Tuesday Tips & Tricks | Creating the Image

“We are taking time off awaiting baby Gray, but have put together our favorite Tips and Tricks from the last two years for us all to review!”

Welcome to Tuesday Tips and Tricks REVISITED and the newest installment in a series we call “Creating the Image!
Today we are breaking down a series of images taken at a recent wedding in Franklin, TN of the amazing Amy and Brian. We shot images of them in a number of different places from out in a beautiful field, in a garden and in front of the historic Carnton Plantation home where they were married. As we walked by this little dirt road between locations, we noticed a great line of trees and some nice light and decided to set up a quick series of shots here.

There are always a few elements that we look for when shooting the portraits of the bride and groom, and one of those is some real interaction between our couple. So we go through 4 simple steps to make sure that we get some great candid shots of them. Ready? Here we go!

Step 1. Light

The first thing we need, especially for candid shots, is great natural light that we can put our couple in so that we have a photo friendly environment. This location had some soft, directional light coming towards our clients, so we decided that this was an ideal location for some candid-style shots.



Step 2. Guidance

Over years of shooting countless couple’s we realize that most great images are created, not just captured naturally. So we set up simple scenarios and give out couple’s simply posing instructions that allow us to get great candid shots of them. For this series of images, we did something like what you see below, where we demonstrated how our couple should walk and what they should do. We love to give them very easy and simple instructions like “walk hand in hand, shoulders turned slightly toward each-other, and Brian, your job as you walk is to make sure that Amy smiles. Think of the one thing that you can say or do that you know makes her smile, and do that.”

Then, as our couple begins to walk, we naturally see them interacting with each other and almost always get great, true expressions out of them! We also put on long lenses so that we are not up in their faces and they feel more alone just talking and interacting with each other.

Step 3. Composition

Now that we have some great light, and an easy scenario for our couple to interact within, we now need to get a good perspective on it. This area was very cool to shoot in, but presented some trouble spots if not handled correctly.

The trees made for some great leading lines as you can see in the below left image, but when composed for the tree line, we have to contend with the super bright overcast sky which can easily steal the attention if we are not careful. So, recomposing the shot as you see on the bottom right image, allows our couple to be the brightest part of the shot, instead of the bright sky, which puts your focus directly on them.

You can use the trees and the bright sky to compose the shot, as long as the couple’s heads are in the sky in an open area like the below left image. This helps separate them from the background and stand out more.

Step 4. Getting the Moment

We shoot on all manual with a custom white balance so that our images are just how we want them straight out of the camera, so all that is left to do is make sure that we capture that little moment between our bride and groom. He is candidly talking with her making her smile, and this is a true, genuine moment between them that we just created, so it is key to not miss it! :)

Jody and I will usually shoot from two different perspectives and we are coaching them and watching them carefully for those little expressions that we know they will love to look at later. We are saying little things like “if you want to stop and kiss, we won’t complain!” or, “oh my gosh you guys look amazing right now! Keep it up!” This type of encouragement lets them know they are doing exactly what they should be (and we say this no matter if they are or are not doing the right thing) and when people feel encouraged, they are more excited about the final product because of how they felt during the creation process.


We hope that these 4 steps to creating a great, candid image will help you next time your out shooting!

Do you have some things you say to your clients to encourage and motivate them? Let us know in the comment boxes below so we can all learn from you as well!! :)