Serendipity Technique

The Basics

Good photography requires an examination of the overall graphic, consideration of the background, the lighting on the body, the lighting on the face, and the animation and styling of the subject.

When shooting rapidly in a wedding it is useful to have a hierarchy of decision making points, as good wedding photography occurs when the photographer is able to integrate a large number of variables, some controlled and some not, within a very short time frame. Our experience at Serendipity photography has helped us fine tune our photography processes towards perfection yet still being adaptive to allow for the unique perspectives that can be captured at every wedding.

 

The Art of wedding photography

At Serendipity photography, we take a very artistic approach towards wedding photography. A mastery of the technical elements of photography is a fundamental prerequisite to allow for our artistic freedom in capturing moments at weddings.

Creative mastery, to allow the very best presentation of the photography subject, requires a process of optimisation, firstly attending to what is most possible and what is most important, and then moving onto the next point of consideration, and so on, to drive the shot as far as possible. All of this is done while capturing truthful and beautiful moments, and at Serendipity we take photos with creativity that allows for beautiful and unique perspectives, and versatility that allows our photography to capture that special something about your wedding that just cannot be captured with words.

It is a wedding photographers job to be flexible enough to organize formal shots while at the same time be ready to capture the candid and natural shots which are often the favorites in wedding albums.

The process

The subject must be placed and modelled. Often on Serendipity weddings, this happens only in the mind of the photographer, rapidly walking with you to very next thing. Again lens length and shooting distance should be selected, for best shape of face and body. Then lighting, then direction, then the creation of photographs. Mostly all that you will be aware of is a suggestion, an enticement, a laugh from the photographer, some movement with you both. These internal photographic steps are all but subsumed in a seamless flow of moments, yet they are fundamental, long learnt and even barely there; like the work on gear changes accelerator and brake are no longer consciously applied when an expert is in full driving flight.

Firstly then, when photographing with a mix of ambient and flash light, the light on the body is the first consideration since this is often the largest light — this is to create or minimise body shape — then the light on the face must be attended to. This last line itself needs a chapter or two for a studio portrait but in the wedding situation attending to light on the face more often then not it is simply asking that their face is positioned/pointed such that it has nice light.  Finally other sources of light may be introduced such as fill or bounce flash.

There are some locations where ambient or natural light is the best choice, or even the only choice available.


If the subject is to be lit primarily with flash then again the firstly main lighting must be chosen to flatter the figure or face shape, and then secondary light sources added or allowed to into the shot, such as off camera back light or a window light, or fill, when the off camera flash is the main light. At Serendipity we try harder with lighting, often using bounced or off camera flash to create drama and interest where many other photographers resort to the simple fire and forget approach of basic camera flash.

The next stage is the area of photographic technique, where we want the appropriate depth of field, aperture, and exposure. A lens is chosen to produce the desired effect in terms of focal length and depth of field. In general, for wedding photography, good exposure is taken from the face.

Animation of the subject is next, either through discussion, walking, playing, depending on what the subject is able to do within the limitations of the context. In the end, it is the emotional content of the image, established through the use of light, tones, background and animation (emotion in face and body) that gives the image the quality that we want. The emotion might come from the facial expression, or the background, but it is the shapes created by the couple their feelings, and the relationship  between the couple and their context, both visually and in the implied narrative, that good wedding photography comes about. If the subject is not animated then the composition or colours must be dynamic.

This is the overall and general technique we follow at Serendipity photography. Be it indoors or outdoors, regardless of whether it is in a bedroom or on a seaside, there will be this same hierarchy of concerns. The couple will be only aware of the surface of these concerns, they are held in trust by the photographer, who works with simple directions and positive emotions, accessing the couple’s feelings, the events of the day and the opportunities provided by the settings if the wedding day. Finally, at Serendipity, photographic sensitivity and skill are combined with state of the art post production to deliver within your album a most beautiful day, and a beautiful you!

 

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