As a wedding photographer, you will have to juggle a number of different types of photography.
‘Wedding photographer’ is actually short for a documentary, portrait, landscape, still life and family photographer (it isn’t, but it should be!)
A wedding can be stressful for both the photographer and the couple being photographed, but it doesn’t have to be that way.
With this in mind, we hope our wedding photography tricks can go some way to relieving any stresses you have about shooting a wedding. Wedding photography can be very rewarding, especially if you have happy couples.
Are you a beginner who is about to photograph your first wedding ever? Or, are you a seasoned pro shooter who could pick up a second job critiquing wedding cakes’ moistness levels from hundreds of different bakeries? If you need advice on your wedding photography, check out our photography packages and services at Wild Romantic Photography.
Regardless of your skill levels and experience, there is always room for learning new tricks and adding new, great images to your portfolio.
What Is Wedding Photography?
Before you can understand how our tips will help your wedding photography, you have to understand what makes photographing a wedding ceremony and wedding reception challenges.
Wedding photography is different from other photography genres because you only have one chance to get the images right. Weddings typically only last one day — the wedding day! That means there’s very little room for error on the part of the photographer. You have to make sure that you’re ready to shoot at a moment’s notice.
The bride, groom, their families, and friends may be stressed, so it’s also key that you maintain a positive, easy-going attitude.
Like many other event photographers, you’ll want to make sure you prepare a wedding photography contract in advance for the wedding party to sign. Having an established agreement upfront eliminates the possibility of disagreements down the line. This agreement should include the total number of deliverables your clients will receive after the shoot is over.
Most Important Wedding Photography Tips and Techniques
The technical elements of photography are incredibly important on a wedding day. You may not have control over factors such as weather, lighting, or movement, so while taking 1,000 or more photos, you need to be flexible and use techniques designed specifically for weddings. And above all else, your approach should be focused first and foremost on the couple and their wishes.
Juggling these priorities can be difficult, especially if this is one of the first weddings you are to shoot. At Wild Romantic Photography, we have the best Melbourne wedding photographer to take memorable photos on your wedding day.
Here are some important steps you should take before the special day to ensure you’re ready:
Know Your Equipment Inside and Out
Before you shoot your first wedding (and before each shoot, you go on), spread out your equipment and evaluate everything in advance. Take stock of your lenses, check your camera and ensure you know every mode and setting inside and out. Know the limits of each setting, and be prepared to answer any questions the bride and groom may have. If they ask for a certain type of shot and you don’t know if your camera can do it, it can be embarrassing.
Ensure you have sufficient memory cards on hand and test every piece of equipment before each shoot you go to. More importantly, practice as much as possible. Grab a friend and take a full run of shots to ensure your equipment is calibrated and ready for the big day. You can even stage a fake wedding to test your shots in advance of the day.
Pre-Plan the Shoot
Planning your shoot is just as important as the shoot itself. Make some extra time for this part of your wedding photography preparations.
You’ll want to schedule a time to take multiple photos of the bride and groom in different locations. The couple will follow your instructions and defer your professional judgment, but they may also have their ideas for photo ops.
How you decide to pose the couple in the photos is up to you. We recommend showing your clients a manual of poses as you plan the shoot together. Let them choose the poses they want for their wedding photos, and then add them to the contract you both sign.
Depending on how comfortable your clients are in front of the camera, you may have to provide extra instruction to capture the best shot. That’s why it’s so important to be patient with the newlyweds. The more you can help them feel comfortable, the more they’ll enjoy the experience.
And remember, word of mouth advertising is essential for growing a photography business. A patient photographer is one of your clients will recommend!
Plan Your Shots in Advance
Prepare a list of shots that the couple wants to include in their album. Speak to them in detail about the family members, friends, and wedding guests who will be in these shots. Ensure to include the following shots in your list –
- Groom Coverage – Get shots of the flower, tie, rings, cologne, cufflinks, and anything else the groom requests. Include photos of the groomsmen getting ready, all of them together, and any other goofy shots they want to get together (sunglasses and smiles, jackets over the shoulder, or roughhousing).
- Bride Coverage – The bride shots will often depend on what she wants to be included. Some examples include the back of the dress, looking at flowers, considering the distance, smiling into the camera, and standing with the maid of honour.
- Bride and Groom Together – If the bride and groom can see each other before the ceremony, these are good shots to take in the morning. If not, you’ll have to squeeze them in between the ceremony and reception. The basics include a kiss, a hug, nose-to-nose, looking at each other, and all the goofy shots they’ll want to share in ten or twenty years.
Assist a Professional
You should know the dos and don’ts of wedding photography before shooting any weddings. Learning the basics from a veteran photographer will help you avoid common mistakes.
Try reaching out to a professional wedding photographer before you start your own wedding photography business. They may allow you to shadow them at weddings they’ve booked or pick their brain for advice.
You can gain hands-on experience while working alongside a seasoned professional that you can apply to other later shoots. Some of the tips you learn may not be new to you, depending on your photography skills.
But, it’s always helpful to see how other professionals in your fieldwork achieve the best results. We have the best wedding photographer in Yarra Valley to capture your beautiful moments on your wedding day.
Photograph with a Partner
You can’t carry all your photography accessories alone. You’ll likely need a helping hand to make the best wedding photography images you can. You may also need another professional photographer to help manage lights, take test shots, and capture scenes you’d otherwise miss. You can’t be everywhere at once!
Ask a wedding photographer to become your assistant in exchange for being their second in command at their next event. This trade is a smart way to stay on budget and get help from an experienced wedding photographer.
Make the Couple Aware About Your Work Style
Every photographer is different, and your style is an important factor – whether you prefer natural lighting, staged photographs, interior or external shots, etc. These are the factors you should communicate with the couple to decide what shots they would like to be taken and make sure you’re the right fit for them. Be sure to familiarise yourself with space too. Whether in a church, on a beach, or in a park, visit the space in advance so you can plan the day out as much as possible.
Planning your dream wedding and don’t want to miss out on the special moments on your big day? Worry no more, Wild Romantic Photography has you covered.
What to Capture
Capture the Firsts
Couples want to remember every minute of their big day, especially the milestone first moments. These monumental firsts include the couple’s first kiss, first dance and first look. Your clients may even be planning their own nontraditional “first moments,” so it’s important to ask them about any special moments they want to be photographed.
Plan time for these first moments, and make sure that you’ve set up in advance to capture the best shot. These milestones are quick, so you have to be prepared ahead of time.
The best strategy for ensuring that your first-moment images come out well is to set your camera with a high shutter speed so you can take multiple, quick photos without delay. That way, in post-processing, you’ll have a series of images from which you can choose the best one.
Try to get different angles of these first moments, too! For example, if the couple plans a grand entrance, try setting up multiple cameras with a remote shutter to capture the entrance from multiple points of view.
Shoot the Reactions
Newlyweds love seeing photos of their guests having fun in their wedding album. If you notice guests and friends having fun on the dance floor or during the reception dinner, make an effort to capture those moments, too. Those expressions of the relatives, friends and family that showed up to support your clients deserve to be captured.
If you’re working with an assistant, this is a great job for them to assume. Assign them to capture the “WOW!” expressions of guests and family while you stay close to the bride and groom.
Ask your partner to take photos quickly and cover as many faces as they can. It’s a joyful occasion, and these moments should be preserved for the couple to see later.
Know the Guests
At a wedding, there is all kind of guests. Neighbours, 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.
Discuss the guest list with the couple to designate some VIP guests. These special guests should get priority portraits, and you should make an effort to learn their names and make them feel comfortable fro the shoot.
As you already know, both the bride and groom’s friends and family are the life of the party. They’re important to the couple, which should mean they’re important to you—plan on shooting some good portraits of them with the couple and solo.
Capture a Group Photo
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. Your assistant might be in charge of assigning groups, fixing flyaway hairs and adjusting other small details so you can focus on photographing.
When shooting groups, it isn’t easy 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 that you can choose the best picture for every group.
Look for Smiles
Where there’s a smile, there’s a moment worth capturing. Kids are playing, people whispering about a special moment, friends laughing from the corner — 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.
Weddings are about celebrating; they should be fun. The more fun you have as the photographer, the more relaxed those you are photographing will be.
Perhaps the best way to loosen people up is to smile as the photographer (warning: I always come home from photographing weddings with sore jaws and cheeks because of my smiling strategy). Looking for a Mornington Peninsula wedding photographer? Look no further! Wild Romantic Photography has you covered.
Use of Flash in Wedding Photos
Because most of the photographs you’ll take are active shots of an event in progress, lighting can’t always be controlled. Flash usage and lighting options are important factors to consider in advance, especially if space is outside. Some specific tips include –
- Try to get as many photos as possible with accessible light and no flash
- When using flash, use a fill-flash technique to avoid poor composition
- Use flash diffusers and reflectors to prevent photographs from being ruined by flash blowout
- Use the main and primary lenses for all photos whenever possible
At the same time, don’t get lost in the technical details. Be ready for unexpected events, surprises, and the unique quirks and memories that will make the wedding a one-of-a-kind event for everyone attending.
Learn how to use diffused light
The ability to bounce a flash or to diffuse it is key. You’ll find in many churches that light is very low. If you’re allowed to use a flash (and some churches don’t allow it), think about whether bouncing the flash will work (remember that if you bounce your flash off a coloured surface, it will add a colour cast to the picture), or whether you might want to buy a flash diffuser to soften the light.
If you can’t use a flash, you’ll need to use a fast lens at wide apertures and/or bump up the ISO. A lens with image stabilisation might also help.
Consider your backgrounds
One of the challenges of weddings is that there are often people going everywhere, including the backgrounds of your shots. Particularly with the formal shots, scope out the area where they’ll be taken ahead of time and look for good backgrounds.
Ideally, you’ll want uncluttered areas and shaded spots out of direct sunlight where there’s unlikely to be a great aunt wandering into the back of the shot.
Test Your Camera in Advance
You should check all your gadgets to make sure they’re working properly before you leave to take great wedding photos.
You’ll likely want to bring a tripod with you to use at the wedding ceremony, in addition to several camera lenses and external flashes. If the wedding you’re photographing takes place indoors, you may also need other lighting equipment. For outdoor ceremonies, you can likely get by with a bounce rather than cumbersome lights.
It’s a good idea to err on the side of caution and bring more equipment than you think you’ll need. Pack several spare batteries and memory cards, so you don’t miss anything from drinks at cocktail hour to fun-filled dancing on the dance floor.
Pack Sufficient Accessories
As a professional 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.
Wedding photography is one of the most common and most lucrative forms of professional photography. While demographics and social trends may fluctuate over time, the need for preserving the memories from weddings is a universal concept that knows no borders. If you’d like to work with professional photographers for your wedding, book with us at Wild Romantic Photography.
As a celebration of love and family, wedding photography can provide fun, exciting, and rewarding opportunities to exercise your technical and creative abilities. However, since weddings are a once-in-a-lifetime event, the experience can also be stressful and difficult, especially without the right knowledge, experience and preparation. This guide aims to go beyond a haphazard list of wedding photography tips and give you a full guide for concept mastery.