For many years, stylized poses and stagnant imagery have become the norm in wedding photography. While this approach can create beautiful one-off photos and freeze a lovely moment in time, it falls short when it comes to illustrating a complete wedding day.
Wedding imagery should tell compelling stories, express emotion, and capture genuine moments as they unfold. To create meaningful, cohesive work, we must find ways to include the expressions of people and action into our designs and imagery.
Over my years as a creative director, I’ve discovered that introducing movement into a scene helps to bring life and authenticity to a shot.
Movement can be broken down into two parts: movement of the body, and movement of an object. Movement of the body works well for models and people who feel comfortable being photographed. Movement of an object (such as fabric) can be helpful for people who are less comfortable in front of a camera because it creates a sense of movement while the model or couple remain stationary.
Consider the following examples of movement of the body:
In this scene, I draped a 9 foot piece of silk fabric across the bride and had her run across the frame (towards the wind) in a continual motion. We practiced this a couple of times making sure the fabric was flowing well and her toes were pointed for a more feminine shot.
By shooting through the movement, we captured beautiful images of the flow of the gown billowing in the wind, as well as the delicate, feminine silhouette of the model.
In this scene, the model performed a series of simple motions that included a fast turn of her head to create blurred movement. In following the movement, we captured emotion, tone, and human expression both in and out of focus.
These images are an example of movement in an object. Notice how the model remains relatively stationary, holding the pose while the wind and fabric create movement around her.
Showing motion in an image brings the viewer into the middle of a story, watching it unfold frame by frame.
Movement in a shoot also helps the client feel more comfortable in front of the camera.
Learn how to help the groom elicit tender responses from his bride that feel natural to the moment. Encourage him to express love through action (beyond the obvious kiss). Suggest he move a strand of hair away from his bride's face, run his fingers down her arm softly before taking her hand, gently kiss the inside of her wrist, or whatever seems natural to them and the moment.
Provide clear purpose for the movement, encouraging the couple to focus on enjoying each other. Free them from the concerns of “What am I supposed to do with my hands? What should I do for the camera?” When the client is relaxed and able to behave naturally, you’ll be provided with so many more opportunities to capture genuine, intimate moments, which are essential to unfolding an authentic, personal wedding story. And that is what wedding photography is really about.