Thanks to London-based wedding photographer Matt Foden for this excellent guest post showing some of his photos and how they were created. My hope is that this post will help you to get in the mind of a wedding photographer to see how great pictures like these are made. Oh, and if you're in the U.S. and aren't used to the term U.K. term “reportage photography”, just read it as “journalistic photography.” I LOVE the way the English speak. Anyway, here's Matt….
Wedding photography is the main focus of our business, and we've only been shooting them for 3 years we've learned a lot in that time- partly through training, and partly from experience and making mistakes. Shooting weddings is fun, stressful, nerve-wracking and dead exciting- we love it! I thought I would take you through 4 sample shots we've taken at 2 different weddings and explain a bit about how I took the shot and why the scene caught my eye.
This shot was pure reportage- I love shots that feature a distinct foreground (as they add depth), and the door on the left of the frame acted as a foreground and also a kind of odd frame for the composition. This also gives the image a voyeuristic feel, which I love. This was shot with my 24-70mm at f2.8 and with natural light. Like most of our reportage shots I spotted the compositional potential first, framed up the image, and then just waited for the right moment. Reportage photography is like hunting- except of course you aren't killing anyone (hopefully)- and that's why I think it appeals so much to photographers. In many ways it's the purest form of photography. It's important to be ultra-observant at all times, and to keep looking out for interesting objects, frames, doorways and other compositional devices. At the same time, you have to keep a close eye on the action- not easy!
Again another pure reportage shot- We had typically English rainy weather on this wedding day and I spotted everyone raising their umbrellas around the bride. I simply got into the right position and waited for the right moment. I love this shot, but in truth I was lucky, and there's nothing exceptional about this shot from a technical point of view, except the timing. The lesson to learn here is simply to be in the right place at the right time- This comes with practise and experience.
In strict contrast this was very much a staged shot, but one that we tried to get looking as natural as possible. We had seen this pose carried out by other photographers, but usually shot from directly above. We changed the composition slightly by shooting into Maiko's face, and I gave some very quiet and soft direction to Maiko and Fabricio to look softly into each other's eyes. To get romantic expressions and moods it's important to use your tonality in the right way- speak softly and gently and slowly, and use emotive words to direct the couple. Then, just let the magic happen. Shot with a 24-70mm lens at f4.
Another staged portrait- This time shot with the 70-200 f4 to compress the perspective and make the arch of the bridge act as a more prominent ‘frame'. The longer lens also gave us much shallower depth of field which helped to focus the viewers attention on the couples' expression. It's good to ask yourself the question when taking a particular set-up ‘what is the best lens for the job?'. Always base your answer around what you are trying to achieve in the picture.
I hope these 4 examples gives you some insight into how we approach our wedding photography. If you'd like to see more of our work you can find our website at http://www.mattfoden.co.uk