Photography is a broad field, and one of its specializations that many photographers find interesting is wedding photography. As much as the setting is filled with a lot of activity, you might find it a bit challenging especially if you are doing it for the first time. Experts who have experience when it comes to wedding photography are a perfect reference point when things seem difficult.
D. Scott Carruthers has worked as a photographer for over ten years and has helped many young photographers to build their careers. One of his specialties is wedding photography, and he offers his tips to help you have a successful wedding photo shoot.
As many will shy away from wedding photography, it is the best specialty if you understand how to go about the challenges presented before you. One of the reasons people find wedding photography a bit challenging is the fact that too there is too much activity and predictability of events is not possible as constant movement keeps one wondering what move the subject will make next. But this unpredictability is also a blessing in disguise as you could use it to create perfect scenes that are not possible when you do a planned photo shoot. Here are nine tips you should try for amazing wedding photography.
Tips for Amazing Wedding Photography
1. Come up with a short list
The first step that you should take in wedding photography is to ensure the couple offers their ideas on the kind of photos they would like during the big event. Create a list that enumerates what series of events will be on that day and plan at which points you will need to take photos. You could ask the couple to advice at what moments they feel it would be mandatory for you to shoot, and make sure to keep your timing right so when the perfect moment comes you take photos.
Create a list of the day’s events and identify the shots you need to get
Understanding the progression of events will make it easy to choose the perfect positions for the task of taking the photos, and in addition to ensuring you are prepared to handle the setting, it would be advisable to survey the venue in advance to make it easy to do the photos from the best positions.
2. Get a family coordinator
Although you might have a list of what the couple wants to be included in the photos, you are also likely to miss one or two things, so you need a family member who should advise you on what to do when things seem off your radar. A family member can work as a director while shooting and will help you to be at the right position at the perfect moment, which again makes your work easier.
Enlist a family member to help you identify shots that are meaningful to the couple
You are able to maximize on your skills when you have someone else to help you position yourself well. It can be chaotic at a wedding as everyone is in a celebratory mood, but when you get someone who understands the way the events are planned to take place, you could easily do perfect photos during the wedding.
3. Survey the venue
It is always advisable to make a visit to the venue few days to the event. This is important as it allows you to familiarize with the different spots that are key during the event, and you can create a good map of the spots you will have position yourself to take the photos. Get someone involved in the preparation of the venue who will help by explaining the different areas of the venues where you should expect have key activity.
Become familiar with the venue before the wedding day
Getting this information will help you to imagine how the event will proceed and at that point you will understand what you will need to do at particular moments to ensure the photos you take are of the quality the couple desires to see. The weather of the region in which the venue is located might also be harsh than you thought, which means you will need to adjust your tools accordingly to ensure quality is not compromised.
4. Preparation is vital
Without adequate preparation, you will find it quite challenging to create the perfect moments you look up to. You need to confirm that all your tools are in good condition and if anything needs repairs it should be done in advance. Additionally, the topography of the venue might demand that you use special tools, which you might have to rent or borrow. Start preparing at least one week to the wedding to pave the way for testing and adjustments that are necessary to guarantee success during the shooting process.
Prepare at least a week advance to make sure you have the tools you to do your best work
Also, understand that anything might go wrong and to prevent disappointment you should have several of each tool. For example, you need several lenses, at least two cameras, fully charged batteries, and other vital equipment. To hone your skills in preparation for the wedding, schedule a rehearsal session at the venue to familiarize with the environment around.
5. Consider working with another photographer
Working alone might prove an enormous task and chances are you will miss many important occasions that should be documented. The answer to this is to ensure you have another photographer with whom you will share roles or divide the different sections of the venue between each other. It will lift the stress of knowing that important events are happening simultaneously and you cannot be present at both.
If necessary, partner with another photographer to capture all the shots
You will also have less to worry about as you are assured that there is a high likelihood that what you miss is captured by the other photographer. One could be allocated formal shots as the other person focuses on candid shots. You might also want to take some rest after long hours doing the job and the only replacement you can accept is a qualified photographer, so consider working with another photographer during a wedding.
6. Don’t discard mistakes
It is common practice to see a photographer discard photos that are considered not good enough to make it to the album. But this could as well be termed as a mistake in itself there lays some artistic opportunity in photos that are viewed as not good enough. Just keep all the raw images and ensure to sort them later, focusing on some of the things that can be done to the mistakes to produce high quality and dramatic images.
Use your ‘mistakes’ as a learning opportunity
Most images that are seen as mistakes have a dramatic and interesting appeal that you could use to introduce some art in the photos. These shots can be used to add interest at the end of the album, so ensure to keep them as well. You might also learn something from the photos that will help you produce more accurate shots the next time you go about shooting photos at such an event.
7. Group shots
Try to put everyone in one shot. For this, you need to be a bit artistic and good at timing so you are able to take photos only when there is a good number of people around one spot. One of the tactics you could use in this case is shooting from an elevated point so you easily get the camera to sweep across a wide area and effectively include everyone. Using camera stands and positioning yourself well will help you achieve this quite effortlessly.
Capture the feeling of the event with candid group shots
Group shots help to emphasize the events that happened at a particular time and you could help tell the story better by keeping memories of everyone who made it to the event. Ensure you have a good lens to create a picture that when zoomed can show the faces of those included without distorting their real images.
8. Expect the unexpected
The fact that after visiting the venue you established the weather of the region is friendly does not preempt the possibility of things working against your expectations. You might be prepared for a sunny day but when the day comes things turn out different. While preparing, you should also consider the worst that might happen and prepare accordingly to have this averted.
Be prepared to shoot in any weather and lighting conditions
If the weather turns cloudy, you should understand how to work around the lighting to still do good photos. Don’t be discouraged when things turn opposite to what you thought would be the case as this dramatic shift could be used as a solution to producing unique photos.
9. Remember – the couple have the last word
A mistake that many photographers make while doing wedding photography is ignoring the opinion of the couple regarding what they would like. You should be careful to produce photos that appeal to the needs of the couple as this is their day and the memories you help to preserve will be handed to them.
Take the couple’s wishes into account when shooting the event
Sit down with the couple to hear what they have to say about the event and the kind of shots they expect you to do. Take this information and strive to give them what they request for and in this process, you will easily achieve your goals of becoming the wedding photographer everyone wants to hire.
About the Author
D. Scott Carruthers has loved photography for a long time. He also enjoys traveling and living the paleo lifestyle. You can find more of his writing about photography at carruthersphoto.com