Went to Mary Kathrine and Chris’ rehearsal dinner tonight. Ceremony will be at the AMAZING Four Seasons in Irvine. Our very own Alexandra, yes, the one who frequents this blog, who I am also mentoring, may actually be shooting second tomorrow. She lives in Dallas, so I figured….why not? I wanted to give her the opportunity to go on a shoot with me and we will have a planning session in the morning. I am excited for her.

While rehearsals aren’t the best opportunities for pictures, they are a great way to know where and how it will all go down, plan your shots, and especially meet everyone which will help them relax. I wanted to leave a few pointers on rehearsal dinners here if you ever have the opportunity to go to one the night before.

1. Keep an eye on the lucky couple….there is usually a lot of amazing energy between them. It is a wonderful thing to see.
2. Learn the names of the wedding party.

Here we have Kate, Kristin, Lauren, Sydney, Kimmie, Rachel (aka Ms.Blue Steele) and Anna. Anna is the reason I am here in Texas, she was one of my students when I taught biology at Alabama and looked me up when her sister was looking for a photographer. By learning the names of the wedding party, it makes it so much easier to interact with them on the day of the wedding. I had dinner with Kristen, Lauren, Sydney and Rachel, I can tell they will be a lot of fun tomorrow.Here is a better picture of Anna with her brother, Zach.3. Encourage Blue Steele (yes I am serious)……actually I think Rachel started doing this all on her own, I just encouraged her to do it more. Sure everyone likes the traditional posed shots, but being silly can make for a great candid. If you get someone doing blue steele, you know they will be relaxed in front of the camera and this is what we really want. Tension shows, look at Rachel…even though its a silly look, you can see she is completely confident in front of the camera. 4. Wait a second….Im seeing a pattern here.

5. Make sure to complement your beautiful subjects after a good shot. Show them if necessary. A little positive reinforcement goes a long ways. How would you feel if a photographer took your picture looked at it, and didnt say anything before walking away vs. “Thats a great shot! I am blown away by your amazingly good looks, it must be hard to be so very, very good looking.” I like smiles.

6. Ive included this above shot for a very particular reason. It was taken in an almost completely dark room (candle light only). But you will notice its a decent picture, no red eye, you can see everyone clearly, no photoshopping. You might think this is no big deal now, but wait until you get in a dark room and start to wonder….”What did Michael Andrew recommend again?”

This is how you do it:

– Set your Camera to Program Mode. Yes…thats right, especially with flash in dark rooms, go to P mode.
– Aim your Flash at the ceiling, this will turn the ceiling into the new light source by bouncing it off, this will give you softer light, less harsh shadows.
– Set your exposure compensation down to -1. This will slow sync the background. It should be something like 60 f4.0.
7. Find your best positions for shooting the ceremony. You will always have better pictures when you know before hand exactly where everyone will walk and stand during the ceremony.8. Experiment. Variation is your friend, rehearsal dinners are a great time to try new shots because there isnt as much pressure as on the day of the wedding. Happy Birthday Jeff!

Cant wait for tomorrow!