Top 8 Wedding Photography Tips

The following are a few wedding photography tips for beginners and anyone new to wedding photography to help prepare for the event.

Tip 1: Write A List

Planning ahead is the most important part of wedding photography, and for everything to go well on the day you need to know exactly what you’re doing. Writing a list of essential photos you need to capture will ensure you don’t miss any photos out that the bride and groom may want. Planning the group shots is very important, so it’s a good idea to meet up with the couple before the wedding and decide who they want photos of, and who will appear in each group shot.

Tip 2: Check Out The Locations

Before the wedding you should check out the locations you’ll be shooting at, especially if you haven’t done wedding photography before. This is a good idea to avoid any nasty surprises or obstacles on the day, and you may find some decent areas with a look around that are perfect for shooting your photos, which you wouldn’t have known about if you didn’t pre check the locations. You can then choose locations where you’re going to take the shots, and note where the sun is positioned and plan your shots accordingly. A lot of experienced photographers don’t check out their locations beforehand, but if you’re new to wedding photography it’s a good idea even if it’s just to settle your nerves.

Tip 3: Practice

Make sure you’re actually capable of taking good photos of people before the day. Even if it’s your first time shooting a wedding, you probably have experience taking portraits of people, which goes a long way in practicing for weddings. Practice your portrait photography before the day, perhaps get your family or friends to pose for you, and what some photographers do is take the bride and groom to the locations before the wedding and get them to pose in some of the locations, this is also good as they may want some input into the shots.

Tip 4: Choose The Right Gear

It’s key that you have all the correct gear before the wedding, and that you also remember to take it with you on the day. Just because you own a DSLR doesn’t mean you necessarily have all the gear you need to shoot a wedding. Here’s a list of some essential gear you will need, and also a few extras that are recommended.

  • A good DSLR with high ISO capability for indoor shots
  • A zoom lens that extends to at least 50mm or a 50mm portrait lens
  • A flashgun with bounce adapter to soften and diffuse the flash
  • Spare batteries
  • Enough space on your memory cards
  • A backup camera, lens, memory card and flash if you have them

Tip 5: Camera Settings

You should have practice taking portraits before the event, and so should know relatively well what camera settings to use for the wedding. There are a few differences though that you might not have thought about.

  • The bride usually wears a bright white wedding dress, and the camera will try to underexpose the shots which will turn the dress a grey colour, so some exposure compensation may be needed to display the dress at the correct exposure.
  • Use wide apertures to blur the background and narrow the focus onto the subjects in your photo.
  • Don’t use a higher ISO than you need, to avoid unnecessary noise

Tip 6: Plan For Every Eventuality

Plan ahead for anything that could happen or go wrong, this could be rain, snow or bright sunlight, and make sure you have a backup plan, and you’ve checked out some other locations you can shoot at if this happens.

Tip 7: Hire A Second Photographer

A second photographer will take some of the pressure off you and ensure you’ll get all the photos you need. You could also give some of your responsibilities to the other photographer to shoot everyone else while you make sure you get all the shots of the bride and groom you need. If the photographer takes some of the same photos as you, but yours don’t come out good, or they capture some shots that you missed, you then have the option of using theirs.

Tip 8: Shoot In RAW

RAW format will give you the best possible image quality and also stores more information than JPEG files. Shoot in RAW if you want the highest possible quality images, and also the ability to edit photos using captured image data while retaining image quality. If you can’t decide whether to shoot RAW or JPEG, most cameras have the option of shooting both RAW and JPEG at the same time. RAW files take up a lot more space than JPEG files, so make sure you test before how much space they take up, and make sure you’ll have enough space.

Things To Remember

  • Focus on your subjects eyes and make sure they’re in focus, and this will ensure the rest of your subjects face is in focus.
  • Check to see if your subjects are making eye contact with you on every shot.
  • Remember to capture all the key moments, such as the kiss and cutting the cake.
  • Make sure you have enough memory on your cards to get all the photos, and more than you’ll need, but this will depend on your camera and the file sizes. Take at least one card as a backup also.
  • You should have a list of shots you need to get, don’t forget to take the list and the shots.
  • Take as many shots as possible, the more you take the more room you have for error, and a larger selection to choose from.

Things To Avoid

  • Don’t get in the way, make sure you get all the photos you need, but don’t ruin their day by getting in their way and being too close, try zooming in from a distance for some shots.
  • Don’t have your couple squinting in the sun for all the shots, try to find a location in the shade or that has soft lighting, and use a flash gun if you need more light.
  • Make sure you have more than one set of gear, if you just have one camera and it breaks, you’ll ruin the couples day and they won’t get any pictures, so ensure you have two of everything if you can.
  • Using gear on the day that you’ve never used before is a bad idea, again this comes down to practicing before the event.
  • Change your camera settings according to each moment, don’t use the same settings for the whole day, and practice beforehand so you can change the settings quickly.
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