Strike a Pose

Come on, admit it. You’ve secretly dreamed of being part of a glamorous photo shoot—you’re looking fabulous and your handsome beau is by your side. In some ways, your wedding day is that shoot.

Come on, admit it. You’ve secretly dreamed of being part of a glamorous photo shoot—you’re looking fabulous and your handsome beau is by your side. In some ways, your wedding day is that shoot. Maybe you won’t have a spread in Vogue, but you will grace nearly every page of your wedding album. And that lasts forever.

So how do you get shots that will stand the test of time? The key is keeping the lines of communication between you and your photographer wide open. Achieving the effect you want for your wedding photos begins with letting your photographer get to know you, and getting to know their photographic style. To give you a head start, we’ve spoken to the experts about the different effects they can use to make your pictures fabulous.

In an effort to get to know their clients, Laura Pineda and Tiffany White, cofounders of Alternate Angles in Newport, schedule site visits during which they take a visual walk-through of the day. Not only does the outing give the photographers a chance to connect with the couple, but it also provides an opportunity to discuss special photographic compositions. Through this planning phase, Pineda says, “We’re able to create images that are in line with the couple.”

Photographer Megan Jones, owner of Megan Jones Photography in Newburyport, says many couples are seeking a photojournalistic, or expressively candid, approach to their wedding photos. With that in mind, Jones finds creative ways to photograph the special people in the couple’s life.

“If a bride says she wants a formal portrait taken with her father,” she says, “I will suggest, if she is going to walk down the aisle with him or dance with him, that these moments will be captured and the images will have more meaning than a posed portrait.”

Jones is not alone. Many of today’s unobtrusive photographers shudder at the thought of posing people for a family picture. Alyssa Almeida Duncan,owner of Alyssa Almeida Duncan Photography in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, captures the essence of a wedding day through candid shots. “I try to make the formals fun and relaxed, almost with a candid look and feel,” she says.

Others prefer a nontraditional effect. At one waterfront wedding in Belize, Pineda and White photographed the bride and groom standing on a reef, in just a few inches of water. The result: a unique portrait that looks as though the couple is standing in the middle of the ocean.

Specialized lenses can also help create the unexpected. Whether it’s a long lens that lets a photographer get in on the action without intruding, or a zoom lens to highlight the little details that couples sweat over, the vantage point can make all the difference. To create particularly dynamic images, Pineda says, “I like to use a select-focus lens that zeroes in on one aspect of a shot while creating a fuzzy effect on the rest of the frame.”

Film can yield various effects as well. Dana Siles, a professional photographer in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, says, “I enjoy playing with different films, such as infrared, which provides an ethereal effect that is wonderful for certain compositions.” She explains that by playing with light and shutter speeds, film photographers can create a mood for each image. Siles particularly likes using high-speed, black-and-white film that allows her to shoot in dark environments without a flash. “The grain structure of this film has a very cinematic look to it,” she says.

As crucial as good communication before your wedding day is to capturing the right style of images, it’s equally important to collaborate with your photographer in post-production. If you’re leery of digital photography, the options you have during photo developing may change your tune—especially if you are looking for special effects.

Over the past five years, digital photo technology has made great strides. Kimberly Gray, owner of Kimberly Gray Photography in Boston, says there’s no quality issue with today’s digital equipment. “Digital is our toolbox,” she says. “It simply gives us more control over color and tonality than film.”

Technology has helped make what’s old new again. One trend in wedding photography is the return of black-and-white photos, which makes perfect sense to Jones. “Black-and-white images are wonderful for wedding photographs because of their timeless and romantic qualities,” she says. The black-and-white format is particularly poignant in candid shots.

In addition to black and white, Duncan offers clients sepia-toned images for an even more old-fashioned look. Many couples find that the brown-and-white effect works especially well for photographs they plan to frame and display.

And now that she’s gone digital, Duncan says it takes just a click of a button to change an image from color to sepia or black and white.

Although most photographers prefer to keep images looking natural, they can use software such as Adobe Photoshop to achieve special effects. Just for fun, one client who had a bruised eye after horsing around with his best man the night before the wedding, asked Gray to print an image with a bruise added to the best man’s eye.

Another couple asked for a panorama of all their guests during the cocktail hour; Gray pulled it off by using a Photoshop effect called Photomerge. “I was able to ‘stitch’ multiple images together to create the desired panorama,” she says. The image is featured in a two-page spread in the couple’s album.

So when it comes to filling the pages of your own personal Vogue, you can have it all: photos that are pure, that nod to the past, or are digitally enhanced. Regardless of the style, memories will come alive on every page.