Sometimes photography is about what you don't see, and more to the point, what you shouldn't see. As I am about to finish up my wedding season that drove hard toward the end with 11 weddings over 13 weeks, it inspired me to touch on something aspiring wedding photographers or just the casual photo enthusiast may be interested in considering... small spaces.
If you've shot a wedding, taken photos as a friend during the wedding day, or been a part of the bridal party you'll know that the preparation phase of day is pretty hectic and can be quite cluttered. Often times you are relegated to the cramped quarters of a bedroom, hotel room, or a Sunday School classroom where there is an entire group of people (with all of their things scattered about) as they prepare for the big day. As a photographer you need to get clean shots of the dress, rings, shoes, jewelry, flowers, and the details that are important to the client without the distractions of suitcases, shoe boxes, duffel bags, posters, and the like. You need to do all of this without rearranging the entire room and without being a nuisance to the bridal party. It is time to start thinking small.
In the shot at the top of the page...the room had busy backgrounds everywhere I turned and there were people constantly moving about as they got ready for the day. Not a problem. I used the simple, yet small space provided by a windowsill for this shot.
This bride, who is a hunting enthusiast, requested that I incorporate a pair of her boots into some of the photos. I shot this laying on the floor to avoid all of the boxes, bags, and other odds and ends that were on the bed and nearby tables.
The cramped space of a hotel room can be made to seem open with the use of a wide angle lens and simply moving a few items aside. Here there were tables and chairs to both sides of the windows in this hotel room. I moved them just a few inches out of frame, laid on the floor on the far side of the bed, and shot around the foot of the bed.
This is the same dress in the same room. I slid the chair over to where it was when I arrived, closed the sheer curtains, incorporated the veil and shoes, and shot from a different perspective.
In "Sunday School" classroom situations, look for every and any opportunity to eliminate distractions and clutter. You can make it seem as if there is no one and nothing else in the room, even when there are people, suitcases, posters, and boxes all around you.
Here I simply used a chair that was in the room and a shallow depth of field as the rest of the bridal party was getting ready just a few feet from me.