Wedding Photography Tips - Better Wedding Photography

Wedding Photography Tips

Photos tell a story, and nothing deserves a good story like a wedding. As a photographer, you are in charge of writing that once-in-a-lifetime for the happy couple. But how do you do it? Capture every special detail with only your camera and your time?

By paying attention to six important tips to improve your wedding photography.

Tip #1 - Be Prepared

Wedding photography tips #1 - it's vitally important that a wedding photographer are prepared for anything. Extra film, backup camera, more extra film, batteries for the flash, extra cords for any lighting needs, cleaning supplies for your camera are only a part of what is needed.

No matter how strongly you are attached to your camera, always have a backup. If you have equipment trouble and are unable to take the portraits, both you and the client lose out. Remember any miscellaneous supplies you will need, as well, just to prevent any ‘what-if’ situations.

If you are new to the field of wedding photography, it might be a good idea to print a list of necessary equipment and double check it when you arrive at the church. You’ll most definitely need your cameras, films, lighting sources for your formal portraits after the ceremony, and lens cleaning supplies.

Each individual photographer will carry different supplies, so know ahead of time what you’ll need. You should arrive early enough to set up and prepare—leave time to do a quick test run in the church, and to make a run somewhere to buy backup equipment, if necessary. Even better is if you visit the location a few days in advance to scout for the best places to take photos, what kind of natural light is available etc. It's best if you do it at the same time of day as the ceremony will later be held.

Tips #2 - Communicate Early

Wedding photography tips #2 - communicate early. It’s vitally important to set up at least one consultation with your clients at least a month in advance. During this consultation, you should show them exactly what types of portraits you will be taking.

Show them samples of your works to determine if there is something they love or do not like. Explain to them how you will operate and what they will gain from your services.

Also, make sure that they have a large say in exactly what they are wanting and whether any special accommodations will have to be made.

Closer to the date of the wedding make an appointment for a second consultation. Go over the plans for the service, making sure the clients’ wishes haven’t been modified.

Go over what they will be getting for the basic price and make sure they understand what you will be doing. Make sure you understand how and where their wedding will be taking place.

Tips #3 - Practice Makes Perfect

Wedding photography tips #3 - practice makes perfect. At least a week before the ceremony, make an appointment to visit the church or place where the service will be taking place—if possible.

Pay close attention to any sources of lighting that are already in place. You will be working with what is there, so knowing where to be at the right time to take the photograph is vitally important. Run through the whole wedding procedure, taking practice shots to gauge how the portraits will look.

Test shots help show a photographer any unexpected sources of light or shadows—or any other strange developments—ahead of time—eliminating potential issues that may occur during the ceremony.

For most wedding shots, you’ll be in the dressing room, in the sanctuary or courthouse, and in the reception area. You’ll also most likely take some portraits just outside both areas.

Take many practice shots from different angles to prevent any surprises.

Tips #4 - Know Your Shots

Wedding photography tips #4 - know your shots. Most wedding photographers develop a mental checklist with all of the ‘must have’ shots listed in the order they are most likely to be shot. (It is important to show your clients a version of this list during the earlier consultations so any modifications can be made.)

Some of the ‘must-have’ shots include:

  • the bride and her family,
  • bride and bridesmaids,
  • groom and his family,
  • groom and attendants,
  • mother with bride,
  • father with bride,
  • groom with father,
  • groom with mother,
  • bride and maid of honor,
  • groom and best man,
  • grandparents being seated,
  • parents being seated,
  • bride on father’s arm,
  • each attendant walking down the aisle,
  • father giving away,
  • rings being exchanged,
  • and the kiss.

These are just a few of the shots you’ll be taking. If you are not sure, print out a checklist and take with you—otherwise just go on instinct. Anytime anything—or anyone—new appears, take several photographs at different focal lengths. It’s always to take more exposures than you need. Especially, at first.

Candid shots are also an important part of any wedding portfolio. Newlyweds love seeing those little surprise photographs that you may capture on the fly. Children dancing at the wedding, grandparents holding hands—shots that are unexpected are often wonderful additions.

Look for these types of shots whenever you can—provided you still have plenty of film for the more formal photographs.

Tips #5 - Never Disturb the Ceremony

Wedding photography tips #5 - whatever you do, do not disturb the ceremony. Be prepared to have any plans you’d made modified at the spur of the moment. But no matter what happens, you must not interrupt the ceremony. Remain out of the guests’ line of lovision and do not distract any of the important players.

Learn ahead of time what type of ceremony they are having, and what the general order of proceedings will be. The time to do this is during your initial consultations in order for you to be able to mentally run through the ceremony during your practice sessions. This will help you prepare for the photographs that should be taken next, and will help ensure you do not interrupt the proceedings.

Understandably, you will be near the aisle, but position yourself just a little past mid-way and slightly off to the side. Kneel down to get the best-framed and most flattering shots without stepping into the line of sight of the participants.

Remember, you are there to capture the story—not be a part of it

Tips #6 - Take Triple Shots

And finally, wedding photography tips #6 - always take triple shots. Movement blurs photographs, and weddings are no different. Take at least three exposures of each shot so that you may choose the best photograph after the printing is done.

If you are unsure about anything—take the shot again. If the lighting is off, adjust your camera and take several more exposures. You do not want under or over—exposed pieces.

If you are new to wedding photography, taking more shots is often a good idea. With the more formal poses such as the bride with her family, multiple shots are vital—people do not stay still and the larger the number in the group the higher likelihood that someone will move and blur the shot.

Wedding portraits should last a lifetime, and these images should be ones that the couple and their family can truly treasure. Following these six steps will help ensure that you are the person responsible for such a wonderful gift to the newlyweds.

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Comments 3 comments

biolfu profile image

biolfu 7 years ago from Dallas, Austin, Texas, nationwide, worldwide

Awesome tips. Another recommendation is to visit the location of the ceremony, reception, etc in advance to scout the location for your portraits.


nrjberg profile image

nrjberg 7 years ago Author

Thanks for your comment Kelvin.

You're right, i should have included a recommendation to visit the different locations in advance.

It's now included as part of tip 1.

TK 7 years ago

Some really great advice for everyone to use. Thanks

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