These photo-ops on wheels give the wedding party a chance to get away from the hullabaloo of the festivities, if only for the ride between portrait shooting locations. Such isolation often offers poignant and reflective scenes to capture.
While you may have picked out a beautiful, rustic church, a serene outdoor setting, and a posh reception hall as ideal backdrops to your wedding photographs, the shots don't stop there. Remember: The wedding photojournalist's mission is to document the entire day.
And one of the often overlooked, and maybe under-appreciated settings for photos during your wedding day occurs while the bride, groom and other members of the wedding party are in a car, limo, party bus or other forms of transportation.
From the outside, cars may also provide a panoply of striking lines to frame the pictures, as well as interesting mirrors and the mix of indoor and outdoor lighting that all lend to artistic and creative shots. Plus, whether you're riding on a horse-drawn carriage, a trolley, a stretch limo, or a Rolls Royce—for likely one of the few times in your life—you might as well get some lasting mementos.
1. RELAXED ATMOSPHERE
Some of our WPJA award-winning members have noted that once the ride begins to leave the wedding ceremony location, the couple can finally relax a bit and let their guards down, making the ride a perfect setting to capture some of the moments when the couple is more at ease. The bride and groom are enveloped in this space where they finally have a bit of privacy and go off into their own little world for a while, allowing the photographer to capture some wonderfully personal moments.
And it’s not just the bride and groom that get to have that isolated time in the car. Often, the bride rides to the ceremony with her father; one of the few final moments the two will have together before she marries.
Means of wedding-day transportation also are a good place to capture members of the wedding party together as they’re toasting, interacting and partying on the way to their destination, shutting out the larger wedding from the world inside the vehicle.
Sitting inside the mode of transportation is one of the few moments that the bride, groom, parents, etc., will be alone together that day with the people they care most about. These are people they don’t have to put up a front for, and so these rides can provide unexpectedly emotional moments.
2. INTERIOR EYE-CATCHERS
Car interiors have a bevy of hard lines from seats, dashboards, windows and the actual car body that can be used to frame the shots during photos, making for great pictures. The fun in the car doesn’t stop there, as reflections from rear-view mirrors, gleans of headlights at night, and views of the open road are just some of the other features a photographer can take advantage of when shooting in a car.
For instance, some of our member photographers have made use of the rear-view mirror to show the reflection of their subjects, or to capture the winding road ahead of the newlywed couple as they sit together. However, getting someone’s reflection in the rear-view mirror can be a bit more challenging given that the reflection is not always lined up from the photographer’s position.
There are certainly plenty of ways for the photographer to experiment while in the car.
3. TRANSITIONAL MOMENTS
While some might see the ride as merely a way to get people from point A to B during weddings, they are usually part of two significant moments of the wedding day, where emotions are only heightened because they occur in an isolated space. Those include the bride on the way to the ceremony and the couple alone in the vehicle afterward, in their first private moments away from everyone.
Our members have pointed out that after months of preparation when the bride is finally on her way to the ceremony, the reality that she is about to marry the man she loves hits her. It is not uncommon for the bride and her family members to burst into tears in these moments, portraying the combination of excitement and stress that they feel. The intimate atmosphere of the car can help the passengers forget about the presence of the photographer and allows them to just be themselves.
After the ceremony is also a popular time for the couple to skip off with their wedding photographer to a scenic location. That can also be a good time to catch the bride and groom experiencing new emotions as they digest their new status.
4. OPTIMAL TIME
As the documentarian for the day, wedding photojournalists like to spend as much time as possible with the couple. Riding with them allows key time with the main figures of the day, instead of driving between venues separately, wasting valuable time that could be used to keep taking pictures.
Some WPJA members say that they make it their goal to be with the couple as much as possible, including when they get ready and any time they travel to a new location. Since documentary wedding photographers are trying to tell the story of the day, they aim to be wherever the main characters of that story are.
It is worthwhile for you to help get your photographer’s car to the next venue if he or she is shooting alone. Photographers' cars serve as their mobile headquarters—most everything they will need for the wedding is in there, including back-up gear—thus, they may not be comfortable with being away from their cars for large periods of time. Consider asking a family friend (not someone from the bridal party) to get the car to the reception site while your photographer rides with you.
As stated above, the ride can provide additional time to experiment with creative techniques in the vehicle.