As a photographer, you have the opportunity to tell a story with the photos you take from the wedding day. Because you are the expert, storytelling should be something which is engrained in your shooting style. Sometimes, telling a cohesive story with your images can be challenging. That’s why we are featuring Andrew Funderburg, founder of Fundy Software, so he can share 3 tricks to tell a story with your images from the wedding day.
In the first article, Strategically Shooting for the Album Design, I talked about how to be present on the wedding day and ensure that you capture the best images for the album. Now, what do you do when you are back in the studio and faced with thousands of images from the day? How do you get from a full wedding down to an album? Focusing on telling a story in your album is the key to creating a strong album that your client will treasure.
1. Place the Images in Order
You can start the process in Lightroom, where you have the opportunity to cull through the photos you need to accurately tell the story. After your cull, bring your chosen album imports into your album design software, like Fundy Designer. At first pass, I recommend taking the imported images and just getting them into the album creator in chronological order. They don’t have to – and probably won’t – stay where they are, but wedding timelines are the default basis for any wedding album. As a visual person, as most photographers are, it also helps to see that day laid out from start to finish.
Image Compliments of Andrew Funderburg
But a timeline does not necessarily make a storyline. For an engaging story, we need a clear beginning, middle, and end. The beginning should always begin by answering the question: “Where are we?” Scene setting shots (even some landscape) really anchor the location and explain the why. Then, to address the next question: “Who are the main characters?”, we have the bride getting ready and the groom getting ready. I favor having some scenes where the wedding party or family of the couple will enter the setting of the getting ready shots, aiming for nonformal, casual interactions with all of the main people of the day.
Following this, we navigate to the middle, which comprises the bulk of an album with the goal to tell the movement of the story. The bride in her dress, the groom in his tux, the drama of the first look, or of him seeing her for the first time walking down the aisle. The formals, the ceremony, another dramatic moment with the kiss, and then the spirited exit from the service. I find that after the ceremony spreads, it is nice to have moments of the bride & groom alone before moving into the reception portion. In real life, whether the formals happened before the ceremony or after, it’s helpful to set up a transition in the book between the happiness of the ceremony and the party that is the reception.
2. Include the Excitement
The reception is where the main action lies – the apex (or highest point of excitement) of the day. In the design, you are aiming to show the big moment(s) that happen before moving into the end of the day. An excellent example is a Hora dance usually found in traditional Jewish wedding receptions. That can be envisioned as a big spread in the book with the couple lifted up on chairs surrounded by their family and friends. That frenzy is palpable and clearly communicated in the image(s). Then, and only then, are you ready to transition down to the end of the story or the denouement (resolution) of the day.
This peak of reception activity doesn’t have to be a Hora dance; it can be a limited set of wild and crazy portraits from the dance floor, or maybe there is a colorful fireworks display. It can be a choreographed dance from the bridal party or a band singer crooning to a full dance floor. There is no one size fits all; just be on the lookout for whatever that point is in the wedding story that you are trying to tell.
This moment in the design is where the length of your album helps you to decide how to progress into the end. In a short album, you can go directly from that peak moment to the last quiet spread. But, if you have at least one spread in between those scenes, it helps to bring the reader down a little slower.
Say the excitement spread is a panorama covering both pages, or maybe you have one killer shot on each page. Then the next spread is a group of images, six to eight other dance shots, exciting but not as emotional because all of the photos on these pages are smaller. Then, totally dependent on the day, there might be another spread that has an exit. A sparkler send-off or the bride and groom waving from the limo, an actual representation of leaving. But we don’t want to end the album on that note, as the best love stories give us the sense that the couple is together, on that day and always.
3. Choose the Final Image
All of this thought and story development is working towards one last image on the last page. Ideally, that picture should represent a quiet minute; a pulled back wide angle, where the bride and groom are not the whole picture, but just a portion. The albums then end with the reader looking from afar, forever giving the bride and groom their privacy, and their moment together.
As you can see, a wedding album can be a powerful storytelling tool. In essence, you are creating your vision of your client’s love story, and they will love the emotion that it evokes every time they pore over it. The story your album design creates is key to establishing these feelings.
Creating stories through your images is a powerful tool which will connect you and your clients. Because your images represent who you are as a photographer, you must make sure the ones you share are your best work. After they are color corrected by a photo editing company, you can then share them with your clients and create albums and prints they will love. Learn how to create stunning images every time with our Pro Photographer Lighting and Posing Guide!