If you are about to shoot your first wedding, it can be an extremely daunting time, to say the least. I’ve now got around 10 years of experience of wedding photography, and still get a little nervous to be honest.
But I’ve built up a system and learnt a lot of lessons, sometimes the hard way, to make things run a lot more smoothly that when I first started. Here’s a list of some of the key wedding photography tips I swear by.
- Be prepared. Have a list of all the important people to take with you on the day, so you know who’s who and to make sure you don’t miss out any of the wedding party. A list of group photographs, agreed with the bride and groom before the day, is also a must. The groups can be hard enough to organize at the best of times, but without some planning chaos will likely ensue.
- Get your kit right. Have a least two camera bodies in case one breaks, and the same goes for your lenses and flashes. Spare batteries and memory cards are a must to. A good lens is probably even more important than the camera body, and as far as the best lens for wedding photography goes, my firm favorite is the Canon EF 70-200 mm f/2.8L IS II USM. It’s part of Canon’s L series so isn’t cheap, but it’s build quality and the quality of the image is fantastic.
It has an image stabilizer to help you cope with low light conditions, and it’s long focal length will allow you to get some great shots of the couple without getting too close to them and destroying an intimate moment. So will also need a wide angle lens though, for the group shots and other photographs where you want to include more of the location.
- Be as friendly, not over-friendly though, courteous and charming. Don’t be bossy, even if it means you miss one or two shots during the day. If you get the guests on your side, they’re much more likely to laugh and smile when you’re around, and that’s half the battle won right there.
- Be creative in your shot selection and composition. Consider shooting through a gate at the couple kissing, lean out of a first floor window for a big group shot, get low for the little flower girl.
- Shoot as many combinations of people as you reasonably can. The bride with each bridesmaid, then all together, the bride with her mum, then with dad, then with mum and dad. You’ve got a much better chance of selling more photos this way, and getting some lovely memories for everyone at the same time.
- Practice shooting in the different lighting conditions and posing as well before the day. Grab your partner for a mock portrait shoot, or your friends to simulate photographing the groups. This really is one of the best wedding photography tips I can give. It makes the whole day much much easier, and you’ll be a whole lot less stressed out if you’ve practiced beforehand.
- Make a backup of all your image files as soon as you can, and then make a second backup on disc and store this somewhere different to the other backup. In the event of theft of fire, you will still have your images.
- Get to work on editing and post production of your images soon after the wedding. If you leave it for an age, the couple will get impatient, and you’ll forget who’s who, and the overall sequence of events of the day, which will affect your final choice of images.