Wedding Photography Tips!

Good morning you lovely lot, hope everyone is ok. I wish I could say I was, but I’m suffering with my right foot even more now as it’s now swollen and red to the point where it’s difficult to try and exercise it, and due to the NHS strikes (which I fully support as they do so much for everyone) It’s almost impossible to get an appointment, but I know they have a lot more pressing matters to attend to at the moment, so, for now, I will try some home remedies to see if that will help. Another thing that I’m suffering with is my left shoulder as I cracked it last Thursday which was then made even worse on Friday when my mum and I were in Leeds and this woman walked right past us with a handful of bags and hit me with every single one of her bags, nevermind me being in a wheelchair, and then laughed about it right in front of us so that ruined both mine and my mum’s mood for a little while until we got a message from my sister to give us the great news that my nephew is now out of his spica cast and is free to run around again!! Hearing that good news definitely lifted our spirits again.

Anyway, enough of my rambling, let’s move on with today’s post…26 years ago this February my parents got married in a little registry office surrounded by close family (including little ole me – my mum was in the early stages of pregnancy with me) one of whom took the wedding pictures of the day itself, and I thought it would be a good idea to do a post on wedding photography tips if thats the type of photography style that you might be thinking about doing, or if you just want to know for future reference.

Professional wedding photographers are responsible for capturing all the best shots at a wedding ceremony. To succeed in the wedding photography business, you need to have patience and quick reflexes. You’ll need to spend your time observing the guests and waiting for special moments to capture on this emotional, meaningful day. Wedding photography is a branch of photography that involves capturing the most memorable moments of a wedding celebration. Wedding photographers use techniques from documentary photography and portrait photography to capture special moments featuring the bride(s) and/or groom(s), 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.

Make It Legal

One of the biggest beginner mistakes a photographer can make when photographing weddings is not having a signed contract. When you have a legally binding contract, it sets an agreement between you and the client. When your client signs a contract, it means they agree with your role and responsibilities for the wedding. The contract clearly states your tasks and what your clients will receive. It serves as a protection to both parties, especially since there’s money involved. Make sure the contract covers you in case of accidents, image corruption, and states the copyright stipulations. The more detailed the better, this way all parties involved are aware of the terms and conditions set forth by you/your company.

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 shooting weddings. Test out your gear beforehand to ensure everything is in working order.

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 time to take multiple photos of the bride and groom in different locations. The couple will follow your instructions and defer to your professional judgment, but they may also have their own ideas for photo ops. How you decide to pose the couple in the photos is up to you. A recommendation is to show 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 into 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. 

Wedding Timeline

As the photographer, you are the one who knows how much time to allow for each photography event. You can guide your clients to create the perfect wedding timeline for their day. For example, allowing at least two hours for bride and groom portraits is a great place to start. If the couple has a wedding coordinator, it is good to go over and share the wedding timeline with them so that everyone is on the same page on the day of the event. Having a rough draft of the wedding photography timeline at least 6 months in advance can help you avoid any issues that might come up otherwise. Keep a wedding timeline with you at all times. It is best if you print it out and have it handy in your bag or in your pocket. Make sure your assistant knows where it is and can help you keep track of what and when the next amateur wedding photography opportunity is going to come along.

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. It also takes a little pressure off you as “the one” who has to get every shot!

Be Familiar with the Locations

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.

Know the Guests

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. 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 for the shoot.

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 photographed. Plan time for these first moments, and make sure that you’re 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.

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’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.

Be Flexible

Weddings never go 100% as planned, but everyone involved tries their best to make sure it goes as smoothly as possible. Wedding photographers have to be flexible to time constraints, people not showing up, and maybe even moving the timeline around. Being flexible means that you are able to photograph details or other parts of the wedding day at a different time than scheduled. Take note of what is being moved around so that you can make sure that you get it later in the day. The couple will appreciate you being flexible as this is their day and not yours.

Pack Business Cards

Always pack business cards in your bag and have some on your person during the wedding event. It is very often that people will see how hard you are working and will like to see more of your portfolio. Also, a lot of guests will ask you about the photographs and where they will be able to view or purchase them. Hand them a card. You can always have a small notebook as well to write down any potential clients’ emails or contact information to give it a more personal touch. They will appreciate the detail and you will have more clients! Make sure your assistant (if you have one) also has them on hand because they too will get asked by guests while you are photographing the couple or reception.

Have fun

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. Also, the reception isn’t only for guests, by this time you’ve earned the right to enjoy the party as well. Get on the dance floor and be a part of the party, you’ll get one-of-kind photographs of the guests and perhaps even capture a few too-good moments of the celebration. Also, don’t forget the band or DJ. They are important as well. Getting a good solid photograph of them during the reception that you can send to them later can often come back to you in more referrals.

Weddings are unique things. Everyone is happy, well-dressed and emotionally charged. Anything can happen, and it’s your job to capture as much of it as you can! Hopefully this post has helped you think about or plan your next wedding photography shoot.

I hope you enjoy the rest of your week and I shall see you next Wednesday!

3 thoughts on “Wedding Photography Tips!

  1. Having fun is very important in wedding photography. Even if you are carrying a professional looking business card, nobody will suggest you to their friends if you are not smiling and having fun. Great tips!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s