Wedding photography is an art, but that doesn’t mean you can’t practice and plan on your way to creative excellence. Whether you’re an amateur shutterbug just beginning to hone your craft or an experienced photographer who’s always striving to get better, these tips and tricks may be just what you need to turn another day off I dos into a portfolio-worthy masterpiece.
Prepare, Check, and Double-Check
Are the fresh batteries in your cameras and external flashes? Did you pack those extra memory cards you bought? Do you have your laptop, phone charge, and power cords, if necessary? Are your lenses clean and in working order? Do you have the correct address for the venue? Are you sure about the day’s itinerary? Is there gas in your car? Do you know how long it will take you to get from your home or office to the event site?
Leave nothing to chance and never assume anything.
Eat – in your wedding
It’s a kind of an inside joke among married folks that the bride and groom spend a ton of time and money creating a mouthwatering wedding meal, and then they never get to eat any of it. That’s often true, but do you know who eats less at a reception than the guests of honor? That’s right, the photographer.
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Shoot the Small Stuff
Once you’ve gotten the “big five” as described above, make an effort to capture those small moments and tiny details that make the event space, decorations, ceremony, and reception personal to the couple who hired you. Those tender hug between the bride and her grandmother, the tear in a dad’s eye as he watches his son quiver with emotion, the niece or nephew who swipes a sneaky taste of the buttercream off the wedding cake, the DJ shooting flirty glances at the adorable maid of honor – these are the moments that guests will cherish for decades to come. You’re likely the only one in a position to save them for posterity.
Move with the Ceremony
A great wedding photographer masters the art of being bold but also stays inconspicuous. You need to be confident enough to step forward and claim your shot. On the other hand, no one wants guests staring at you rather than the bride and groom. One way to camouflage your presence is to change positions when somebody else springs into action. When the choir finishes a song, and the pastor steps up, or the groom gets in position to stomp on glass, use the movement as cover for your relocation plans.
Shoot in RAW
RAW is a file format similar to the more widely recognized JPEG or GIF, but with one major difference: while JPEGs can only hold eight bits of data per pixel, RAW holds 12-14 bits. That might not seem like a huge difference, but those extra bits mean a lot to a photographer who is skilled at editing. The more photographic data you have to work with, the more you can manipulate an image, tweaking lighting, balancing exposure, and restoring detail you once thought lost. In essence, RAW gives you a second chance to take the perfect picture, and that’s priceless.
Study Up on Group Photography
Putting together a group shot takes patience, skill, and the ability to shout commands over a gaggle of extra-excited partiers. When the groom’s aunt refuses to stand next to ex-husband she recently divorced or the bride’s ornery cousin insists on pulling faces throughout the entire shoot, life will be easier for everyone if you know how to cope and subtly nudge people in the right direction.
Consider a Different Point of View
The best shots are often unexpected ones. Rather than taking all of your pictures in your normal, fully upright position, vary your altitude and try to see things from another angle. Crouch down and point your lens up, stand on a chair or even a table (as long as you’re not making a spectacle of yourself), point your camera through a bit of foliage or peek around a fluttering drapery to catch the emotional mother and father of the bride in a sweet embrace. Play with wide-angle and tight shots, too – you can always crop or discard the unimpressive ones later. Help Them With Their Hands
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