Don't have any time for roaming streets with your camera? Well, put it aside for your personal development, because it can make you a better wedding photographer!
Whether your busy wedding season is kicking off or you're slowly readjusting to have a quiet period, setting time aside for some personal street photography is certainly something that could help you take your photography and business to the next level. Constantly shooting weddings every weekend can make you image blind, so why not find a great reason to break away from your business just for a couple of hours every other week and give yourself room to grow?
You Will Enhance Your People Skills
First of all, let me say that if you can't cope being in a social setting, weddings can be a hard and lonely place for the photographer, though they might appear glamorous and exciting from the outside. If you need to work on honing your people skills, streets are the places to be. If you're going into your quiet season now, use this as an opportunity to work on your development. If this is your busy season, use it as an excuse to escape and enjoy photography from a personal standpoint, not that of a customer.
When you're doing street photography, first of all, you'll end up taking photographs of strangers. This means you're opening yourself up for the opportunity of being approached by those who may observe you doing photography, or the subjects of your photographs may strike up a conversation. For example, during my last trip to London a few days ago, I was approached by a stranger who just wanted to chat about who I am and what I do. It can be daunting, it can be intimidating at times, but if you put yourself out there more often, you'll start reaping the rewards of gaining confidence in talking to strangers, which you can then take into your interaction with wedding guests. You will also begin to formulate information of who you are, what you do, and why it would be interesting to a stranger.
It would be a shame for you to miss out on these opportunities that could lead anywhere, just because you're struggling to feel confident when dealing with guests or other strangers. It's not all about interesting conversations either. Sometimes, you need to come across interactions where you need to be firm in leaving the conversation swiftly and on a good note, because you have a job to do. Learning how you can cope with all these different scenarios will only assist you when you return to shooting a wedding, so give yourself some small goals to achieve when you go out documenting street life and see how you become stronger and more confident as a person.
You Will Be More Daring With Off-Beat Compositions
Don't bash me when I say that flattering and beautiful photographs of a bride or groom are relatively easy, as are candids of guests laughing and enjoying themselves, especially if you stand aside and use a longer lens. Generally, brides are already glowing with excitement, but their makeup artist and hair stylist have made it even easier to create a lovely-looking image. Picturesque backgrounds or soft evening light will give softness and warmth to most couples' portraits, so it's hard not to get it looking at least technically correct. However, how will you make your work different from that of others if everyone's already getting images that pass as good?
Practicing your composition skills out in the streets will give that extra edge next time you're photographing the couple or their guests, especially if the rest of your income comes from studio work or elsewhere with limited ability to experiment creatively. It's easy to revert back to what is safe, practiced before, and what you know will come out beautifully, but why not push yourself that little bit harder next time and try to create something that makes an ordinary life event suddenly look a little less so?
Composing your couple or guests, as you would do while documenting street life, will add something a bit different to your portfolio and make you stand out. Personally, I think that there is always room for technical learning in wedding photography, but there's even more room for exercising your vision and being more daring. When the couple sees their guests composed in a creative or interesting way, why wouldn't it stick in their minds? They know what their friends and family look like when they're laughing, chatting, and having a drink, but they don't know what magic you could create with your vision!
You Will Start to Embrace Movement
If you've ever tried street photography, especially in places like London, you'll quickly realize the world doesn't exactly stop for you when you want to take an image. Instead, you have to quickly adapt and work around it by incorporating the movement and energy in your work. Embracing movement, whether you freeze it or let the motion be a visual point of interest, can add dynamics to your wedding imagery, taking something from a beautiful photograph to having that "wow" factor, one that makes people appreciate the story you have photographed or the thought you had behind the image.
Don't fear introducing movement in your wedding galleries, but at the same time, have a play around with it while photographing streets, where you have no pressure in producing anything in particular. This way, you can experiment in using different combinations of chosen aperture and shutter speed and finding ways to create your desired effect. Movement often tells more of the story than a completely still image, so why wouldn't you incorporate that into your wedding gallery?
Would you set time aside to do street photography?
Also, if you really want to dive into the world of wedding photography, check out "How To Become A Professional Commercial Wedding Photographer."