For a couple, their wedding is probably one of the most important and memorable days of their lives. If you’re a photographer, it’s your responsibility to capture the perfect, precious moments on this day, so they can look back on them for years to come.
Wedding photography can be difficult and stressful, but it’s also hugely satisfying when you do a good job. Use these nine tips and tricks to help you rock your next wedding shoot.
1. Research the Venue
Before you do anything else, you need to become familiar with the location you will be shooting at. Take a trip to the venue before the wedding day; this way, you can make a list of the best places for photographs and understand the overall layout and lighting.
If you waste time looking for the correct lighting because you didn’t research the venue ahead of time, you’ll just end up frustrating the couple.
Take care to visit the location beforehand, so you’ll be able to mentally prepare yourself and avoid any possible chaos on the wedding day.
2. Double-Check Your Equipment
Can you imagine what a disaster it would be if you showed up to a wedding with a broken camera lens? The last thing you want to do is forget something at home or bring camera equipment that isn’t working properly.
To avoid ruining the bride and groom’s special day, double-check all of your pieces of camera equipment before you leave. Always bring some extra bits and bobs, like lights or lenses, just in case something happens.
Besides the wedding day itself, it’s better to check if everything’s working as intended a few days ahead to avoid unnecessary panic.
3. Bring Along an Assistant
Depending on how large and extravagant the wedding will be, you might need to hire someone to give you a helping hand. A lot goes into most weddings, so it’s almost impossible to cover everything yourself.
You don’t want to waste precious time trying to do everything yourself. This could end up annoying the couple on what is supposed to be the most memorable day of their lives.
Your best bet is to bring along an assistant to take a little pressure off. You can make your assistant capture the smaller shots while you have ample time to shoot the more significant moments.
4. Get to Know the Couple
During your first meetings with the couple, take care to get to know them. Ask them questions like, how did you meet? How long have you been together? Do you have any children?
By getting to know them, you’ll show you care about them, and you’re not just after their money. These questions will also help the couple feel less nervous about their big day.
The more you know the couple you’re going to be shooting, the better the photographs will turn out. Won’t you feel more comfortable taking intimate wedding shots with someone you know rather than a complete stranger?
5. Use the Best Camera Gear
A wedding is just one day of shooting, but it requires a range of different types of photography. There are close-ups, venue photographs, portraits, family shots, and romantic bride and groom pictures. You need to capture all of these different shots, plus you’ll be shooting in locations with varying lighting conditions.
To provide the best possible photographs, you’ll need to use the best camera gear you can afford. If you can’t afford all the best gear, consider hiring it for the day. A lot of photographers do that these days.
There’s a ton of equipment to choose from, but the basics you’ll need to include are a full-frame camera, a variety of lenses, and a couple of flashes.
6. Create a Shot List
One of the most helpful steps you can take to be prepared is to create a personalized shot checklist. When you meet the couple, ask them to think about the important photos they want you to capture on their special day.
The couple may not be 100% sure of the specific shots, and it’s your job as the photographer to know what to document during the wedding. You’ll need to keep a standard wedding shot list on hand that you can refer back to throughout the day.
Some of the most popular wedding shots include the groom and bridal party preparations, close-ups of the rings, family portraits, the groom’s reaction, cutting the cake, and many more.
7. Don’t Be Invasive
There’s nothing worse than an annoying, intrusive photographer that won’t give the couple their space. Yes, it’s your job to capture the most memorable moment of their lives, but it’s best to know when to move in closer and when to keep your distance.
A great tip is to buy a high-quality zoom lens, so you can take great shots without being too invasive. Also, always remember to switch your camera’s shutter to silent mode.
8. Capture the Natural Moments
It’s essential to have a wedding shot checklist, but don’t forget to take photos of natural, magical moments. Keep your focus on the bride and groom’s close family and friends, and prepare to snap a shot at any given time.
The couple will truly treasure that emotional shot of the groom shedding a tear or the bride dancing with her father. Don’t spend all your time directing everyone to pose; this will only look awkward and unnatural.
It’s best to give whoever you’re shooting some space and let their behavior come naturally. These shots may not be traditional, but they’re often the ones that the happy couple will love the most.
9. Expect the Unexpected
A crucial piece of advice to remember is that you need to brace for things to go wrong. You’ve done all the proper steps beforehand, but even then, some things may go wrong on the wedding day.
Whether the best man can’t find the ring or the rain starts pouring down in the middle of the ceremony, it’s best not to panic. These moments of chaos can create the most memorable moments that the couple will look back on and laugh at.
Always capture these memories, no matter how stressful they may seem. You’ll be able to photograph some fun moments that’ll end up being everyone’s favorites.
Make Your Next Wedding Photo Shoot Fun and Rewarding
Despite being incredibly stressful at times, wedding photography is worth the effort. Not only will you be able to capture a couple’s most memorable day, but you’ll have a lot of fun doing it too. Don’t forget that a wedding is a celebration, so remember not to take things too seriously.
The more fun and relaxed you are, the more comfortable the people you’re photographing will feel. Keep these wedding photography tips in mind, and you’ll capture amazing photographs that the bride and groom will cherish for a lifetime.
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