Let’s Talk About Portraits On Your Wedding Day

Posted by Admin on June 9th 2018

Having wedding portraits made on your wedding day has been a staple since the late 1800’s and continues to be a time-honored tradition today. However, the way photographers take portraits and the amount of time allocated for portraits has changed quite a bit. From 1880 to about 1960, weddings were much shorter affairs that consisted of a ceremony, a portrait session, and then cake. They were not at all like the 10-14-hour days that are common when the wedding is in one location with a separate location reception and dinner. So, when it comes to wedding portraits, what should you plan for and expect?

Good Portraits Take Time
When you are considering how long it will take for your portraits, remember that beautiful portraits that look effortless and easy... aren’t. If they look well lit, and everyone looks happy and connected it’s because the photographer worked hard on posing, lighting, and selecting the right location. If you have 25 different groupings of people that you want to be photographed, that photographer has to get everyone into place 25 times. At a minimum of 3 minutes per pose (which is very fast), you’re looking at over an hour just for those portraits alone. If you add additional poses at different locations, it will add on even more time. The photographer needs time to set up and test their equipment, and there’s the inevitable problem of suddenly missing someone who is supposed to be there but wandered off. Yes, it happens!

Creative/Artistic Portraits
If you want some very special artistic portraits taken in a variety of locations, then plan on even more time away from your guests if your session is between the ceremony and the reception. Some couples take a few hours on the wedding day to travel to locations that are particularly photogenic or meaningful to them and they schedule that into the day so their guests know what to expect. Other couples will schedule a portrait session either before or after the wedding day, so they can really focus on that time to create magical images. The point is to have a reasonable expectation of time for the type of portraits you are hoping for.

Talk to Your Photographer About What a Successful Portrait Session Looks Like
Since your photographer works with posing groups every week, they can give you a very clear picture of how long each session should take. Ask for their advice on places to take the photos and what they suggest to make the process go smoothly. In some cases, photographers will ask to do bridal couple photos with no one else present. The reason for this is twofold: it makes the photos more intimate, and it keeps well-meaning friends and family from slowing down the process when they want to take their photos.

Great portraits start with great photographers. Make sure you study the portraits of the photographers you are considering as well as the more photojournalistic photos they are showing in their portfolios. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about how they made certain photos, and what they like about them. To find an ISPWP photographer in your area, check our directory of wedding photographers.

(Image by Daniele Torella | Daniele Torella Photography | Rome, Italy)

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