My sister Whitney had a vision for the formal photos at her wedding. She didn’t want to end up taking stiff posed photos with everyone all lined up in a row and cited Annie Leibovitz’s group shots for Vanity Fair as an inspiration to try for something extra. She knew in order to make it happen on the wedding day we were going to have to invest some time and effort at the dress rehearsal the day before.
She talked with the owner of the Dana Powers House who agreed to let us set some furniture out on the lawn the night before. We looked around the wedding grounds at the same time of day that the photos were going to be taken and found an area in open shade with a nice background. This is very important because the worst thing you can do is have half the group in sun/half in shade, even all sun is better than a mix. After arranging the furniture into a pattern that we found pleasing, we took a few moments to think about the different combinations she was going to want. She knew that she didn’t want to spend a lot of time on formals (quality over quantity!) and was able to minimize her combinations to 5 important photos: both bride & groom’s families, just bride’s family, just groom’s family, siblings only, and entire bridal party. We did a run through of the 5 portraits, taking a few moments to get everyone into places that looked visually interesting, then, and this is probably the most important part, we asked everyone to remember their places! The whole process probably took 30 minutes on rehearsal day and on the wedding day it was 10 minutes for all 5 shots.
If you’re feeling inspired & would like help making beautiful heirloom photos at your wedding, please feel free to contact me for more details. Luckily my sister was able to utilize my experience as wedding photographer when considering how large a space we could occupy, where to place the furniture in relation to the sun, and which part of the yard to choose for a backdrop. During the process we were in contact with her photographer, Kristen, and sent her an iphone photo the night before so she’d know what to expect.
Here are our final results beautifully photographed on film by Kristen Ellis of Beaux Arts Photographie: