How to tell your wedding story through photos
Recently we did a wedding at the Brotherhood Winery in Washington, NY and after the wedding, our bride selected the images that she wanted to be displayed in her wedding album. Not only did I truly love the images selected but she was able to put together a beautiful story and in return, it persuaded me to look into how and when the Brotherhood Winery was created.
This lead me to start doing research and in doing so I found something very interesting, but before I get into the story of the Brotherhood winery we found that many photographers have been taking images that did not portray the vintage, rustic orra of the Brotherhood Winery. Furthermore, the photographers really didn’t tell the brides and grooms story through their photos.
Maybe the photographer or the bride and groom didn’t truly speak with each other to find out what made them pick this beautiful location for their wedding. With all this history that surrounds the Brotherhood Winery, why couldn’t we find images that had a rustic, vintage yet elegant appeal? All the images I saw were light and airy like every other picture you would find from just about every other venue and none of them made us feel or showcase the immense presence of the wine cellar.
Let’s dive in and make sure your photos from your wedding don’t turn out lackluster.
#1 Narrative Wedding Photography:
Telling a Story,
Most photographers shoot a wedding with a specific list of images in my mind and some would fall into the trap of ‘imposing’ those shots upon the day, not seeing what is in front of them and trying to photograph that in the most compelling and interesting way. Don’t get me wrong some photographers take breath-taking images but this is a wedding, not a fashion shoot where you must get that 1 shoot for the magazine cover. It goes beyond that, it’s “TELLING A STORY”.
I recommend that all brides tell their story by having a consultation with their wedding photographer so that the story can unfold naturally. We get numerous amounts of inquiries and even though some are simply price shopping, the brides and grooms really don’t know what else to ask. It’s our jobs as wedding professional photographers to set the tone by asking questions to get to know more about what the bride and groom would like to capture their memories. I have been asked in the past ‘Can you do ‘these’ particular shots?’ or ‘I’ve seen these photographs and would like everything like this on my day’. If it is a style far removed from the naturalistic images I take I have to say ‘That’s not what I do.’ Luckily in our studio, we have different photographers that have their own signature look that fits our brand and I understand that not every studio has that as an option.
# 2 Composing the Shot
When I compose images, I keep these four things in mind so I can naturally create a story.
Wide shot: Where we are, “set the scene”
Medium Shot: Who is there, “present the story”
Tight Shot: What is happening, “show the details”
Observation: natural candids to help enrich the story and tie all the above-mentioned shots together to tell a story.
This also works with both Cinematography as well as Photography
# 3 Remember it is a Story
A good documentary of any kind will have a beginning, a middle and an end. It will also answer the core questions of who, why, what, where and when.
When shooting, remember you are there to give a concise record of the day, so your images should stand together to tell the story but also stands out individually as moments in time.
A good documentary wedding photographer will not just take endless ‘headshots in a natural way’ using a 70-200mm lens. A good documentary photographer will link each section of the day together with cornerstone images, such as venue shots, transportation, and guests moving between locations. They will also strive to incorporate details such as the weather to help mend the components of the day into a coherent set of images that tell the whole story.
The Brotherhood Winery is a winery in Washingtonville, New York. With its first commercial vintage produced in 1839, it is commonly acknowledged to be the oldest operating winery in the United States. In 2000 it was added to the National Register of Historic Places. The winery’s slogan is “America’s Oldest Winery”.
The “Brotherhood” expanded its facilities to include the single remaining original building on the winery’s property, as well as adding large underground winemaking facilities. Edward wrote the book The Story of the Vine while in ownership of Brotherhood.