Even though the two people getting married are the main focus of most of the photos taken at their nuptials, the backdrop that your wedding photographer chooses is also crucial. What’s going on behind two newlyweds is vital to the composition of a great picture. It can make or break any image of you and your fiancé(e), especially when it comes to your couples portraits! The background should complement the newly married spouses, draw the eye to them and help tell their love story without using words. What it should not to is distract your attention from the happy couple or make brides and grooms look worse on film! Not surprisingly, what separates the best wedding photographers from the rest is their ability to pose you in ways and in settings that make you look as beautiful as possible.
As we have mentioned elsewhere on this website, sometimes the right composition is the one that incorporates important elements of the setting into the photographs. Couples tying the knot in the Washington, DC metropolitan area often consider the city an important part of their love story, so we look for opportunities to pose them in front of iconic landmarks such as the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, the White House, the Capitol and the various museums that are part of the Smithsonian Institution. In other cases, we try to use the beauty of nature to frame and an accentuate the beauty of two recently married people embracing. Taking a picture of newlyweds ringed by leaves, for example, can create a colorful and dreamy border that makes the couple look gorgeous.
We are particularly proud of the way we used the setting to make the newlyweds look fantastic in this wedding photo. The bride and groom exchanged their vows at Woodlawn Manor Cultural Park in suburban Washington, DC (which unfortunately no longer hosts marriage celebrations). Despite the slightly drizzly weather, theirs was an outdoor ceremony in the pastoral setting of the manor grounds. One of the upsides of an overcast wedding day is that colors become much more vibrant in that kind of light. To take advantage of that, we took the bride and groom in search backdrops for their couples portraits that were full of rich colors. We also thought that bright hues would complement the neutral tones of their wedding dress and suit.
The perfect spot turned out to be in the doorway of a red wood cabin located between the manor house and the tent that had been set up for the after-ceremony reception. Everything about the composition of the resulting images worked perfectly. The crimson of the cabin’s wall looked great behind the aforementioned muted colors of the couple’s clothing, but it also popped because of its juxtaposition with the complementary green hues of the grass. The vertical lines created by the narrow slats of wood running up the wall also accentuated the height and erect posture of the bride and groom in the pose that we chose for them. Framing them in the doorway was the perfect final touch, because the hints of white draw the eye immediately to the two people standing in front of it — the newlyweds.