Guide Step-by-Step Wedding Photography: Techniques for Professional Photographers

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My wedding photography workflow starts as soon as a potential bride and groom contact me. I keep booking as simple as I can. Planning a wedding is stressful enough, so I work to be straight-forward with my bride and groom. While simple is good, booking a new wedding still should include several elements.

If the date is available, I will write the bride and groom in my calendar with a question mark. This allows me to keep track of what dates have already been inquired about. Once the bride and groom says the contract is on the way, I remove the question mark. Couples will always ask questions. And I love when couples ask questions because that starts an important, memorable conversation. This is a packet that helps answer all the frequently asked questions.

My wedding guide includes:. Some couples ask to meet me in person before booking, other couples I meet with sometime between booking and before the actual wedding. Occasionally, I will meet the bride and groom for the first time on their wedding day and run this meeting by phone or email. This generally only happens when the engagement is short or the location is outside my usual area. During this initial meeting, I answer any questions the couple may have. I always recommend at least an hour, excluding any travel time and the time necessary for any receiving lines and other traditions.

And for larger families, I always recommend more time. I also let the bride and groom know that the more time they schedule for formals, the more poses they will have to choose from. At the same time, I try to learn a bit about the bride and groom and their wedding. I ask about how they met. I ask about their wedding colours and style and about their bridal party. The photographer is the vendor the bride and groom spends the most time with during the actual wedding day.

The initial meeting can help the couple feel more comfortable around me. The wedding contract is the only paperwork I require up front. The contract details my responsibilities and fees along with what I deliver. My contract also states what the couple can do with their images i.

10 Tips for Photographing a Wedding Ceremony | Nations Photo Lab

The contract also details what happens if the couple cancels or changes their date. And what would happen if a medical emergency or Act of God prevented me from shooting the wedding. With the wedding contract, I also require a small percentage of the wedding photography fee up front. Software can simplify the booking process, keeping your calendar, leads and other information all in one place and allowing clients to book online. For large studios, the cost of the software is likely well worth the time saved with a simpler booking system.

Software is, however, a part of my growth plan when I need to simplify bookings even more. Some of the most popular client management software options for wedding photographers are Tave and ShootQ. Engagement photos allow the photographer and the couple to get to know each other ahead of time. This is why I include engagement photos in my workflow and in most of my wedding packages. Photographing the couple ahead of time helps me learn their style, the way they interact with each other and the poses that work best for them.

So what does the engagement portion of the workflow include? About two to four weeks before the wedding, a wedding photography workflow may include several steps. Before the wedding, I make sure I have the wedding detail sheet. This means I have the exact addresses of the venues along with details like the number of people in the bridal party and how to contact the clergy. If I am shooting a ceremony where I am unfamiliar with the religion, I talk to the officiant ahead of time to make sure I am respectful to those traditions during the ceremony.

I also get the schedule of the day and the list of vendors. Sometimes, I just talked with the couple a few weeks ago during booking. Most of the time, months and even a year can go by between those early conversations. Check them. Move on. Yes, you might have taken 10 billion photos but that means hours of culling and the results are likely terrible. If you want to be discreet and as unobtrusive as possible then put your camera into silent shutter mode.

This is particularly handy during the Ceremony especially if you are in close quarters with the couple. Some times it can feel a bit laggy and slow in comparison to full-on continuous mode shooting. Therefore just adjust it to suit the situation. Just have a quick word with the Bridesmaids before the ceremony and tell them to walk slowly and smile.

They will thank you for it when they see the photos.

Lots of the time Bridesmaid are nervous about walking down the aisle. All eyes are on them. Just remind them that they look great and not to worry as it will be over within seconds. The small details that a couple has spent hours upon hours planning deserve to be photographed. Moreover, these details make for great photographs that you can use to tell the complete story of the wedding. It can sometimes be easy to forget to photograph these or the schedule might not allow it.

But there is no doubt the couple will appreciate photos of things like flowers, rings, dress details, table settings etc. Ooops got a bit carried away there. Seriously a wedding is fast paced so you need to work at the speed of light. This mainly comes with the experience of knowing what will happen and when. Following this sort of wedding photography tutorial will certainly help to know exactly what to expect. I mean Carry On.

And yes they have entrusted you to capture it. But there is no point in having a mental breakdown at the wedding. The couple will lose confidence in your ability and you will give a negative impression of the images being produced. Bridesmaids and Brides will often ask how best to hold their flowers for the photos to look good. Tell them to aim for their belly buttons so that they have a nice shape with their arms. Couple at Sunset by Everton Villa from Unsplash. You may have already done a shoot with the couple just after the Ceremony and safely have some awesome shots.

However, there is something special about the light just as the sun is setting and you should definitely exploit it. Learning to use the light at sunset will once again come with experience. Do you want to shoot with the sun on the couple? Or do you want to shoot backlit? Both methods can yield stunning mantelpiece worthy photos. She has probably spent a lot on hair and makeup to look especially beautiful for this big day. Not to mention the dress as well.

Shoot a variety of different photos to add variance to your shoot. Brides also really like to see photos of the backs of their dresses so make sure you grab some.


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  • 1. Before the ceremony?
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Shooting with two camera bodies means you have at least two memory cards storing the photos of the day. If one card was to break you have a backup. Moreover, two camera bodies allow for speed on the day versus changing lenses on one camera body. If you have one camera set up with a 35mm lens and the other with an 85mm you can quickly get two different perspectives of the same scene. However, if you work alone it can be a great idea to hire a second shooter for the day. You can split up the shots of the day. One can take candid photos of guests whilst the other is working on the formal shots.

This can be a great way to increase coverage and especially helpful at a larger wedding. More than likely there are a few unmarried couples at the wedding. One idea is to display some photos from earlier in the day. You can take your own computer and make a quick slideshow of say 20 images to play during the evening.

The couple get to see some sneak previews of what you have captured. Meanwhile, potential future couples have seen you in action and the results produced. Obviously ok this with the couple beforehand but it can be a win-win for everyone. Keep your eyes peeled for little displays of affection. Couples love seeing photos in their collection that were spontaneous and unexpected. Little Moments by Caroline Veronez from Unsplash. Standing at the front during the Ceremony can be a great place to capture intimate images of the couple exchanging vows , rings, kisses etc.

This angle gives you a unique perspective on the Ceremony. At the same time, it allows you to capture the emotional reactions of the wedding guests. Create depth in your imagery by using crowds of people and focussing on the couple. For example, during the Ceremony photograph the couple through the members of the congregation.

When the couple looks back at the images is will be great to see it from the perspective of one of their guests. A common mistake with amateur wedding photographers is busy photos with cluttered backgrounds. If your backgrounds are as clean and clutter free as possible it gives the best chance for your photos to look great. When taking formals consider simple backdrops which will really allow you to focus on the couple or the group being photographed.

Distractions in photos can often be resolved by simply getting a little bit lower with the camera. Natural features like bushes, trees etc also make fantastic backdrop as there is less concern about symmetry. Not really! Allow a bit of time to wander around the grounds and capture the venue from various angles.

These photos can also be used to practice shots and imagine the couple within them. If you do a good job the venue might want to hire you to take advertising shots of their venue. Equally, they might just recommend you to potential couples. You never know! Ask her what particular aspects of the dress she absolutely loves.

9. If possible, use a fresh memory card and a fresh battery for the ceremony.

A dress will always look better on the Bride than it will hanging up. But make sure to pay particular attention to capturing the intricate details. Also ask her if there are any other details she wants special photos of such as broaches, hair pieces, shoes etc. They can also be great to tell the complete story of the wedding especially if the items have sentimental value to the Bride. But when you are taking formal photos of the couple ask them to slow their kissing down a little. This way you can grab some lovely intimate shots. But encouraging them to hold the kiss for a few seconds will yield great results.

This could save you a lot of aggravation, upset and possible humiliation. Speak with the Officiant before the Ceremony begins. Ask if they have any particular rules. Generally speaking, a church officiant will be a little more strict than a non-religious officiant. If the officiant tells you this on the day of the wedding your best option is to instantly go and speak with the groom.

Pretend that the wedding you are photographing is your own. What pictures would you treasure at the end of the day? Set out to capture them. Getting your head around this simple maths problem can save you a lot of anguish on the day. If a couple has allocated 2 hours for photographs, that actually means 1 hour. Weddings are always behind schedule and the smallest of things can upset the rhythm of the day. Wedding co-ordinators will be eager to get the couple in at least 30 mins before they are scheduled to sit down for food. So just bear that in mind when planning your time with the couple.

This is one of our wedding photography tips that is simple and easy to execute at every wedding.

A guide to the Top Tips and Tricks to improve your wedding photography

No, no, no. Here we are talking about a giant group photo of all the guests at the wedding. The trick here is to get higher up than everyone else. This could involve bringing a ladder, hanging out of a window or photographing from a balcony. Getting higher than everyone else means you can see all their faces and you can also fit a lot of people in your shot.

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It can be useful to employ one of our previous tips and get a member of the wedding party to help you herd the guests into position. If you have been told to stand in a certain place or to not use flash you should stick to these rules. This would be a nightmare all around. So stick to the rules! These are the parts of the day that will particularly stand out as memories for the couple.

Most of the time children are oblivious to any seriousness involved in a wedding day. Just let them do their thing and they will more than likely provide you with comedy gold. They will yawn in the ceremony, pick their noses during the speeches and dance like there is no tomorrow. If the children belong to the couple getting married all the more reason to photograph them. The couple will love these types of shots. Plus they are great blackmail tools for the parents to use when they are older.

Fun as it is by Still Miracle Photography from Unsplash. Being a wedding photographer is so much more than just taking great photographs.

Wedding Photography – 21 Tips for Amateur Wedding Photographers

If you look happy to be there, then the couple will relax and feel comfortable with you around. These conditions generally produce the best environment for awesome wedding photos. Most couples will be a little awkward about having their photos taken. As long as your couple is laughing about how awkward it is you will get some great reaction shots.

Just play on it a little bit and get some great laughing shots. Make it more awkward if you want and get up close with a 24mm lens. Couple Laughing by Smart. As mentioned before weddings are fast-paced and can sometimes be unpredictable. If there is a break in the clouds and an epic sunset appears, seize that moment. Be spontaneous and pounce on opportunities that present themselves.

Inject a bit of fun into your photography by concentrating on people who are laughing their heads off. During the group shots make some jokes or tell the people to have a laugh with each other. Laughter will more often than not be photography gold so make sure you capture it. The beauty of shooting digital and especially in RAW is that you can convert your files to black and white at a later date. If you have trouble seeing contrast you can even shoot the whole wedding in black and white. You can then convert them to colour in post-production.

Black and White conversion can be particularly helpful with the unpredictable lighting you get as a wedding photographer. Photo by Photo Nic from Unsplash. Once you have delivered your photos to the couple and they absolutely love them. Ask them if they know anyone else who is getting married and have they booked a photographer yet.

Referrals are a great way to acquire bookings as their friends have often seen you working at the wedding. They also then get to see the end result in the form of wedding photographs. You might have in your contract that the photos will be ready within 8 weeks. However, the quicker you can get the photos edited and delivered to your couple the happier they will be.

It shows you care about their wedding. It is also a great reason for them to refer you to family and friends if you are going above and beyond their expectations. A great way to keep your couple happy after the wedding is to send them a few preview images. Just drop them an email telling them how much you enjoyed their wedding and give them some indication as to when the final images will be complete.

This is a great way to keep them in the loop. Additionally, they might share the images on Facebook or with family and friends which can be great for referrals. Do you sell albums? If not this can be a great way to increase your revenue as a wedding photographer. It is also a great tool to increase referrals from couples as they sit down and show their wedding album to family and friends.

You get a lot more control over things like white balance, exposure and shadow recovery than you would with a jpeg file. This is particularly helpful with weddings as the lighting is unchangeable unless you use flash. The ability to manipulate these features after the fact is a great help to most wedding photographers.

The absolute beauty of digital photography is that you can shoot and shoot and shoot. There is plenty of time for culling in post-production. Another point is that your mistakes allow you to see where you went wrong and help you to improve. Unless you use flash you will need to learn to use natural light. It can sometimes be tricky to use but does provide the most natural looking photographs opposed to using flash. Try and avoid shooting in the midday sun if possible and also look for shaded areas outdoors. Really this is the go-to shooting mode for wedding photographers.

Moments happen so quickly on a wedding day and Continuous Shooting Mode helps you capture them. Take the speeches as an example. This is a great time to capture laughter, tears and overall joy on the faces of the couple, their families and their friends. If you use One Shot you might capture a fantastic laugh but the person is mid-blink. Or the person sitting next to them is picking their nose. However in Continuous Shooting Mode if you hold that shutter down and burst images you can capture various different expressions of the same situation.

It can sometimes be hard to maintain sharpness in group photos especially if it is a large group with people standing behind each other. For large group shots, we would recommend as small an aperture as possible without bumping the iso too high. It can be hard at times to remember that you are at a wedding and NOT a photoshoot.

Just find some middle ground between them having a good time and you capturing what you need. At the same time, you need to be self-aware and not too obtrusive. A common thing you will see from most wedding photographers is that all the shots are from eye level. Get creative with your positioning to take shots. Shoot from low down or high up. Get very close and also very wide. A different perspective will greatly increase the variance of your photos and make them more interesting to look at. This guy or girl is coming to the wedding you are photographing.

Make no bones about it Uncle Bob will be there. Be firm but fair. If necessary have a word with the couple. Suggest that you and them get away from the crowd for a while so you can focus on some portraits of just them. Rather than having loads of photos with Uncle Bob in them. Selective colouring is when you make a colour image black and white and then highlight the flowers for example in colour.

END OF! Some couples are a little more awkward about having their photos taken than others. Just approach it a little differently. A great way to do this is to start off from a distance with a long lens and slowly walk your way into the couple. This will give the couple a chance to relax. Just let them talk and enjoy the moment for a minute or two. The light meter in your camera is a fool. Actually, they are pretty damn clever but they get tricked by large areas of white and black. For example, the camera will compensate for a large area of the photo being white the wedding dress.

You set your exposure bang in the middle of the light meter and the photo is really dark. Dialling, in a bit of positive exposure compensation here, can sort this problem out. What we like to do is just check on the LCD screen and keep monitoring it to achieve an accurate exposure. Or at least do a little bit of research on some of the traditions involved. For example, a Jewish ceremony is vastly different to a Christian wedding. Probably not. If the couple has kids of their own then shoot away. But just grab a few of Jamie and then leave him be. A rookie error is to shoot loads and loads of photos of the Bride but from only the waist up.


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Just make sure you are getting plenty of shots of the Bride full length as well. The Bride will of spent hours and hours agonising over her wedding dress. She will also spend lots and lots of money on acquiring it. So make sure you do it justice by capturing it in its entirety where possible.

It is one of our top wedding photography tips is to seize the moment to relax when you can. This can generally happen when the wedding breakfast is being served. No one wants photographs of people stuffing their faces with food.