What the wedding photos of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle tell us about shooting weddings

May 25th, 2018

The Royal Wedding - a lesson in posing

On Saturday 19th May, virtually the whole of the UK was tuned in to what was a special moment which draws massive crowds - A Royal Wedding. On this day it was the turn of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Though people have put forward opinions about how the wedding was shot, I have my own opinions and will go through just a few points on why the photos didn't quite hit the mark

<h4> Prince Harry and Meghan Markle with members of the Royal family - Alexi Lubomirski </h4>

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle with members of the Royal family - Alexi Lubomirski

In this photo of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle with the rest of the Royal Family, notice how the dress has been arranged. It has been placed merely to fill space. To me as a professional wedding photographer, it looks awkward. The way the eye views any photo is it ventures to the lightest parts of the photo first before seeing the rest of it. I can understand the photographer's thinking behind this - the dress for any wedding should be the focus and the bride should be made to feel that it's her day and she's the most important person in the world. However, take a look at the arrangement of the individuals and their placements within the whole photograph. Though they are all sat together, there is no connection, engagement or interaction. Yes, agreed, it's a Royal photograph, but I'd expect there to be at least some level of interaction between the bride and groom at least. One can only assume that the placement was to avoid marking the dress, but the newly married couple should have been the centre piece within the photograph around which the other family members should have been placed. Within this photograph, the bride dominates almost leaving the rest of the members within it in a shadow. It lacks a certain balance which should have shown more the bride fitting in within the family as a unit rather than giving the impression that the bride is a piece which doesn't quite fit in a place.

Perhaps I'm being too critical, but as a wedding photographer, images create the viewers ideas and as a viewer looking at another professional's work, I am left thinking he perhaps could have posed them better

<h4>Prince Harry and Meghan Markle with the children - Alexi Lubomirski</h4>

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle with the children - Alexi Lubomirski

This is a slightly better shot. Children are difficult to photograph at the best of times. As a professional I normally give them about 20 minutes until their attention span dissipates and then you will never get them to post for that part of the photo session. The dress here is placed better, however, the groom disappears and blends more into the background. It would have been better for Harry to have been placed to the right of Meghan with the bride almost draped over him. The photo still lacks some warmth

<h4>A black and white image from Alex Lubomirski of Harry and Meghan </h4>

A black and white image from Alex Lubomirski of Harry and Meghan

In this last photo there is a little more warmth, however, I don't like the position of Harry's right hand creeping round. Meghan's pose is more relaxed, there is a closeness and warmth to the photo and if the photographer guided Prince Harry to place the hand out of shot the image would have been completely flawless. A layperson may not spot these things and converting the photo to black and white brings out the warmth between the couple and was an educated choice. The couple both smiling gives the viewer the impression they are sharing a tender moment and the photograph works alot better than the other two I have discussed

The wrap up

The bottom line is that every wedding photographer (unless very experienced) gets nervous prior to carrying out the job. The wedding photographs are taken very well but from a professional's eye there are faults, some are greater than others. Overall the lessons about wedding photography are that preparation is important, knowing what set poses would work and would appeal to the viewers. Weddings cannot be repeated, they are unique events and therefore there are and should be 'go to' poses which work with every couple and provide a signature for the photographer carrying them out and taking the images. Wedding photography of the royal wedding needs a photographer who has evolved, whose style is new and fresh and isn't going to make glaring mistakes like the first example. A thinking photographer is needed when there is another royal wedding