Wedding photography can be one of the most stressful areas to get in to. You have all the hopes of a couple on the happiest day of their lives resting on you and you have to deliver, so how do you ensure that you give the best you can every time? I have tried to shed some light below on 10 tips that can help you to go from a good to a great photographer. There is nothing complicated but when everything has gone wrong and you need help one of these tips may just help you through.
1. scout the location
Shooting in an unknown location can always be a challenge. If possible it is really good to get down to the church or reception venue and have a look around. For a truly professional touch you can take several practice shots that you can analyse when you get home to ensure that your camera is configured just right. If you take the time before hand you could save yourself a headache during the actual wedding and be able to provide the best service possible.
2. Have an ally
Having someone in the family or a close friend of the wedding party is an essential way to coordinate the photography part of the day. It can be an absolute nightmare trying to find old uncle Richard and cousin Jim from Canada if you have no idea what they look like. The perfect solution is to have someone help you pull in all the right members of the family for the pictures that you and the newly-weds desire. It will make your day much easier and allows you to be more social with the wedding party as you take the photographs.
3. Shoot in Raw
If you get your exposure or colours wrong for whatever reason. If a picture needs fixing in any way then give yourself the most data possible. Shooting the pictures in Raw will give you the best chance of salvaging a photograph if needs be. There is no worse feeling than having to discard your money shot due to poor execution. By all means shoot Jpeg images as well but save yourself hours of stress by having all the data you need in the backup images.
4. beauty in the detail
There are many famous wedding poses but sometimes the most iconic picture from a wedding can be a small detail that it is your job to pick up on. Don’t shoot the whole wedding cake, why not make the image of the detail that makes the cake special. The bride in particular will have meticulously poured over every inch of the ceremony and reception a thousand times, so surely each individual detail deserves a separate accreditation in the photographs of the day. The flowers, decorations, even the men’s cuff links may all match. I cannot recommend how much people will acknowledge the fact that you took the time to pick up on the small touches.
5. change your perspective
Everyone of us can stand and take a photograph. Why not experiment with different angles and see if you can create something truly memorable. Lying on the ground if the wedding is outside and leaves of autumn have fallen would make for a beautiful shot, but be creative. There are a thousand ways to change the same picture and make it your own. Nobody wants there wedding pictures to be generic so mix it up a little, you will get more work if you have a recognisable style.
6. continuous shooting
Face the facts, on a wedding day you are going to be taking pictures nearly all day. The reason that wedding photographers get paid as much as they do is that it is strenuous work for long hours. You will be constantly trying to capture the emotion and mood of the occasion and continuous shooting mode can be the ideal way to make the most of this. It is so often what happens when people stop posing that make the best moments to capture. From an embrace from a father to a joke between brothers, these are the real memories that will be treasured for years to come. The more natural that the pictures can look the better it will turn out in the long run.
7. get the exposure right
When I see amateur or should I say more correctly not very good (some amateurs have blown me away with their photography) photographs from a wedding there is always one feature that hits me more than others. It is probably one of the most important items to ensure that you photograph correctly and in the wrong lighting can be a tricky affair even for the experienced photographer. A woman will dream about the day that she puts on that white dress and is able to walk down the aisle in it so why, oh why, would you not take the time to make sure that your exposure is correct, and it doesn’t look grey and dirty or just a bright gleaming blur of white. Make sure that you are getting the full colour spectrum and that you are able to see the intricate details. To a professional photographer this may seem a little obvious but if you are just starting out you will want to ensure that you know how to get the most from your camera by using the histogram and auto exposure settings to get just the right amount of underexposure to keep the detail in the grooms suit but just enough exposure to keep the dress crisp and white.
8. no trends just classics
Sometimes it can be far too easy to want to augment your portfolio with cutting edge pictures, but when you are at a very traditional wedding it may not be the right time to try out the latest trends. Some couples enjoy to try something a little arty but always offer the standard photos as well just in case. There are some styles that may look great now but you must think in 20 or 30 years time will that still be the best way to take that picture. Classics are just that for a reason so by all means try some new ideas but always offer the standards as well to save yourself the hassle in the long run.
9 and 10. Be prepared!
OK, yes this is cheating and the last points are joined together but for good reason. It is a very important point that encompasses a lot of scenarios and good practices. The first and last thing you should always have in mind is preparation. There are a hundred ways to make your life easier and many are not even reliant on your skill level. You can lift yourself from being a good photographer to a great one by knowing how to prepare well.
Make a list of equipment that you will need to take with you, have spare batteries, memory card, umbrella, and anything else that you can think of. If you put all of this on a list that you have to tick off there is less chance of you forgetting something. This will also be added to as you encounter new problems and eventually you will be ready for every eventuality.
Before you even get to the wedding you should know the venue, if possible you should have visited and had a look around. Wedding venues are used to hosting the events their every week so are more than welcoming to photographers who are looking to get a head start on the day. You could find the perfect setting for group pictures and the more intimate portraits. This leads us on to probably the most important preparation, the shot-list. This is a list of photographs that you want to take to make up a whole album of work. Make sure you take your time and really think through each one and how you will want the outcome to look. From groups to individual or party pictures there are so many ways that you can better capture the day as a whole. I always find it helps to look at what other photographers have been doing for inspiration. This means I can add new ideas to my own shot-list and really fill up the wedding album with my best work.
Hopefully these tips will help you to progress in the world of wedding photography. It can be a high pressure job with few perks but when you get the perfect photographs that capture emotions of the day and the newly-weds perfectly, it makes it all worth it.