Wedding Photography: Composition, Portraits & Posing | Teppo Haapoja | Skillshare

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Wedding Photography: Composition, Portraits & Posing

teacher avatar Teppo Haapoja, Photography & Filmmaking Courses

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.

      How to Nail Portraits: Introduction


    • 2.

      How to Nail Portraits: Preparation


    • 3.

      How to Nail Portraits: Location Scouting


    • 4.

      How to Nail Portraits: Introduction to Composition


    • 5.

      How to Nail Portraits: Rule of Thirds


    • 6.

      How to Nail Portraits: Framing


    • 7.

      How to Nail Portraits: Leading Lines


    • 8.

      How to Nail Portraits: Symmetry


    • 9.

      How to Nail Portraits: Exposure


    • 10.

      How to Nail Portraits: Preparation for Posing


    • 11.

      How to Nail Portraits: Natural Posing


    • 12.

      How to Nail Portraits: Conclusion


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About This Class

In this class we are going to learn how to nail wedding portraits. We all know that time of the day when were a little bit nervous, and stressed as to how the portrait session is going to go. In this class, we will learn how to prepare beforehand, things to think about during the session composition and posing wise. I am confident that after this class, you will be better equipped to nail your portrait session.

Meet Your Teacher

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Teppo Haapoja

Photography & Filmmaking Courses


Wedding photographer & cinematographer who has had the privilege of travelling all around the world capturing amazing couples, with the most amazing weddings.

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Level: Beginner

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1. How to Nail Portraits: Introduction: My name is heart visuals. Wedding photography Course on how to nail portrait over the past five years alongside my brother Matt Way have been able to trouble all around the world documenting the most amazing weddings. Best coals in this course. We're going to specifically focus on how to work way all know that time of the wedding day when the portrait sessions about to come up and we're a little bit nervous about how it's gonna go. I believe from this course you will get the right tools in confidence that you need in order to an alien purchase. In this course, we're gonna go over how you can prepare for the wedding day. We're gonna talk about composition, how you can get the best possible portrait by composing the couple into the scene that you're taking photos in. And lastly, we're goingto posing. How can you get the couple relaxed and how can you guide them in order? Get the best possible and most natural portrait's. So join me in the heart visuals. Wedding target course Hot and L Portrait 2. How to Nail Portraits: Preparation: e cannot overemphasize. How important is to prepare for the wedding day? I know it sounds really simple, but the more you prepare, the more you like to succeed during a portrait session. Two aspects of preparation that are really important are preparing equipment and location scouting. Now I know talking about preparing equipment sound so elementary, but yet it's so vital and crucial in order for us to know that portrait session simple things like charging your batteries, making sure memory cards were formatted. Checking to make sure you're Karen Bodies and lens are working well and just making sure that all your equipment is ready and in place for you when the portrait center starts. They're all things that we can do to make sure that we can nail that recession. I know and have heard so many countless stories of photographers who haven't had batteries charged by accident or their memory Cards were full, and they couldn't delete it because they haven't backed it up, and it just cause extra stress already during that Hyatt intensity time of portrait sessions. So let's make sure that we prepare equipment so we don't have to worry about it on the wedding day, especially during the portrait session 3. How to Nail Portraits: Location Scouting: Theo. Second aspect of preparation is location scouting. What I like to do is I like to physically go on site to check out the different locations at the specific time of day as we were going to do the portrait session. That way I can maximize fully the location and the lighting that we're gonna have for that portrait session as well. I like to take photos with my iPhone so I can plan which sequence of locations we're going to use to give them idea what kind of portrait session we're gonna have. But sometimes you can't physically make it to the location. You can't go scout out and find place to shoot. So what do you do then? Technology is the answer. Nowadays, there are numerous resources that you can use in order to go in scout locations without being physically on site. One of the first freezers of thy uses Google maps. Using street view, I'm able to walk through a city or check out a park or a forest or a beach without even being there. I can already get a feel for what the location looks like, and what kind of possibilities are there for our portrait session. The second reason is that I like to use Instagram now. It is our countless photos on instagram by different photographers from different venues and locations. So I simply use Hashtags to find the venues or locations. And I do a little bit of research to see what bale ability there is for the locations. Third reasons that I use is Googling different wedding photographers. Most likely another wedding photographer has already shot at the location or venue that you shot at, so you can bounce off ideas from what they've done there and see what's available for your portrait session. Lastly, if none of these techniques work, you can always ask the couple to take a few photos for yourself because most likely they're gonna check out the venue a few times before their wedding day. Also, make sure that you're not relying totally on just sunny weather. It could be that on the day of the wedding day it rains, so make sure you have some rain proof locations so that no matter what the weather is rain or shine, you're gonna build to nail that portrait session 4. How to Nail Portraits: Introduction to Composition: Theo way prepared for the wedding day. You're ready to know that portrait session in this section of the course. I want to focus on different techniques of composition in order to get the best possible portrait's during your session. But the first thing before we start anything is just to remind you when you start your portrait session, just take a big breath. Relax. Oftentimes, we could be a little bit nervous a little bit stressed before the port recession. And when you're stressed and nervous, you can easily make simple mistakes. So what I like to do is I like to first choose the location and then like to set the couple into the scene. From there, I think of what kind of different techniques I can use to compose the couple into the scene . 5. How to Nail Portraits: Rule of Thirds: Theo first technique of composition that, like to use, is the rule of thirds. The rule thirds is basically you think of photo and you divided into nine segments by two horizontal lines and two vertical lens. Basically, the idea of rule thirds is is that you should line up interesting parts of the photo into the different segments of the lines. So, for example, the couples face can line up in one. The segments or the horizon can line up on one of the lines. And the reason why we do this is is because they find that when you line up interesting parts into the intersections, that creates a very interesting and well balanced photo. So when you think you have placing your couple, think about how you can line them up in the rule of thirds. So here we have our first example of using the method of composition called Rule Thirds. And were we have this photo of Bianca on Josh. This amazing couple I got through engagement photos for here in Sydney, Australia, and the location is Gordon's Bay, which is this amazing little hidden cove that if you ever chanced to come check out Hansen . You definitely should go to. But here I have this on this cliff here on the right here. And I try to go to the next photo so you'll get to see the rule of thirds. So here you can see the 9th 9 quadrants made by the the intersecting lines. And you have the intersecting points right here. And the reason why I want to line them up right here was to get a focus and interest to go to Bianca on Josh Rather anywhere else. And it just creates a really well balanced, an interesting photo. So just keep in mind how toe how toe composed the So just keep in mind how to compose the shot and where to place the couple when you're doing the you're framing and composition. And this next photo have Duncan Josh on the hilltop and they have this amazing, beautiful view here to the right of Koji Beach in the city there. But almost you wanted attention to go to them. So I placed on the left side of photo. And here we go to the next 40. Well, you see the intersecting points and you see as well the lines that create the rule of thirds. So I had them here in the Topper Quadrant right here. And I have intersecting points in Josh's Bianca's head right here because I almost don't want the attention to go to them rather than over here, which is also interesting because that same time they're more important than over here. So just keep in mind the role thirds. Keep in mind where you're placing the couples where you're lining them up along the lines just to get this interesting, well balanced and to get your focus on the couple rather than the scene. 6. How to Nail Portraits: Framing: with the second technique that I like to use towards good composition is framing the couple . What I mean by this is I like to find natural frames like a archway in the trees or a door away or an entrance to a building in order to frame the couples that they naturally fit into the scene. Doing this is very pleasing to the eye and makes the couple just fit so well into the scene . So the second method of composition or using here is framing and framing is one of my favorite ways to just compose the shot in scope to compose the couple into the scene. And this is a couple. Louise and Paul got to shoot this amazing location in the middle of Australia. Inland in this town called Cojean, is their personal family farm, and I just spotted this amazing tree in the background, and all of a sudden I just thought, Hey, let's do some photos here so it's use You can see in this photo. This tree here in the background just perfectly curves around the couple now just place Paul on blue underneath this tree, and they're just perfectly framed naturally in the shot, and this just makes them fit so natural into the scene. And as you can tell as well, there's a nice exposure difference here with a couple and the backdrop. So they really stand out of the photo. So keep in mind for these natural framing opportunities to make it a couple of really seem like they fit into the to the scene that they be composed. Well, this next shot, this is also from that same wedding. I found this beautiful archway as I was coming into the ceremony. I was like, OK, we have to utilize this for the portrait session. So I had the couple just stand there nicely, just holding hands and just a really nice pose there. And they're just symmetrically in the shot beautifully under this framed framed archway. So look out for framed, our choice of trees, natural architecture, anything that you can use to just frame the couple naturally into the shot. It was just a well composed shot, and it just looks beautiful. So, yeah, just look out for framing opportunities to just get a nice natural looking post shot 7. How to Nail Portraits: Leading Lines: Theo. Third technique for good composition, messaging, leading lines. When we look at a photo, our eyes were naturally drawn along lines. By keeping this in mind, we can use leading lines to draw our attention towards the wedding couple. Often times when I'm in location, I'm looking for lines in the horizon or lines along the road or different different lines that you can find that just naturally draw our attention towards the couple. So here we're using the third method of composition called leading lines, and this is from a wedding I shot last fall from a couple named Ben and Iona, and they got married in this beautiful landscape of Australia in this town called McGee. And here I was just taking some portrait's and the sunset actually hard already passed. But I saw these amazing clouds, so I had the couple walking in the hayfields, and I just noticed that there's this triangle of a cloud here. And as you can see, there's just these lines here that I just created Triangle and they're leading your eye straight to the couple down here, so that is just great way of using natural leading lines as well There's this horizon here that's leading your eyes to Ben I and Iona. So always look out for natural leading lines that bring your attention to the couple and just to create amazing composition with the couple and to really nail those portrait's. And this next photo. This is from Paul News Wedding again, and I placed him in the middle of the road and there was just so many leading lines here. As you can see in this road here, there's lines here leading to the couple as well. This trees up here are just creating natural lines toward them, and they're just symmetrically in the shot and as well. Their heads stick out of the out of the photo because if there was dark, like the trees right here with their faces, their body there, it wouldn't stand out. But because the background is really white here and there is a next nice exposure difference here, Paul knew really stand up for the photo, and they don't just blend into it, and it's just nicely composed. So look at all those different techniques here that you can use to compose a shot 8. How to Nail Portraits: Symmetry: fourth technique for good composition is using symmetry. Symmetry allows us to create images that are pleasing to the eye with a couple of the center of attention. When you're out and about, look for symmetrical backdrops that we can place our couples into so that you can nail that portrait session. So here we're using the fourth method of composition, which is called symmetry. And for me, I really enjoy symmetry. And I think it has to do a little bit that I would consider myself a pretty logical creative. Uh, my brain just works like this. I'm kind of perfectionist. So even in this photo there's just a beautiful symmetry right here along the whole photo being separated by this creek, but also this tree line. And there's just a nice separation between Burger and Mario here. This is from Finland, have the travel opportunity travel. I've had the opportunity travel in the world, and Finland is amazing and beautiful places, beautiful birch trees here. So this is just amazing and get opportunity. So here is just a great example of symmetry being used in the nature, and this photo was from last fall that it was also McGee, Australia, with Geraldine and Henry. And um, there's this nice symmetry between the true tree lanes on both sides and there right in the middle of the photo as well, like we talked earlier. There's also leading lines coming from both sides, also from up and down. So it was just a great composed shot because we're using a lot of methods of composition just to create a appealing and just attractive photo and just a well balanced photo. And you can really tell that the couple stands out from the backdrop as there's a next nice exposure difference here with their faces compared to the sky. So, yeah, this is just a nice, great example of symmetry and just using some of the other methods of composition for Jailed in and Henry's photo. 9. How to Nail Portraits: Exposure: with last technique that I like to use during portrait sessions is using exposure. It's something I've been practicing lately in order to utilize best portrait sessions in the time that we have. I've wanted to figure out How can I get the most amount of portrait's taken in the shortest amount of time? So what I like to do is I like to take one photo of the couple that's more classic and exposed for the skin, but the same time. A few moments later, I dropped exposure down a few stops to get a more silhouette look and to get the sky more exposed, which gives us a more dramatic effect. Basically, I've got to Portrait's from the same scene in the same moment. Another way that he's exposure during my portrait sessions is, as I use exposure to make the couple pop out of the backdrop. Basically, by using different exposures, you can make the separation between the couple happened more dramatically, as well as using this exposure technique to get more out of my portrait session. I also use exposure to be able to separate the wedding couple from the backdrop rather than simply blending into the landscape. By using different exposures, you're able to pop the wedding couple out of the scene and draw more attention to them than the beautiful landscape. And so here we have the last method of composition, which is using exposures. And, uh, like I was saying the same thing. I'm learning to use more and more to just really maximize and get most of my portrait session, because often only have 15 30 minutes to get as many photos and different styles in one session. So what I mean by using exposure for composition is something I've been trying often lately is I like to take different exposures to get different styles of photos in one session. So here I have a really under exposed voter to get a more dramatic and silhouette style photo from benign owes wedding. But this next photo I bumped up the exposure a bit more. It's totally different photo their face or more exposed. It's more light. I mean, Clausen is dramatic. It's just different style photo. So usually using so using exposure, we can get a different style of photo. It's a great way of composing the shot in this next photo is another example of how we can use exposure to compose well and to make the couple really stand out. I was taking this photo of James and Erica under this year's tree in the middle of Sydney, but I noticed that earlier had one had placed them there. Mawr in this area right here, where the exposure is quite similar to their skin and they were really popping out from the scene there, kind of blending into the background. But then I noticed there was this Sunray shooting at this spot right here. And exposure is a lot higher. So I thought, Hey, I'm gonna put their heads in their bodies in that spot so they'll stand out from the background The same shot right here. You can see that there is this huge trees and there's this dark exposure all around here. But then there's this light patch and they put them there so they would stand out. So that's a great way of using exposure to compose the shot and to make the couple stand out from the photo and to really just draw your attention to them and not just the backdrop . So try up, try using these, so try using these exposure techniques to just get good composition for your portrait. It's 10. How to Nail Portraits: Preparation for Posing: thin this section we're gonna discuss about posing. Just like earlier we discussed about preparing for the wedding day by preparing equipment and location scouting. You can as well prepare for posing by doing research and work beforehand. Oftentimes I noticed when I'm in a little bit of creative slump or I'm feeling lazy or I feel like I'm not willing to take a risk, I end up going to the go to poses and I do the same thing over and over and again. But what I've learned is by doing some research beforehand, you're better prepared for the portrait session, and you won't get stuck doing the same old portrait. What I like to do is I like to think about what kind of personality does the couple have? Are they more serious? Are they Mark goofy? Then, by taking their personnel it into account, I researched different poses on the Internet, and I take examples of the month. My phone. I like taking examples of my phone because oftentimes we try to guide the couple but their visual learners, and they're much better off by looking at your phone and looking opposes, rather than by just telling them. What to do by doing this preparation for posing were able to ensure much more likely that we're going to nail those portrait sessions. 11. How to Nail Portraits: Natural Posing: when it comes to posing. I love to use my personality to get to know the couple. I love to joke around with them, talk to them, get them relaxing, loosened up so that they're more themselves during a portrait session as well. While I'm getting to know them, I learned more about the personality, what kind of person they are. And often you kind of learn what things you should do, what you shouldn't, for example, if the couple is much more serious, of course, um, pull off those Vogue model style shots. But if they're more goofy couple, you're probably not going to try that. Even noticed that there are more of a fun, outgoing, adventurous couple. Try more adventurous poses, try doing more action movements and just more goofy things rather than these more Vogue model poses. Personally, I love natural looking shots, and you can do this by using different techniques. If you posed them and you make them stand there really rigidly, they're most likely not going to be very natural, and they're not gonna be able to be themselves. But when you use techniques to allow them to be themselves in Latin feed, naturally your bones get those natural photos. One of the techniques I loved is to have a couple just walking, walking and holding hands, talking to each other, telling romantic things to one another. It often gets a nice romantic moment, or it gets that candid smile as the couples walking and as well, they're not focused too much on being in front of the camera compared to when they're posing in front of the camera. So try that out as a couple to walk, hold hands, hasta the groom to lead the bride, for example, and try to get some natural looking, candid shots like that as well. Often times in between, the poses is actually the best time to get those candid photos. The natural looking photos come when they actually aren't focused on the camera, and they're just focused on themselves. So remember that it's not always about taking photo during the post moment. It's also about taking the in between moments and utilizing that to get those natural portrait during the portrait session. It doesn't hurt to give directions, but don't be too forceful. If you notice that they're not digging it. You're probably going with the wrong approach, so try something different. If you're being more serious, try being more goofy and see if they react that and give you a more natural field during the portrait session. 12. How to Nail Portraits: Conclusion: thin this course. We've learned several techniques in order for us to Naylor Portrait Session. We've learned about preparation, preparing our equipment and also location scouting. We've learned about different techniques that we can use to make a good composition in order to get the best possible portrait that really draw our eyes to the couple. And lastly, we've talked about posing techniques how to make a natural environment to get the most natural looking and best possible portrait's that we could get during our session. I'm hoping that from this course, you really get tools and the confidence that you need in order to nail your portrait session. Congratulations, guys. You guys made it to the end of the course.