Wedding photography can be a very important source of income for many photographers. A well-booked wedding season can bring in a significant portion of your income for the year, but in order to get all those clients, you need to make sure you are taking the best photos you possibly can! A wedding is one of the most important days for a couple, so they want to make sure they have hired someone who will capture it well. Below are some important tips for taking your wedding photography to the next level.
1. Plan Ahead and Create a Shot List.
In order to help the whole day run smoothly and make sure you get all the shots the couple is hoping for, it is best to create a shot list. The best way to develop this list is to consult with the couple to get an idea of their preferences and create a wishlist of shots with them. You can also present them with a list of traditional shots with examples, to find out which ones they like or dislike, or even offer a look-book of common shots with examples.
Planning this out ahead of time will help keep you focused, on budget, and ensure the couple will receive a collection of all the shots they envisioned. It feels terrible to end a long shoot with hundreds of photos, but minimal standard or desired shots. Plan out your shot list ahead of time to make sure the couple is happy with the photos they receive.
2. Be Invisible.
While you are there to capture the day, you do not want to get in the way of the wedding. Wear neutral coloured clothing and dress according to the dress code provided to the guests. During the ceremony and reception, you will want to move around the get a variety of shots from different angles, but try to coordinate your movements so you are moving around during appropriate times, like when someone has just finished speaking or during a transition. This will allow you to get where you need to be to get the shot, but you will not disrupt the wedding.
3. Familiarize Yourself with the Venues.
Different locations will have different equipment needs. For example, many churches have low light, so if the ceremony is being held in a church, you need to make sure you show up with the right equipment to make the shots turn out properly. The same goes for the reception venue, and the location for the photoshoot with the couple and the wedding party. There is nothing worse than arriving at the event and realizing that you are missing one or two key pieces of gear.
4. Bring an Assistant.
Some people are hesitant to hire an assistant because they feel they do not need one, or they can’t afford one. However, assistants are not just for established or wealthy photographers, they are helpful for everyone, especially at a big event like a wedding.
Having an assistant will allow you to multitask, and to be in two places at once. While you are securing one shot, you could have your assistant scout out the other room to see where the next shot could be. You could also use your assistant to help you obtain multiple angles of key shots, like toasts or vows.
5. Use Two Cameras.
If possible, bring two cameras with you on the day of the wedding. Set one camera up with a wide angle lens, which will be great for candid shots and in smaller spaces, like shots of the couple and their wedding party getting ready before the ceremony. Then, set the second one up with a longer lens for shots where you might need more zoom. Having two cameras already set up allows you to switch between them more easily, and you won’t have to waste time fumbling with your camera and changing lenses when you should be taking photos.
6. Know the Guests.
At the wedding, there are all kinds of guests. Before the wedding day, discuss the guests list with the couple to find out which guests are the “VIPs” – these will be their closest friends and family. Take time to learn their names and faces so you can recognize them on the day of the wedding. These are the people that should get priority portraits, and are likely the ones that the couple will want to show up in more pictures, as they are people that are most important to them. Getting to know these guests will also make them more comfortable with you, and with getting their photo taken, which will make your job much easier on the day of the wedding!
When it comes to wedding photography, there is a ton of moving parts, large groups of people to photograph, and a long list of shots to get. However, if you prepare beforehand, and make sure you have everything you need, you can be sure that everything will go off without a hitch!