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Getting started... Wedding photography for beginners.
Wedding photography can be extremely rewarding, being part of someone’s big day and capturing their memories for them to relive hopefully years down the line!
There are very few jobs or careers that can offer the same satisfaction as wedding photography does.
Of course as with any job, it can get a bit stressful but with proper preparation, planning and some handy beginner wedding photography tips you can reduce the stress considerably.
Your first Wedding
Finding your first wedding photography gig can be a daunting task. You’re confident in your skills but even so you will be nervous and to an extent you always will be (it will get better…. I promise!)
Don’t look at this as a bad thing, it’s natural and shows that you care. If you weren’t nervous you’d probably end up missing things and get a bit sloppy with your photos and nothing is worse than an unhappy bride… you have been warned!
Now, to find your first wedding.
Family and Friends
The first place to start would be with family and friends.
Are any of them getting married?
If they are, just have a friendly chat with them, ask them if they’ve got a photographer arranged and if they have, that’s fine, if they haven’t, even better!
Tell them how you’re just starting out and see if they’d be willing to let you do the photography for them, reassure them that there is absolutely no pressure to choose you and don’t be offended if they don’t.
After all, it is their big day and there’s only one chance to get it right so for them it might seem a bit of a risk.
If they are happy for you to take the photos, awesome, you’ve got your first wedding photography gig, congratulations!
If no immediate friends or family are getting married then maybe you could still reach out to them.
Just send out a friendly message saying that you’re just starting out and do they know of anyone who might be willing to give you a try?
People will be more likely to give you a try if you’ve been recommended by someone, even if that someone is a friend or family member.
Just a word or two about pricing for beginners.
Just to get started I would recommend starting with lower prices until you get a few weddings under your belt, this will sweeten the deal for some and might even tip the odds of them going with you in your favour.
You can if you really want to offer your services for free just to get your first wedding and some experience.
I would save this as an absolute last resort, the amount of effort and time you will be putting in to research, shooting and editing will be immense so don’t sell your self short.
If your family and friends don’t get you any weddings then you can look towards adverts.
A lot of times there will be couples working to a strict budget and so they may be looking for cheaper wedding photographers.
Most understand that with cheaper prices often comes less experience and so they’ll be more open to first time wedding photographers.
Take a look on Facebook and other job/gig listing sites to see if there any ads looking for wedding photographers.
Conversely, you can put your own adverts up and just be honest.
State that you’re very a very keen photographer (if you are!) with lots of knowledge and that you’re just looking for an opportunity to use that knowledge at someones wedding.
Also say that it will be your first wedding so you can manage the couple’s expectations.
Offer a discounted rate as it would be your first wedding and you can provided them with a portfolio of photos that you’ve taken.
In your Portfolio, try and include shots that would relate well to wedding photography such as shots of people showing emotions, groups, food, venues, cars, anything you can think of that might be the sort of shot a couple might want for their wedding.
Be a second photographer / assistant
If you would rather a different approach you may be interested in becoming a second photographer or assistant.
This will allow you to learn from an already established wedding photographer and will get you some much needed experience.
If you think the stress of taking on your first wedding would be too much to take on alone then this would be a great way to get started.
Reach out to established wedding photographers that you admire through a simple email. Something a long the lines of this:
Hi (Wedding photographer),
My name is (name), I’m a very passionate photographer and I hope to delve into the wonderful world of wedding photography!
To gain some experience I was hoping that I could help you out on one of your future weddings, for free of course.
I am a very competent photographer and have been involved in photography for the past (however many years) years.
I can take directions very well and have worked in professional photography environments on numerous occasions with great feedback. (give more detail if necessary)
I appreciate that each wedding shoot needs to be perfect for the couple and I wouldn’t do anything to compromise your photos.
I’ve attached a small portfolio of my work that I hope you will enjoy.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Dan (your name, obviously)
Obviously you can add anything else that you think they may find interesting such as past photography achievements, work experience, etc.
If you haven’t worked in a professional photography environment before, don’t worry, just try and think of professional environments you have worked in and use that as an example of your work ethic.
This is great template for you to follow as it highlights a few things:
- It shows your intent. You want to be a second shooter/assistant
- Your cost
- Your abilities and more importantly the fact that you’re used to working professionally
- That you’re not going to go off and take your own pictures, instead you will work with them to decide the best shots
- Your respect for the wedding day itself
- Your photography skills through your portfolio.
Beginner Wedding Photography Tips Before the Big Day!
1. Meet the Couple
What kind of a beginner wedding photography tips list doesn’t have meeting the couple as one of the tips?
A bad one, that’s what!
This is a vitally important step to get right so that everyone knows what to expect of each other and what the couple want to achieve with their photos.
This is the time to find out any special requests and whilst for the most part there will be a similar shot list for each wedding, there will be little nuances for each couple that may require a completely different approach than you’d normally take.
It’s important to find out the types of images they’re after, some will like lots of emotion in their photos whilst others may prefer to focus on the fun element of the wedding.
This is also the time that you’ll go over things such as the schedule and timings for the day, I’ll talk about this in a bit.
2. Get a Contract
You may be thinking that a contract for your first wedding may seem a bit too corporate and business like, but ultimately that’s what you want to be… a business.
As such you need to make sure that you’ve got all of your boring paperwork in order!
The contract is actually a very important document and is meant to benefit both sides, you the photographer and them the couple.
The contract will lay out what is to be expected of both parties and holds both accountable to their duties and also time frames, it also includes other important details such as dates, prices, expenses and anything else that may apply.
I can’t stress enough how important a contract is.
I hate to be a cynic, but what if the couple split up before the wedding or some other unforeseen circumstance leads to the cancellation of the wedding?
You’ll have spent hours and hours on planning and preparation and now the whole thing’s off, no wedding, no payment, simple.
It’s up to you how much notice is acceptable to cancel. 6 months notice you would probably be ok with because you may not have done loads of planning, 6 days and you might be slightly annoyed.
3. Get the Schedule
This is one of our most important beginner wedding photography tips, without it you won’t have a clue how to structure your day.
Think of the schedule as your tour guide for the day and you’re the tourist, you’ve got lots of sights to see and like a tourist you want lots of photos, but you’ll be taking better photos than a tourist, I hope!
When you meet the couple you want to get the full schedule of what is happening on the wedding day.
This should include everything and I mean EVERYTHING. If the bride is going to sneeze make sure she’s pencilled it in!
The more detailed the schedule, the better as this allows you to plan where you need to be, when you need to be there and also what equipment you might need.
In particular you want to know when the main events are, these include:
- The groom arriving
- The bride arriving
- The ceremony time (kind of important!)
- The cake cut
- The first dance
- Any other special parts of the day
You want to capture these moments as they are the ones that often evoke the strongest emotions, especially when they are looking back in years to come.
Look out for quiet periods where you can either catch a quick break or take photos of other smaller parts of the day such as the dress hanging up or the venue.
And remember probably 90% of the time the planned schedule will probably end up delayed so just adjust your own timings accordingly.
4. Practice, practice, practice and then practice some more!
I’d like to think that this is one of our more obvious beginner wedding photography tips, but nonetheless a vitally important one, don’t skip it!
This is something that professional wedding photographers that have been in the business for years still do so it is vital that a beginner wedding photographer practices.
A good way to practice would be to take a couple of friends to a local venue or any building really that can simulate a wedding setting and just snap away, taking note of what works, what doesn’t and what you could do better next time.
You could even use this opportunity to build up your portfolio.
Try out different lenses, different times of day, inside, outside, with a tripod, without a tripod, just have a real experiment until you find what works for you and eventually the couples that you shoot for.
You can quite easily practice venue shots by just going to your local venues at different times of day and taking photos, remember to ask permission first and try to be creative with your shots.
5. Scout the Location
Some say that this isn’t a great idea but I’d disagree with that, especially for beginners.
The reasoning behind it not being a good idea is that the conditions that you practice with may be completely different to those on the day, which yes may be a bit of a bummer!
Even so you can get a great feel for the venue, you can take notes on the best locations, accessibility and logistics, props, points of interest and a whole lot more.
If you were to just rock up on the day, you’d have to do it all then. With the nerves and pressure you’ll likely be feeling, I don’t think this would be a good option.
Even though the conditions may be different I would still take plenty of test shots as that will give you a baseline to work off, for instance if you scouted on a dull day and on the actual wedding day it was bright then you could use the settings from your dull day and just shorten the shutter speed, or decrease the ISO value.
It’s up to you when you go to visit the venue but you may want to go several times, once quite a while before the wedding day to get your location ideas noted.
Then a second time much nearer the date to get your test shots, hopefully being nearer the date you should get more similar conditions.
6. Practice with their practice!
This is one of our best beginner wedding photography tips to help you to fully understand the occasion and to help you better prepare for the ceremony itself.
Just ask the couple if they’d be happy for you to attend the rehearsal and the vast majority will agree, I mean why wouldn’t they, they should be happy that their photographer is so keen to get things right.
Take plenty of test shots and pretend that it’s the real thing, this is also a good time to ask the officiant if there are any rules or anything else that you should be aware of (more on this next).
Over time you may not need to attend the rehearsal but even so I think that in doing so you can learn a lot about the people you are photographing and may be something you you might want to continue doing.
7. Speak with the officiant
If your couple have told you who there officiant is, you may be able to get in touch with them. This will reduce the workload for you on the wedding day and allow you to prepare much better for the ceremony itself.
The officiant will be able to tell you of any rules they have for taking photos such as where you can and can’t stand, what you can take photos of and whether you can use flash or not,but each will be different. They may even know some good spots!
You will normally find that non religious officiant will be more lenient on the rules and permissions.
In very rare cases you may find that some officiants are not willing to let you shoot during the ceremony, this isn’t great, I’ll be honest.
This is one of the most important parts of the day for the couple and to not have any way of capturing those moments can be upsetting.
If you’ve been told by the officiant that no photography is allowed during the ceremony, I would advise that you talk with the couple and see if they are happy with that, they may not even be aware of it.
If they’re ok with it then just carry on as usual, if they’re not then you can suggest that they talk with the officiant to find a solution. If they can’t find a way around it then it is up to them whether they might want to find a new officiant.
I have to say that an officiant that won’t allow any kind of photography during the ceremony is very rare and may never actually happen during any of your shoots.
8. Get a detailed shot list
This is one of those beginner wedding photography tips that you’ll come back to throughout your wedding photography career.
For a beginner wedding photographer, the shot list is an awesome tool to have.
A shot list is a great place to start and should include all of the big pictures like the bride getting ready, the ceremony, the first dance, etc. that the couple would want as well as the smaller details such as close ups of the ring, the hanging wedding dress, etc.
Over time you will develop your own shot list, but to start you off you can use our free wedding shot list template.
It is very important that you consult with the couple as to whether there are any particular shots that they do and don’t want. The bride may be wearing something of great sentimental value that she wants you to pay particular attention to.
Also find out who the VIPs are, in other words are there any guests that the couple want you to pay particular attention to for example. Make sure they tell you the shots that they want to see.
They may want you to capture their parents reaction to the vows or maybe take some shots of uncle Jim busting some shapes on the dance floor!
You also need to know who they want in the group shots and also how to categorise them for example bride’s family, groom’s family, kids, everyone, etc.
9. Protect yourself
I know it’s only your first wedding and like with the contract you may feel it’s a bit early to get into the legal side but having decent insurance is very important and will protect you should something go wrong, fingers crossed it won’t though!
Public liability insurance is what you want and it will cover you for claims brought against you by a member of the public if they suffer an injury or damage to their property as a result of your work.
Some wedding venues won’t even let you shoot on their grounds without providing them with proof of liability insurance so go and get some!
Although not one of our most essential beginner wedding photography tips, it is still one you might want to think about.
For the majority of wedding you could easily not bother with any props whatsoever as there is more than enough going on throughout the day.
Also for your first wedding you may choose to just keep it simple and experiment with props later down the line, but if you feel comfortable, certain props can add great value to a photo and should be used where necessary.
Discuss it with the couple to see what props would be appropriate to the shots they want.
You should also consider the fact that you’ll have to transport these props around with you so that 50 foot bouncy castle probably won’t be the easiest to carry around with you!
But the nice wedding hanger and fancy bouquet stand would be pretty easy to get to the location.
11. Backup plans and backups for your backups!
Picture this, you’ve scouted your location, found all the best spots to take photos, taken awesome test shots and what’s better it was a beautiful day, WOW aren’t things great, you’re so ready for the day.
The day of the wedding arrives.
It’s raining, it’s windy, it’s dull, but the show must go on!
What I’m getting at is that it’s great to prepare, but always have a backup plan.
Weather is the biggest thing to have a backup plan for.
Something you can do to ensure your backup ideas are feasible is to scout the location in different weather conditions, this way you’ll be able to test how well your backup plan would work.
You’ll need to adapt to your environment should the weather decide to not play ball, but don’t be too concerned as the poor weather can actually make for some very interesting photos.
In poor weather you can try using props. for example the use of umbrellas can actually be very effective, it forces the couple to get closer which can create some really intimate photos.
Using the dark sky as a backdrop actually creates a really nice effect as the contrast from the brides often white dress really makes her the focal point, excellent for a day that is all about the bride and also the groom!
Bear in mind the ground conditions in poor weather. If you have an urban venue then this may not be so much of an issue as the ground will likely stay the same no matter the weather.
But if you have a venue out in the countryside or any outside venue for instance in fields, then the ground will likely get very wet and boggy so tell the couple that they should bring some appropriate footwear so they don’t spoil their best new shoes.
Related to clothing you may want something that they can sit on. So if you’re doing an outside shot with the couple sat on a bench for example and it’s been raining all day, they’re not going to want to sit on that and end up with a wet stripe on their bums!
Locations are another thing to think of. If you scout your locations ahead of time you can find great spots for taking photos in both excellent and poor weather conditions and take a note of these so you can easily refer to them on the day.
12. Be Prepared
This is the most important of all of our beginner wedding photography tips and if you implement nothing else on this list, implement this one.
With less preparation comes less control.
With less control comes more stress and pressure.
And with more stress and pressure comes mistakes, mistakes that you can’t afford to make on someone’s big day.
Of course you will make mistakes regardless of preparation and that’s how you’ll learn and get better, but with proper preparation you reduce the amount and severity of the mistakes.
For example being careless and forgetting to take a photo of the brides father equals bad mistake that could have been avoided.
Forgetting to shoot on silent mode is an easy mistake for beginners to make and one that you’ll learn from.
To be prepared you want to make sure that you’ve done everything in this list so far and anything else that applies to your wedding.
So that means the following:
- You’ve met the couple and asked about their requirements for the shoot.
- You’ve got a contract outlining each parties’ responsibilities and duties.
- You’ve got a full detailed schedule so you know where to be and when.
- You’ve practised… A lot!
- You’ve scouted the location and found the best places to take your photos.
- You’ve rehearsed at their rehearsal.
- You’ve spoken with the officiant to find out any particular rules.
- You’ve got a detailed shot list so you know the shots that are essential.
- You’ve insured yourself so that you’re covered in unlikely event a claim is brought against you.
- You’ve decided if props would be a good idea or not and how you’d use them.
- You’ve got a backup plan in place in case of unforeseen conditions.
After all of this you should be pretty well prepared but with the date getting nearer you need to make sure that you’ve got all of your equipment in check.
So, the equipment, make sure that the night before you set off you have everything you need ready, packed and in working order, this should include:
Your Camera – You won’t get very far without it! I would highly recommend that you bring two cameras, one for a backup and the other to shoot with or two cameras with different lenses which is much quicker than swapping lenses on the same camera.
Now you may not have two cameras but I would make the effort to either borrow or rent another, just imagine how you’d feel if you were capturing your couples’ happy memories and then your camera just stops working… What now?
If this just isn’t possible for whatever reason then make sure that you have a very reliable camera and put it through it’s paces.
Take photos for a whole day, changing lenses, changing settings, changing memory cards just as you would on the wedding day to really test the reliability of your camera.
Your Lenses – Take a few lenses with you covering a variety of situations.
To start with, here are a few lenses you might want to take:
70-200mm – This lens will allow you to get those intimate shots whilst keeping your distance which can be particularly useful during the ceremony where you don’t want to be getting in the way.
You may like these lenses:
85mm Prime – Providing stunning portraits the 85mm fixed focal length lens is great and is present in a lot of professional wedding photographers’ arsenal. Being a prime lens it offers a sharp image with less distortion than other lenses. The nice bokeh (blur) effect this lens offers is also a highly attractive feature.
You may like these lenses:
24-70mm – A very versatile lens that allows for greater control in tighter spaces but also for wider angle shots such as venue and group shots. You can also use this for portraits although the 85mm mentioned above would probably be better.
100mm Macro – Optional but nice to have, this lens can be used to pick up on the smaller details with crystal clear clarity. Things like the rings, the lapel flower, bouquet, jewellery and any other small details.
- Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L IS USM
- Sigma 258306 105mm F2.8 EX DG OS HSM
- Sony SEL90M28G FE 90mm f/2.8-22 Macro G OSS
And remember when you’re starting out it’s best to keep things simple.
Camera Bag – Take a good bag with you, one that allows for plenty of storage, isn’t cumbersome and one that you can quickly gain access to your equipment, you don’t want to be fumbling around for a lens just before the first kiss!
Flash and Diffuser – You should bring this with you even if you don’t think you will need it. It’s better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it.
Memory Cards – Bring a cargo container full! Well maybe not that many but bring a lot and bring ones with lots of storage. You don’t want to be worrying about how much storage you’ve got left.
Batteries – As with the memory cards bring a few spare batteries and also a charger. It would be a huge mistake on your part if you couldn’t take photos because your cameras dead.
Although quite unlikely, if there are any quiet times during the day take the time to charge you batteries, I’m talking about the camera batteries but also yours!
But don’t rely on the fact that you can recharge your batteries when you get there, take enough batteries so that you could shoot non stop without recharging.
Tripod – If you choose to use a tripod make sure it’s packed, working and ready to go. Remember that you’ll have to carry it around for periods of the day and you’ll need to be able to deploy it quickly.
Food – You don’t want to be starving so take plenty of food that you can graze on throughout the day. When the officiant declares “if anyone here today knows of any reasons why these two should not wed” you don’t want your stomach to growl!
Hungry photographer equals unhappy photographer.
Unhappy photographer means unhappy shots, So keep yourself fuelled.
Beginner Wedding Photography Tips for the BIG Day!
13. Meet the couple...again!
Like you’d meet with the couple before the wedding, I would highly recommend that you do the same on the day.
Due to logistics it may not be possible to speak with both of them as they may be in different locations.
If you let them know before the day of the wedding that you’d like to just go over a few things on the day then the couple can discuss any changes to the plan before hand.
This will mean that either of them would be able to chat with you on the day to tell you about any alterations.
You want to find out if there are any changes to the timings of the day, if there are more important guests turning up that weren’t before, anything that might affect how things were originally planned.
Points and things of interest
Ask the couple if there are any details that they want you to pay particular attention to.
Things like dress and suit details and accessories often have some sort of personal attachment that you’d only know about if you ask.
Whilst only small, these little details can have a huge emotional impact.
In your discussion with the couple the schedule will be your main point of concern.
You need to know of any changes to the schedule no matter how small as this will impact on your strategy.
If there are any major changes then you are going to have to adapt to the situation, this is all part of wedding photography.
You’ll want to double check with the couple that the major events of the day such as guests arriving, the ceremony, the first dance, speeches and any other important parts of the day are still occurring as planned.
The Shot List
Some time may have elapsed since you last spoke with the couple and in that time I’m sure the couple may have seen some great wedding shot ideas that they’d like to try.
Chances are you’ll be able to jiggle a few things around to accommodate all of their requests but don’t promise something if you’re not sure that you’ll be able to do it.
It’s better to under promise and over deliver than to over promise and under deliver.
Clothing may not be one of the tips you’d expect to see on a beginner wedding photography tips list, but it shouldn’t be overlooked.
In your initial discussion with the couple it is a good idea to ask if there are going to be any dress codes, if there are, then great, you can work out what will be best to wear to blend in.
If not, then you can generally gauge what will be appropriate based on a few things:
- The venue – is it formal or informal
- Venue location – is it urban, outdoors, hot or cold
- The style of the wedding – is it a classy affair or is it more based on having fun
These factors will help you to decide the sort of thing you want to be wearing.
Whatever you wear, make sure that it’s comfortable. You’re going to be wearing them for a long time so being comfortable is essential.
Shoes will be one of the things that you want to get right. Yes those heels or those shiny leather pointy shoes (I can’t remember what they’re called, so elf shoes will do!) may look awesome but your feet will not thank you for it later.
A safe bet is to stick to a smart, fairly inoffensively coloured outfit with some very comfortable shoes.
15. The Checklist
A checklist is a great tool for the beginner wedding photographer.
It allows you to track:
- Where you need to be
- What you need to be doing there and what equipment you’ll need
- Where you need to be going
- What you need to be doing there and what equipment you’ll need
- What photos you still need to take
- Your timings overall
Having this on paper or tablet or phone or whatever your checklist is on can lighten the mental load as you won’t have to be remembering all of this information, freeing you up to focus on important photography stuff!
A good place to start for your checklist would be to combine the shot list with the schedule.
I’ll show you how you’d do it for your first photography location:
8:00am – Bride’s location for getting ready
- Photography equipment needed:
- Primary camera
- Secondary / backup camera
- 85mm lens
- 24-70mm lens
- 70-200mm lens
- Lighting equipment needed:
- List any lighting equipment you may need
- Props needed:
- List any props needed
- Anything else:
- List anything that you may need
- Shot list
- Hair and make up
- Bride and bridesmaids
- Brides accessories
- Special, unique or personal accessories
- Closeups of bouquets
- List of all your shots for this location
- Last checks:
- Check that all shots have been done
- Check you haven’t left any equipment behind
- Check photos taken
- Any other last checks before the next location
Time – The next location
Use this as a template and add to it as you see fit. You can get our full detailed shot list here.
By using a checklist like this you’ll be less likely to miss shots, forget equipment and make mistakes.
16. Use a Tripod
You may think that using a tripod will just slow you down, not good when you need to quickly get from location to location.
Well you’d be right…. partly.
Of course I’m not saying use a tripod for all of your shots, but there is a time and a place that tripods become a really great bit of kit to have.
You should go for something that is lightweight without compromising stability.
It also opens up the possibility of taking photos in lower light environments, something that can be very difficult without a tripod.
A tripod can also be of great use when you need to be in two places at once.
For example, when the couple are making their way down the aisle you can’t be behind them and in front of them at the same time so you can set up one camera behind or in front with a remote trigger and there you go.
Two angles covered with only one photographer. You can use this approach whenever you can predict the subject’s movement and it means you can cover a wider variety of shots without needing another photographer.
17. It's the little Things
As I briefly mentioned earlier, you want to ask the couple if there are any details that may have some kind of sentimental or personal meaning to them as these can make for some great photos to look back on and can help to tell their story.
Things like jewellery and accessories often hold this sentimental value.
Although small they are certainly not insignificant. In fact depending on the photographer, the details can actually create some of the biggest emotional reactions of all the photos.
A picture of a hanging dress with the golden rays of a rising sun shining down on it can tell a story on its own and that is why the details are so important.
It’s also the details that the couple have likely spent months deciding upon and so after all of that effort it is no wonder that they want some kind of record of it.
18. Golden Hours
All photographers love the golden hours, they provide a natural and soft light with a golden hue that can help any photo look good, to an extent of course!
Referring to the hours just as the sun is rising and the hours leading up to the sun setting, the golden hours offer great lighting without the harsh shadows that full sunlight can.
The golden hours can make for some really nice intimate photos of the couple and work as a great middle ground between the daylight photos and the nighttime photos to come.
19. Using Flash
There will be times throughout the day when you need to use a flash.
Your camera’s built in flash will probably not be sufficient for most of the shots that you’ll be taking in low light conditions and so it is important to invest in a decent external flash and also a good diffuser to avoid that harsh light.
During the day you will likely be able to take advantage of natural sources of light and so a flash may not be needed so much during these hours.
But come reception time and the flash will become an essential bit of kit.
This is one of our beginner wedding photography tips that’s going to take a little practice to get right, but once you do, you’ll get some amazing results.
20. Shoot in RAW
Although you shouldn’t rely heavily on correcting images in post production, knowing that you have greater control should you need to can be a great comfort.
Whilst the RAW format does require more processing power, the more flexibility that it offers in post can be a godsend.
This is particularly useful with wedding photography as the ever changing lighting conditions and the speed it all happens can lead to slight exposure and white balance issues.
In addition to basic exposure and balance adjustments, shooting in RAW gives you the option to convert the image to black and white at a later date.
Due to the processing power needed you will probably want to get faster memory cards too, anything with a write speed of 90mb/s would be sufficient and would allow you to take bursts of RAW shots.
21. Be discreet and predict what's Next
This one will be a case of judging the situation and trying to prepare for what’s to come.
The last thing the bride is going to want when she’s getting ready is some pushy photographer demanding that she say cheese for the camera, she’s likely to tell you to stick your cheese else where!
Instead you need to assess what’s going on around you. If the makeup artist is nearly finished then it’s likely that the bride is about to be smiling from ear to ear, so be ready for it.
Of course when it’s quieter you can ask the bride if she’d mind moving towards the window where the lighting is better but don’t interrupt her to do this.
You may want to use silent shutter mode at certain times of the day, particularly the ceremony, you don’t want disgraced looks from auntie Mildred when your shutter’s going off during the vows.
When you’re in the moment it can be quite easy to forget that you are in fact shooting at someones wedding, as such this is one of our beginner wedding photography tips you must remember.
Not only will it stop people from getting irritated with you, but it will also give you better photos.
So do be sociable with your subjects throughout the day, this is there first time meeting you and if you can make them feel at ease, you will get much better, more relaxed shots.
22. Venue Shots
The venue is one of the biggest expenses a couple will outlay on their wedding, it can also be one of the most difficult decisions for them to make.
Find time in your day to take a variety of shots of the venue, if you haven’t already scouted the location before the big day then this is also a good time to find some good spots for photos later on.
If you get the chance, you can also show the photos to the venue owner/manager, if they like them they may want to use them or they might recommend you to other couples.
23. Capture Emotion
If you can capture emotion, you will end up with some very powerful and moving shots, especially if you can get one of the usually tough groom cracking a few tears, a source of constant teasing from his friends for months to come!
A wedding day can be one of the most emotion filled days going, from the anticipation and anxiety before the wedding to the drunken laughs at the reception.
Try to capture a whole spectrum of emotions. You can use the emotions as a very powerful tool for telling their story, anyway, what’s a wedding without a good cry!
24. Clean Backgrounds
Keeping your backgrounds clean is crucial to getting aesthetically pleasing photos, you don’t want to be taking a photo of the couple with a guest just roaming around in the background.
For the formal photos just use simple backdrops that will allow your subjects to be the centre of attention with no distractions.
When choosing your locations, the background should be one of your key ranking factors.
It should be attractive, have good natural light but not harsh, direct light and if possible it should be somewhere where it would be unlikely for people to be wandering around in the background.
This is why you see a lot of wedding photos with natural features behind such as trees and greenery, it’s pleasing to look at, it doesn’t demand too much attention so it’s not distracting and you’re more likely to not have people wandering in bushes, I hope!
25. Use a smaller Aperture
When you do your group shots, remember to use a narrower aperture.
You don’t want some people to be in focus and others not.
You’ll have to slightly lengthen your shutter speed or increase your ISO to compensate for less light getting in, but that is very easily done.
You may also want to use a tripod for this to keep the camera rock steady.
26. Capture the Firsts
The firsts are arguably the most important shots of the day and should be included in your shot list.
The firsts represent so much to the couple and often have the most meaning and emotion surrounding them.
They also provoke the best reactions from other guests so be sure to have the cameras poised on Mum and Dad when they first see their son or daughter.
- The first time mum sees the bride/groom
- The first time dad sees the bride/groom
- The first time the groom sees the bride
- The first kiss
- The first dance
They make for some great pictures so capture them!
27. Continuous Shooting
Continuous shooting can be a godsend.
You’re at the reception and it’s speech time. Great, you think, photography gold.
So you take aim and snap the couples reaction to the best man’s speech. Awesome, done.
Later on you check the shot….
You’ve got a snorting groom and a squinting bride, not quite the shot they wanted.
Avoid this by shooting in bursts and then you can pick the best shot later.
There you have it, 27 awesome beginner wedding photography tips.
Stick to our tips and you should end up with some great photos, photos that the couple will cherish for many years.
How did you like our 27 beginner wedding photography tips?
Any tips that you think would be of good use to a beginner wedding photographer? Comment below