Today we’re continuing our Through the Lens series where we explore Wendi’s approach to photography and how her background in photojournalism translates to weddings. My first challenge to Wendi was to help me understand what’s going on in her head when she looks through the camera. This time around Wendi chose the subject — planning for the end — and when her notes hit my inbox I had to chuckle because I’m the Type A one and she’s the artistic one so I couldn’t wait to read what she had to say about planning! I love that she continues to surprise me and as I learn more about how she does “her thing” I have a deeper appreciation for the thoughtful preparation that goes into each and every shoot.
And now, in the words of Wendi…
Planning for the end. When I’m shooting I always keep the final product in mind. For magazine assignments I shoot more verticals because I know how the magazine is oriented and verticals play nicely on the page. With weddings there are a lot of final products – albums, prints, slideshow, web, etc. The one thing common to all these is a good story and every story needs a good opening, something that draws in the viewer.
For albums I like to start with a hook to immediately grab the viewer’s attention, but I also want to introduce the key characters. When I can achieve both in the same photo, like in the image above, I’m a happy photographer! Let’s see if I can deconstruct this process for you.
I was looking for a cool, tight shot of our bride, Ashley, to lead the story, but I wanted more than just a tight portrait. (Before going on, you need to know that I love white space/negative space. I think it is its own character and plays a definite role in storytelling.) When I saw the clean wall behind Ashley as she was having her hair done I wanted to use it to my advantage. After just a couple shots I quickly knew I had what I wanted and I knew exactly how I wanted to use it in the album.
It would be the opening image, placed alone on the right hand side of the layout. The white space in the image catches your eye and leads you to read the image like a book, left to right. You’re instantly connected with one of our main characters, Ashley and you’re eager to turn the page to learn more.
With all that being said I want to be very clear that I’m not a “stager” and I don’t plan everything. On the wedding day I am an observer and I capture the wedding story truthfully as it unfolds before me.
I didn’t pose Ashley for this image. It was a moment captured. It was a moment where my preparation of considering the final product + keenly observing my surroundings came together to create a unique introductory image.