When it comes to capturing a wedding day, it is important to be well-prepared and have a good understanding of the trade. This is especially true for those who are just starting out as wedding photographers. In this blog post, we’ll go over some tips for shooting your first wedding, along with the prerequisites for being a wedding photographer.
Before you start shooting weddings, there are a few things you need to understand. Here are the prerequisites that you need to have a good foundation in:
Understanding the Exposure Triangle: You should have a basic understanding of how to get a good exposure in nearly any situation. If you’re still struggling with this, you may want to slow down on weddings and practice doing portraits, street photography, or something similar.
Being Comfortable with Your Camera: You don’t need to know all the ins and outs of your camera, but you should be able to change your settings quickly and efficiently. Wedding days can be fast-paced, so it’s important to be comfortable with your camera.
Shooting in Raw: Shooting in raw format gives you more flexibility in your edits. It is recommended to shoot in raw format, or at least have a raw backup, as opposed to shooting only in JPEG format.
Having a Backup Body: It’s always a good idea to have a backup camera body, whether you’re using prime lenses or zoom lenses. This way, you’re prepared in case one of your cameras fails on you during the wedding day.
Pre-Wedding Communication: Pre-wedding communication is the most important part of being a wedding photographer. It’s important to meet with your couple multiple times, set expectations, and make sure everyone knows what you’re about and how you like to approach photography. Communication tools such as HoneyBook can help keep everything organized and in one place.
Pre-Wedding Planning: Make sure you have a solid understanding of the wedding day timeline and what you’re expected to capture. Plan out your shots and be prepared for any unexpected situations.
Arriving Early: Arrive at the wedding venue early to familiarize yourself with the location and set up your equipment. This will give you peace of mind and allow you to focus on the wedding day.
Be Prepared for Any Weather: Make sure you have backup plans in case of bad weather. Bring a rain cover for your camera, extra batteries, and other necessary items.
Be Mindful of Your Surroundings: Pay attention to your surroundings and be aware of any potential obstacles or distractions. You don’t want to miss a key moment because you were caught off guard.
Shooting in Continuous Burst Mode: Shooting in continuous burst mode allows you to capture multiple frames in quick succession, increasing your chances of getting the perfect shot.
Post-Wedding Follow-Up: After the wedding day, make sure you follow up with your clients to see if there are any additional photos they would like or if they have any feedback for you. This is also a good time to thank them for their business and ask for a review or referral.
One of the key ways to take control of your wedding day is to write your own timeline. When you take the time to create a timeline, you become the authority of the wedding day, and you’ll have a roadmap to follow to make sure everything runs as smoothly as possible.
When you create a timeline, it’s important to work closely with your wedding planner to make sure they’re on the same page. This way, everyone knows what’s happening and when, and there won’t be any confusion or misunderstandings on the day. For example, you might want to include things like portrait times, family portrait times, and other important events, such as the first kiss or the bouquet toss.
One of the most crucial tips for shooting group portraits is to stop down your aperture. When you stop down your aperture, things get sharper throughout your photo, and your depth of field is not as shallow. The result is a sharper photo where everyone in the group is in focus. It’s especially important when people are not standing exactly next to each other. Shooting at F1 can result in some people being out of focus, so it’s best to stop down to 2.8 or 3.2 to keep things nice and sharp.
It’s easy to depend on our cameras too much and then complain when the focus won’t be where you want it to be. To avoid this, it’s best to use single-point auto-focus instead of continuous auto-focus. During a wedding day, there are many faces, and continuous auto-focus may have no idea what it’s focusing on. Instead, set your focus point to a single point, and move it around, or use focus and recompose. This will give you more control over your focus and result in better photos.
It’s essential to pay attention to your backgrounds when taking photos. You should take your shots based on the best light and also the best background. If there are distracting elements in the background, such as water bottles or other people’s clothes, move the subject to a different spot or clean up the background. Don’t be afraid to control the situation and make choices that will result in better photos for your clients.
It’s important to remember that the key to a successful wedding photoshoot is preparation. Write your own timelines, have a list of family portraits, and communicate with your couple to ensure that everyone is on the same page. With these tips, you’ll be well on your way to capturing memories that will last a lifetime. So, take a deep breath and trust in your skills, it’s going to be a great experience!