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What method do you use to remember all the poses and shots you need

crossover37crossover37 Member
edited February 2013 in wedding photography
I'm shooting my first wedding (as the hired photographer) on February 23rd and I have been preparing for weeks. I have over 3 years experience and am quite comfortable with my knowledge of photography and lighting but there are times when I forget poses and certain shots I need (little detail shots like the food platters or something along those lines).

I read about bringing a clipboard with a checklist or poses on it but to me that seems as if I'm cheating in a way and I think people would see it as odd. I'm studying poses now until next Saturday but still am afraif I will forget some.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.


  • ZenonZenon Member
    edited February 2013
    That is by far the hardest thing for me. I shoot about 3 to 4 a year. People wonder why pro wedding photographers charge so much. Not only do you have to be able to explain what the Black Foamy Thing is for at supper :) you need to guide and pose people. I have a bunch of images that I downloaded and printed and I do bring them but have never pulled them out. First off there is no time and when the time comes I don't feel
    comfortable. Kinda like getting on the plane and the pilot takes the plastic seal off the operators manual. But that is just me. If you want to use a cheat sheet go for it.

    I don't know what to tell you. It comes naturally for some people and others have to work for it. Not natural for me and I don't have a photographic (haha) memory so when I'm on spot I probably forget 70% even after studying them all week. When you mix that with all the technical things you have to worry about it gets taxing. You still need to look confident.

    Personally I think it just comes with time and practise. Assistant to a pro for a year and you see the process repeated. Too late for me as I won't be making this a career.

    You don't pay a pro for the wedding - you pay for his/her experience.

    All I can say I 'm glad I took some lighting courses and found this site before my first wedding. You will get through it. I did. Good luck.
  • TrevTrev Moderator
    edited February 2013
    Put simply; you can't remember everything, everytime.

    If you can try to remember certain sequences or name a series of poses, it will come easier. In other words, "Sections".

    I have my 'Elle McPherson Section' [super model], she made one pose years ago 'her' pose and been copied since. And so on.

    Guarantee you will not remember all the things in your head.

    However, if you nail a set of 4-5 Sections you have thought up, and in each of those sections you have 2-5 different angles, close-ups, look this way, look that way, look at each other, leg changes, hand placements, flower position, leave flowers out; etc., it comes easier.

    I have a section called 'Rings/Sand', if at a beach where they make a hand impression in sand, and place the wedding rings on the respective ring fingers, and I take a shot of that.

    Then I have them sitting beside it with an empty bottle of wine lying on side near that and take a shot but maybe only have a small part of them in frame, then extend to full frame. That way you have a 'series' of shots from that one 'Section'.

    You only need to write down 4 or 5 lines for starters in a little 'cheat sheet' and that will jog the memory into doing a series of shots, from each section.

    So, if you have say 5-6 'sections' and around 3-4 shots in each, then you have approx 20 shots bagged so to speak.

    Some of my "Sections":

    OK Shots [various poses showing bride happy, pointing to groom with one hand and holding her other hand up to camera with thumb/forefinger forming a circle, as in 'it's OK he's now mine'; thumbs up, etc. etc.]
    Rocks [sitting, standing, climbing, etc.]
    Elle McPherson [all poses by her, full length, 3/4, head/shoulders,etc]
    Rings/Sand [as above]
    Farm/Rustic [obvious]
    Beach [running, walking water's edge, etc.]
    . . . and so on.

    Just helps the brain to categorise a section and in that 3-5 poses/angles, etc., much easier than trying to think, "what was the pose with bride this way and groom that way" because if you section, the 3-5 poses in that section comes easier to remember.

    Well, it helps this old fella anyway. :)

  • TrevTrev Moderator
    Another thought, you could print them out on paper to size of a credit card, if you have several, then laminate them, punch a hole in top left corner, put a split ring or one of those little thumb tack-like things with the split legs you split apart and bend them back to hold cards together that will very easily fit into your top pocket, and when walking to a certain type of scene, take a quick peek to jog memory.
  • Neil vNNeil vN Administrator
    Like Trev said .. don't try and remember everything. Neither should you work off a list in an obvious way. It's always best if you seem spontaneous and like you are motivated by your subjects and where you find yourself.

    Reduce the stress on yourself - you only need 6-8 different setups with your bride and groom to have nailed it. If you have the opportunity for more, and your clients are naturals at it with an instinctive energy for these things .. then do shoot more.

    But really, if you're able to give your client 6-8 setups, you're solid. How many more would you need in an album.

    Keep in mind, that *every* setup, has multiple possibilities -
    shoot horizontal / vertical
    shoot tight / wide
    use negative space (this also helps with album design)

    So out of any specific setup, you can get at least 6 different shots. You can get even more, by moving your own position and shooting your clients from a different angle ... and getting a different background.

    So there .. a SINGLE setup, should give you at least 6 different shots from that. You can do this in a short space of time, and then figure out a next setup.
  • Wonderful! Thank you all for the tips. I'll definitely keep that in mind.

    6 poses from one setup makes sense Neil. Never thought about that. Thanks!
  • Neil vNNeil vN Administrator
    Nope ... 6 SHOTS from every setup. At least 6 shots.
  • Keep a list with you anyway....In your pocket...!!...I have all the family members names and basic time line on one side of a 8.5x11 photo that i fold in half and then again...pocket size....OR.....you can have all the names right in front of you if you use the hair band or whatever you use to hold the BTF to the flash....You can always refer to it and make sure you cover all the family members and combinations and cross it off ...when you are have some down time like when the cocktail four breaks and the guests are being seated .....it takes about 10-15 minutes for the guests to be seated and the caterer has the BP and Parents all lined up

    Bottom line.... IF you keep it fun and move things along .....they will remember that..
    Of course they want great photos ...but if you make it all about the photos and keep them away from the party/guests ...they are going to remember that too...
    I try to keep a time line in my head....how much time do I need to do the bridal party....realistically.....a lot of this comes with experience ....but you can refer to your notes after .... during editing ..YOU are going to make mistakes and omissions the list and notes gives you a second chance to cover yourself at the wedding...after does you no good...MAKING mistakes is something that is going to happen....Just learn from them and don't repeat them
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