20 years’ experience means I have photographed a lot of weddings but it does not mean I know it all. Over recent years, I have been expanding my associate wedding photographer program in return that means training more wedding photographers. So I started to write this blog thinking I would give my tips every wedding photographer needs to know. Then I realized there are so many wedding blogs that already have some great ideas. Of course, I have my ideas on what someone needs to do to take their skill to the next level but first, there are some basics that everyone needs to know and understand. So I searched the internet and showcased some information and threw in my 2cents on a few. Look for more of these tips in the future.
#1: Wear comfy shoes
You’re going to walk like you wouldn’t believe as a wedding photographer on a wedding day. Sure, the Stilettos might look good at the wedding reception, but you’ll be the grumpiest wedding photographer on the planet.
On a few weddings, I have monitored my steps. I think my record is about 7 miles. Amazing considering it might be walking around the same wedding venue over and over. Let’s not forget the stairs. That’s the highlight of my wedding photographer’s workout plan. Something else to consider is finding quite shoes. Nothing worse than hearing the squeak squeak of a photographer walking around during the exchange ow vows.
#2: Learn how to photograph a couple in diffused light
The ability to bounce a flash or to diffuse it is key. You’ll find that in many churches that light is very low. If you’re allowed to use a flash (and some churches don’t allow it) think about whether bouncing the flash will work (remember if you bounce off a colored surface it will add a colored cast to the picture) or whether you might want to buy a flash diffuser to soften the light. If you can’t use a flash you’ll need to either use a fast lens at wide apertures and/or bump up the ISO. A lens with image stabilization might also help.
I love diffused light but it is not always my main source. Sometimes a beam of light from a window can create such a dramatic effect. This light can also be the hardest to use on a wedding day. This is why a real go-to for a wedding photographer starting out is this diffused light. First look for shade from trees or overhangs. That does not mean go completely under the tree, you will hate the green cast you will have to edit out. There is a sweet spot just on the edge of the shade where the light from the sky will peak in. That’s your easiest light to use. Next would be a window light. You want the clouds and the sky to light the area outside the window which will already create a soft look. The window will just soften it some more and then narrow it down creating some great shadows and a soft highlight.
#3 Your wedding package should always include a pre-wedding portrait session.
Once you hire a photographer, a prewedding photoshoot kills many birds with one stone: It’s a great opportunity to get comfortable with your photographer and with having your picture taken; you’ll have a built-in save-the-date photo, and you’ll be able to give your pro feedback on what photos you liked and didn’t before your wedding day.
This is what your future bride and groom are reading prior to booking you for their wedding photography. It is absolutely correct. Now how I use this engagement session. For a wedding photographer just starting out its a great way to get more shooting time under your belt. The main reason I always include this session is I get to see how my bride and groom fit together prior to the wedding day. Couples are not cookie cutter and you don’t always have supermodels for clients. Ever photograph a taller bride with a shorter groom? Use the session to try different poses and talk to your couple about what works and what doesn’t. This will make everyone feel better the wedding day and your wedding day photography will go faster.
#4 He or She who takes the most wedding photos does not always win.
I often hear new wedding photographers brag about shooting over 2,000 photos during a wedding. Every shooter has a different style, but I personally don’t see good results when I do this. I usually do my best work when I walk away with fewer shots because it means that I worked methodically and slowly.
My background started out with shooting slides. There was no editing just get it right in camera. While I do shoot fast I make sure to get everything correct in the camera. I also think taking the time to look around and slow down may help you not focus on the one-shot but look to the shots and lighting areas you may miss. Sometimes the best shots are really behind you.
#5 There is no script on being a wedding photographer.
One more piece of advice that someone gave me on my own wedding day. ‘Things will Go Wrong – But They Can be the Best Parts of the Day’. In every wedding that I’ve participated in something tends to go wrong with the day. The best man can’t find the ring, the rain pours down just as the ceremony ends, the groom forgets to do up his fly, the flower girl decides to sit down in the middle of the aisle or the bride can’t remember her vows….
These moments can feel a little panicky at the time – but it’s these moments that can actually make a day and give the bride and groom memories.
Wedding photography is about preparing for the day but showcasing what is special. The things about a wedding that will make your stomach turn the night before is what may make your brides day special and unique in the end. Don’t freak out or show your nerves. Stay calm and be creative. Guide your couple through the day and make them feel like you have everything taken care of for them. Help them feel calm and enjoy the day. I promise your couple will give you so much more emotion for you to photograph.