Bambi Cantrell is a wedding photographer who gave us great tips in our “Four Perfect Moments” article (April, 2007). Last week she presented the Language of Lighting and Posing, a seminar at the PhotoPlus conference in New York. She explained how to get amazing photojournalistic-style wedding photos, what light to look for no matter what kind of people shots you’re doing, and how to pose just about anyone. Here are highlights:
For photojournalism-style wedding photography_

• Never use a flash—it’s too distracting, always use natural light.
• Shoot on Aperture Priority so you can get your shot faster.
• Never take your camera away from your eye, because a picture could happen at any moment.
• Pick the right lens so you can get in tight and isolate the subject—it’s the small moments that matter most. The number one reason why photos fail, she says, is because the photographer showed too much.
• Look for beautiful moments when ordinary stuff is happening (the serene look on the bride’s face while she’s getting her hair done for example).
• When photographing an object, try to get part of a person in it to give the shot more meaning.
• To know what kind of photos you should take at the wedding, the first question you should ask the bride is what her dress is like, it will tell you more about her style and preferences than anything else.

General posing and lighting

• Have the subject separate their arms from their body to look thinner and give the body more shape.
• Using a higher light angle gives a shadow under the chin, which can minimize a double chin. Also when using a higher angle, have the subject look up with their eyes only to minimize the bags under their eyes.
• Turn bodies away from light to give them more shape.
• If lighting a long face use broad light, otherwise use short light.
• Have subjects lean forward with their chest to give them a more engaged, friendly look.
—Kathleen Davis
Assistant Editor_