You have just landed your first wedding photography gig or maybe a friend noticed your mad photography skills and asked you to shoot their wedding. Either way, you owe it to the bride and groom to capture one of the most important moments of their lives to perfection. The tricky thing about wedding photography is that you have so many moments to capture at a very short time and what’s worse, you get no do-overs.
But no worries, this is not your first time with a camera, you have taken great photos before. Right? If you have never taken photos before professionally or otherwise, I suggest you turn down the gig politely. You are not ready! That said, you are weeks away from shooting a wedding, excitement is now turning to anxiety which turns to fear. What should you do? Simply follow the tips below and I guarantee you, you will make one couple very happy and just maybe turn this into a full-time gig.
Wedding Photography Tip #1
Know your camera inside out
This may seem pretty obvious but you would be surprised at how many photographers go to gigs all cocky and unprepared only to do a disappointing job. Don’t be one of these photographers. Get a hold of your camera and go through all the settings and modes and observe your lenses. Remember, when shooting a wedding you will have to change through settings very fast while capturing especially those unique unexpected moments. It would be a shame to have everyone lined up for a photo only for you to freeze up.
Wedding Photography Tip #2
Do a fake wedding photography
I know, I know, this sounds silly. But if you are still an amateur at photography, your confidence will get a massive boost from this simple act. So, call in a favor from your friends and if you know a couple even better. You do not have to go to the actual wedding site for this just practice with some pauses and different angles. Take note of the interesting pauses and shot as you will definitely need to apply them in the real gig. This will also be a great opportunity to practice on photographing the white wedding dress without dulling it to a grey. The light meter on most cameras tends to do this automatically with bright white colors so you will get a chance to get ahead of this at the actual wedding.
Wedding Photography Tip #3
Go to the wedding site before the event
Visiting the wedding location will not only build your confidence but also help you in finding some beautiful spots for photo shots. Try going a day before or very early in the morning before the event begins. This will also give you a feel of the lighting in the area so that you come prepared. While you are at it, take some shots of the scenery as part of the wedding album. Many photographers focus too much on the actual wedding and forget about the landscape. The couple had a reason for picking that spot. Making it part of the photos is not only good for practice but also a great way to begin your story.
Wedding Photography Tip #4
Shot down a list of the ‘must have’ shots
While photography is all about being unique and capturing the unexpected moments, there are some shots in a wedding album that just have to be there. For instance, the bride and groom separately before commencing, the bride walking down the aisle, exchange of the rings, the list is long. A good way of finding out what shots are important is by talking to the bride and groom (bride especially). The last thing you want is an angry bride asking why you didn’t take a photo of her with ‘Nana Grace’. You can also go through this list to ensure you leave no stones unturned.
Wedding Photography Tip #5
I’m not talking about your skills, it’s the wedding day, by now you have those sharpened. I am referring to your backup. While going to any photo shoot leave alone a high-stakes wedding, you definitely need to carry an extra battery and memory. Never assume that you will not require extras. It would be very embarrassing and unprofessional to run out of juice and memory while in the middle of a wedding photo shoot. Here, the principle of ‘better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have applies. So I suggest you consider all your requirements and pack up for the event.
Wedding Photography Tip #6
Take note of the tiny details and unexpected moments
Part of being a good photographer amateur or not, is having a sharp eye. Keep an eye out for those for those aww moments without leaving out the funny stuff. Trust me, every wedding has a couple of them. For instance, take a shot of the kids at the wedding kidding around or even the bride and groom holding hands after the ring exchange. Just make sure you don’t force it or go too far with the jokes. Wait for the moment to present itself and capture it. It will show up!
Wedding Photography Tip #7
Never be afraid to direct
Like it or not, the bride, groom and all other important people at the wedding will be looking at you for answers on how to pause. So, be ready to take up the challenge and come up with awesome pictures. You can come up with your own pauses or do a little digging for some unique and badass wedding pauses. Just be sure to make it as fun and interesting as possible.
IT’S A WRAP!
There you have it ladies and gentlemen, the key to taking breathtaking wedding photos. The tips above will ensure your wedding photo shoot is a smooth sail whether it’s your first wedding gig or you are back in the game after a while. If I could sum it up in a few words, I would tell you that, what you need most is; preparedness, confidence, and a keen eye.