Being entrusted to visually capture a couple’s wedding day is a huge honor. And it can be a brutal stressor, too.
As a beginner wedding photographer, you likely feel like you have everything to lose during your first few wedding shoots.
The intuition of a wedding photographer will have to come to you in time; no list of tips will shortcut the trial and error process. However, there are best practices and preparations you can adopt while photographing a wedding.
For now, as you get started as a wedding photographer, check out our wedding photography tips here.
Prepare Before the Wedding Day
Most of the stress of photographing weddings can be mitigated by a well-thought-out plan.
Once you land a wedding photography gig, seasoned wedding photographers suggest meeting up with the bride and groom so you can:
- Get to know their personalities,
- Ask them about their must-have shots,
- Understand their wedding details (location, timing, size, etc.), and
- Learn about any special requests they have of you as their photographer.
Once you have a sense of the couple and the wedding, you can begin to plan out your day as the photographer. Creating a shot list of every image you want to capture during the event can help you get organized.
You should also plan out how long you will spend photographing each element of the wedding so you stay on track and don’t run out of time.
A lot of wedding venues will let vendors check out the location before the day of the event.
If the couple’s venue allows it, scoping out the event space will allow you to plan out your shots even further. Plus, you can determine where the best lighting is and whether you need to bring back up lights or a camera with a flash.
You should also test out your gear and ensure you have back up batteries and lenses well before the wedding day. Knowing that you have a back up plan will eliminate stress and allow you to focus on the wedding day.
Execute Your Plan on the Wedding Day
The day of the wedding, make sure your camera is ready to go. Most experienced wedding photographers suggest shooting in RAW so you have maximum flexibility when you go to edit your photos later.
It is also recommended that wedding photographers use various shutter speeds and focuses to produce a variety of image types.
If you feel like you need a crash course in wedding photography, the Stratford Career Institute’s photography course covers the fundamentals of photography. Having this knowledge is crucial to capturing a couple’s special moments.
When you arrive at the venue, check in with the wedding planner and then get straight to work. Get detailed pictures of
- The rings,
- Hanging suits and dresses,
- Up close shots of decorations, and
- Candid images of the wedding party getting ready.
Accomplishing this early will be a relief once activity starts to pick up.
Follow your shot list and schedule on the wedding day to effectively capture all the images you planned to.
Finally, while you are there to capture the couple’s special moments, make sure you’re taking care of yourself. Hydrate, eat, and rest when you need to; taking a five minute break to eat a quick snack will pay off in the long run.
Present Your Final Photographs to the Newlyweds
After the wedding, be sure you know the date you guaranteed the photos to your clients and stick to it.
Edit your photographs quickly, but don’t sacrifice quality for speed. A great way to show your clients that you are working on their photos is to send them “sneak peaks” while you work through the rest of the images.
After presenting the photographs to the newlyweds, ask them to circulate your business card and tag you in the wedding photos on social media.
A beginning wedding photographer has their work cut out for them, but these tips are a good place to start building your portfolio and confidence in wedding photography.
Stratford Career Institute is here to support you in your professional endeavors, and our courses can help you hone many career-launching skills.
Check out our course library to find classes to help you become a pro at photographing a wedding.
Explore a Career as a Wedding Photographer
Stratford Career Institute offers a comprehensive photography course that can set you on the right path to becoming an expert wedding photographer.