Wedding photography is challenging work, and there is no space for error because the event only happens once. Your images will be treasured heirlooms from this once-in-a-lifetime event for the happy couple. To avoid embarrassing failure, it is essential to plan and practice extensively for this type of photography. If you’re just starting out as a wedding photographer, it’s crucial that you plan everything out in advance and leave nothing to chance. In this piece, I’ll offer some basic advice to help you get going.
Meet the Couple
Before you do anything else, you should sit down with the couple and go through their expectations for the wedding photos as well as any specific requests they may have. Although it may seem obvious, this is a great method for predicting which photographs a customer would enjoy the most. It’s unlikely that any two couples will have the same needs.
Write a List
It’s helpful to make a list of the important wedding guests to shoot with the aid of the newlyweds, including who needs to be in the group photographs. When your customers receive their images, they won’t be happy to see that you forgot to include their parents or grandparents.
Check out the Locations
Checking out the areas ahead of time will help you pick the ideal sites for photography. This could also help reduce anxiety in the lead-up to the big day. Seeing the places in person and hearing the couple’s thoughts on them is a great concept. Before the big day, it might be helpful to practice snapping photos in a variety of settings to get a sense of what works.
Practice Before the Event
The secret to a smooth shoot is plenty of pre-event practice. You’re setting yourself up for failure if you walk in without any background shooting portraits or weddings.
You’ve probably taken images of people before, otherwise, you wouldn’t be reading this post. To expand upon this knowledge, try capturing close friends and family members at your home. You can practice taking wedding photos at the actual ceremony site with your buddies if this is one of your first occasions doing so.
Prepare Ahead of Time
Having no idea when and where to shoot crucial photographs is the worst possible scenario. Make sure you have a daily schedule handy. In order to capture the best shots possible, you should carefully consider where you will be standing throughout the ceremony’s most memorable moments. If the wedding is held inside, you should scope out the venue in advance to determine the best routes to go from one location to another. The rehearsals are a great opportunity for this. If you ask the couple nicely, they will probably let you come.
It might be quite helpful to have a second photographer there or to ask the couple to pick one on their own. It will take a huge weight off your shoulders if calamity strikes. For instance, if you’re the main photographer and you miss a crucial (or even minor) moment, your backup photographer probably has coverage for you. They may take pictures of the guests as you shoot the bride and groom, which is a huge time saver.
Gathering everyone for group photos at a wedding might be challenging if you aren’t familiar with the guests or the happy couple. Therefore, it is prudent to ask the couple to appoint a member of their family for this responsibility.
Create a Photo Checklist
If you don’t have much experience photographing weddings, it’s a good idea to compile a list of the major events and subjects you plan to cover in advance. The couple’s opinion on the matter is also highly recommended. Some of the most memorable moments from my own wedding were the procession down the aisle, the kiss, the exchange of rings, the cutting of the cake, and the reception dance. Don’t just focus on the big picture; capture the bridesmaids’ dresses, the rings, and the floral arrangements as well.
Have a Backup Plan
All your hard work planning the wedding might be for naught if bad weather strikes on the big day. While it’s true that rain on the big day is something every photographer fears, it may really be used to your advantage if you take the time to prepare.
Here are some strategies for making the most of inclement weather:
- Make use of props. To provide visual interest, you may provide the pair with a black or white umbrella.
- Put the sky to good use. If you place the pair in front of some dramatic clouds, you may get some great shots.
- Be sure the bride has a backup pair of shoes. It would be unfortunate if the bride wore heels and got stuck in the dirt and soft ground. So, make sure they know to bring an extra pair of shoes.
- Try to find other places to stay. You’ll need to come up with a backup plan for photography if you have to reschedule due to weather. Find these in advance, and if necessary, inquire with the venue owners about any suitable rooms or protected areas.
Prepare Your Camera Gear
You’ll want to make sure you have a backup camera setup in case your primary one breaks. Remember to pack an extra battery or memory card just in case. Although not everyone has the financial resources to buy what they need, they may be able to borrow from a friend or rent it for a little cost.
If you don’t already have it, this is some of the most fundamental equipment you’ll require:
- High-quality camera, ideally a digital single-lens reflex or a mirrorless camera with excellent features
- A selection of lenses suited to a wide variety of uses
- A camera bag allows you to keep all of your equipment together and close at hand.
- Indoor and ceremonial photography requires a flash with a diffuser.
- Large-capacity memory cards
- Back-up power sources and adapters
- A tripod, perhaps, though in many instances it’s not necessary.
Some Final Tips
- It’s recommended that anyone who wants to make a living as a wedding photographer first get experience as a second shooter.
- Inquire in advance whether the couple has any peculiar requests, such as a ban on flash photography during the ceremony.
- Obtain in different positions to obtain the best shots of the ceremony without being obtrusive to the happy couple.
- If you’re taking pictures outside, make sure no one is blinking, and don’t put anyone where they’ll be squinting.
- When taking group or couple photos, it’s crucial to make sure everyone is looking at the camera.
- Get as many shots as you can; the more you have, the better your odds of getting a good one, and the more options you’ll have for editing.