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Wedding Photography Tips

wedding photography tips


Wedding Photography Agreement

Make sure the couple fully understand your prices. They should be as transparent as possible, everybody should know what they are getting into. Create a contract that has all the details. How many hours you are hired for, number of images, albums, additional hour rates e.t.c. Put as much detail in these contracts as possible and have signed copies, one for you, one for the couple before even thinking about shooting their wedding day. Clauses. What happens if they cancel, what happens if you are sick. This just gives peace of mind for both parties. It's a very important day, for you and for the couple.

Location Scouting

You can never be too prepared for a wedding. Scout the locations, have a backup plan in case of bad weather, spare camera, spare batteries, as many spare things that you can muster because if it can go wrong it will go wrong. Check lighting situations, indoor and out. Get an itinerary of the days proceedings. Scout the best location for the group shots. I think you get the picture. Preparation, preparation, preparation.

Group Shots

Most couples will want some group shots during the course of their wedding day. Aunty Bessy and Great Grandma Hilda are going to want copies too. To save a lot of time and hassle during the day, always try to get the couple to email you a list of shots they want before the wedding date. It's their day but also stressing that people generally get a little bit bored after about 20mins may help to keep the list down, but if they want 200 group shots, then their wish is your command. Start with a group shot of everybody and then slowly remove the people who aren't needed for successive shots.

It's also an idea is to designate the best man or a family member the responsibility of gathering all the people and combinations together.

Silencio

Turn off the sound on your camera, turn of the sound on your mobile phone. You don't want to be the person who is causing a distraction on the day, you want to blend into the background like Casper the ghost.

Capturing The Wedding Day

Shoot what you can but don't be a machine gun shooter, this only leads to more work in post production. The number of pictures a wedding photographer shoots ranges. For a full 8hrs shooting 1000 to 1500 pictures should suffice. Even this amount can seem quite excessive. The goal is to shoot the least number of pictures but still capturing the day perfectly. This will take time and practice. Instead of shooting anything and everything, take time, slow the process down and capture those key moments. Anticipate moments but also be prepared for the unexpected.

Shoot all the small details of the day that the bride will want to remember. Rings, shoes, back of dresses, table settings. You want to tell a complete story of the day. All the small and individual elements of a couples wedding make it unique to them and every wedding is different. Look at other wedding photographers for inspiration and ideas, there is always room for improvement.

Shoot In RAW Format

Always shoot in RAW. RAW to some starting out is like trying to learn calculus. It's nothing to be afraid of, just another format to work with. RAW gives you more flexibility when editing your images and there is no loss in image quality like there is when shooting JPEG. Remember. RAW files can range from 5mb to 50mb. Make sure you have large enough memory cards to handle this, and while your checking that, check your computer can handle these beasts of files too.

Cocky Or Confident

You are in charge, especially during the group shots. But don't be obtrusive. Joke around with the couple and guests, even tease some of them if they are stepping out of line, but don't overstep that mark. The couple and guests see you as a professional photographer and they want to be told what to do, they are counting on it. Even if you haven't got a clue what you are doing (well you shouldn't be there in that case) pretend you do, because you're the one with the camera and nobody else knows your sweating and want to go home and cry.

Be confident and take control of situations. The pictures won't take themselves and to get those shots you need you may have to be assertive. Remember, there is a difference between confidence and being cocky.

Getting Creative

Get a little creative with your shots and compositions. Use mirrors, look through windows, get down low on the floor, tilt the camera. Move around the subject. There is little else to say really, just get creative and don't be afraid to experiment a little. Once again, look at other photographers, wedding photographers or otherwise for inspiration. Having two cameras is a big help. Have different lenses on each. This creates a variety of images of the wedding day and stops the pictures from the day looking the same. Some wedding photographers have a combination of lenses. Prime, zoom, tilt and wide angle lenses. You can never have too much equipment, well you can, because you also need to remember, you are going to be carrying it all day.

wedding photography creative tips


Camera Settings

Set your camera to continous shooting. This is particluarly handy for when the bride enters the church and when the newly weds leave the church. Get a successive number of shots as they will be moving fast and you don't want to miss it. Get the right settings in your head too, either in manual mode or AV mode or which ever mode suits you, but these are the modes you should be using to get the best results. During key moments if your camera is not set correctly you are going to miss the shot. There is no going back. So again, be prepared and have everything ready, so you can just shoot the scene. You may be able to fix some images in post, but having completely over or under exposed shots is something to avoid.

Basic Equipment

If you are advertising yourself as a professional photographer, then you should have professional equipment. A minimum of 2 cameras, 2 lenses, speedlight flashes, gazzilion memory cards and spare batteries. Remember. If it can go wrong it will go wrong. You will want a camera with multiple shooting modes, servo modes e.g continuous or single shot, good low light focusing capabilities and the ability to shoot at high ISO without causing problems with the final image. There are many cameras available. Research the cameras capabilities, ask questions, talk to other wedding photographers.

Practice

Practice makes perfect and preperation is key. Never forget those two words. Practice everything and prepare for everything. Understand light, direct like, diffused light, flash compensation, exposure compensation. Shooting in bright sunlight. Most of all, understand how your camera works.

Resources

The internet is full of information but if you have any questions pop over to our Forum and submit one.

Keep a smile on your face

A typical day can be long and stressful. You'll be on your feet for most of it. Try to remain friendly and approachable and always keep a smile on your face, even when asked to do something you dread. Most of all. Just have fun.
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