Wedding Photography – 21 Tips for Amateur Wedding Photographers
“Help me out, I’m shooting the first time a wedding! Help me with wedding photography ideas I need your help. !”
Photographers often get asked. While I’m no professional wedding photographer I thought it was the right time to provide some of my ideas on wedding photography.
It’s best to leave all the tech advice on how to photograph a wedding to experts. As someone who’s been asked to shoot a variety of weddings of family and friends here are some ideas.
1. Make a list of shots
One of the best advice I’ve received on wedding photography is to encourage couples to think ahead of the photos they’d like you to take during the wedding day.
Make a list of all the shots to be able to examine each shot. This is especially helpful for family pictures. Nothing is more frustrating than receiving the pictures back only to realize that you didn’t capture that happy couple.
2. Find a wedding photographer family photo coordinator
The family photo portion during the event can become very stressful. Everyone is moving around and you’re not aware of the diverse family dynamics in play, and the kids are in an “festive spirit” (and have frequently been drinking some spirits) until it can become very chaotic.
The couple should nominate one of their family members (or one from both sides in the household) to serve as “the “director” of the shoot. They can gather all the participants and assist in getting them into the frame and ensure that the shooting is on time to allow the couple to return to their party.
3. Find the location
Check out the locations of various locations you’ll be shooting prior to the big day.
Although I’m sure that most professionals do not but I think it’s important to know where we’re headed in order to get an idea of possible positions for shooting, and also to be aware of how the lighting could affect our shots. Prior to a couple of weddings, I’ve toured places with couples and taken a few test photographs (these are great “engagement photos”).
4. Wedding photography is a process where preparation is crucial.
There are many things that could be wrong during the day, which is why you have to be prepared. Make sure you have an emergency plan (in the event of bad weather) and keep batteries filled, memory cards unlocked consider ways to travel and the best times to reach places. Create a plan for the whole day to know what’s going to happen next. If you’re able to, go to the rehearsal for the ceremony. You’ll get a wealth of information on possible places for shooting from, lighting, the timing of the ceremony, and more.
5. Set the tone with your partner.
Display the couple your style and work. Find out what they’d like to accomplish, the number of photographs they would like to take, what important things they would like to record, and what the photos will be utilized (for prints, etc.). If you’re charging them for your occasion, be sure to have a price agreement in place prior to the event.
6. You can turn off the sound from your camera
Beeps throughout speeches kisses, and vows do not add anything to the ceremony. Turn off the camera’s sound prior to the event and make sure they are off.
7. Take a picture of the smallest parts
Rings for photographs, the backs of shoes, dresses, floral arrangements, table settings menus, and so on. They give the album a unique dimension. Browse through wedding magazines at a bookshop for some ideas.
8. Use two cameras
Ask, borrow, hire or even steal an additional camera for the event and put it in place with an additional lens. I like to use a broad-angle lens (great for candid shots in tight areas, especially prior to the ceremony during the preparation phase during the ceremony) and a second longer lens (it is helpful to have a lens as big as 200mm if you are able to locate one; I have 70-200mm).
9. You might want to consider a second wedding photographer
The addition of a second photographer can be a fantastic idea. This means that you’ll be less agitated during the ceremony and speeches and allows one photographer to take formal photos while the other captures candid photos. This also takes some pressure off of you since you are “the one” who has to take every photo!
10. Be bold, but not overtly so.
The tiniest of things won’t give you “the shot,” so it’s important to stand out to catch an instant.
But timing is crucial and planning ahead to be to the ideal position for crucial moments is vital so that you don’t cause disruption to the entire event.
When I am in a wedding ceremony I usually move about at least 4-5 times, however I attempt to make my moves coincide with sermons, songs or even longer readings. For formal photographs make sure you are bold, know what you’re looking for, and get that from both the bride and their guests. You’re the one driving the show at this point in the day, and you need to keep the pace going.
11. Learn to make use of diffused light
It is important to be able to bounce off a flash or diffuse it is essential. In many churches, you’ll notice that the light levels are low. If you’re permitted to utilize the flash (and some churches won’t permit the use of flashes) you should think about whether bouncing your flash could be a good idea (remember that when the flash bounces over the surface that has color, it will create an effect of color to the photo) and if you’d like to purchase a diffuser for the flash to reduce the brightness.
If you aren’t able to make use of a flash, then you’ll need an ultra-fast lens with wide apertures, and/or increase the ISO. A lens that has image stabilization could also be helpful. Find out the basics of using reflectors and flash diffusers.
12. Shoot in RAW
I’m aware that many readers believe they don’t have the time to shoot in RAW (due to processing) However, weddings are a time which it could be advantageous, since RAW provides the ability to edit photos after you’ve taken these. Weddings often present photographers with challenging lighting, which leads to having to alter the white balance and exposure after the fact. RAW can assist with this greatly.
13. Take your pictures at the reception
One of the most appealing aspects regarding digital photography is the instantaneity in it’s use as a media. One of the things I’ve observed photographers do is using a computer at the reception, uploading images from early in the morning and letting them turn into slideshows in the evening. This is a great way to add a bit of fun to the evening.
14. Be aware of your past
One of the problems with weddings is the fact that there are usually all kinds of people in the area, which includes the backdrops of your photos. Particularly, with formal shots look around the location that they’ll be taking before the date and begin looking for great backgrounds.
Ideally, it’s best to have clear areas , and places that are shaded out of direct light where it’s the possibility of a wonderful aunt in the background of the photo. Learn more about how to create the perfect background.
15. Don’t discard your “mistakes”
Digital is a tempting way to review images at a time and then delete the ones that don’t perform immediately. The issue is that you could lose some of the most intriguing and usable photos. Remember that images can be edited or cropped in the future to create abstract or more artistic shots that could give a real sense of interest to your final album.
16. Change your outlook
Try a different approach to your photos. While the majority of photographs in the album will likely be “normal” or formal poses Try mixing things up by taking photos at angles such as lower down, up high or from an angle, large angle and so on.
17. Wedding group photos
One thing I’ve always done at every wedding that I’ve documented is to take pictures of everyone attending the wedding in one image. The method I’ve used is to find an area where I can reach a height that is above everyone right after the ceremony. This could mean obtaining an elevated ladder, or an outdoor balcony, or climbing up the roof. The advantage of being up there is that you can include every face in the picture and can accommodate many people into one shot.
The most important thing is to be able to bring everyone to where you’d like them to be and be prepared to take the photo without having everyone stand for long. The best method to get everyone there the desired location is to get the bride and groom at the spot and then be able to have some helpers guide everyone to the right direction. Learn more about how to capture group photographs.
18. Fill flash
When you shoot outside following an event, or for poses, you’ll likely need to keep your flash on hand to provide an additional fill flash. I usually turn the flash back (a one or two stops) so that my shots don’t get overexposed. However, especially when shooting in midday or backlit conditions , where there could be shadows and shadows, fill flash is an absolute must. Find out more about the fill flash.
19. Continuous shooting mode
The ability to capture many images quickly can be very useful during a wedding and so, you should you should switch your camera to Continuous shooting feature and utilize it. Sometimes, it’s the photo that you snap a second or two following your formal, or even posed picture in a relaxed atmosphere that truly captures the time!
20. Be prepared for unexpected events
A final piece of advice I was given by a person during my own wedding ceremony: “Things will go wrong, but they can be the best parts of the day.”
In every wedding I’ve been to I’ve witnessed something go wrong on the day. The best man isn’t able to find the ring, rain falls just after the ceremony is over the groom isn’t able to put his fly on or the flower girl decides to stand in the middle of the aisle or the bride doesn’t recall her vows.
These times can make you feel somewhat anxious in the moment. But these moments could make a wedding day, and create bride and groom a memory. Make an effort to capture them and you may come up with some interesting photos that capture the day beautifully.
I’m still reminiscing about the wedding I first photographed in which the car of the groom and bride hit a tram while in the route to the park we were heading to for photographs. The bride was devastated and the groom was agitated. However, once we’d settled down, the guests began to see the humorous aspects of the moment. We even snapped a few photos before heading towards the venue. They were among the most popular of all.
21. Have fun
Weddings are about celebrations and having fun. If you are having fun as a photographer and the more relaxed the guests you photograph will be. One of the ways to make people feel relaxed is to smile when you are the photographer (warning I’m always coming home from weddings and shoots with sore cheeks and jaws due to my smile strategy).