It is no secret that wedding photography can be a very lucrative career choice for the right type of photographer. Weddings are fast paced and as the wedding photographer you are always dealing with different personalities on the wedding day which often leaves little room for error. It’s these reasons that being adequately prepared are of the utmost importance.
Having now done over 85 weddings, I have compiled a list of wedding photography tutorials that will make sure you are all set for the wedding day and have all the needed wedding photography tips to ensure an awesome & successful wedding shoot.
My top 5 wedding photography tips for a successful shoot!
The Family Portrait List – Even if you have only done a handful of weddings so far, you likely have already seen how wild and frenzied the family portraits portion of the day can become. Most of the time there is at least one person who is missing when they are supposed to be available for a family photo and since time is typically of the essence, things can become stressful very quickly – for both you as the photographer and also the bride and groom. Having your clients fill out a family portrait list in advance of the wedding day is a must have to help the family portraits run as smoothly as possible. I recommend that you have your clients fill out a template provided by you that is segregated into 3 different groupings of photos:
- Bride + Family Photos
- Groom + Family Photos
- Bride & Groom + Family Photos
Make sure within your template make sure you indicate to your clients to include the names of each family member so you can easily call their names which will help with efficiency as well. Lastly – make sure to print at least two copies of the family list so you can have one copy for yourself and give one copy to a family member who can help make sure all family members are nearby and ready for their name to be called.
Wedding Day Timeline Collaboration – Whether your clients are working with a wedding coordinator or not, it is only in the best interest of yourself & your client to go over the timeline of the wedding day in advance of the wedding to make sure there is adequate time for you to get all of the photos you need to get on the wedding day. For example, if your only booked for 6 hrs and your end time is supposed to be at 8pm, but the cake cutting and garter toss is at 9:30pm that will be an issue and something that should be discussed with your clients. It would be smart to suggest alternate solutions such as adding hours of coverage, pushing back your start time to accommodate the reception events on the timeline or reworking the reception timeline. As you can imagine, these are conversations that shouldn’t be discussed on the day of the wedding, or even days before the wedding – they should ideally be discussed 4-8 weeks before the wedding.
Anything Unique or Special to Client? – We are wedding photographers, not mind readers. Weddings are a huge event in people’s lives and because of that there are often many small details or unique elements that are incorporated into the wedding that we simply would have no clue of, unless our clients volunteered that information to us. For example – a pin handed down by a grandma who has passed to be worn by the bride on her wedding day. These are the small details that clients would love to have documented as they hold such special sentimental value to them. In order to make sure we know of these special details, I’d encourage you to simply ask the question in either a standard email or a questionnaire. We are always so shocked by all of the details and insight into the wedding we get that we would have no idea about otherwise.
Wedding Details Help Tell The Story! – Speaking of details…It is easy to just focus on the people and the big events throughout the wedding day, however, it’s important to remember that many of our clients have put a tremendous amount of time and effort into small details and decor for the wedding and it is important for us to capture those elements as well. Not only do the brides really appreciate us getting these detail photos but it’s a great item to incorporate into a blog post or their wedding album which helps tell the story of their wedding day.
Proper Photo Equipment – As a reminder, make sure that you have the appropriate & adequate equipment to take for the wedding and most of all are extremely familiar with your gear. One of the greatest reasons weddings are amongst the most challenging to photograph is because of being faced with constantly changing lighting conditions that you are forced to adapt to. In addition, in many church ceremonies you aren’t even able to use flash, which definitely requires professional grade photography gear. What kind of gear do you need? Definitely “fast” glass, referring to constant f/2.8 zoom lenses and/or f/1.8 or f/1.4 prime lenses – these will allow you to shoot in very low light conditions. You will also need a couple external flashes that you are proficient with using and of course well capable DSLRs that can perform well at high ISOs and also have a great auto-focus system. In addition, don’t forget that having backup equipment is also a must have to be prepared for if any of your gear quits functioning.
I hope these wedding photography tips were insightful to you and help you be prepared for the wild world of wedding photography. It is important for all of us to remember just how monumental of a day this is for our clients, and because of that, we must go into the day ready for anything and having our eyes set on creating amazing images for our clients!
Want more wedding photography tutorials? Here are a few more wedding photography tutorials for you!