This article presents some tips for shooting wedding photography. There are many different ways to go about shooting weddings, and this is just one perspective.
If you really wanted to take some amazing wedding shots, you’re in for a treat. In this article, I will share my true and tested tips for getting great wedding shots. After reading this article, you can start implementing any of the tips straight away in your shooting routine.
Prepare Your Gear
One of the biggest mistakes that a wedding photographer often make is not preparing the gear before the shooting day. Always, always, always prepare your gear before you go out shooting the night before.
Charge all your batteries, including spare ones, format all your memory cards, bring out all lenses and filters that you might need tomorrow and clean your camera sensor. Create a checklist for those things to reduce your chance of forgetting them.
Although this advice sounds simple, if you’re not well prepared during the shooting session, you can forget about your chance of getting a perfect shot.
Remember, failing to plan is planning to fail.
Scout the Location and Create a Shooting List
When you chose a location for the shooting session, you should scout the place and make a shooting checklist. Doing this will help you remember to pace the groom and bride during the shooting day.
You don’t want to add more work to the groom and bride who have been through a lot for their wedding day!
One thing that you want to avoid is not knowing what to answer when the groom or bride ask “So, where should we go next?”
You must know where to go next and what’s on the shooting list. YOU are the lead photographer and the leader. Lead them and make their job easy. However, don’t be too rigid at the same time. Always open to the bride and groom’s recommendation. Who knows they have a favorite and memorable place that they want to visit for the picture session.
Beware of Lighting Conditions
Another thing that you should keep a close attention to is the lighting condition on location. Unlike studio photography, most wedding photographers will be dealing with outside, natural light. And you’ll never be able to predict what the natural light will look like.
Even though you can’t predict and control what the natural light will look like, you can always modify the light. You do this by carrying some light modifier tools such as external flashes and reflectors.
When you scout the location, think of all the lighting possibilities that a place might have. For instance, a fountain under tree branches will look great during a cloudy day but it will cast very harsh shadow on a person’s face during a sunny day.
Scout the location, think of all the possible lighting condition and bring your modifiers accordingly.
Focus on the Eye
The good old rule of portrait photography also applies in the wedding photography: always focus on the eye. There’s nothing more distracting in a picture than an eye that’s out of focus.
Experiment with Different Angles
A lot of photographers tend to get stuck in an angle. And this will make your pictures look predictable. Predictability is synonymous with boring in photography.
Experiment with different angles when you’re shooting. Ask yourself “what would this scene looks like when viewed from an ant/bee/spider’s perspective?”
Change your body and your camera’s position. Get in close, get out wide. Get down low, get up high.
You might need to carry extra tools to achieve different angles such as a ladder (for a high viewpoint) or a kneepad (to protect your knee when crouching down). Prepare them and be ready for a few surprises. Have fun and experiment.
Always Pay Attention and Get Ready for the Decisive Moment
During the shooting session, always keep an eye open for the environment. Don’t limit your eyes on your camera’s viewfinder or you’ll lose a lot of photo opportunities. Always keep looking around for the special moment that you can eternalize.
Look up, down, left and right. Not only it’s a good stretch for your body, you’ll be able to find ample of shooting opportunities by doing so.
Watch the Background
Another thing that can ruin a wedding picture is the background. You don’t want to see a pole sticking out from a bride’s head. So, before you press the shutter button, always check the background.
If you really can’t do anything about the background, a good solution is to use a telephoto lens, get close and shoot with the widest aperture possible. This will blur the background and remove the distractions.
Keep Shooting, Even After the Pose is Over
People tend to get tense when you pose them. So, a good trick to use is to ask them for a “free pose” after the formal pose session is done. Doing this will make them feel relaxed and you’ll get a much more natural result.
And here’s another tips that you can use: keep shooting even after the pose is over. Even after you ask them to do the “free pose” most people are still tense. After the session is over, tell them that the session is over but keep shooting. Keep pressing the shutter button and you’ll get a really great candid pose.
Think Outside of the Box
All the tips above will surely enhance your wedding shots but this one tips will really bring out your creativity: thinking outside the box. How can we think outside the box?
After you have finished the shooting session, look at the pictures and give yourself a feedback. Challenge yourself to do things differently on the next shooting session. For example, if you always take portraits using telephoto lens, challenge yourself to take portraits using ultra wide angle lens on your next shot. If you always do formal pose, challenge yourself to do candid pose next time.
Stretch your imagination and your skill. Your skill will grow and your client will thank you.
Always remember to backup everything after the shot. Backup each and every memory card from your digital camera. A tool that I love to use is an external media drive from HyperDrive. Basically, you just plug in your memory card and the card will be backed up to the hard drive inside.
And when you get home, backup your photos online and offline. Always keep your memory card and backup device extra safe for a piece of mind.
Hopefully you’ve enjoyed the tips above. I hope I have given you ample inspiration to go out and try those tips. Happy shooting!
Inspirational Wedding Photographers
Have a look at the following inspirational photographers: