Weddings are lovely occasions, but they can also be stressful occasions for all involved, from the bride and groom to the family members and yes, even to you, the wedding photographer. So to make your job a little bit easier, here are ten tips to help you have a fantastic wedding day photography shoot.
Before the Big Day:
- 1 Before the Big Day:
- 2 During the Big day
1. Visit where the photographs will be taken
It will be beneficial for you if you visit the area or areas where the couple has chosen to have the wedding photographs taken. Visiting the location before the day of the wedding will help you to plan your photoshoot and will give you and ideas of the light, backdrops, and props that will be available.
2. Attend the wedding rehearsal
Attending the rehearsal is an excellent way of familiarizing yourself with the wedding program, layout, and key participants. You can also ask permission to take a few photographs of the rehearsal to act as a warm-up session before the big day.
3. Have a plan B, C, and D!
As a wedding photographer, you need to keep Murphy’s Law in mind; anything could go wrong. You, therefore, need to be well prepared with backups and back up plans. What will you do if it’s cloudy instead of sunny? Have you charged your batteries? Is there enough space in your memory cards? How will you travel to the location? Do you have a second photographer? If not, then you need to have one, even if it’s your cousin Jimmy!
4. Find out the expectations of the bride and groom
“Now very often events are set up for photographers … The weddings are orchestrated about the photographers taking the picture because if it hasn’t been photographed, it doesn’t exist.”
– Elliott Erwitt – in an interview
It is essential to find out what the photographic vision of the bride and groom is so that you are on the same page. Find out approximately how many photos they will want, the style they prefer, and how much their photography budget is. This will prevent disagreements, embarrassments, and arguments down the road.
5. Get a director for the shoot
Family photography can be quite challenging, and weddings double the challenge! Family members are in high spirits, and many of them are indulging in spirits! This makes it very hard to ‘control’ them so that you can get that perfect family photograph with the bride and groom at the center. Before embarking on family photography on the wedding day, request the bride and groom to nominate two or three family members who will be in charge of rounding up people for the family photoshoot. This will lessen your work and will help you to concentrate on what you do best – photography.
During the Big day
6. Photograph the tiny details
You can add a creative element to the wedding photographs by taking photos of the small details related to the wedding that is often overlooked by many photographers. Some of these details include the bride and groom’s rings; the bows, ribbons, and accessories associated with wedding attire; ties, bowties, and cravats, flowers, table decorations, shoes, hats, etc.
7. Show your handiwork at the wedding reception
“A picture is worth a thousand words; a slide show is both.”
– Anonymous – ‘Demented Thoughts’ (c) 1992-1996 Warren Young.
The beauty of digital cameras is that they allow one to get instant feedback. Take a laptop to the wedding reception and upload the photographs that you took earlier (at the church and during the couple’s photo session), then display them as a slideshow for the guests at the reception to enjoy. This is also a great way of marketing your photography skills!
8. Keep your imperfect photographs
“I love the spontaneous nature of weddings – that things aren’t always perfect. I also get to see the tender side of people, which is rare. It’s all about capturing the human spirit that is unique to each individual. “
– Bambi Cantrell – Vision – Lowepro 2004/2005, page 71
The danger of digital cameras is that they make it very easy to do away with photographs that, at first glance, may seem like mistakes but that, on closer inspection, are the more interesting photographs that add character, creativity, and a comic element to the photo collection. Do not be too quick to press the delete button. Resist the temptation to view the photos as you take them. Just carry enough memory cards and take as many pictures as possible. You can choose the best of the pictures later. You can also crop or Photoshop the less-than-perfect photographs to introduce an abstract or artistic element to the photo collection. In the digital age, there are no ‘junk photographs’!
9. Use creative angles
While it is to be expected that you will have to take photographs of the couple and their informal family poses, you should also take some creative photographs from different angles. Take some photos from a low angle or from high up on a balcony. Also, take some photographs from wide angles. High angles are great for taking wedding group shots of everyone or almost everyone who is in attendance at the wedding. This will take some coordination and planning, but if the guests are informed beforehand (for example, by putting the group photo session as part of the wedding program), then taking this photograph should be quick and easy for them. As for you, you will have to go the extra mile. You might even have to climb a ladder or even the roof!
10. Have some fun!
Weddings are lovely, happy events full of laughter and joy. Do not let the fact that you are working dampen your spirits. Get into the spirit of the event and celebrate – using your camera – with the bride, groom, and their families, and friends. Be thankful that you have been chosen to be a part of this intimate and vital ritual in the bride and groom’s life. A happy, relaxed photographer will make the subjects happy and comfortable and will end up with happy and relaxed photographs!
Here are some tips from wedding co-ordinators which might be useful to you.