Wedding photography is a branch of photography that involves capturing the most memorable moments of a wedding celebration. In Wedding Photography you capture special moments featuring the bride and groom, their family members, the bridesmaids, groomsmen, and other guests. This type of photography can also include shooting the days leading up to the wedding ceremony.
Wedding Photography can be a real challenge, even for those who are already doing it professionally, because it involves almost every kind of photography. Portraiture, still life photography, action shots, travel and landscape photography, and maybe even underwater shots. You name it, professional wedding photographers have most likely done it on the job. Whether you are here to get better or just started out and want to create a photography portfolio this is the article just for you.
That is why I decided to share “13 Wedding Photography Tips That Will Help You Get Better At It”. This wedding photography tips will help you through the whole process of a wedding photography from getting prepared to shooting to the post-processing (Editing). Make sure you read this article till the end as I will be providing you with three bonus tips. So, let’s get started!
Here is a quick look at the 13 Wedding Photography Tips:
- Know Your Gear
- Bring Help
- Always Be Prepared
- Get To Know The Couple
- Get Familiar With The Location
- Familiarize Yourself With The Program
- Make A Shot List
- Capture Different Angles
- Stay Alert And Be Ready For Anything
- Never Forget To Take Group Shots
- Capture The Moments
- Be Authorative And Professional
- Always Bring Extra Batteries, Lighting And Storage Device
Now, I am going to explain you what each one of those means and how it will affect your wedding photography.
1. Know Your Gear
Familiarize yourself with all aspects of your camera gear, including your lenses, camera settings, and shooting modes. For example, a fast shutter speed is great for capturing fun party moments at the wedding reception, whereas a long shutter speed works best for still, pre-wedding portraits. A wide-angle lens is great for group shots, but a prime lens (lenses with a fixed focal length) is a better option for that high-resolution shot of the wedding couple at the altar. Understanding the best settings and lenses for each shot allows you to capture the best quality images you can when you are shooting weddings. Test out your gear beforehand to ensure everything is in working order.
2. Bring Help
Consider bringing a second photographer along who can simultaneously capture alternative angles of your shots. You can also task your fellow photographer with capturing all the smaller, candid moments, giving you enough time to shoot the significant, emotional events. Bringing a second shooter will provide you with a wider range of photo options to choose from during post-processing (Editing). Maybe the second person you bring might also help you with your lighting setup or help you setup your gear quickly.
3. Always Be Prepared
Weddings can be stressful and unpredictable, you should prepare yourself for all possibilities. As a photographer, making excuses for your failures doesn’t look good. So bring all of your accessories you’ll need to take great wedding photos. If you can, bring a laptop to manage the backup of your photos in real-time. This will help you avoid potential significant technological mishaps down the road, including losing photo data.
Another useful item is a reliable external flash that you can direct towards the ceiling for more natural and diffused lighting, if you don’t have a diffuser for it. Have a backup plan and be ready to shift gears if necessary. Your preparedness can potentially save the day and inform how to handle similar issues at your next wedding.
4. Get To Know The Couple
Take the time to get to know more about your couple during your initial meetings. How did they meet? How long have they been together? Answers to these questions may serve as your inspiration for covering their wedding and for the story in your images. If possible, also do their prenup photos. It will serve as an opportunity for both parties to be more comfortable with each other which is a huge benefit for when the big day arrives. At the same time, it helps you figure out your couple’s best angles,
Also remember, that the wedding day is about the couple and their friends and family who are gathering to celebrate their nuptials. In a wedding, there are all kind of guests: neighbors, colleagues, relatives, friends and others will turn out to show their support for the happy couple. While capturing the guests’ joy is important, keep in mind that the guests didn’t hire you for the shoot.
Request a list of attendees or the seating arrangements to familiarize yourself with all of the guests that you need to photograph for the wedding album. As you already know, friends and family of both bride and groom are the life of the party. They’re important to the couple, which should mean they’re important for you. Plan on shooting some good portraits of them with the couple
5. Get Familiar With The Location
Visit the venue before the wedding to see the layout and lighting opportunities. If you’re shooting the wedding party at a separate location, visit it before the shoot. Seeing the space beforehand will help you prepare for any potential obstacles (like poor lighting or an obstructive landscape) you may face on the day of the actual wedding. If you’re shooting a destination wedding, aim to arrive a day or two earlier to give yourself time to check out the location and meet the team at the wedding venue.
6. Familiarize Yourself With The Program
Aside from learning how to photograph a wedding, it’s equally important to know the kind of wedding that you will be covering. Some cultural weddings have different symbolisms and rituals, and you have to be aware of them so you don’t miss important moments. It would really help both you and the couple if you could also get a copy of their reception program so you know what to expect and can plan your shots accordingly. Part of the job is to also know the schedule for the day, from the time that you have to turn up for the bride and groom preparations to the end of the reception.
7. Make A Shot List
Creating a shot list that you can refer to throughout the ceremony will ensure that you capture the important shots, like the groom’s first look at the bride in her wedding dress, the bridal party preparing for the wedding, emotional family moments, the flower girl walking down the aisle, the cake-cutting ceremony, and the newlyweds’ first kiss. Be sure to ask your clients and their family for any specific shots they would like as well.
Sit down with the couple at least once before the wedding and ask them what they specifically want to include in your shot checklist. They’ll probably say it’s up to you, but they’ll think about it more if you share with them the standard wedding photo list below:
- Bride and Groom Preparations
- Key Items (Invitation, bouquets, rings, dress, jewelry, wardrobe, etc.)
- Family Portraits
- Church & Venue (Empty and packed)
- Bridal Car & Entrance
- Groom’s Reaction
- Wedding Ceremony
- Décor & Details (Flowers, cake, venue, place cards, table settings, etc.)
- Reception (First dance, cake cutting, toasts & speeches, dance with parents)
- Entire Wedding Party
Don’t forget to get to know who the important members of their wedding party are, such as their immediate families and closest friends, so you don’t miss any of them.
8. Capture Different Angles
There are many creative ways to capture a moment, outside of the classic poses featured in many wedding photos. Don’t settle for one shot. Taking multiple photos from different perspectives can result in memorable images.
9. Stay Alert And Be Ready For Anything
When you’re an event photographer, there’s really no time to relax. You may have your shot checklist at the ready, but what makes priceless photos are often the ones that are unplanned. Be aware of what’s happening and be prepared to whip out your camera in an instant, especially when somebody suddenly bursts out crying. Don’t just stay with the couple throughout the day, feel free to do quick shots of the guests as they wipe their tears or burst out laughing. You have to be attentive and watching at all times. Avoid distractions that may cause you to miss out on shooting a touching moment, like the couple’s first dance.
10. Never Forget To Take Group Shots
Everyone wants to have a portrait with the couple, which could take all night. It’s better to shoot in groups. Otherwise, you won’t have enough time for the most important shots. Manage these groups efficiently with the help of your partner. When shooting groups, it’s difficult to get everyone looking perfect at the same time. Some people blink, others are out of focus. That’s why it’s helpful to take lots of extra shots, so you can choose the best picture for every group.
11. Capture The Moments
Kids playing, people whispering about a special moment, friends laughing from the corner or maybe the brides father is crying with tears full of joy, these are all hidden moments within a wedding ceremony and reception that can liven up a wedding album. You can’t create or plan these moments, because they’re rare and original.
That means you have to be on the lookout for them, and don’t hesitate to click your shutter. The couple will love these kinds of photos. Remember, this are the photos the couple will look back for some happy memories. So, make sure you capture the moments in your photographs as it holds deep meaning for the couples.
12. Be Authorative And Professional
You need to be in a prominent position to capture an intimate moment between the bride and groom on the dance floor. Find a space that gives you the best angle to snap your photos without being overly intrusive. You need to learn how to be somewhat bossy and confident about taking front and center during group photos and other ceremonial moments.
It helps to remember that you are being paid and therefore have the license to (respectfully) tell people what to do in order to get the best wedding photos possible. Maintain a professional yet approachable demeanor after all, people are watching. Even if your photo set is amazing, nothing turns other potential clients off more than an unprofessional photographer.
13. Always Bring Extra Batteries, Lighting And Storage Device
It is very important to bring extra set of batteries, lighting equipments and storage device (sd, sdxc, sdhc media cards or whatever is compatible with your camera). This is a no brainer, you never know what could happen, maybe someone accidently dropped you lighting equipment or you run out of space you should or may be your battery died quickly out of nowhere (rare but this happens) always have extra set of those mentioned above.
3 Bonus Tips For Wedding Photography
As promised, here are two bonus tips for your wedding photography:
1. Shoot In Raw File Format
RAW files contain more information than their JPEG counterparts. While it might seem simpler to save in the camera as a JPEG, you will be losing valuable information that could be important during post-processing. With the ability to adjust color balance and exposure details much more accurately, developing a good workflow with RAW files can be invaluable. Remember one thing, RAW due to having more image data than JPEG, it will also take more space than JPEG in your storage device. That is another reason to follow tip no. 13.
2. Have A Spare Camera
If it fits in your budget it is always good to have a spare camera. You can own it or rent it for a day or ask a friend to lend it to you. This is because as mentioned ealier in the above tips no: 3 and 13, you should always be prepared for anything as you never know what might happen. Maybe your camera gets glitches or maybe due to some accident you drop your camera. It is rare but you never know what might happen and you don’t want to be the one who ruins a wedding photo.
3. Relax And Have Fun
This is a celebration, after all. Don’t take things too seriously to the point where you forget that this is supposed to be a happy occasion, and just because you’re not technically a part of it, doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy yourself in the process. You chose the wedding photography niche for a reason, or perhaps even a number of reasons, and one of them is likely to be the fact that you enjoy it. Don’t take the enjoyment out of your craft by forgetting to have fun while you do it.
There is a lot of advice and tips you have found here or may be you might have learned more from somewhere else it doesn’t matter because the basics are the same. Hopefully this article has helped you think about or plan your next wedding photography shoot. If you are a seasoned wedding photographer, share in the comments what advice you have for newcomers looking to make a name for themselves in the wedding photography industry. Your experiences can help others along the way.
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