Things Every Wedding Photographer Should Know
Do you want to become a successful professional wedding photographer? Having the best photography gear is only the first step. There’s a lot you need to know in order to capture wedding photos like a professional. In this guide, we’ll share 5 things every wedding photographer should know before going to shoot a wedding ceremony.
- Always Have a Backup
You should carry a backup camera, lenses, memory cards, flash, and any other necessary gadget. If you can’t spend on getting a backup of everything, you could consider renting equipment until you can.
Another option to raise funds is to rent out your own photography gear. This will also connect you with other wedding photographers in town, and you may get more work on combined projects.
- Know the Names
As the photographer of a very important day in your clients’ lives, you should make an effort to memorize their names. If you forget their names, it makes you look unprofessional and disorganized.
Learning the names of important guests and wedding party members such as siblings, parents and close family will also make a great impression on your clients.
- Avoid Religious Talk
Your beliefs may differ with your client. Focus on your work and act like a professional. If you don’t like any of the practices or traditions of the wedding ceremony, then simply avoid commenting on it and do your job.
You should respect the beliefs and practices of the couple. It’s a good idea to discuss and understand any do’s or don’ts with the coordinator before the marriage, so you don’t accidentally disrespect or disrupt the ceremony.
- Shoot with an Assistant
Reaching out to other wedding photographers in your town is a great way to network professionally. You can ask for the favor of becoming your second photographer, and then act as the second photographer in their events in return.
This is often the best and cheapest way to hire an assistant for the wedding photography shoot. Since you’ll be busy taking the main photos of the wedding party, you can use this second photographer to capture random photos of kids running in the hall, smiles and laughter of the guests interacting, and more.
- Be Alert and Act Fast
Wedding photographers need to pay attention and be quick to capture those moments which can make the couple happy when they see the wedding album later. We recommend you to use longer lenses to shoot details of the wedding from a distance.
Find a photographer who you fall in love with
who you would catch up for coffee with on a whim, just to chat. Because that person is going to witness and capture some of the most important, intimate moments of your life to date.
If you have a photographer who you feel uncomfortable around (even if you love their work!) your photos will reflect this; you won’t look comfortable in your photos. If you don’t ‘click’, your photos won’t either and you will more than likely end up disappointed.
Wedding photographers are people with big hearts who invest a lot in you and your day – we just want to love you! So, without a comfortable connection, nobody wins.
Putting your dress on at least an hour before you’re due to leave means that you’ll have some time for bridal portraits – just you and your photographer – like a model photo shoot.
It’s your big day and you’ve put so much time and energy into planning your hair, makeup and dress; you look amazing. Ask your family and friends to leave the room and pose for some fine art-style portraits.
These are the shots that you, your husband/wife, your children and grandchildren will look back on for many years to come so make the time to enjoy the process.
Your wedding is about you. Do what you want.
Rules are made to be broken. Don’t feel constrained by tradition, or allow yourself to be pushed around by your wedding planner/mother/auntie etc. Do what you want on your wedding day.
A perfect example is where you stand during the ceremony. Why stand either side of the celebrant? Why not stand off to the side? You might be breaking with tradition, but now you won’t have the officiant in all your photos – better yet, he or she won’t be grinning in the background when you kiss.
Another example are bridal parties. They can be fun, and you may feel obligated to have them, but they’re not essential, and from a photographer’s point of view, they can be difficult to manage. It’s one thing to take the bride and groom away to get some photos, it’s entirely another to manage a ten-person bridal party, particularly when you have a few locations in mind for photos and there’s champagne involved. And they can be expensive.
If you do choose to have a bridal party, allow some time away from them with just your photographer. Grooms can feel embarrassed when they’re being intimate with their partner and their friends are watching on. As a photographer, there’s nothing worse than trying to get that magic, romantic warmth from a couple when the best man is heckling the groom, for example. Or taking well-meaning advice and suggestions from the bridesmaids while you’re trying to get the photos you’ve spent days planning.
Use the Getting Ready Time to Relax and Put Yourself Together
It can be easy to let the morning of your wedding turn into a rush of timelines, emotions, and possibly stress, so do everything you can to avoid that. Getting ready with your 10 best pals sounds like a fun time, but I find the room to be the opposite of relaxing. “When there are a dozen people all getting dressed with all their stuff around you, even a big hotel suite starts to feel small.” The clutter of suitcases, coffee cups, and accessories will show in your photographs, no matter how well-framed they are.
You Aren’t Wearing That Dress Tomorrow
After all the time you spent finding, altering, and accessorizing your wedding gown, it’s tempting to want to keep it in pristine condition. But be honest: are you going to wear it again? If you’re wearing a long white dress, it will get dirty, even if your wedding is entirely indoors. “Don’t sweat a little dirt and don’t let it hold you back from taking in the sights and experience of the day. No one is looking at the bottom of your dress and it won’t show in photos, so relax and let it go.” Grab a bridesmaid to help with your train, and head outside for those gorgeous panoramas you really want!
Things to Tell Your Wedding Photographer Before Your Big Day
Your wedding day is a once-in-a-lifetime event, and your photographer is the one to help make lasting memories of you as newlyweds, your happy guests, and all the festivities of that day. Don’t leave it to chance: Here are 5 things to discuss with your wedding photographer before the Big Day arrives.
Tip for wedding photographers: These 5 things are also what you’d need to ask your clients beforehand to ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience on their wedding day.
- Share your love story
This is the first step to getting your dream wedding photos. Open up to your photographer about you and your partner. This helps him or her get to know the two of you better, understand your needs and preferences as a couple, and improve the wedding day experience. After all, a relaxed couple will reflect a more beautiful couple in their wedding photos.
- Talk about your wedding theme
Depending on the theme you’ve chosen, your photographer can then visualise and plan the types of shots to take. If Secret Garden is your theme, they can plan for dreamy shots, or use creative framing such as archways created by trees or bushes to add interest and flair to the photos.
- Go through the shot list
Expand the shot list to include more than just you and your guests. Ask your photographer to take photos of all the little details at your wedding; from a delicate boutonnière on the groom’s jacket to the favours which you made yourself, and your guests having fun at the reception. If there’s a particular photo that you really want, discuss it with your photographer.
Conversely, there might be certain parts of your wedding you’d rather not get captured. Inform your photographer so they know when to avoid them. At the same time, trust your photographer to get it right.
- Discuss shoot locations
Tell your photographer if you have specific locations in mind for them to capture, for example, underneath a gorgeous tree, in the middle of a field or walking down a candle-lit aisle. This enables them to plan and be prepared for these shots, especially when it comes to lighting adjustments.
- Set your expectations
Share with your photographer the most important things they need to know. Inform your photographer what they should wear at the event and have a wedding timeline to ensure they can capture all of the special moments and reduce unnecessary stress. This includes setting aside time for those intimate bride-and-groom photos.
It’s also helpful to provide a point of contact on your wedding day. Here’s where your best man or bride’s maid comes into play! That’s because he or she should be someone who knows you and your families, can direct people when necessary, and would be able to help the photographer get anything he or she needs.