A wedding is a roller-coaster of emotions – cheeky smiles, hearty laughter, the wedding frenzy, some happy tears, some heartfelt experiences, and some moments full of surprise!
So, when someone trusts you with the responsibility to capture the most important, precious day of their life, you know there is no scope for messing up - you have to do it well!
The pressure of wedding photography can give you cold-feet, too - but we have your back! We've compiled a list of the 55 most important things you need to consider to enhance your wedding photography. Read to find out more!
Table of Contents
Before the Wedding
Get to Know Your Clients
1. Talk to the Couple
Every couple has a clear idea of how they want their wedding photos to look. Years later, when they skim through their wedding album, they want to feel the same way as they did on their wedding day.
While some couples are all about candid photos, others love the posed photographs – and well, then there are those couples who love a mix of both.
You will be able to recreate their expectations in a much better way if you understand them well in the first place.
2. Manage Expectations
It's best to prepare a checklist of sorts to make sure you tick off all the expectations listed out by the bride and groom.
Talk to them, understand their preferences – whether they want black and white photography or some vintage touch to their photos. Using wedding presets for your photos helps to show them a lot of different editing styles in just a few minutes.
3. Ask Them About the Pre-wedding Photography
When a couple approaches you for their wedding photography, don't miss out on the opportunity to cover their engagement day or pre-wedding photoshoot, too. You can strike a package deal with the couple, making it a win-win offer for both.
The pre-wedding photoshoot would give you a fair idea of how the couple is and their expectations for the wedding. It will be easier for you to replicate the same vibe even during wedding photography.
4. Get to Know the Exact Timeline
As a photographer, you have to be there always – whether it's the bride ready to walk down the aisle or the groom getting sentimental looking at her.
To know when these critical events are happening, you need to be well-versed with the timeline. This way, you will be ready with the plan and the equipment required to execute what you have in mind.
5. Create a Photo Checklist
You don't want to miss out on the essential photos, so prepare a list to make your job easier. You can also use our Wedding Day Photo Checklist.
Usually, the bride is very excited about getting captured in specific poses during her wedding. Make a note of the poses they wish to capture, the candid moments, and even the photos they want with the special people in their lives.
Before the wedding, get both the bride and her partner to experiment with all the poses they wish to try out. You can also add some creative poses with a few props or accessories!
Once you are done with this, prepare a photo checklist of 'essential poses' and 'creative poses' to not miss out on any, during, or after the wedding.
6. Know the Crew
As a photographer, you need to be well-acquainted with both Team Bride and Team Groom.
Having the contact details of the maid of honor and the best man is also important. Both the parties are extensively involved in the wedding planning, and thus, you may require their help, too.
7. Know the Family
Get to know the family tree from both sides well in advance – you don't want to miss out on a precious moment of the bride with her grandpa just because you didn't know who he was! Map the important people so that it's easiest to capture them!
8. Learn to Say No
Saying no is difficult, but just as important. If you feel that the couple's expectations and photography style do not match, step up, and say no instantly.
Going out of your comfort zone is different, but altering your natural photography style won't make sense. So, before you start feeling stressed about matching their expectations or disappointing the couple, say no.
Once you have finalized everything with the couple, ensure you prepare a contract with terms and conditions listed out in it.
Explain to your clients how important the agreement is and how it will benefit them – they will be more than happy to sign it!
Photography Aspects to Keep In Mind
10. Stay Updated
There are so many sources of inspiration out there – from Pinterest, magazines, blogs, and ultimately, Instagram! Quite a lot of photographers are building their portfolios on different platforms.
Referring to the best of the lot is the perfect way to stay updated and hone your wedding photography skills. Look for the latest trends, new ideas, and bookmark them so that you can replicate the same in your photography assignments.
Also, whenever a couple approaches you for their wedding photography, you will be in a position to suggest the latest trends, types, and ideas that make their day even more memorable.
11. Create a Wedding Photography Equipment Checklist
Now that you are well aware of what the bride and groom expect from you on their D-day, it's time to start planning. The theme around which the wedding photography revolves is key here – you need to create your equipment checklist according to the wedding photography specifications.
So, whether it's your wide-angle lens to the flash diffuser, you will not leave out any essential gear you require to capture those memories.
12. Know Your Gear
Now that you are well-versed with what you want to create at the wedding check out your existing gear.
While creating magic with your current kit is the best, you can also consider adding essential equipment to take your wedding photography a notch higher.
Get that tripod or those light stands or the medium zoom lenses you always wanted to glam up the photography. But don't forget: Always get familiar with it in advance!
13. Stay Prepared With Backup Equipment
Your photography gear could have a breakdown at the last minute, and you don't want to freak out right at the beginning or in the middle of a wedding!
Instead of purchasing a second set of equipment, rent it out – this way, you'll be prepared for all the odds and won't have to spend too much money on your backup either!
14. Stock up on Batteries
One battery will not at all be enough to sustain you through an entire wedding. Stocking on a couple of extra, efficient as well as powerful batteries is always advisable!
15. Scout the Venue
Doing this well in advance is always beneficial – you can understand the different aspects of the venue and have ample time to plan which parts of the venue can capture those dreamy, picturesque shots.
16. Photography Tips for Shooting in the Church
Talk to the pastor or the priest before the wedding itself to get a clear idea of the photography rules applicable in the church. Some churches don't allow the usage of flash, while others restrict photographers' movement to certain areas only. Knowing the rules of the church will help you plan what equipment to carry along, too.
17. Keep a Tab on the Weather
While the weather is something not within your control, having a general idea of the climate and backup photo locations is important. This would help you equip yourself with the gear you need to ensure you have picture-perfect photos.
18. Lighting in Wedding Photography
This entirely depends on the time of the wedding and the weather that day. If it's a bright sunny day, you would require reflectors to bounce off the excess light. Using flashlights on gloomy days or backlight to add magic to your photographs are options you can explore.
19. Make Your Job Easier
Your prime focus is delivering quality photography and ensuring this happens if you require additional support of gadgets, don't hesitate to opt for it! If a drone can get the job done a lot better and faster than you, go for it.
20. Hire an Assistant if Required
If the wedding is on a grand scale, you need to gauge the requirements and arrange for a fellow photographer to help you out.
You may be good to go with just one more person, but if you feel the need, you can also consider working with an assistant on the long run.
21. Arrange for one of the Families to Arrive in Advance
When one family arrives before the other, it can be easier for you to allocate dedicated time for shots with that family before moving on to the next.
Preferably, try getting the bride's family to be present at the wedding venue an hour before the groom and his family.
22. Keep Quick Fixes Handy
Anything can happen during a wedding – for example, the groom's pants may run a bit longer than expected, making them look clammy and not so pleasant in photographs.
Keeping some duct tape handy can save the moment! Simply stick the tape towards the inside and fold the pants, and you have a perfect-for-a photograph look right there!
During the Wedding
Photography Aspects During the Wedding
23. Get People Comfortable With Your Presence
For most people at the wedding, you will be a total stranger, and people tend to get awkward around strangers taking their pictures. All you have to do is have a relaxed approach towards all the guests – and you'll see them getting comfortable with your presence, too.
24. Framing and Composition for the Wedding Photographs
You can get all creative with wedding photography, but remember, you don't have a lot of time to keep figuring out the framing and composition.
Simply follow the lines or shoot wide open, and you're sure of getting a bunch of awesome shots. You can also try the peek-a-boo shots or 'two people, one portrait' style to glam up the photos!
25. Experiment With Poses
There's no end to the number of poses you can ask the couple to try out on their wedding day. Blindfolded by her, the hand kiss, the forehead kiss, the relaxed gaze are classics that will never go out of style.
Apart from these, you can try out numerous other poses that the couple is ready for. But don't forget the photo checklist you created in advance.
26. Take a Lot of Pictures
Take as many pictures as you can so that you don't miss out on anything! Anything extra and unwanted can always be discarded, but you surely don't want to leave out an important moment. So capture from different angles to convey different emotions and poses!
27. Prioritize Quality Over Quantity
Simply piling up photographs won't make sense if only a few of them turn out well! So make sure your efforts are directed to capturing quality and not only quantity.
28. Opt for the RAW Format
Shooting RAW allows you to capture images in all their glory. It helps recreate the colors and produces photos with a higher color range and color depth. When it comes to the quality of images, RAW images always stand out compared to JPEG images.
29. Take control Without Getting Bossy
You will find yourself instructing people how to pose, where to look, and how to position themselves. While you're doing this, you are, of course, in control of the situation but don't get bossy around people. After all, you want their best emotions and expressions and not want them to think of you as a dominating photographer!
30. Look for People Apart From the Couple, too
While we agree that it's a wedding and the bride and groom need the utmost focus, as a photographer you need to understand that there are other people at the wedding, too, thus, make sure you capture at least one photograph of the attendees!
31. Mingle Along, Act More Like a Guest Than a Photographer
If you're looking to capture the natural expressions of people attending the wedding, you have to mingle around like a guest and not like a photographer with equipment!
32. Capture Landscape Shots of the Venue
The couple has chosen the venue simply because they love it – so what's better than capturing a few stunning landscape shots of the space so that you can edit the same along with images later? Sounds like a great idea!
33. Be Spontaneous
That's the best part about being a photographer – you have the creative liberty to switch your shooting style as the situation demands. Be flexible, get inspired, and be prepared to make changes and introduce last-minute tweaks to your plan, too.
34. Let Kids Have fun
No one has ever been able to successfully tame kids, so don't try to do it either! They are impatient, and you may not be able to hold their attention for more than a couple of photographs – so let them have their fun!
This will give you a chance to capture all their antics, adding the much-needed dose of cuteness to the wedding album!
35. Patience is the Key
Your job during a wedding photography assignment will be a lot more than just taking photos – so whether it's handling little kids or a group of intoxicated groomsmen, you may have to don a lot of hats!
Managing to get all of them to smile at once or getting them to stand still for a photograph may be a few of the tasks – so keep your patience and cool throughout!
36. Prepare Your Mind
You are there to capture the best day of someone's life – so shoot the wedding for the couple and not for your portfolio.
Simply forget your portfolio while you are out there and work towards bringing reality the ideas the bride and groom have envisioned.
37. Make Yourself Invisible
Well, no, not with the coat of invisibility! However, as much as you can, try to stay away from the glare. Get yourself a longer lens (200mm) so that you can capture crystal clear shots even from a distance.
The best part about staying hidden is that you can capture a whole lot of candid photos, where people aren't awkward because of the presence of a photographer around them!
38. Don't Forget To Eat and Drink
Photographers are so occupied, capturing everyone else having fun, that they forget that they have to eat and drink, too! Make sure you keep munching and sipping on something to maintain your energy levels throughout the wedding.
39. Stay Calm and Cool
The wedding frenzy can be overwhelming - for the bride, the groom, the families, and well, the photographer, too. Throughout all the crazy rush of a whole range of emotions, make sure you keep your cool – it will only help you work and think better.
40. Have Fun
It's a wedding, after all! So make sure you have your share of fun, too! Work can be fun – so don't leave the opportunity to make the most of the day.
41. Be You
This is the key to having a good time during a wedding photography assignment. People will love you for who you are, so don't try too hard to impress – just be yourself.
42. Connect With People
Weddings are where you come across people from diverse walks of life. So rather than being stuck behind the lens, venture out a bit and connect with people, too.
43. Connect With Wedding Planners
Your ticket to getting direct wedding photography assignments is in the hands of wedding planners. They are a part of most weddings, so make use of the opportunity to tie up with them to offer your services in the long run.
44. Build Relationships with Wedding Venues
The wedding venue is the first thing that a couple looks out for, and there's nothing like having contact with the wedding venue directly! You will instantly get the publicity you deserve and get a whole lot of wedding photography assignments your way!
45. Say yes to any Activities Outside the Wedding Day
There are numerous events which follow the wedding day – like introductory events, where both the families get to know each other. If you are called to be the photographer for these events, say yes instantly.
After the Wedding
46. Backup Your Files
Just as you will be carrying backup equipment along to power you through the entire wedding, it is also essential to back up the files after the wedding.
Use external hard drives or cloud storage systems to backup all the wedding photographs even after the post-processing. This renders easy access when required in the future.
47. Post-Production Editing Tools
Weddings give you the full scope of creative expression as well as experimentation.
And to help you get the best photos, there are many post-processing tools and editing software available out there such as Photoshop. This works like magic on wedding photographs and video programs like Final Cut make it super easy to color grade wedding videos in the same style as the photos.
They not only help you stick to the theme chosen by the couple but also add a touch of magic to the photos instantly!
48. Develop Presets for Your Photos
Using presets will save you a lot of time during the editing phase. It may take a while to craft or adjust these presets by yourself, but it makes your job a lot easier when it comes to bulk-editing photographs.
49. Never Share the RAW images
No matter how much your clients insist on sharing RAW images, you should politely refuse. The reason is simple - RAW files are unfinished and straight out of the camera.
Post-processing enhances pictures and brings them up to the mark, at least when you us a professional do it. Sharing RAW, untouched images will only end up damaging your reputation - something you don't want at all.
50. Choose What to Display on Your Website
After taking permission from the couple, carefully choose photographs that you would want the world to see on your website.
Create a portfolio which represents you as an artist and what you like to shoot.
51. Traditional Wedding Photography
Now, this is something most people opt for – this style of photography focuses on taking photographs of the couple and the attendees. Your job is to switch from a photographer to a director here.
Traditional photography does not focus much on candid shots. However, rest assured that you will end up with some beautiful memories to treasure and look back on.
52. Photojournalistic Photography
Your job is to capture as many candid shots as you can – that's the creative freedom photojournalistic wedding photography gives you!
With zero directions and instructions from your end, this is probably one of the most blissful forms of photography out there.
53. Portrait Wedding Photography
This is a mix of traditional and photojournalistic photography – and it yields amazing results! This style is considered to be formal wedding photography in the way the subjects are usually directed and posed for the camera.
54. Fashion Wedding Photography
This style involves more dramatic and innovative images – the poses are inspired by editorial fashion photography, and of course, the results are simply marvelous!
You're lucky if your bride and groom choose this style – it gives you a lot of freedom, especially in the post-processing stage.
55. Personal Style
In the end, it is your unique style that stands out. Your eye for photography will help you take impressive photographs. Adding your personal touch to any photography style will add a charm to the pictures, setting them apart instantly.
There you go – 55 essential things you need to keep in mind at every wedding photography assignment. Make sure you have fun and a great time at the wedding, too!
Thanks to the talented A Bear Photography (cover photo),
Everton Vila, Katelyn MacMillan, Devon Divine, Jonathan Borba, Mark Zamora, Pablo Heimplatz, aranprime, Genessa Panainte, Micheile Henderson, Nathan Dumlao, Iacob Hiticas, Derrick Treadwell, Briana Autran, Thomas William