The ‘Rule of Space’ is a well-known phrase in the photography and videography world.
During this article, I will touch upon the fact that I don’t just think of the ‘Rule of Space’ defining one particular area of photography. On the contrary, I think it represents much more than that; I will explain as we go on.
Using ‘Rule of Space’ on a wedding day
‘Rule of Space’ covers both the usage of speed and movement but also encapsulates prior planning of wedding days due to the layout and size of the venue in question.
From a wedding photography perspective and definition ‘Rule of Space’ covers the following:
To enhance and show movement and speed – as an example, we look to leave negative space directly in front of the couple when they are walking up the aisle. At this moment, it appears the couple are moving into that particular space.
Directing the viewer’s attention – again using negative space, this time in the direction or area the subject(s) are looking toward, this will draw the attention of the viewer. The groom gazing at his bride is a photographer’s favourite.
Enlarging the grandness of scale – when you surround your subject(s) with a good volume of negative space, it gives it scale. A prime example is a beach if you position your lens low it helps show the beaches vastness.
How to use the ‘Rule of Space’ to enhance wedding photography and videography.
Here are 3 essential tips:
Negative space is versatile, and it does not have to be blank or white. The simple rule is making sure it is not cluttered and try to keep it simple.
For a wedding photographer, the term ‘Rule of Thirds’ should be familiar – ensure your subject(s) are on the intersection of this. A dancefloor scene with the newlyweds, especially the first dance is ideal. The viewer is then instantly focused on the couple, giving the image more intense composition.
Experiment with negative space – a fun way is to try to get the viewer to search for the main subject in the frame.
Beaches and lakes are ideal for practising intriguing composition.
Event Space Owners – Things to consider
If you like a venue help the owner showcase their space better.
Today’s digital world is demanding, so today’s potential wedding couple will look online and view venues and review them extensively.
So, they must have good marketing behind them with lots of social media platforms and use specific sites such as EventUp as an example to showcase the venue.
Of course, professional photography and videography are involved in the process, so that helps you to showcase what you have.
Many venue owners have an eye for interior design. Still, they know little or nothing about photography and videography, and this can be daunting to them to showcase what they’ve got.
It is a well-known fact within the photography industry venues that only showcase one photo online rarely get booked. They rely on word-of-mouth recommendations. As a rule of thumb, they should showcase a minimum of three images if you are using a platform such as EventUp. Inform them and take the responsibility to get the venue more noticed.
The Wedding Photographer – wedding day space and preparation tips
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For the wedding photographer, getting to know and understand the space within the venue before the wedding is crucial.
A wedding photographer will look for the best angles in the room(s) you will be using during the day.
The first thing you look to ask the venue owner is to minimise miscellaneous clutter and unnecessary items that can block negative space or the point of view.
Vantage points are also crucial in preparation as you want to look to get several what we know as ‘signature shots’. These will help tell the story of the space and encapsulate the wedding story at the same time.
In essence, you are looking to tell two stories at once through your lens. On the one hand, it’s all about the wedding guest and the bride and groom. On the other hand, you want to showcase the room size and its design elements and backdrop with every available angle.
The more angle and space options you have mapped out before the big day, the better shoot you will have. You shouldn’t need to use wide-angle lenses, look to keep your lines straight, make sure there is no distortion, so you are not forcing the space to look bigger than it is.
For venues with dark space, a tripod and long exposures will be your best friend on the day. A trick we all know is holding the shutter lens down longer will help incorporate light into an exposure. Use a tripod and long exposure; the tripod eliminating blurriness.
Lighting can be useful for preparation too; often, it is better to bring your own. Reflectors can be used on the day if necessary.
Having been a wedding photographer Somerset England for many years, I can tell you that weather is not always your best friend.
What can appear a light and spacious area upon viewing for prep can be dull and dark the next. Bath is in Somerset and offers some of the most picturesque surroundings and venues not just in the UK but globally. However, for a bath wedding photographer, light and dark have a whole new meaning.
Lamps are always an option, especially if long exposures are not your speciality. Still, it would help if you thought about using them discreetly. Depending on the level of equipment you have and the age of it, there should be plenty of features available to use.
When it comes to post-production for a wedding photographer, use grid options (even smartphones have them these days!). These make lining up horizontal and vertical lines in the venue simple and saves a heap of time during post-production.
The ‘Rule of Thirds’ as I mentioned above come into play, but one of my thoughts is always, “Although you can, do you really need to”?
Many interior photographers have a habit of over-using wide-angle lenses to the point they become a visual fishbowl. For a Bath wedding photographer, fisheye lenses are frowned upon due to the historic venues, of which premium quality space is afforded and the picturesque landscape the area offers.
In effect, you are also not doing the venue owner any favours by distorting their space at the same time. Look to avoid this kind of photography if at all possible.
Meeting the bride and groom beforehand and ‘the art of understanding space’ – The Alternative Angle.
As a wedding photographer, I have always tried my best to meet the bride and groom at least once before the big day. Even if it is outside my area being a wedding photographer, you must be open to travel.
The importance of this can go unnoticed, but if you add this to doing your research on the venue itself before the day, the results will be outstanding.
From a photography point of view, you want to do you very best to create long-lasting memories for the couple, of course. Still, you are also looking to add to your portfolio for bigger and better work moving forward. Trust me the extra couple of miles are always worth the effort.
Meeting the bride and groom and even doing a mock-up shoot is never a bad idea. You want them to look their best, and sometimes you’ll find they just thought a nice suit, new shoes and beautiful dress and make-up were enough, this is where you elevate your service to a new level.
Attention to detail of not just the venue and the lighting but of the couple themselves is paramount. Plus, you get to know them as people not ‘subjects’ this unbeknown to many can make a big difference to the final results.
A bath wedding photographer has the advantage of stunning venues and backdrops. Still, it’s the couple that is in focus more than the surroundings.
During this process is getting them to understand the ‘use of space’ during their day. I guess you are thinking, ‘why would you try to teach them photography?’ I’m not; there are more than one ‘use of space’ rules being a wedding photographer.
Some prior planning in the venue and spending time with the couple before the event will pay dividends. My saying is ‘Your wedding photographer should be everywhere on the day, but hardly seen’.
Constantly interrupting the family, moving them around and pushing them indoors and outdoors, loses all the natural photography and videography available to you on the day.
While meeting with the bride and groom discuss the use of primary and secondary photography as you want them to be as relaxed as they can be on the day.
I call this the ‘the art of understanding space’.
As a Bath wedding photographer, I ensure the use of space is pre-planned. On the day I am never in the way, helping capture the most natural moments and keeping the staged photos of the family at their request and NO more.
The ‘Rule of Space’ has many meanings in reality, not just the technical term used in professional photography circles.
Being able to conduct photography and videography at weddings and become almost invisible takes some practise, it’s not natural for many photographers. If you follow some of the advice above, it should lend itself to pointing you in the right direction. Good luck!
About the author
Michael Gane is a professional wedding photographer Bath with 25 years of experience. He has worked with leading brands such as Disney, HELLO Magazine, Sky Sports, and Sky.