Welcome to part 2 composition posts! Composition, we believe, is one of the hardest things to master in photography in general, especially in wedding photography because everything is moving so fast and sometimes you literally have seconds to nail a shot. Plus, you are not just shooting people, but products like the shoes and rings, architecture like the reception locations, and you are shooting candid and posed shots all in the same day. Oh, and the lighting is all over the place with all kinds of varying other conditions. Not an easy job to begin with and definitely not easy to think about the perfect composition in the midst of all that!
So, today is one more simple technique that you can easily use and remember to help add that extra wow factor to your wedding shots. Today, we are going to be talking about Leading Lines.
Any time that we can grab our couple, the shoes, the bridesmaids and bride and so on and create some dramatic lines that lead us into the shot we are doing, we do it! Finding lines that point to our subject and lining them up to do so is a great technique that really makes our images much more interesting and dynamic. So, less talk and more pics! Let’s break down a few different styled shots and see how the lines made the images that much better.
The below image was shot at the Montaluce Winery north of Atlanta back in 2009. It rained the entire day and Jody went out onto the balcony of the estate room the bride was getting ready in so that she could have some light to shoot the shoe shots. She put the shoes on this cool railing that had some nice light coming in, but when she caught the sky in the shot it got pretty distracting, so she decided to change up the composition by getting the sky out of the shot (which makes it feel warm instead of dreary) and adding some lines to the image.
In this final shot, you can see how she used the railing to extend the lines of the shoes and lead you out of the frame. She also was sure to keep the sky out of the shot which makes the entire image seem really warm and colorful. Keeping the sky out of your shot on overcast days is a trick we use to keep things looking rich and warm.
In this below shot, we were shooting some portraits of the bride and bridesmaids and I (Zach) wanted to get a detail shot of the flowers and dresses. So I simply panned down and took the shot. The problem with it is two fold. One, the image is sort of flat looking without a lot of depth. Also, this is not the most flattering angle for the bridsemaids, so I really needed to get something different.
In this final shot, you can see how we aligned all of the flowers so that they created a great leading line, then I put the focus point on the bride so your eye would go to her white bouquet, then I grabbed the image. This is also a much more flattering way to shoot the ladies as it is not straight on, but shot at a 45 degree angle.
This next shot is actually a pretty cool first image that we did at one of our lighting workshops out in Orange County in 2009. The angle and absence of anything but the rail and sky work, but we thought it could be even cooler if we really used the railing as a leading line.
So, as you can see in this final shot, we put on the 16mm lens which would stretch those railing lines out and lead right into our subject. This shot is a bit of a rule breaker with the model right in the dead center, but the lines make it work and make it interesting to look at. The added width with the 16mm also gives you scope and a feeling of the area we were shooting in.
This final shot was from our desert shoot in Vegas this February, and is a good example of how to get some leading lines when there is nothing around you. We took this initial shot and the lighting is cool, but I really like to go for the ultra dynamic looking shots, so we wanted to add a little bit more. This one was taken from waist height to make the model look natural in height, and was shot on a wide lens. It is cool, but we wanted it eye-catching, so we changed it up for the final shot.
In the final shot below, I simply put the lens right on the ground and shot almost straight ahead to get those cracks in the ground to lead us right to our model. She looks like she is standing on the mountains in the background and the sun to her back is creating another line (the shadow of her legs) that lead us right to her. Both shots work, but this one is much more dramatic.
That is it! Go out, find some simple lines, and use your framing to have those lines lead directly to your subject!
Don’t forget that you can get this content first hand by coming out to any of our shooting workshops! Nashville is sold-out (with the exception of the business workshop which has a few seats left), so click HERE to see where else we are going to be!