Getting Genuine Portrait Shots

Can we talk about those portrait shots? No not the ones of the bride and groom alone – the 500 combinations of bride and groom and wedding party and guests. They can be rough.

There I said it. Even for the happiest couple there is a lot of standing and grinning at the camera. After all there is the brides family and the grooms family and the combined family and the brides with the bridesmaids and the groom with the groomsmen and then the bride with the groomsmen and the groom with the bridesmaids and then the shot of all the sisters or the shot of all the college buddies. And don’t forget that Aunt Erma is insistent she gets a photo alone with the couple and we need to get a photo with all the kids in it and each bridesmaid needs a shot of her and the bride one on one because hey – it’s a big day!

I’m already exhausted.

And I can keep shooting – that’s my job! But I have yet to encounter one couple that doesn’t get a little fatigued unless they are well practiced in posing and smiling and posing and smiling (a celebrity perhaps?).

But there are tricks! And advice! These shots don’t have to be so tedious.

First of all I try to set up a shoot of the bride and groom separate from those family portraits – to give them a chance alone to really soak in the moment –because that’s what I want to capture for them.

Also I always make sure I talk to the couple before the wedding day so I know exactly how many portraits we are taking and what we need to get done. This way I can plan the timing and devise a strategy so it is smooth sailing and no one is forgotten. (Could you imagine if poor Aunt Erma didn’t get her photo? Can’t let that happen. I bring a list.)

But I also have a secret arsenal – the poses I suggest and the directions I give that are designed to make sure each shot is special. To make sure everyone gets that genuine honest moment that brings out their personality. To really capture a portrait of each group. And portraits? They have to be honest.

So I shoot in between poses to capture those spontaneous moments...

Wes Fisher Photography portrait of bride on her wedding day with friend in Eugene Oregon

And I try to be surprising with my choice of angles so each photo is unique....

And I ask questions. I take my time. These are relationships we are trying to capture here!

I always encourage couples and families to get silly, especially when that's their true personality ...

And keep an eye out for the spontaneous shots I may not have planned...

But really – the personality is there. Mostly I just remind everyone they can be as excited and silly and genuine as they want. And sometimes I just shout CHEESE

Christina Roman