In the photography profession, with the exception of “war photographers”, wedding photography is perhaps the most stressful occupation.
There is a lot to think about, particularly for newcomers to wedding photography.
Let’s dive in:
1. Turn off the sound on your camera.
Quite often, a ceremony is a quiet, emotional time. The easiest way to distract guests from where their focus should be on the bride and groom is with a click, click, click of a camera. Whats worse is the sound of a flash going off. These can even be amplified if the ceremony is taking place in a large, cavernous place as many churches are.
2. Dont forget the details.
The bride and groom spent a lot of money on the smaller things for their day: The brides shoes, the rings, the monogram. Dont forget to memorialize these details for the couple. Set them up in a way thats appealing aesthetically, such as the rings on the brides bouquet.
3. Flip over to continuous shooting mode.
The continuous shooting mode is a great way to capture a lot of movement, which is often the case later in a reception when everyone is getting their groove on the dance floor. When shooting in this mode, you have to know your camera. Different cameras have different circumstances when it comes to shooting continuously: Some take a predetermined number of photos, such as 5, instead of shooting until you release the shutter. Some cameras limit the amount of shots you can take in this mode. Make sure you have plenty of practice and knowledge.
4. Anticipate an exquisite shot at every moment.
When shooting photojournalism-style, you never know whats going to happen next, which means the best shot of the day could be within the next five seconds. The key to being one of the best is always anticipating those moments and having the camera ready for them. Dont miss a thing.
5. Dont delete the mistakes.
One of the best things about shooting digitally is being able to re-shoot a photo that didnt come out quite as you planned. But instead of deleting those mistakes, just re-shoot it. Later, when youre scrutinizing the photos, you might find a gem in those mistakes, or you might at least be able to carve a gem out of the rough by cropping, changing it into black and white or adjusting it in Photoshop. Just make sure that you must have plenty of spare memory cards with you you can fill up a card much more quickly. NEVER delete an image – you might just make a mistake and in the heat of the moment delete the lot! That said you can get image recovery software – but why take the chance?
6. Change your viewpoint.
Look for a unique photo by changing the viewpoint. Get up high, get down low, just do something from another angle. Changing the angle can make an ordinary photo extraordinary.
7. Remove distracting elements.
While the cardinal rule of photojournalism is not to interfere with the action, sometimes adjusting the background ever so slightly can make a photo so much better. This is as simple as moving an object out of the frame so it doesnt distract.
8. Visit the ceremony and reception site beforehand.
This is less of a technique than basic common sense. If you have no idea what the layout of the ceremony and reception sight is like, you dont know where you can go to shoot the best pictures. If you dont know what the lighting is like, you dont know what type of equipment to bring to get the best shots. If you dont talk to the person performing the ceremony, you dont even know if flash photography is allowed. What Im saying is, do your homework before showing up for the big day.
9. Use natural light whenever possible.
The way that natural light hits a subject of a photo is different than the way flash lighting hits them, and generally natural light is more flattering. When its necessary to use flash, use only fill or bounced flash.
10. Dont be afraid to zoom in.
Get up close and personal with the bride, groom and their guests. By zooming in on the subject of the photo, it eliminates a lot of needless background distraction, which usually makes for a better photograph.
If you have some tried and tested techniques for wedding photography, it would be great to hear from you so we can share them with others.