Wedding Photography Ideas
1. Manage Expectations
Every photographer with aspirations of becoming a professional wedding photographer should start out shooting weddings for free. In this ‘current financial climate’ a lot of couples are looking to reduce the cost of getting married and would be grateful for some free photography. This will take some pressure of you and as long as you explain to them that it is your first attempt, they will understand if your work isn’t quite up to the standard of Damien Love grove.
2. Create a 'Shot List'
It’s important when you are starting out to create a photography shot list to use during the day. Speak to the bride and groom beforehand and come up with a plan of what photographs they would like and when they will need to be taken. Great uncle Bob might be sat in a corner for the entire wedding day but if he’s on your list, make sure to seek him out for his portrait.
3. Enlist the help of the Groomsmen
Ideally you should ask a friend or relative to help you shoot your first wedding but if this isn’t an option, ask the groomsmen for help. After all, they are really there to help with the smooth running of the day and not just to look pretty.
4. Know your camera inside out
We often joke that anyone with a decent camera can photograph a wedding and this might just be the case if the weather is perfect, the vicar is cooperative and the wedding is being held on a beach in Mauritius. In reality you probably won’t be getting at least two of these whilst shooting your first wedding. You might get a rainy day, the vicar will only allow you to shoot from the back of the church (without flash) and the venue might be cramped and dark. These are the situations where a professional photographer will make his work stand out.
5. Shoot a Lot
It costs nothing to fill up a memory card so shoot and keep shooting all day. I don’t mean keep lining the guests up for group shot after group shot but shoot everything you can. The venue, the cars, the flowers, etc. should all be on your standard list but try putting on a long lens and shooting the guests again and again from different angles. If you are standing back and not getting in their way they’ll ignore you after a while and you’ll get some great shots of them relaxing and enjoying themselves.
6. Research the Venue
Always go and see the church and wedding venue before the big day. Especially if you haven’t been there before. Try and meet the wedding coordinator and explain to them that you are a novice photographer. You’ll usually pick up some great advice from them and they will show you all the usual spots for the best photography.
7. Hire but don’t buy
It’s very tempting when you have been booked to shoot your first wedding to go out and buy a new professional camera with all the accessories that inevitably come with it. The trouble is, it will probably cost you more money to buy the camera than you will earn from the wedding. This means that you are running your business at a loss right from day one.
8. Be polite and Professional
There are a lot of stories about wedding photographers being rude to guests. A guest told me he’d been to a wedding once where the photographer was stood on the steps setting up the group shot, smoking a cigarette whilst whistling and barking orders at the guests. Don’t be that photographer!
9. Backup, backup and backup again
Alex Lindsay from Pixel Corps is often heard saying ‘A photograph doesn’t exist until it exists in three places’ and we tend to agree. During a wedding there is usually some downtime when the guests are eating and this is the first opportunity you have to start your backup strategy. We always take a laptop with us and copy the cards to the hard drive while we are on our break. This also gives you the chance to quickly scan through the photos that you have already taken and you can double check that you have everything that you need so far.
10. Keep it simple
There’s a saying in sport ‘Don’t try to win the game with a miracle shot’. The same theory applies to wedding photography. Don't attempt to be over creative because you think you have to. Keep it simple. Good, sharp, uncluttered and in focus images are what you are aiming for. Trying to be too arty and spending too much time looking for that miracle shot could waste precious time that could be used to capture a dozen other ‘banker’ images.
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