Monday, November 16, 2015

Behind The Frame: Posing Large Wedding Parties


Posing bridal parties is one of my favorite things to do.  I always build at least 15-20 minutes into our schedule for the full group wedding party photo, especially when a group is large like this one, so we can create a dynamic and visually compelling image.  These more posed images have become more popular in wedding photography over the last few years, which I love and find way more compelling than an image of all the bridesmaids and groomsmen lined up.  When I don't have chairs or an opportunity to take this more editorial image I go the opposite route and crowd everyone together mixing the men and women on either side and go for a much more candid and joyful shot.  I never go for the pose of all bridesmaids on the bride's side and groomsmen on the groom's side lined up in a row.  It feels so oddly posed and prom-like.  No visual interest.  This is my favorite type to take because the photo is 100% about the composition.  These photos were made popular by Annie Leibovitz, who poses her large scale Vanity Fair Hollywood Issue photograph like this every year.  However it really goes back to the idea of basic composition: creating triangles and allowing the eye to flow through the frame, which I studied my Junior year in Paris at the Louvre in Poussin's History Paintings.  Poussin painted epic large scale paintings of mostly mythological scenes, featuring dozens of people on the canvas.  It can feel jumbled and chaotic, but by creating triangles our eye is able to enter the frame and follow the flow of the image.  This photo has lots of lovely triangles in it from the stained glass window, but the wedding party themselves also create two upwards triangles and a downwards triangle in the center of the frame.  The eye will enter the frame at the lightest and brightest spot, which is the bride and then can easily travel down the line of her veil and then up to the groomsmen on the end and easily flow over the two triangles on either side of the image to see every person in the party.


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