As part of my effort to always keep improving and expanding my skill set, I read a lot of books on photography, business, and art and I just finished Michelle Turner's The Wedding Photography Field Guide. Simply put, this is an excellent reference for anyone involved in wedding photography. Michelle's work is beautiful and fun and the book is filled with great examples of it for inspiration. Every page has multiple images that illustrate the points she is making and just looking through the images is worth the low price. The guide starts with the very basics (camera and lens selection) and goes all the way to post-processing techniques and workflow. Seeing how other photographers look at elements of wedding photography is a great way to improve your own skills and Michelle's book has a lot of great tips learned from her successful career. Sections include: Gear, Preparation, The Wedding Day, and Post Production. Each section is broken down into specific chapters like Posing, Reception Details, Cake Cutting, etc. The book really covers almost everything involved in photographing a wedding. I also love that Michelle included 7 "Real Weddings" in which she talks about past clients and their wedding photography. I would definitely recommend The Wedding Photography Field Guide to anyone interested in wedding photography, regardless of skill level. Find the book on Amazon. If you have any great book recommendations, let us know in the comments.
I wanted to share some information for brides and grooms that might have an impact on your decision to see each other before the ceremony. So where did the superstition of not seeing each other before the ceremony come from? Why is it considered bad luck? It all stems from the olden days of pre-arranged marriages, where weddings were a business deal between families and not about love. These couples did not know each other before the marriage and rarely had ever even seen each other. The brides and their families worried that if the groom saw them before the ceremony and didn't like what he saw, he would back out of the marriage. If he didn't see her until the ceremony, it would be too late to back out, thus the superstition that it is bad luck to see each other before the ceremony. So unless you are also exchanging land and property and a dowry as part of the marriage agreement, you might want to consider ditching this outdated tradition. :)
There are a ton of photographic reasons for seeing each other before the ceremony and I always suggest it to my clients. By agreeing to see each other before, we can set up a "Reveal Session" where some of the best photos are often made. The bride and groom get dressed and ready separately and when they are both ready, the groom is brought to a pre-determined location with great light and beautiful backgrounds. He awaits his bride there and when she comes, he turns around to see her and be stunned by how gorgeous she looks. :D In my experience, the excitement and joy from the couple is even more pronounced in this set up then during the ceremony because they are able to openly express themselves without worrying about all their guests watching. I love these sessions because they are an amazing private moment between the bride and groom and it makes a great spread in the wedding album. The other large benefit of having a Reveal Session is that you are able to take the family portraits and wedding party portraits before the ceremony. This allows the wedding day schedule to have a lot more flexibility and relaxes everyone more. The best part is that you don't have to keep your guests waiting at the cocktail hour after the ceremony while you get your photos taken. The guys love it because they don't have to delay their drinking... ;)