Ten quick but useful tips for the wedding photographer
As any veteran wedding photographer will tell you, wedding photography is never as a straightforward as taking a few snaps.
From family politics, to logistical challenges, you’ll be expected to capture the happiest day of a couple's life. Everything in stunning images which capture a couple's connection, while remaining an unobtrusive presence right at the heart of somebody else's celebration.
Get the perfect shots and your clients will be able to enjoy the memory of their special day for decades. Get it wrong, and you’ll tarnish happy memories of a romantic occasion. But it doesn't have to be as scary as it sounds.
Whether you're about to embark on your first wedding photography gig, or are already getting started in the profession, these 10 tips will help you get perfect shots and not step on any toes.
1. Talk to your clients
It might sound simple, but this really is the most essential part of your job. Getting to know the couple and understand their characters and taste will help ensure you get the perfect look for your images. Take some time to look through a range of wedding photography styles together. Ask the couple to point out things they particularly like and dislike to ensure your shots are spot on the big day.
2. Create a shoot list
While spontaneous shots are more characterful, many couples will be disappointed if you miss out on capturing a particular picture. The bride with her old housemates, the groom with his favourite uncle...you name it. To ensure you don't miss the most important pictures, sit down with the couple and create a "shoot list" so that nothing escapes your lens!
3. Use a long lens for intimate moments
Maybe you're struggling to encourage the newly-weds to "act natural" and cuddle up in front of the camera? One of the best things you can do is to take a step back, fit a longer lens and start photographing from a distance. This will help the couple feel less self-conscious, helping you capture more natural, loved-up photos.
4. Use exposure compensation for the dress
If you're photographing a traditional wedding, chances are the bride is clad in bright white. This can be a tricky colour to capture as light meters have a habit of overcompensating for large bright spots. It leaves the dress looking underexposed and grey so use positive exposure compensation as an easy fix for this problem.
5. Bring back up
No matter how dependable it is, if your equipment bombs out mid-wedding, you're in serious, serious trouble. Always carry back up bodies and lenses to ensure that you're not up the creek without a paddle if the worst should happen. Oh and don't forget spare batteries too!
6. Take enough memory
Running out of memory could be just as disastrous as equipment failure, making the final convivial hours of the wedding unphotographable. Avoid this pitfall by always packing more memory that you know you'll need. 30GB is a good, generous upper limit.
7. Be personable but invisible
While you're taking posed photos, you need to take control. However, the day is all about the bride and groom, which means you need to make this aspect of their day as fun and cheerful as possible. Be yourself and inject fun where you can, but don’t overdo it. For the rest of the event, while you take spontaneous shots, you need to step back and blend into the crowd. For speeches in particular, fit a long lens and don't get in the way!
8. Details matter
So much love, care, attention and planning goes into every element of a big wedding. This is why it's a good idea to zero in on details, from place settings and cake toppers, to the bride's manicure and earrings.
9. Shoot the venue
Showing up early to take pictures of the venue is a savvy move. Not only will this please your clients who have chosen the location because they love it, but you can also pass the pictures on to the venue owner and could enjoy referrals as a result!
10. Bank for half the time allotted
Weddings always, always, always run late. This means cramming all the staged shots in before the wedding breakfast is going to be a Herculean task. To avoid this struggle, ask for double the time you'll need and plan to have approximately 50% of that slot to work with.
Author: Sam Butterworth