Wedding photography is significantly different from other forms of photography. The main reason being that you only get one chance to get the photographs right. Weddings usually last a whole day hence photographers need to click their best pictured diligently. A wedding photographer basically needs to be ready to capture the perfect image at a moment’s notice.
Wedding day is not only the happiest day in the newly-weds lives but it is also one of the most stressful times too. Everyone wants to have an awesome wedding and it’s your job as a wedding photographer to capture those memorable moments perfectly.
To help you improve your photography skills for this special occasion, we have listed the best tips and tricks for wedding photography below.
Table of Contents
1. Help a professional
You should be aware of what you can and can’t do as a wedding photographer before shooting a wedding. A professional photographer with sufficient experience in wedding photography is an incredible source for you to learn the basic and advanced wedding photography tricks.
It is highly recommended that you reach out to professional wedding photographers before launching your own wedding photography business. This way, you can follow and observe them at actual weddings and learn how they handle the different aspects of wedding photography. This is an incredible way to avoid making huge mistakes when on your own.
Assisting professional wedding photographers helps you get the hands-on experience which is extremely helpful to become an expert photographer later on.
2. Confirm contract and payment conditions
Contracts are an incredibly important aspect of professional wedding photography, for the client and photographer alike. Ensure that the terms and conditions of the contract include the reimbursement in case of accidents, image corruption and clearly state the copyright conditions of the photographs.
The more detailed the contract is, the stronger and smoother the client-photographer relation becomes as all parties involved understand the terms and conditions completely.
3. Prepare a payment plan
The wedding photography contract should also include the payment details you and the client agreed to in clear words. The usual payment terms dictate the photographer getting paid at least 7 to 14 days prior to the event date. This helps the bride and groom to avoid last-minute payment hassles.
By getting paid in advance, you can now focus on capturing the best photographs without having to worry about pending payment. Things can often get really awkward when you request the payment after the wedding and the bride and groom end up telling you they can’t pay you.
4. Check camera equipment
Before going for any photoshoot a professional photographer always checks their camera and equipment to make sure they are in proper working condition.
Wedding photography requires several significant camera accessories and equipment, such as tripods, extra batteries, memory cards, external flashes and other lighting equipment. According to professional wedding photographers, it is always advisable to carry as much equipment and accessories as comfortable to an event.
It is always better to be cautious and carry numerous accessories than regretting not including something important when it is time for the photoshoot.
5. Preparing pre-wedding checklist
Apart from checking to make sure that all your cameras, accessories and equipment are in proper working condition it is also important to remember to carry them. Professional photographers suggest printing out your personalized checklist. It should include the following points so that you are always prepared for a wedding photoshoot:
- Multiple cameras
- Charged batteries
- Sync date and time on camera
- Format all memory cards
- Clean camera lenses
- Cap and pack camera lenses
- Batteries for flash
- Battery charger
- Light stand
- Lens cleaning cloth
- Business cards
- Timeline / Even schedule
- Confirm assistant photographer’s availability
- Water, snacks, gum, mint, etc.
- Manual of poses
- Ready clothes
You can add to this list anything you deem important for a smooth and efficient wedding photography project.
6. Buddy-up for a photoshoot
When you carry several pieces of equipment to a wedding photography a helping hand is extremely welcome. You might need assistants to carry the extra accessories or require the help of another professional photographer to manage lights, test shots and capture scenes that would be missed otherwise.
You can request a professional wedding photographer to become your assistant at an event. This way, you can get expert photography tips along the way and make the photoshoot easier and more efficient.
7. Prepare a plan for the perfect photoshoot
Planning your photo shoot is incredibly important to ensure the perfect wedding photography project. It is vital to take out some time and set a definite plan of action to tackle any upcoming wedding photography project.
Some of the most important aspects of pre-planning for a wedding photoshoot include allocating time for capturing couple photographs of the newly-weds at different locations. Always leave some leeway in this aspect because most often than not the couple may have their own ideas for their portrait photographs.
It falls on the photographer to instruct the couple and family members how to pose for each photograph. To capture the best pic, you can show the couple a manual of poses beforehand and decide mutually on the best ones.
Always remember that every client is different and needs to be handled differently. The camera-shy needs to get extremely comfortable while the outgoing need to be instructed on the perfect pose often. Lastly, don’t forget that a professional photographer is a patient photographer. Your behavior with the client will decide the kind of word-of-mouth publicity your photography business will get.
8. Create a photo checklist
Also called a “shot list”, this checklist contains details for all the most important photographs you need to take during the event. The bride usually creates the list so it is highly recommended to request them for the list beforehand so you can schedule the shots perfectly.
This list helps the bride to be stress-free and assured that every photograph she wanted will be clicked. This list also helps the photographer to be better prepared through extensive pre-shoot planning.
9. First things first
Newly-wed couples want to remember their special day, especially the first-times, like the first look, the first kiss and the first dance. Many clients today plan their own unique ‘first-time’ moments so it is important to ask them about this beforehand so that you can include them in your photography schedule.
Leave a sufficient amount of time in your plan to click these first-time moments. Make sure to set-up the shot in advance if you want to capture the best photographs of the couple’s special moments.
A professional trick to capture first-time moments perfectly is to set the camera at a higher shutter speed. This allows you to take multiple shots quickly. This way, during the post-processing stage, you will have a slew of photographs to choose the best one from. Another excellent trick to capture these fun but fleeting moments is to choose different angles. You can do this by placing multiple cameras at different angles and clicking from different points of view.
10. Be ready for the reactions
Newly-wedded couples want their guests to share their joy and excitement. Nothing shows this better than a candid photograph that captures their guests’ reactions. No wedding album is complete without several shots of friends and family enjoying it. So, you need to be ready to capture guests and friends at the reception table or on the dance floor. Guests are extremely important parts of any wedding and to know that they have truly enjoyed the wedding is a big deal for the newly-wed couple.
In case it is a big wedding, then you can request your assistance to capture guest reactions. Ask them to capture the most expressive moments of the guests, especially when they are around the bride and groom. The assistant photographer will need to be quick and efficient to capture maximum photographs of guests in their best moods.
11. Get to know the guests
A typical wedding guest can be a friend, family member, colleague, neighbor and anyone else who turns up to show their love and support for the newly-weds. Although it is important to capture the reaction of the guests it is also important to remember that they are not the ones who hired you.
To make sure you don’t miss out on the most special guests, it is advisable to discuss the guest-list with the couple beforehand and know the VIP guests. VIP guests are those who get priority for portraits. It is impressive if you can learn their names as it makes your subjects comfortable before the camera.
You should also plan the mix and combination of solo, couple and group photographs of the VIP guests with the bride and groom.
12. Get a group photo
Every guest wants to be photographed with the newly-wed couple. However, it is simply not practical because of the restrictions of limited time. This is where group photographs offer the perfect solution. A group photograph of guests with the bride and groom is an efficient and excellent way to leave time for more important solo or couple shots.
You might need your assistant’s help to manage a group photo. You may request them to create different groups, adjusting outfits and hair and focusing on the small details while you set up for the perfect group photograph at the wedding.
Remember that you may not get everyone to look perfect in a group photograph setting. Some may blink while others may get out of focus. Hence, it is highly advised to take quick, multiple shots and choose the best group photo from the selection.These are all essential and important tips for wedding photographs. To make things easier for beginners, here are some more tips to become an expert and professional wedding photographer:
13. Eat before you shoot
Although this aspect might sound obvious, there are still times when even professional photographers can’t manage time to eat anything. To avoid the loss of focus from hunger pangs during the wedding day, it is highly recommended to eat a well-balanced breakfast early in the morning.
This way, you can keep your body energized with light snacks throughout the long and tiring wedding day. Also, don’t forget to drink lots of water the day and night before as it keeps you hydrated and energetic the following day.
14. Pack water and snacks
Weddings are long and tiring and you may often not get the chance to eat anything until dinner. So, make sure to bring a small lunch bag, preferably with bottles of water and protein-rich snacks so that you can maintain your energy levels and never lose focus in capturing the perfect wedding photograph. You can pack peanuts, trail mix, oranges, chocolates, etc. because they are quickly consumed and provide instant energy.
15. Be early for the event
Timing is everything in a wedding. A simple second may hold the most impressive photograph so you can’t afford to be late and miss any opportunity. To ensure this, you should arrive at least an hour early to the event venue. This is an excellent way to scout the location and refine your photography schedule accordingly.
Arriving early also helps you to meet and connect with guests whom you will be photographing throughout the day. This is also an excellent way to form a stronger bond with clients and get good word-of-mouth publicity for your prompt wedding photography services.
16. Each detail is important
A successful wedding results from the hard work and efforts of the wedded couple because they take care of even the tiniest detail. This just proves that details are incredibly important to capture in wedding photographs.
From the bridal shoes to the flowers, the escort seating card and even the flower girl’s gown color, you should click every single thing that relates to the bride. Keep an eye out for small but significant details in the wedding décor, the wedding outfits and even the food.
When you capture the important details in photographs, it makes the newly-wed feel extremely special.
Wedding photography is all about being prompt and quick with the finger. It requires immense planning and precise execution. When you are well-prepared for a wedding shoot with our tips and tricks, you can guarantee clients of the best and most memorable wedding album ever.