Our first job as photojournalistic DC wedding photographers is to give our clients a visual narrative of their marriage celebrations. Their wedding photo album should allow them to re-experience all the emotions they felt on the day they tied the knot. As we have discussed elsewhere on this website, achieving this goal requires following the action intently with our cameras. It is also important for a Washington, DC, wedding photographer to understand intuitively which moments matter the most. We have also noted on this site that unforgettable documentary matrimonial photography also demands more creativity than one might think. Telling our our brides’ and grooms’ love stories is important. Making those narratives emotionally impactful creates something that the newlyweds will treasure forever.
Documentary DC wedding photographers like us exercise considerable editorial and creative control over the stories we tell in our pictures. But refusing to inject ourselves into the proceedings does limit the extent to which we can stretch our wings. We can turn every significant moment of a couple’s nuptials into a compelling and powerful photograph using creative techniques. We can experiment with new and different angles. We can layer our compositions such that the photos tell stories within stories. We can use flashes to spotlight certain areas, create beautiful starbursts or heighten the contrast in the image. We can apply colored “gels” to our artificial lighting to make the pictures’ hues more visually interesting.
What we cannot do as photojournalistic marriage photographers is alter the proceedings to make for better pictures. We will not stage scenes or ask our Washington, DC, brides and grooms to act out scenarios. This is their wedding day, not ours. We want them to be free to experience their marriage celebrations on their own terms. That way, the emotions they feel and the moments that happen will be real and genuine. And when that happens, the pictures that we take look fantastic. Few things are more beautiful on film than raw and unfiltered human feelings.
As great as this approach to wedding photography is, it does impose certain limitations. A Washington, DC, wedding photographer with a documentary style can only work with what the event gives them. They can make emotional moments look great on film, but they cannot make those moments happen. Their creativity is bounded by the material.
That is the case for the majority of a wedding day. There are, however, some portions of a marital event that allow for more creative freedom. Couples portraits, for example, give even a photojournalistic wedding photographer more license to create. The more structured nature of this part of a marriage celebration means that we can get more involved in setting up shots. We can choose locations that make the newlyweds look their best and that add context to the images. We can position ourselves nearly anywhere we want. We can shoot from close up or far away. We can tinker with the newlyweds’ posing to ensure they look great together. Though we prefer to let our brides and grooms pose naturally, we can and will make adjustments as necessary.
Perhaps most importantly, we can also bring nearly unlimited creativity to couples portraits. With more time to set up shots, we can do just about anything we can dream up. It also helps to have the subjects of the photo in a stationary and largely motionless position. That means we can use lighting however we want without having to worry about anyone moving or getting in the way. It also allows us to employ interesting and unusual visual effects. While our couples pose together, we can take the time to create beautiful compositions around them.
That is what we did when we took this couples portrait of two newlyweds outside of Hannover, Germany. After their courthouse wedding, they brought us to nearby Schloss Bückeburg for their portraiture. That historic castle and wedding venue is surrounded by beautiful wooded areas that are lovely spots for pictures of newly-married partners. One location that we particularly liked was a small pond not far from the main castle building. It was sunken slightly below the forest floor, and the banks leading down to it were ringed by plants with huge leaves. As you can see in this image, that vegetation gave the area around the couple a nice and pleasing texture.
What makes the picture really pop, however, is the extra texture that we added to it using the aforementioned extra creative freedom that couples portraits allow us. The sky that day was filled with white clouds with visually pleasing shapes. We thought that it would be nice to bring a bit of that to the photographs. Taking an extremely wide-angle shot that would have rendered the newlyweds ant-like in size. So instead, we created a reflection of the sky that laid the clouds over the existing frame. How did we do it, you might ask? We used a cell phone! We held our smart phone up near our lens, and the device’s reflective surface brought the sky and clouds into the composition. The result was a dreamy and multi-textured image that the bride and groom absolutely loved!
Location: Bückeburg Palace, 31675 Bückeburg, Germany.Keywords: Destination Weddings (9).