Tips From The Pros

So each and every year new photographers enter the world of wedding photography. Wedding photography is a lot more work than many people think.  It can be some photographers worst nightmares or extremely rewarding.  Just really depends on your personality and style of shooting.  Here are some tips for new and coming wedding photographers for their first few weddings.

1.) Create A Shot List

      When you have a sit down with your couple have them start brain storming some of their must have photos and family combinations. Keep the list on you and as you get photos taken cross them off. It ensures that you get the certain photos that they are wanting, so there isn't any disappointment that they didn't get any with grandma.  Once you gain experience, you'll find your list will turn into a couple images or nothing at all, as everything else just becomes nature.  But for starters make a list.

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2) Family Photo Coordinator

      As the photographer, you probably don't know everyone in the couple's family and how they mesh with others. Ask the couple to pick someone out that can corral everyone up for their photos and ensure everyone is getting along. Give them a copy of the shot list and just go down the line of the photos as some people may be spread throughout the venue.

3) Scout the Location

      Once you know where everything will be taking place for the big day you can go and check it out a little ahead of time. This allows you to start brainstorming on poses and locations that may or may not work.  Time of day and light should play a big factor in your locations.  As you're scouting, you may see a park or something similar that you can use for photos as well.

4) Preparation Is Key

      You will want to make sure that you have plenty of charged batteries and extra SD cards. If you shoot in RAW you will certainly need extra room on your cards. Also, make sure to have a contingency plan should there be any bad weather. You can also ask the couple if you can come to the rehearsal dinner, so you can get an idea of how things will fall time wise or if they have a schedule.

5) Set the Couple's Expectations

      You will want to figure out what they are wanting to achieve, how many shots they expect, what moments they for sure want in photos, and how they would like to use the images. 

6) Switch Your Camera Sound Off

      You don't want to have your camera beeping during key moments of the ceremony or reception.

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7)Shoot the Small Details

      Capture images of the rings, detail on the dress, centerpieces, shoes, etc. This helps give more depth to the album once you present it to the couple. Plus if they did not save anything it will be a small reminder.

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8) Use 2 Cameras

      Figure out a way to get your hands on a second camera. Have an alternate lens on this camera, so you can different aspects. Many people shoot with a wide range and a long range such as a 200mm.

9) Hire a Second Shooter

      Getting a second shooter means less running around for you. You will want to interview them and make sure they have a similar style. Set them up so that they get many candid images while you take care of the formal ones during the ceremony.

10) Be Bold but Unobtrusive

      During the ceremony, you will need to time everything correctly and keep moving so you get the necessary shots. Try to time your movements with longer readings, but do not disrupt any of the guests.

11) Learn About Diffused Light

      Many churches have very low light, so you want to look into a diffuser and see if it may work in the scenario. You can purchase flash diffusers or attempt to make one. I recommend just purchasing one. Also, make sure you are allowed to use the flash in the church as some do not allow it.

12) Shoot In RAW

      Shooting in RAW will make your files quite a bit larger, so uploading them will take longer but it is so worth it. When it comes to the processing side it makes it so much easier to manipulate the images in the RAW format.

13) Display Images At The Reception

      After the ceremony switch out cards and begin uploading all of the ceremony images to your computer. Sometime during the reception, you can set up a slideshow for all of the guests to see. Discuss this with your couple first before doing it and make them aware that the images would not be edited yet. 

14) Consider The Backgrounds

      You will really want to consider the backgrounds of the formal and group shots. You do not want anyone walking through them or a busy background. 

15) Don't Discard Your 'Mistakes'

      Do not delete any images!  I say that with a grain of salt.  Obviously, you don't want to be sending your bride and groom six thousand photos, but consider taking your time with the edit.  You might not love a photo, but to the client, that single moment might be their most cherished moment.  As you go through them you can manipulate them as needed. Sometimes photos that were mistakes are the couple's favorites.

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16) Change Your Perspective

      Have some fun with angle's, get up high, down low, wide angles, etc. Many photos will be taken at the 'normal'/formal angle. Shooting at different angles mixes things up and adds some fun into it for you.

17) Wedding Group Shots

      If you are wanting to get a shot of everyone at the wedding you will need to get up high. You will need to get everyone together and try to be as quick a possible, so they are not all standing there too long. 

18) Fill Flash

      When shooting outside after a ceremony or during the posed shots you'll probably want to keep your flash attached to give a little fill in flash. You will want to adjust it, so your shots are not blown out. You typically need fill flash in backlit or midday circumstances.

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19) Continuous Shooting Mode

      Switch your camera to continuous mode. Doing so will allow you to capture many images in a short amount of time. You can get those more relaxed images directly after the formal image. It opens the door to so many more options for you.

20) Expect the Unexpected

      Be prepared for anything and everything to happen. They can be stressful times if you're not prepared or super fun depending on the circumstance, but do your best to capture the moment. These moments can make for fun and memorable images.

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21) Have Fun

      Most of all have fun as weddings are all about celebration. I find every single wedding I shoot multiple people come up to me and tell me I'm doing such a wonderful job.  I find this funny because at the end of the day they don't even know if my camera is on.  What they are really suggesting is you have great energy because I'm having a good time. This will help get others to relax and enjoy in times of stress.


I hope these tips help you and give you some things to think about before shooting your first wedding as a photography. I wish you the best of luck!