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  1. #1
    ted_smith's Avatar
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    How to incorporate this tree into a wedding shot

    Hi

    I'm shooting a wedding this summer. I visited the church the other day. The grounds have a particularly unique 1000+ year old tree with a 2-seater bench beneath it. A photo of it is on this photo book page ran by the church :

    http://www.facebook.com/pages/Derby-...d=112046881921

    My question regards how to group my wedding shoot as the couple have said they would like the tree to feature in them. My initial view was to have the bride and groom sat down on the bench with significant others to the side and behind the bench. I can't see how else to do it as the bench will just get in the way otherwise.

    I'm unsure though because I have never seen a wedding photo where the couple are sat down with their significant members stood around them. Is this a composition that is sometimes done to good effect, or should it be discouraged if at all possible?

    Happy for any other suggestions.

    PS - As far as I could tell by my first visit, at the time of the wedding, the sun will be to the right and slightly behind the photographer; a 16:00 position, if using a clock based system, 12:00 being the position of the bench.

    I will be using Fuji 400H or 800Z if it it particularly dull.

    Ta

    Ted
    Ted Smith Photography
    Hasselblad 501CM...my 2nd love.

  2. #2

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    Do they want the leaves of the tree, or would the trunk be enough? It's a really crowded background, so I'd probably shoot vertical, get close and crop a bit (feet —> just above the hole in the trunk.) Stop down and get the trunk in focus.

    The bench looks quite big (depends on the size of the dresses though), so if there's too much space left on the bench, get some people to sit on the arm rests.

  3. #3
    Sirius Glass's Avatar
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    I understand what you want, but do you really want tomb stones in the background of a wedding photograph? Different parts of the life cycle and all that.
    Steve
    Warning!! Handling a Hasselblad can be harmful to your financial well being!

    Nothing beats a great piece of glass!

    I leave the digital work for the urologists and proctologists.

  4. #4

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    Try one or more test shoots ahead of time.

    Since you have sufficient time before the wedding day I recommend trying some test shots at the same time of day as the scheduled shoot under both sunlight and overcast sky with stand-ins, such as friends, family, street urchins, or whatever you can find. That will reveal lighting and composition problems.

    Overcast will require at least some supplementary light if you’re to get pleasing color. That’s often advisable even with scenes that are frontally lit by sunlight (balanced fill flash to lighten up eye sockets and other facial shadows).

    If the sunlight falls directly upon their faces then that will irritate the eyes of the wedding party. In that case you’ll have to select an angle so that they’re not all squinting uncomfortably in the blinding sunlight.

    If you have enough stand-ins, that will guide you to an effective composition. It looks like a lovely spot. The composition options would be greater if that bench were gone. You could examine it to see if it might be reasonable to request it be temporarily removed for the shoot. If not, then you’ll just have to make it part of the composition.
    Don’t overlook the possibility of altering your camera angle to just exclude the bench. You’ll likely want some shots that include and some that exclude the bench.

    Depending upon the focal length of the lens and camera position you might try a composition that puts the entire wedding party just in front of the bench and, therefore, obscuring it. For this shot you might even temporarily cover the bench with a camouflage cover that matches the grass and so forth behind. In this way even if a small part of it is somehow visible between legs and such it won’t visually clash nearly as much as would the white paint of the bench.

  5. #5

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    My first thought also went to the gravestones. The combination of wedding party screening them and a vertical composition could address this. But they may also feel it's part of the natural cycle of life. The group could also be in front of the bench if you (they) prefer.

    Contrast (based on the photo you posted) could be an issue. A cloudy day might actually help.

    Most, but not all, wedding photos I've seen seem to show the B&G standing - I assume to best show the dress and for a less "stocky" look. But hard to imagine a hard and fast rule. Is there a reason why you can't do multiple shots (standing and sitting)? Also, I've seen chairs and benches used with shots that might include elderly family members.
    "Far more critical than what we know or do not know is what we do not want to know." - Eric Hoffer

  6. #6
    wclark5179's Avatar
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    Bye.
    Last edited by wclark5179; 05-16-2010 at 01:40 PM. Click to view previous post history.
    Bill Clark

  7. #7
    Sirius Glass's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wclark5179 View Post
    In PS you could get rid of the tombstones, quite a bit of computer time though in post process. They would be less noticeable if you can have your various groups a distance away from this. The further the better. The main objects are the people with the rest in the photos are a way of telling more about the wedding day story.
    I do not know about in Minnesota, but here [Read: APG] that is not analog photography. Not even real photography. :o

    By the way, I did not realize the GIMP and Photo$hop had a "Remove Tombstone" button! Is it next to the "Recompose" button which is used by all the digi-snappers to fix their crappy snaps?

    Steve
    Warning!! Handling a Hasselblad can be harmful to your financial well being!

    Nothing beats a great piece of glass!

    I leave the digital work for the urologists and proctologists.

  8. #8
    MattKing's Avatar
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    Is there room behind the tree to work?

    My rule of thumb for weddings is that open shade is the best light for group shots. A little bit of back-lighting can work as well.

    As an aside, I really like the note on that website - "The yew is over 1000 years old and has a certificate to prove it" (my emphasis )
    Matt

    “Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”

    Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2

  9. #9
    Sirius Glass's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MattKing View Post
    Is there room behind the tree to work?

    My rule of thumb for weddings is that open shade is the best light for group shots. A little bit of back-lighting can work as well.

    As an aside, I really like the note on that website - "The yew is over 1000 years old and has a certificate to prove it" (my emphasis )
    Good points Matt!

    I am sure that the tree can rest better at night knowing that it is certified!

    Steve
    Warning!! Handling a Hasselblad can be harmful to your financial well being!

    Nothing beats a great piece of glass!

    I leave the digital work for the urologists and proctologists.

  10. #10
    wclark5179's Avatar
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    Bye Steve.

    Your comments are not appreciated.

    Good luck everyone.
    Bill Clark

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