I will always will be a student of photography. I look at pictures all the time, because I enjoy and appreciate them. And most of the time, I am not even looking at wedding pictures, because it’s not inspiring to recreate something that has already been done. To me, looking at pictures helps me look a scene as if it were a picture, so I can see the results before I snap the shutter. It’s not cool to constantly follow someone else’s work or always work from a preconceived shot list. It’s important to be different and it’s difficult to do this without trying.
Many photogs tend to get into a routine where every shot looks the same. Every bride and groom are standing the same, or every bridal party looks like it was posed the same way. That works for some people and that is totally fine, but if you can’t challenge yourself to be different on the spot, then your creativity may go stale. It’s easy to bring contact sheets with you and simply shoot through the notes, but when a situation forces you to be different, now you have to think. If everyone shot the same way, choosing a photographer would be as simple as going with the best price.
Two very important factors to consider when trying to recompose or recreate an already accomplished shot: People do not all look the same (features, posture, etc.), and the scenery is almost always different. When it comes to portraits, I always include soft close up images into the mix, but most of my compositions will include something in the background or foreground to reveal the subjects surroundings. And for me, that usually means outdoors. somewhere in the sweet spot of a beautiful landscape.
Occasionally, the weather prevents me form working outside and we are forced to move indoors, but the bride and groom chose the venue because of the beautiful landscape. It’s unfortunate, but there are always opportunities to get good images and when you are hired to do a job and deal with these situations, it is always my main priority to try and kill it. Envision possibilities and work with what you have. Move some furniture or use a mirror to expand a really tight space. The last thing I want to do is present the images to the couple and blame my lack of production on Mother Nature. There are no do overs!