6 Wedding Photography Tips for Beginners
1. Plan Ahead
Before committing to shooting someone’s big day, make sure you are available! Also make sure your second shooter is available. ( I will tell you why this is important later on) When you know the location of the wedding, go there and scope it out! Think of good places to take certain shots. Closer to the day of the wedding, it is okay to ask for an itinerary so you can know where to be and when.
2. Prepare Your Equipment
Think of what you want to bring, buy, or rent ahead of time! You don’t want to try to rent a lens the night before a wedding and realize there is nothing available! I like to bring a wide lens for group and dancing shots, a prime lens ( a lens that does not zoom) for portraits and details, and depending on the size of the wedding venue, a telephoto ( or zoom) lens. For example: I will take a 24-70 f/2.8, a 50mm 1.4, and maybe a 70-200 f/2.8 as well. I don’t feel the need to bring 5 lenses, because that’s more to carry around all day and will just be distracting! It’s good to also bring extra batteries and memory cards. Do not forget a flash. Some wedding receptions get super dark and you want to be prepared!
3. Bring a 2nd shooter
It is always a good idea to have a second shooter. This takes some of the pressure off of you to capture every single shot. You simply can’t be in two places at once. For example: I tend to shoot weddings with my husband which works out nicely if we shoot “Getting Ready” photos. He will hang out with the guys and I can hang with the girls and get all the detail shots of hair, make-up, shoes and jewelry. Having a second shooter is also crucial during the ceremony because you are able to get two different points of views. One person can have a wide lens while the other has a telephoto zoomed right in on the action. Not to mention sometimes the couple will peck each other really quickly and hopefully one of you has the camera up to your eye with your finger on the trigger in continuous mode, because you don’t want to miss the kiss!
4. Prepare poses
My favorite photos to take at weddings are candids and the detail shots, but there will be group shots to take and it is good to prepare for those. Think of poses ahead of time for the bridesmaids, the groomsmen, the wedding party all together, and the family. Having poses in your head or written down will definitely take the tension off when you have a group of people standing in front of you saying, “What do I do?” Some couples have specific family members they want photos of and if you know that information ahead of time then you are saving the couple the worry of trying to remember what photos they wanted of whom
5. Go with the flow and try to have a good time
I know I have been saying you need to be prepared and even to have an itinerary, but sometimes you will have to go with the flow. I have been to weddings that went according to plan almost by the minute. I have been to a wedding where the bride and groom realized they needed their marriage license signed in a different state the day of and they went during our allotted group shot time. I had to take the photos as fast as I could and improvise. At another wedding the bride decided to save money by canceling the hair appointments so I did a bridesmaid’s hair. You can’t plan for every minute, so just be ready to help out wherever it’s needed!
6. Shoot in raw and edit consistently
When I first started taking photos I didn’t know what raw was, I didn’t have editing software, and I was unfamiliar with aspect ratio. We all start somewhere. Raw is when you shoot your images uncompressed. The benefit to doing so would be you have a lot more latitude when you are editing. For example: If I took a fairly underexposed shot in JPEG format and tried to edit the photo, it might look really strange and my blacks will look gray or even purple. If I shot an underexposed photo in RAW format, I could probably edit the photo enough for it to be a passable shot. You can reference a previous blog here (insert link to “why should I shoot raw” blog https://www.cccamera.com/why-should-i-shoot-raw/ ) You can spend hours editing, so you’re probably not going to do it all in one night. I have learned to edit the photos in groups. For example: Edit all the ceremony in one night, the reception a different night. The reason for this is so you can edit the photos consistently. You don’t want a group shot to look warm and the next photo right after it to look cool just because you edited it on a different day. When cropping your images it is nice to edit them all in the same aspect ratio. DSLR cameras will typically shoot in a 2:3 ratio, and when I crop photos I keep them in that same 2:3 ratio. This makes it simple for the couple during their printing process. You can learn more about aspect ratio from our blog on march 22nd. (link to: “ Why do my pictures get cropped ?” https://www.cccamera.com/why-do-my-pictures-get-cropped/
Hopefully this helps you feel a little more comfortable at your next wedding. If you want any more tips or want to check out some gear come into one of our stores and we’ll be happy to help!
-Crystal Fuller, O’Fallon, IL Store Manager