The speeches are one of my most favorite parts of a wedding. Everyone has eaten beautiful food and had a chance to talk, laugh and have a glass of wine. There are laughs, tears and generally completely absorbed guests, dedicated to the moment. This leads to some of my favourite shots and last weekend's wedding was by far the best so far. It was also the first wedding with a 70-200mm f/2.8 lens (ya know…the ‘big boy' white one) and it proved to be an absolute win during the speeches. Here are my 5 tips for capturing beautiful shots of the speeches:
- I use a long lens to zoom in from around the edges of the crowd. This is a time where I try to stay out of guest view as much as possible to as not to distract from the moment. I walk around the edges of the room and not amongst the tables (if I can help it). I shoot wide open to keep everyone blurry, except for the face I'm focusing on.
- Find a few guests who have great expressions. Do you have a perfect view of a laugher? Hold steady on him/her and wait until the speaker says something funny. Laughs are pretty much a guarantee during the best man speech. Tears happen often during the father of the bride speech.
- During the speeches, it's your job as the photographer to capture moments that the bride, groom & their family are missing. Who's laughing, who's crying? What did the bride look like as her father was speaking? How was she looking at her new husband while he was declaring his love for her? Make sure that you know who the immediate family are and get shots of them enjoying this moment. This is the only time I will sneak in amongst the tables if necessary to get a view of one of the parents.
- Black and white is my favorite for wedding photos. It's been said that when you photograph people in color, you take a picture of their clothes but when you photograph in B&W, you photograph their souls. I find that the expressions make a much bolder statement when rendered in B&W.
- Tell a story by putting appropriate images together in a collage. I love doing this because it makes the moment come alive. Place them in a way that keeps the eyes and expressions aimed towards the speaker. See the example below with everyone looking at the groom.