Do you wish to improve your wedding photography skills? One of the most important and memorable days in a couple's life together is their wedding day. When you're hired as a wedding photographer, it's your job to make sure you get all the best shots and compile a wonderful photo album of the happy couple's big day. This article will provide some of the most helpful advice on how to take stunning wedding photos as well as common wedding photography mistakes that should be avoided.
The following is a selection of the many different ideas that will be discussed. Acquiring an understanding of these pointers will assist you in getting ready for your first shoot:
- Cooperating side by side
- Being well-prepared and having high-quality gear
- Making preparations for your shots
- Being aware of who and what should be photographed
- Keeping track of life's fleeting moments
What Is Wedding Photography?
Before you can comprehend how utilising our advice will improve your wedding photography, it is necessary for you to comprehend what it is that makes the wedding ceremony and wedding reception such difficult subjects to photograph.
In contrast to other types of photography, such as portraiture or landscape, wedding photography differs in that you only get one shot at getting the images just right. In most cases, the wedding ceremony and reception both take place on the same day. This indicates that there is very little wiggle room for the photographer in terms of making mistakes. You must ensure that you are always ready to fire at a moment's notice.
It's possible that the bride, groom, their families, and their friends will be stressed out, so it's important that you keep a positive and easygoing attitude as well.
You will want to ensure that you prepare a wedding photography contract well in advance, just like the majority of other event photographers do, so that the wedding party can sign it. Disputes can be avoided entirely by reaching a consensus on all of the relevant details up front and writing them down. This agreement ought to include the total number of deliverables that your customers will get after the shoot has been completed.
Your wedding photographs will become your most prized keepsake after the big day.
Not sure where to start when it comes to looking for your wedding photographer of choice?
Wedding Photography Tips
Because wedding photography encompasses such a wide variety of subgenres, even for those who are already working in the field on a professional level, it can be a difficult assignment to undertake. Portraiture, still life photography, action shots, travel and landscape photography, and possibly even underwater photography are all types of photography that you could do. You name it, and it's highly likely that a professional wedding photographer has done it at some point in their careers.
Having said that, it may be difficult for novice photographers to cover their first few weddings in a seamless manner. But it's not impossible, especially with our guide to the most essential photography tips for weddings.
Get To Know the Couple.
During the first meetings that you have together, make it a priority to learn as much as you can about the couple you will be working with. How did they first get together? When did they first start dating each other? Are there already children in their family? The responses to these questions could provide you with ideas for how to cover their wedding and how to tell the story through the photographs you take.
If at all possible, you should also photograph them prior to the wedding. It will be an opportunity for both parties to become more comfortable with each other, which is going to be a huge benefit when it comes time for the big event. At the same time, it assists you in determining the best angles from which to photograph your couple!
Test Your Camera in Advance
Before you head out to the wedding to take some amazing photos, you need to double check that all of your equipment is operational and in good shape.
In addition to bringing a variety of camera lenses and external flashes with you, you should probably also bring a tripod with you to use during the wedding ceremony. If the wedding you are photographing takes place indoors, you may require additional lighting equipment in addition to what you already have. It is possible to get away with using a bounce instead of cumbersome lights for ceremonies that take place outside.
It is best to err on the side of caution and bring additional equipment than you believe you'll require in order to be on the safe side. Bring along a number of spare batteries and memory cards to ensure that you don't miss out on anything, from the drinks served during cocktail hour to the exciting dancing that takes place on the dance floor.
Pre-Plan the Shoot
The shoot itself is not nearly as important as the planning that goes into it. For this particular aspect of the preparations for your wedding photography, set aside some additional time.
You will want to set aside some time to take multiple photographs of the bride and groom in a variety of settings before the wedding day. The couple will carry out your directions and respect your expertise, but they may also come up with their own suggestions for photo opportunities.
It is entirely up to you to decide how the couple should be posed in the photographs. As you and your clients plan the photo shoot together, it is highly recommended that you show your clients a manual of poses. Give them the opportunity to choose the poses they would like to see in their wedding photos, and then include those choices in the contract that both of you will sign.
It is possible that you will need to provide additional instruction in order to get the shot that you want, but this will depend on how comfortable your clients are in front of the camera. Because of this, it is extremely vital to exercise patience with the newlyweds. The more you can do to make them feel at ease throughout the experience, the more pleasure they will take in it.
Also, keep in mind that word-of-mouth advertising is absolutely necessary for the expansion of a photography business. One of your customers who is a patient photographer is someone I will recommend to you. Your name is everything when it comes to photography. It is your brand, so if you make a mess of someone's wedding, you will have dragged your name through the dirt, and there is no natural way to recover from that. If you do this, you will have ruined your reputation.
On the day of a wedding, things can frequently go completely awry, and decisions must be made on the fly depending on how strictly the couple sticks to the schedule. This can be a stressful experience for the couple. It's possible that they decided to move the time of the group photos up by two hours, leaving you with no time to scout out the ideal location in which to take them. You'll be forced to choose a spot that offers a good view, which means you'll have to make do with less than ideal accommodations.
Instead, get there early and take a stroll around the location of the wedding to scout out the best possible shooting spots. Imagine where you'd take photos of the dress, the rings, the couple, the group photos, and so on. You could even go to the wedding location a few days or even weeks before the big day to scope out the best places to stand and take pictures. This way, there is no rush and no pressure at all, and you might even find yourself with some spare time on the day of the wedding to eat that peanut butter sandwich you brought with you.
Create a Personalised Shot Checklist
Even though this is one of the most important pieces of advice that can be found regarding weddings, we purposefully saved it for last. After all, the only way you will be able to find the time to finish your shot checklist is if you first determine when you will be able to complete each of the items on the list.
To a much greater extent than in the past, engaged couples hire photographers on the basis of how well they can document the entirety of the wedding, down to the most essential details. Every bride has the same dream: that many years later, when they look through their wedding album, they will be reminded of the gorgeous setting of the venue, how the bride's dress turned out, how happy everyone was, and a few other things.
At least once before the wedding, you should make time to sit down with the couple and ask them what details they have specifically requested to be included in a brief checklist. They will most likely tell you that it is up to you, but if you share with them the standard wedding photo list that follows, they will consider it more carefully:
- The Preparations of the Bride and Groom
- Essential Items (Invitation, bouquets, rings, dress, jewellery, wardrobe, etc.)
Photographs of the Family
- Church & Venue (Empty and packed)
- Bridal Car & Entrance
- The Response of the Groom
- Wedding Ceremony
- Décor & Details (Flowers, cake, venue, place cards, table settings, etc.)
- The reception (First dance, cake cutting, toasts & speeches, dance with parents)
- Every Member of the Wedding Party
Make sure you don't forget to learn the names of the most important people in their wedding party, such as the members of their immediate families and their closest friends, so that you don't leave anyone out.
We have the best wedding photographer in Yarra Valley to capture your beautiful moments on your wedding day.
Hire or Be Part of a Team
A lot goes on at weddings. Because of the limited amount of time available and the difficulty in performing multiple tasks at once, it is nearly impossible for a single shooter to cover everything. Wedding photography teams typically consist of at least three photographers, with at least one photographer assigned to each of the couple's members. The photographers will have a better chance of capturing important moments if they divide up the required shots among themselves and work together in this way. You also have the option of employing an assistant to help you set up your gear and lighting. You will find that it makes you more comfortable on the job, which is another way in which it will benefit you as a shooter.
You can't possibly carry all of your photography equipment on your own. To create the most beautiful photographs possible of the wedding you're photographing, you'll probably need some assistance. You might also need the assistance of another professional photographer to assist with light management, take test shots, and capture scenes that you would otherwise miss. You simply cannot be in two places at once!
Approach a photographer who specialises in weddings and offer to assist them in exchange for serving as your second in command at one of their upcoming events. This swap is a clever way to keep costs down while also receiving assistance from a professional photographer for the wedding.
Bring the Right Gear.
Your chances of successfully covering a wedding significantly increase when you have quality wedding photography equipment. Invest in the best cameras (yes, plural, because you're definitely going to need a backup camera) and lenses for wedding photography that are within your price range, as this will significantly improve the quality of your images and your ability to capture various scenes in the correct way. For taking pictures at weddings, for instance, a good camera to begin with would be the Canon EOS R5, the Sony Alpha a7S III, or the Fujifilm X100V.
Your kit ought to include lenses that are comfortable for walking around with, ideally one prime lens and one wide aperture zoom lens. These lenses should enable you to get close to the guests and walk among them without drawing an excessive amount of attention to yourself. In addition, a high-quality wide-angle lens is necessary for taking pictures of large groups of people as well as capturing the environment, and a telephoto lens, either prime or zoom, is required for taking pictures at a considerable distance.
If you do not have a diffuser, another useful item is a dependable external flash that you can point towards the ceiling to create more natural and diffused lighting. In portrait photography, you should never use a pop-up flash because it creates harsh lighting and is not very aesthetically pleasing.
In addition to that, you will require a sturdy tripod to help you take pictures that are more steady and clear. Last but not least, and this really ought to go without saying, remember to bring along extra memory cards and batteries!
Have Backups of Everything
The cost of wedding photography and photography in general can skyrocket in a short amount of time, so if you suffer from GAS (Gear Acquisition Syndrome), you should make sure to get that under control before you start shooting weddings.
You are going to require backups of everything, from camera bodies and lenses to cards, batteries, and speedlights. On the wedding day, anything could happen, and you don't want to be the person who is getting paid to be at the wedding with a camera but doesn't have a camera with them.
Renting equipment that you currently do not own but will eventually purchase is one solution to this problem. There are a few circumstances in which renting is preferable to purchasing. You get the opportunity to test out the gear you've always wanted to use without breaking the bank, and a lot of the time you'll come to the conclusion that purchasing a new lens won't really make your work THAT much better, and all of a sudden you've saved yourself thousands of dollars.
Familiarise Yourself With the Program
In addition to learning how to photograph a wedding, one of the most important things you can do is find out what kind of wedding you will be covering. You need to be aware of the various rituals and symbolism that are associated with certain cultural weddings, so that you do not miss any significant moments during the ceremony. If you could also get a copy of the programme for the couple's reception, it would be helpful for both you and the couple. This way, you will know what to expect and will be able to plan your shots accordingly.
One of the responsibilities of the job is to be familiar with the agenda for the day, beginning with the time at which you are expected to arrive for the preparations of the bride and groom and continuing all the way through to the conclusion of the reception.
Figure Out the Lighting Situation Beforehand
If at all possible, go to the location a few days in advance, at a time that is roughly equivalent to when the wedding will take place, so that you can get a sense of the kind of lighting situation you will be dealing with. You should take a tour of the entire venue and make notes about the different types of lighting you will encounter at each location, regardless of whether they are indoors or outdoors. Because of this, you will be able to properly prepare for it and determine the kind of lighting equipment and accessories that you may need to bring with you.
You really ought to bring along your camera and all of its lenses! Take some test shots in each section of the location so that you can figure out which settings will give you the best results overall. This should help you save some time during the actual event, as you won't have to spend your time wasting time trying to come up with the correct settings for each different lighting situation.
Get Accurate Exposure to the Bride’s Dress.
When photographing the bride in her dress, it is important to ensure that the exposure is correct. This is a detail that may be overlooked by some wedding photographers. Let's say you have a very traditional bride who, almost certainly, opted for the timeless white gown for her big day. In that case, you need to keep in mind that white is a colour that can be challenging to photograph correctly, particularly in a number of different lighting scenarios.
You need to educate yourself on the correct method of metering in order to achieve the correct exposure, which will enable you to capture the brightest tone of the dress without sacrificing any of the necessary details.
Stay Alert and Be Ready for Anything.
When you're working as a photographer for an event, there's no time to kick back and relax. You may be prepared with your shot list, but the photos that turn out to be the most memorable and valuable are frequently the ones that were completely unplanned. Keep an eye on what's going on around you and be ready to whip out your camera at any moment; this is especially important in the event that someone breaks down in tears unexpectedly or that the young person carrying the bible decides to abandon it in the middle of the aisle. Don't spend the whole day following around the happy couple; instead, feel free to take some quick shots of the guests as they wipe away tears or break out in laughter.
Keep in mind that some of the most memorable wedding photos are captured during those candid, behind-the-scenes moments.
Be Authoritative and Professional.
It's possible that a lot of experience and faith are going to be required for this one. In the midst of all of the mingling and celebrating, it can be difficult for even professional wedding photographers to maintain control of the situations and direct the attendees. It would be helpful if you learned how to be somewhat bossy and confident about taking the front and centre position during group photo opportunities and other ceremonial moments. It enables you to keep in mind that you are being compensated, and as a result, you have the authority to (respectfully) instruct people on how to improve their chances of getting the best wedding photos possible.
You should also make sure that your attire is appropriate for the event. Find out what the appropriate level of formality is for the event, and wear clothes that are comfortable enough for you to move around in but are still formal enough that you won't stand out like a sore thumb.
Remember that people are observing you, so keep your demeanour professional while still being approachable. Even if your photo set is amazing, having an unprofessional photographer is the number one thing that will turn away other potential customers.
At Wild Romantic, we have the best wedding photographer in Mornington Peninsula to capture every single moment on your wedding day.
Know When to Keep Your Distance and When to Move Closer
Establishing your authority among the other guests who are armed with cameras is helpful, but you shouldn't go overboard with it. Maintain your distance from the party unless you absolutely need to direct their poses for the wedding photos. This is of the utmost significance during the wedding ceremony as well as during the toasts that are being given. Do not be an obtrusive and hovering photographer; rather, invest in a high-quality zoom lens that will allow you to capture those moments without having to get too close.
On the other hand, getting closer to the subject enables you to capture a wider range of perspectives. The takeaway from this is that in order to be a good photographer, you need to know when to back off and when you need to get closer for a particular shot.
Don’t Manipulate or Interfere With Your Subjects.
When photographing the preparations being made by the bride and groom, it is best to keep things as natural as possible. Allow things to develop in their natural way. It doesn't matter how talented a model or actor your partner is if the shot is overly directed; it will still look awkward and fake. Naturally, it is helpful to maintain control over the newlyweds, their entourage, and the guests by having them strike a few creative or traditional poses for the group photos and photoshoot that take place before the reception.
However, unless the photographs call for some natural posing, it is best to stay out of the way to avoid having any influence on the behaviour of the subjects you are photographing. Give them the freedom to do whatever they want in order to get some candid shots of them acting naturally, as these may turn out to be even better than what you had originally planned.
Capture the Firsts
Couples want to remember every second of their big day, especially the significant first moments of their lives together as man and wife. These significant firsts for the couple include their first kiss, first dance, and first look at one another. Because your customers may be planning their own nontraditional "first moments," it is imperative that you enquire with them about any significant moments that they would like to have captured in photographs.
You should schedule time for these first moments, and you should also ensure that you have everything set up in advance so that you can get the best shot. Due to the rapid nature of these benchmarks, you will need to ensure that you are well prepared in advance.
Setting your camera to a high shutter speed allows you to take multiple, quick photos without any lag time, which is the best strategy for maximising the likelihood that your first-moment images will turn out beautifully. During the post-processing stage, you will then have a series of images from which you can select the one that is of the highest quality. Make an effort to capture these early moments from a variety of perspectives. For instance, if the couple is going to make a big entrance, you should try to set up multiple cameras, each of which should have a remote shutter, so that you can get pictures of the entrance from a variety of angles.
Shoot the Reactions
The newlywed couple's wedding album is the perfect place to include photos of their friends and family members having a good time. You should make an effort to capture those moments as well, especially if you see guests and friends having a good time on the dance floor or during the dinner at the reception. It is important to take pictures of the reactions of your customers' relatives, friends, and family members who came to show their support.
If you have an assistant helping you out, this would be a great job for them to take on by themselves. Assign them the task of capturing the guests' and family members' expressions of "WOW!" while you maintain your position close to the bride and groom.
Request that your companion take the photos quickly while covering as many different faces as they can. It is a happy occasion, and these moments ought to be captured so that the couple can look back on them in the future.
Learn From Each Wedding You Do
Use each wedding photography gig as a learning opportunity, as this is one of the best pieces of advice anyone can give you regarding wedding photography. The first wedding you photograph will never be a perfect experience, but you can use it as an opportunity to gain more knowledge and learn more about wedding photography. Every time you plan a wedding, make a mental note of everything that went well, as well as everything that could have been improved upon, because, as the old adage goes, the best teacher is experience. Not only will this help you improve your wedding photography skills, but you'll also learn other things, such as how to handle the initial negotiations with the bride and groom, how to act around the guests so that you can get the right emotions, how to achieve tricky shots, and how to think on your feet. All of these things will be taught to you as a result of doing this (which is extremely important when covering events).
Applying to be a second or third shooter for a professional wedding photographer is a great way to get personalised advice and hands-on experience without being put under an excessive amount of pressure. If you have the opportunity, you should take advantage of it.
One last bonus piece of advice for you is to CHILL OUT and ENJOY YOURSELF. After all, a celebration is taking place right now. You should try not to take things too seriously to the point where you forget that this is supposed to be a happy occasion, and the fact that you are not technically a part of it does not mean that you cannot enjoy yourself while you are participating in the process. You have a reason, or possibly even several reasons, for choosing to specialise in wedding photography, and one of those reasons is likely the fact that you take pleasure in doing so. I beg of you not to ruin the fun of your hobby by forgetting to laugh and enjoy yourself while you're working on it.
If you are genuinely having fun, there is a good chance that it will be reflected in the work that you produce in the end.