Expressions are priceless and that mantra becomes all the more crucial when it comes to people photography ,viz., wedding, portrait, fashion and street photography. Expression is the most indispensable component of an award-winning frame. In other words, the subject’s expression could easily make or break a great picture. As a documentary wedding photographer, I always wait for that right moment when the subject portrays an expression that reflects the mood of the occasion and adds dynamics to the photograph. The expressions portrayed can usually engage the viewer’s attention towards the subject and help in telling a story. This post is intended for both the photographers and the couple to make sure there are some great shots with priceless expressions. Here are some of the ways I try to bring out the expressions when I’m shooting a wedding.
Keep it candid – Try to be invisible and capture the subject’s expressions in a candid way because the human conscience is the biggest enemy of an authentic and an awesome expression. Once your subjects know that they are the focus in your frame, they become conscious and even if they try to give the expressions which ends up artificial most of the times. We are hired only to keep the shots natural and we always like it that way
Keep the conversation going – Try to talk to your subjects and put them to ease. Take a lot of test shots. Sometimes your final shot can be one of those very test shots. If you have seen me photograph, you could have easily noticed that I’m non-intrusively in conversation with my clients because they are so overwhelmed with the proceedings they forget to have fun sometimes. So it’s absolutely necessary to keep your conversation going. This is especially true when you are shooting portraits.
Try to be funny – Cracking jokes often helps lighten up the air and more importantly, also makes the subject laugh and smile giving you some of the best expressions. At the end of the day you should have fun and that is how you can get the best expressions from your subjects.
Focus on the eyes – When you are taking portraits, focus on the eyes. It’s the most expressive part of the human face. Eyes convey the mood of your subject. In this picture, I asked the bride to give the camera a wink she did giving me a wonderful frame.
Add ambiance – Adding the environment around the subject into the frame helps in bringing the overall mood of the subject. Fill the frame with people or the ambiance around your couple.
Be Informal – Your subjects respond to your state of mind. If you act formal or bossy, they are not going to throw too many expressions for you. Be casual and put them at ease, which is a surefire way for them to respond with those priceless expressions that you are looking for, as a photographer. Get to know the couple you are working with. I usually communicate with them very frequently before the wedding either in person or through email or chat. By doing this the couple do not see me as a stranger during their wedding rather treat me as one of their friends who is attending the wedding
Think before you click – Like in any other photography think before you click your shutter button. Be ready and when the moment is ready, then click the shot. Its a camera and not a machine gun.
These simple techniques will surely help a wedding photographer to go back home with some great shots. I would love to hear your feedback.