecting on their special day.
I find when you take wide shot photos, you give couples some space when you are first getting to know them and help them feel comfortable with taking photos together. When you give your couples some space you may shooting with a wide angle lens such as a 24-70mm or a 35mm while letting the couple have some time together in their own space. You may even use a 50mm wide open to get some of the foreground of the environment in the photo like the image at the bottom.
I usually start shooting my couples with wide shots to allow them to warm together. They get to be together and get used to me (photographer) directing them. On wedding days I like to let my couples embrace each other, to talk about their experience of the day and check in with each other to make sure the emotions of the day are not overwhelming anyone. For example, the last image I had the couple just take a moment to be with each other and just talk and check in with each other and you can see that there a beautiful and natural embrace of each other.
When shooting medium, you simple get a little closer as you and your couple warm up to each other. Here there is more direction for them to capture a variety of looks or emotions. You are still getting some of the background but not nearly as much as a wide shot. You get a vague idea of where the couple is, but it’s not the focal point of the image. With medium shots, the couple interacting with each other is the focal point of the image. This is where I like to shoot my couples the most. I prefer a more medium range with my couples so that I can direct them to do more fun poses and movements such as lifts, dips, slow dances, and I find them to be romantic without being too intrusive.
My favorite lens for medium range is the 50mm and sometimes I like to use the 70-200mm lens as well even though I do have to stand back a couple steps more than a 50mm. However I love the compression factor when using a 70-200 and the ability to zoom into the tight range quickly if needed. The 85mm lens may work in this range as well however I find the 50mm works best and I prefer to save the 85mm lens for tighter space.
Medium range lenses best used: 50mm, 24-70mm or for Canon users the 28-70mm, and lastly the 70-200mm.
With tight shots, this is where the 85mm lens or the 70-200 lenses shine! You can probably get away with using a 50mm lens but you risk getting your camera all up in your couple’s business and no one needs that. With tight shots, you have probably warmed to your couple and they have warmed up to you barking orders at them to smile, kiss, and suck it in! By now you should be comfortable with telling them to whisper in each other’s ear, take a long slow kiss, or slow dance with each other while rubbing the small of her back while she wraps her arms around the back of his head.
As you can see from shooting tight shots, this is your opportunity to grab those detail shots such as rings, hand holding, or any details that are relevant to the environment the couple is in such as flowers or trees, etc….
In closing, whenever I find myself trying to think of photos in a pinch, instead of focusing on specific poses, I find it much easier and more natural to think about shooting photos with “wide, medium, and tight” in mind. I hope that you, too, will find this to be a quick and easy way to find a variety of looks for your wedding couples.