Wedding Photography – Top 10 Tips To Master Wedding Photography
Thinking about moving into wedding photography after being in the photo taking business for quite a while? Be warned, because wedding photography is entirely different from a casual photo shoot with a friend. Taking pictures for weddings can be very stressful as there are no do-overs but once you get the hang of it, it may become your favorite past time (and it doesn’t pay too bad for a one-day job either!). Here is a list of tips to master the art of wedding photography.
1. Take Your Time
You didn’t learn how to properly read and write on the same day. Similarly, wedding photography takes time to master. Before anything, you must first realize that you are in charge of capturing special moments on someone’s special day. For most people, a day like this will never come again hence your work must be nothing short of perfection. It is unacceptable to do a bad job on when taking on a wedding job as you would have ruined somebody’s memories forever.
Furthermore, this is not only for the benefit of your client. In the photography industry, your name is your brand. Getting a bad reputation is detrimental for your future in this industry. Never underestimate the power of word of mouth. Before you book your first wedding job, be sure you have gotten enough experience in the field.
2. Getting the correct experience
Having a lot of experience in other jobs such as school photo shoots, model photo shoots or even birthday party photo shoots does not make you an adequate wedding photographer by any means. Such shoots are very different from wedding shoots as weddings come with a truckload of pressure as well as a very strict schedule you have to abide by. A good piece of advice is to reach out to a bunch of well-experienced wedding photographers and ask them if you assist them. This is not to be confused as being a second cameraman as those are just as important as the main photographer.
Being an assistant to a photographer means to accompany them on shoots, carry their bags, pass them the lenses they need, help adjust the lighting or doing any other errands that they might ask for. This will give you a clear view of how to direct a wedding photo shoot and give you a first-hand experience on the problems that might arise on a wedding day. It is also advisable to assist more than one photographer as this way it will give you a better perspective on how wedding photographers do their job.
3. Have the right equipment
Having the right equipment is crucial if you want to achieve the artistic photo you have in your mind. It is definitely worth renting sufficient equipment for your job if you cannot afford to buy it. This is again so that you can properly show your talents in photography and get a better name in the industry increasing the chances future clients will contact you for jobs.
By renting the equipment you will know what you work best in and what might not be the right choice for you. It is always good to have lenses that have a variety of focal lengths (wide, mid-range, telephoto) for an important job like a wedding. However, it might become a hassle to keep changing the lenses mid-photo shoot. A good lens to use as a replacement is the 24-70 mm f/2.8 lens as it covers a good range of focal lengths without having to keep switching lenses.
4. Have enough equipment
To put emphasis on this again, there are no do-overs for weddings. Therefore an important tip in wedding photography is that backup is extremely important. Anything could happen on the day of the wedding and no matter what the show must go on. Backup equipment has saved the night from turning into a complete disaster on numerous occasions.
Renting an extra camera and having extra lenses are always advisable on that day as your camera’s batteries could have died, or your camera might get spoiled or even your trusty lens might get broken. In these times of need, the backup equipment always comes to the rescue. In addition, many wedding photographers also tend to bring a speed light just in case. This is to ensure they get the lighting they need at all times and does not have to solely rely on the weather.
5. Plan a shot list
Most amateur wedding photographers are against this idea as they are very adamant on the creative nature of their art and feels like a shot list might limit their creativity. However, those who have been in the wedding photography industry long enough knows that a shot list is definitely the way to go. This is to ensure that on that day the stress of the shoot does not make you forget to take any of the shots that you initially intended to.
Furthermore, it is also very important to ask the bride and groom if there are any specific photos they would like to have. To make things even more systematic, be sure to ask the bride and groom of a list of group photos they might want to take. This is to ensure all the important guests get a picture with the lovely couple and no time gets wasted in the process. The wedding couple will definitely appreciate things being systematic as in this way it would not delay the wedding schedule. To be even more professional a good tip would be to get a sticky note consisting of all the shots you should not forget as well as any relevant information on the screen of your camera. This would save you from stopping the shoot to see which shot comes next.
6. Location scouting
This might be a tip that is often overlooked but is very useful when trying to direct the shoot. This is to ensure you get a variety of different backdrops for your pictures as well as having the correct location for the type of picture that you want. Some places might be better for certain types of pictures as the lighting and backdrop will differ. So, arrive early to the job and walk around the venue so that you know exactly where to take pictures. This would save a lot of time as well as giving variation to your photographs. This would reflect great lengths on your professionalism to your clients.
7. Practice makes perfect
Every photographer wants to believe that they know everything about their camera, however, sometimes this might not be the case. On the wedding day, itself is no time to have camera difficulties as not only would that waste time and deny the wedding schedule but that will show how unprofessional you are as a photographer. As mentioned before, in this industry your name is your brand.
Not only must you know how to use your tools but you must also know how to use them fast. This means to be able to adjust your settings at lightning speed. To perfect this, a good idea is to have lots of practice at home. Shoot an object or a person at home at a few different focal lengths and time yourself when adjusting the settings. This would replicate the pressure put on you on the wedding day when you are actually pressed for time. Being able to adjust everything to prep for the next picture in 30 seconds or less is definitely the goal to aim for.
8. Look for pearly whites
There is a reason why people smile when taking pictures, its because everyone loves seeing them pearly whites. However, sometimes smiles can look very forced and mechanical in front of a camera. It is your job as the wedding photographer to look for smiles and capture them rather than merely asking for fake smiles to pose your picture. Catching smiles that are caught up in the moment is far more genuine and will show in the final picture. These moments cannot be faked and are the genuine reactions couples want pictures of on their wedding day. Therefore on the day itself, don’t start to relax when the photo session is over, stay alert and look out for photo-worthy moments!
9. Details, Details, Details
Most times, the little things matter and weddings are definitely one of those times. Wedding couples like looking back on their big day and remembering the small things. Therefore it is good advice to look for things like their wedding rings to photograph with the engraving noticeable, the bride’s shoes, the train of the wedding dress, flowers, menus or even the date on a newspaper. This would give an extra kick to the wedding album. If you need more ideas of what to shoot then you can look through some wedding albums online or at a wedding magazine at the bookstore.
10. Be confident
Be confident in your skills so that you can reassure the wedding couple that everything is going to be nothing other than perfect. When directing the shoot be confident and bold so that you get the kind of shots that you want. Giving into demands from everybody will get you nowhere. You have to remember at the end of the day you are the one that is directing the photo shoot so don’t be afraid to say no so that you can achieve your vision and get the photographs that the wedding couple deserve. To top it off, don’t be afraid to go to the best position to get your photographs but do it strategically. Move around during songs, dances or longer readings, don’t become a nuisance to the wedding couple and guests.
Bonus tip – Don’t forget to turn off the sound of your camera as it might start to annoy some of the guests and is not really necessary for your performance.
All in all, those were 10 tips that will help you if you are an amateur in wedding photography. If you want to find out more about wedding photography or other weddings things like packages and videography be sure to visit our wedding section!