A wide range of feelings, from enthusiasm to apprehension to even dread, can be triggered by hearing that you will be photographing your first wedding. Assuming you are familiar with your gear and have honed your photography skills, there are some crucial steps you can take to improve the quality of your wedding photos.
This article summarises the most important things to do in advance to, during, and immediately after the event. Improve the appearance of your images and, in turn, your business by putting in the time and effort required and investing in the tools necessary to do the job right.
Check out our extensive list of Wedding Photographers in Melbourne to help capture your special moments.
Table of Contents
Prior to the Nuptials
The greatest approach for a photographer to get good shots at an event is to get ready for it well in advance. Before shooting my first wedding, research photography competition online for weeks. Do some reading on photography forums and read a few books specifically about wedding photography. It's astonishing how accessible so much data is for next to nothing. The ideas presented here, together with the accompanying images, should serve as a springboard for contemplation of your own goals and plans for achieving them.
The soon-to-be-married couple and the photographer should all sign a standard contract before the big day. Lacking this record is unacceptable. It needs to specify the deliverables and costs for the service or product being offered. The model release is necessary so that the images can be used in advertising. You should consult a lawyer and have them help you create a typical agreement that will serve to safeguard you.
There are two additional window of opportunity to improve the procedure at the time of agreement signing. To begin, let's meet the bride and groom. Take the time to talk to them so that you can learn about their background and they can learn about you. On the big day, they should be able to relax and be themselves around you. Include a low-cost or no-cost engagement shoot if at all possible; it will help put everyone at ease. Posing advice for their wedding day is a great thing to share at this time.
The timetable should also be known. Meeting with the happy couple, you can go through the schedule for the wedding day. It would be helpful if you could learn what they anticipate from you. Tell them when you'd like them to be available for photoshoots so that they can plan accordingly. The timing is right to broach the subject of a wedding planner. To save time and effort on the big day, having a trusted friend or relative act as a "family ambassador" to help locate key relatives is a great idea.
In addition to other necessary steps, checking your equipment is crucial. Be sure to double-check everything at least four or five days before the shoot.
Making sure you have spares of everything is also part of a thorough equipment check. Both camera bodies and flashes should be in use. You can rent them instead of buying them if you don't already have them. Wind can knock your camera and tripod to the ground on your first attempt at senior pictures. Everything can break at any moment.
Make sure you have plenty of memory cards and batteries. Two thousand to three thousand photographs are often taken at a wedding. When utilising flash, you should expect your batteries to drain quickly. Instead of merely using one or two large memory cards, it's preferable to have a number of smaller ones. You can reduce your losses in the event of a card failure by using a combination of cards.
The wedding location should be scouted in advance to determine optimal shooting conditions. Is gelling the flash necessary to have a good white balance? It's very uncommon to take a few test images with and without the flash, as well as run a custom white balance check on camera, only to discover that the different light sources result in dramatic colour shifts. Whenever shooting an inside event, usually you have to gel the flash to get it to match the colour temperature of the venue lighting. You may avoid a lot of trouble and wasted effort by doing this now.
Have a light supper before you depart so that your body is ready for the physical exertion of the day. Pack some cereal, energy bars, candy bars, or other easily transportable goodies. As a precaution, you should also bring water.
Carry a pain medication in your purse or pocket if you frequently suffer from headaches.
The right attire might help you blend in during the party. Get a sense of what the bride and groom are hoping for before the big day arrives by talking to them about it. At all times, you should be sure to wear shoes that are comfortable for you.
Get yourself some insurance. What happens if someone trips over your gear?
The Wedding Day
Shoot some pictures outside the venue as soon as you get there. The weather, like the political climate of many countries, can change at any time. Acquire some necessary construction and landscaping materials without anybody else knowing about them.
As soon as you enter an indoor environment, it is essential to calibrate the white balance of your camera. Also, silence the camera because you don't want any distractions during the ceremony.
Take along a rapid lens; the faster, the better. Churches and reception rooms are renowned for their poor lighting. Take along a fast lens (f/2.8 at the very least, f/1.8 if possible). You should probably rent one if you don't already have one.
Make sure you know the ins and outs of the building you are visiting for worship. In addition, flash is typically forbidden inside houses of worship, though you can always ask.
Take into consideration bringing a helper. Don't be afraid to enlist their assistance with anything from carrying gear to setting up photographs to holding the off-camera flash. Be aware of the physical toll working an event lasting 6-8 hours can take on you. If you have an assistance, they can help you take better pictures while reducing your workload.
If you need to take a break from the groom and bride during the wedding photos, the very young and very old should be your first targets. Some of them may leave early due to exhaustion.
You should either leave your camera bag in a secure location or have an assistance carry it. Use a cable lock and keep your camera bag out of sight if you're travelling alone. This helps prevent theft by making it more obvious to the potential thief. Despite how at ease you feel with the couple, you can't assume the same about their guests or the event's organisers.
Never try to format a memory card at a gathering. Avoid reformatting at any costs and instead make frequent backups. Before you format your computer, make sure you've backed up all of your data.
Photograph the newlyweds as quickly after the wedding as you can (or preferably before). It will be more difficult to gather everyone in their best form after they've been drinking and celebrating.
The photographer's job typically requires them to remain unnoticed. Try to blend in as much as possible and catch people in natural states (such as laughter, tears, or relief).
Take photos of the wedding couple outside, even if the ceremony and reception will be held indoors. Even if it's midnight, make an effort to sneak away from the reception to take some pictures in the great outdoors.
Get everyone in a picture together. This is a wonderful opportunity to capture all of the guests in one shot. It's a great way to increase your customer base and even make some money off of other guests at the wedding.
After The Wedding
Consider it of the utmost importance to process the photographs as soon as possible after the event has ended. Keeping the day's momentum going is an admirable thing to do. Everyone will be pleased if pictures can be uploaded to a website promptly.
It is imperative that you stay in touch with the couple and arrange a time to meet with them to look through the photos and talk about the purchase. Providing excellent service to customers both before and after an event is crucial. If you get to know the couple, they'll remember you when it's time to update their family photo or take pictures of their kids.
Final step: document successes and failures. You might use this information to improve your performance the next time around.
What Every Wedding Photographer Absolutely Needs
A Reliable Bag
It is believed that there are currently 72 million camera bags out there. Cross-body bags, backpacks, and rolling suitcases are just a few examples. There are those with just one or two lenses and a single housing, and there are those with as many as eighty-four lenses spread across sixteen or seventeen different housings. The importance of a large, strong, and secure backpack capable of holding all of the gear a GREAT wedding photographer requires may be exaggerated here, but not in any other way.
At some time throughout a wedding day, you'll have to work with terrible lighting conditions. The yellowish glow of the dim lighting typical of churches. Most reception halls are poorly lit, with often insufficient artificial light to fix focus on an object. Wedding photographers, therefore, need a camera that works well in low light.
Please, for the love of god and all things, rent a camera that can work in dim conditions if you don't already have one. Keep in mind that the people who entrust you with their most treasured memories are giving you the chance to make a lasting impression on them, so make it count.
When visiting a church, you can run into the same problem as before: a policy that forbids photography within the building. It usually takes the form of being limited in your freedom of movement during the ceremony. In certain churches, you might not even be able to get out of the back row if your life depended on it. Without a 70-200mm lens, the couple would have appeared as little as insects in every shot.
Some people find that the compression brought about by a zoom lens's focal length to be its most appealing feature. This tightening of the aperture enables for the creation of pleasing bokeh in the background without sacrificing clarity. The farther you zoom in and the further away your subject is from the backdrop, the more gorgeous the compression bokeh will be.
A Wide Angle Lens
This lens probably wouldn't have been considered by many photographers. The Tamron 24-70 mm was the lens most commonly used by first-time wedding photographers, and they were generally dissatisfied with it. Some of them even sold it and didn't have access to a wide-angle lens for a good number of years. The photographers either took several shots and patched them together digitally or got a great distance away from the subject if they required a wider shot.
But after playing around with a Canon 16-35mm f/2.8 lens, sparks flew and love was born. It's distorted in such a novel way that it stands out visually.
What Every Wedding Photographer Needs at Their Fingertips
It's not merely a fast-moving phenomenon that calls for prolonged, focused shooting. There will only be one chance to get all of the photos the groom and bride want taken.
Recognize the importance of planning ahead. In light of the fact that the contents of your camera bag may make or break your time at a wedding, seasoned photographers discuss the items that they never leave home without.
However, there are several fundamentals that won't be addressed. A variety of high-quality lenses, a flash, and, ideally, a spare body should never be far from your reach.
Filters, Storage, and Batteries
Preparation is the key to a successful wedding shoot, especially the parts that don't involve the bride and groom. While this may all sound like obvious wisdom, some photographers may have shown up to their first few weddings thinking they are overprepared when in fact they are not.
Start with the batteries. You mostly use a Sony camera, and if you're like everyone else who has to deal with this, you know the battery life is bad. When they first started, some photographers would show up with only six batteries; after realising that wasn't enough for more than a 12-hour day, they'd bring ten batteries each time.
In any case, that's a hefty price tag. However, there are several alternatives available that are not associated with any particular brand, all of which are far less expensive. To illustrate, this four-pack of Powerextra batteries costs less than a single volley from Sony.
You can unquestionably get by on fewer batteries if you use a Canon or Nikon camera. Be ready for anything and everything. Setting up a charging station at home will save you from having to buy a bunch of spare batteries if you don't have much spare cash.
This also holds true in the realm of storage. Learn to bring along three times as much stuff as you think you'll need. The specifics of your shooting situation will dictate how strictly you must adhere to this rule. If you're just going to be filming the ceremony, you won't need as much, but if you're going to be there all day, you'll want to have some extra equipment.
To the extent that you have the option to shoot twice, you should always do so. Since this isn't possible, you'll need to find a secure location to leave your laptop and external hard drive so you can continuously dump photographs throughout the day.
In conclusion, don't forget to bring filters. Put UV filters on every lens and bring along a selection of neutral density and circular polarizer filters as well. Even if you've done your homework and know the venue inside and out, the wedding day's lighting and weather circumstances are unknown. If you take a lot of photos outside, for example, you'll want to be prepared to switch filters rapidly in order to maintain good contrast.
However, filters can add up quickly, so it's recommended to bring along some stepping rings in case you need to make do with what you already have.
Color-correcting and gradient filters might also be brought along, though some people have discovered that they significantly reduce performance. However, it could be a good idea if you're shooting somewhere where the lights have an orange tint.
A Cleaning Cloth and A Blower
Even while you're cool with the tried-and-true "huff on your lens and wipe it down with your shirt" method, it's still a good idea to bring a dedicated cleaning cloth. It will prevent you from soiling your wedding clothing and it will protect your lens' front element from smudges and scratches.
Also necessary is a "rocket" blower. For those who don't know, this handy gadget may be used to blow out the mirror and sensor of your camera, removing any dust that may have settled there. You should always have yours on hand in case you need to remove a lens, clean it, and replace it.
You might wait until after the wedding to clean your camera, but regular cleaning is recommended. Nothing is more frustrating than discovering after taking 300 pictures that you overlooked a significant bit of dust in the viewfinder.
Even though it's so evident now, you forgot to bring tissues with you when you went on a photo shoot. The majority of your subjects will likely cry at your wedding. Always getting the photo you need, even if it's an emotional occasion, is easier if you have some tissues on hand.
In addition, it's a great way to bond with the other guests at the wedding. To be considered seriously as a wedding photographer, especially in the outset, is challenging. Although it's a minor gesture, having tissues on available is a great way to demonstrate your competence and readiness in any given situation.
Ties, Plastic Bags, and Grips
Weddings in the open air are a major hassle. You can never be sure of the weather because it is continuously changing. Despite the remarkable weather sealing on professional cameras and lenses, it's still a good idea to bring along some good ol' Ziplocs just in case.
They use the bags mostly to protect their camera from the weather, but they have found other uses for them as well. In certain cases, for instance, the event becomes extremely boisterous, with people hurling drinks at one another during the dancing. You'll appreciate having them around.
Cords and spring clamps are useful items to have on hand in addition to plastic bags. Like Ziploc bags, these are useful depending on the circumstances, but are still worth packing. Always have some cable ties and clamps on hand, in case you need to rig up a remote-triggered flash or secure a backdrop.
Water, Deodorant, Snacks, and Mints
While shooting a wedding, you might expect to receive some food. The vast majority of photographers said they've never encountered a client who didn't deliver it. But if you're like some of the photographers and would rather spend your time behind the lens than in the kitchen, it's smart to bring along some snacks to keep you going.
Protein bars and trail mix are both wonderful choices. Avoid foods that are high in sugar but low in healthful fats. There is sugar in trail mix and protein bars, but the fat helps prevent a sugar crash.
That guideline also includes your beverage of choice. Don't bring anything that will give you an artificial energy boost, like soda or energy bars, because you will only crash afterwards. In order to maintain their concentration and energy levels throughout the day, some photographers will only drink water while they are working. The top of a water bottle that fits into a ring would work perfectly for this purpose, making it simple to connect to my camera bag.
The importance of this cannot be overstated, given the possibility that you will perspire like a pig. It's not cute, but you'll be on the go all day, and because most weddings take place in the warmer months, you'll likely be sweating along the way. To avoid being the stinker of the group, it's a good idea to bring deodorant and, on occasion, cologne.
Similarly, you probably wouldn't want me to have bad breath when you were giving me shooting instructions. As the day winds down and you continue to pose for shots, mints are a need. Throughout the day, you probably pop a few in your mouth as a means of maintaining concentration.
Even if it's not always doable, it's preferable to plan for a full day of filming whenever possible. Typically, you'll sit down with the happy couple and run through the schedule for the big day with them the night before the wedding. This will help you keep track of when and where you should be at all times.
Your phone may have been your go-to for keeping track of your schedule up until now, but after a few battery failures, you should consider taking a hard copy instead. It's a simple step you can take to ensure you're not missing anything during the day because you were pulled in too many directions. Furthermore, relatives and friends may frequently request photographs, and knowing how much free time you have can help you decide whether or not to oblige them.
Finally, it's a good idea to have a lot of business cards on hand. Even if business cards are a relic of the past, they can still come in handy in hectic situations like a wedding.
You might uncover, for instance, extended family who just had a baby, or a bridesmaid or best man who is planning a wedding. Potential customers can view your work samples by scanning a QR code, which you can include on the business card if you have a website.
Suggestions for before, during, and after the big day. There are a number of steps you may take, from talking to the couple getting married to signing a conventional contract, to boost your reputation. It's a good idea to have a reliable friend or family member act as a "family ambassador" and help track for missing loved ones. Obtain a lot of batteries and memory cards. There's always the chance of anything going wrong during filming, so it's best to check all of the equipment four or five days beforehand to make sure it's all in working order.
Find out as much as you can about the church or other place of worship you plan to attend. Bring a fast lens (at least f/2.8, f/1.8 if you have it). If you're going on a solo trip, make sure your camera bag is locked and out of sight. The profession of a photographer often demands operating under the radar. It doesn't matter if the ceremony and reception will be indoors or outdoors, the happy couple should still have their pictures taken outside.
In order to carry all of the necessary equipment, a wedding photographer needs a sturdy, heavy backpack. Most reception areas have inadequate lighting, making it difficult to focus on an object. Photographers that specialise in weddings should have equipment that can capture clear images even in dim lighting. To achieve a more beautiful compression bokeh, zoom in closer to your subject and place it further away from the background. The rule of thumb for wedding photography is to pack three times as much gear as you think you'll need.
You should always have access to a selection of high-quality lenses, a flash, and a spare body. Installing a home charging station will prevent you from spending money needlessly on extra batteries. Don't leave home without your filters! Each and every lens has a UV filter, as well as a neutral density filter, and a circular polarizer filter. The front element of your lens can be avoided smudging and scratches if you have a special cleaning cloth.
A "rocket blower" is also necessary, as it can be used to blow the mirror out. When photographing a wedding, it is important to have the basics on hand, such as water, deodorant, food, and spring clamps. While shooting, some photographers may simply drink water to keep their energy up. Don't bring anything with sugar or caffeine that will give you a false sense of vitality. When shooting, a full day's worth of time is ideal.
It's also smart to stock up on business cards. To determine whether or not to comply with requests for images, you should be aware of how much free time you have.
FAQS ABOUT WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER MUST HAVE
Good use of light, colour, a gripping moment, the appropriate composition for the current situation, and the photographer's choice of distance to the subject are the five most frequent elements shared by all great photographs.
Wedding photography is best captured in Manual Mode as both Shutter Priority Mode and Aperture Priority Mode have drawbacks. Using the camera's Manual Mode, you may customise every setting, eliminating all room for error.
Because of the inevitability of long exposures while shooting without flash indoors, a tripod is an absolute must. Using numerous cameras in an outdoor setting often necessitates the use of a tripod.
Lighting the Reception with a Flash
Most of the flash photography at a wedding will be done at the party afterwards. This is because, unless the event is held during the day, the venue will likely be gloomy, making the usage of artificial lighting necessary.
- The general-purpose zoom. A general-purpose (standard) zoom goes from around 18mm to 70mm.
- The macro lens.
- The telephoto zoom.
- Assuming you are familiar with your gear and have honed your photography skills, there are some crucial steps you can take to improve the quality of your wedding photos.
- This article summarises the most important things to do in advance to, during, and immediately after the event.
- Improve the appearance of your images and, in turn, your business by putting in the time and effort required and investing in the tools necessary to do the job right.
- The greatest approach for a photographer to get good shots at an event is to get ready for it well in advance.
- The soon-to-be-married couple and the photographer should all sign a standard contract before the big day.
- Meeting with the happy couple, you can go through the schedule for the wedding day.
- The timing is right to broach the subject of a wedding planner.
- In addition to other necessary steps, checking your equipment is crucial.
- Make sure you have plenty of memory cards and batteries.
- The right attire might help you blend in during the party.
- Get yourself some insurance.
- Shoot some pictures outside the venue as soon as you get there.
- If you need to take a break from the groom and bride during the wedding photos, the very young and very old should be your first targets.
- Photograph the newlyweds as quickly after the wedding as you can (or preferably before).
- Get everyone in a picture together.
- Consider it of the utmost importance to process the photographs as soon as possible after the event has ended.
- At some time throughout a wedding day, you'll have to work with terrible lighting conditions.
- Wedding photographers, therefore, need a camera that works well in low light.
- But after playing around with a Canon 16-35mm f/2.8 lens, sparks flew and love was born.
- Recognize the importance of planning ahead.
- Learn to bring along three times as much stuff as you think you'll need.
- Even while you're cool with the tried-and-true "huff on your lens and wipe it down with your shirt" method, it's still a good idea to bring a dedicated cleaning cloth.
- You might wait until after the wedding to clean your camera, but regular cleaning is recommended.
- Despite the remarkable weather sealing on professional cameras and lenses, it's still a good idea to bring along some good ol' Ziplocs just in case.
- While shooting a wedding, you might expect to receive some food.
- But if you're like some of the photographers and would rather spend your time behind the lens than in the kitchen, it's smart to bring along some snacks to keep you going..
- Typically, you'll sit down with the happy couple and run through the schedule for the big day with them the night before the wedding.
- Your phone may have been your go-to for keeping track of your schedule up until now, but after a few battery failures, you should consider taking a hard copy instead.
- Finally, it's a good idea to have a lot of business cards on hand.