Tips for Beginning Wedding Photographers

photographer tipsEveryone has a camera built in to their smartphone these days. Apps with lots of fancy filters make everyone think they are capable of taking professional photographs. But when capturing something as momentous as a couple’s wedding day, it is important to know specifics and have the right equipment to get the best results.

  1. Establish a clear package of what is included.

Meet with the couple well in advance of their wedding day and offer them photograph package options with a clear list of prices. Set a number or a range of posed photos and candid shots. Establish how many hours you will shoot before, during and after the ceremony as well as the reception. What kind of album do they want? Photo sizes? Retouching? You don’t want to spend any time on the day or afterward haggling over fees or what they thought was included. Even if you’re a beginner, have your services written out clearly to avoid any confusion.

  1. Get a list of must-have shots.

Once a package is agreed upon, write down a list of important shots both sides of the family must have. Siblings with bride and groom? A certain great grandmother with the mother and the bride for a special generational photo? A specific group of friends from college days? Are there any guests that have to be invited, but the couple does NOT want in their group shots? It can help to have a list of choices to start the idea process, but let your couple add their own wishes to this list.

  1. Discuss timing and rules of couple seeing each other before ceremony.

Many couples are adamantly against seeing each other on the day of the wedding before the ceremony. Openly discuss how much time you will have after the ceremony, before the reception to take photos of the couple together if they don’t want to meet on the wedding day. Some couples would rather meet a few days in advance, fully dressed to take these photos if time won’t allow on their wedding day. This can also give the bride a chance for a test run of her hair style and make-up as well.

  1. Know your equipment and bring back-ups.

Never use a new camera for the first time at an important event like a wedding. Practice using your equipment on all of its settings before the day. Practice swapping out shorter and longer lenses so you can do it quickly when needed. Better yet, rent a second camera body so you can have two lenses at the ready. Also be sure to bring extra batteries and extra memory so you don’t run out at an important moment.

  1. Wear comfortable shoes.

Look professional, but be prepared to walk a lot on the wedding day. Heels may sink into grass and stiff shoes can cause blisters. You will be standing still and walking around without much rest, so do your feet a favor.

  1. Adjust settings to show off the white dress.

Many cameras perceive a big white dress to be a bright spot and will over-correct for it making the dress appear gray or blueish. Be sure to cancel these auto settings by using some positive exposure compensation. This will allow the bride’s dress to be seen as white as it should be.

  1. Take charge in posed photos.

Wedding day photos can be crowded with onlookers. Every family has one or two self-named “experts” who will try to direct grouping and posing. Remember that you established lists and guidelines with the couple when you met in advance, so you know what they want. Aunt Judy may mean well, but it is up to you to take charge and direct the photos that the couple wants. Simply saying, “Thank you for your suggestion, but the couple wishes these shots to be taken first,” is a polite way to set boundaries and move on in the right direction.

  1. Suggest flattering positioning.

Help the bride, groom and wedding party to look their best. Angle shoulders, position arms so they are not straight down against the body, and help arrange hair to make all look their best. You can see how the shots portray the people, so make adjustments that flatter. They will thank you for it.

  1. Drop back for comfortable candids.

Not everyone is comfortable in front of the camera. Using a longer lens and shooting from farther away can put your subjects as ease and catch them with more natural expressions.

  1. Vary your angles.

Instead of staying directly in front of your subjects, try to tilt your camera for fresh perspective. Lighting, backdrops and positioning can change with a simple angle adjustment, which will give the couple options when reviewing their proofs.

  1. Frame the couple.

Center the wedding couple in creative ways. Branches hanging on opposing trees, pillars, flowers or architecture can all be used to create a frame for your couple. Step back and find those in between spaces to position your subjects for excellent results.

  1. Look behind you.

Families will be watching the couple as they are photographed. This can be a great time to catch them in their element. Catch the family members’ personalities as they interact behind you and on the sidelines. Most are truly happy for the couple, so capture those expressions of love and joy.

If you want a more professional touch contact a New Jersey wedding photographer today to learn more.

About Aimee Lancaster

Born and raised in New York Aimee works as a freelance author and contributes to multiple publications and blogs around the world.