Wedding photography hints and tips
Wedding photography for beginners, professionals and everyone in-between
As one of the most exciting and rewarding areas of photography, wedding photographers are always in demand. If you’re considering giving wedding photography a go for the first time, we’ve got all the information you need right here to make your first wedding booking a successful one. Here are just a few of our top wedding photography beginners hints and tips to get your started:
Making the big day run smoothly
Whether you’ve been married yourself or you’ve simply been to one too many weddings, you know that the average ceremony is planned out to military precision. But in all honestly, those timings can quickly fall to the wayside in real-life. So how can you keep the big day running smoothly without leaning too heavily on that schedule?
Contingency plans. Have plans in place for if the ceremony is running behind, if the light’s not quite where you want it to be and bring alternatives with you for on-the-fly changes that might be needed. A prepared photography kit is a must for every wedding photographer, and that means lights, tripods, lenses and more.
If you’re struggling to corral the groom’s party, can’t find that last bridesmaid, or are struggling to get everyone in one place, the best thing you can do is ask for help. Whether it’s an uncle with a particularly carrying voice, or a sister-in-law who can shoo all the smaller party members into place, don’t be afraid to give jobs to wedding guests. In essence, they might even appreciate the chance to be a more significant part of the big day.
Location, location, location
For the average photographer, location can make a big difference in cost. But that’s not the only factor to consider. While London is more expensive for everything, travelling to a national park or remote castle can allow you to charge more. If you’re willing to travel, the bride and groom-to-be may pay extra for their wedding photographer. Factor that into your pricing and know your worth. No photographer wants their work to go under-priced and under-valued.
Wedding photography ideas
Other than costs, the other part of the location to consider is the kind of photographs you’d like to take. Research the wedding location and plan ahead of time to figure out where you can get the best pictures. This will give you a license to get far more creative.
- Let there be light: Perhaps the venue has a large, south-facing window? This could give you some incredible lighting to capture some beautiful images of the first dance.
- Head outside: If the venue itself has grounds that you and the guests can wander round in, then you can incorporate some the outside world into your images.
- Use props: Or maybe you could use some well-placed props can bring some fun and character to a photo?
- Make it sparkle: Speaking of props, you can create some great shots by inviting the guests to play around with sparklers when the evening draws in. You’ll need to play around with the aperture and your shutter-speed if you’re using a DSLR (around three seconds should do). Remember to consider who you’re giving the sparklers to if younger guests are around and ask permission from parents if necessary.
- Sister act: Getting the family involved during those special moments can make for a really great memory. If you’re able to, get the bride’s sister involved in a shot. It might even be a nice idea to get both the sister of the bride and the groom’s sister together to capture that moment of the two families joining together.
Discuss with the couple beforehand, but don’t be afraid to get creative if it’s something you think they would love.
Using sparklers and props can inject some life into your wedding shots.
Your photography kit bag
At the top of our list for wedding photography tips, having a well-put-together kit bag is the key to success. A great DSLR is your best friend for wedding photography, though film photography using SLRs is gaining in popularity for alternative brides. Opting for a mirrorless setup, whether Nikon or Canon and a handful of high-clarity lenses is the best way to capture the big day in the best possible light. Don’t just grab a telephoto and standard lens and hope for the best – investing into great lenses is the best thing you could possibly do.
A 35mm and 85mm prime are incredible additions to your kit for beautiful, focused photography, while a macro lens is a must for all those little details. If possible, carrying around two DSLR bodies is an excellent way to quickly switch lenses without the fiddly bit in-between, allowing you to catch magical moments in different ways. Most couples enjoy documentary-style footage in addition to posed photographs, so make sure both are included for the best results.
What should a wedding photographer wear?
The big question – as a wedding photographer, what should you wear? While you’re obviously not going to be in the photos, it’s still important to look smart for the bride and groom. That means no tracksuit bottoms and hoodies, especially for super-formal events. Instead, opt for smart trousers and a blazer if possible, or even a comfortable dress if you’re not planning on getting on the ground for photography. You’ll want shoes that can traverse a wide range of terrains, so throw out the heels – boots with grip or comfortable shoes are your best bet. Remember, you’ll want to give a professional account of yourself, but if it’s a summer wedding, you should be able to get away with being sensible as well as looking smart.
If it’s a winter wedding, then you may still be outside even in the coldest, snowiest weather to get those magical shots, so bring a coat with you. If you’ve got the room in your kit, bring a couple of blankets for the couple as well or ask them to provide their own. Cold-weather shots may look beautiful in editing, but you don’t want the couple freezing to death while you’re changing over your equipment.
Other top tips for aspiring wedding photographers
A lot of being a wedding photographer is learning on the job – and finding your niche. Perhaps you love creating stylised imagery, or your preference is old-school retro photographs. But when it comes to other tips to keep in mind, the first is to promote yourself. While word of mouth can do a lot for a new wedding photographer, having a professional-looking website and social media is step one. If brides and grooms-to-be can’t find you, then they won’t be able to choose you, after all.