Weddings are high-stress and fast-paced events with some clients who have sky-high expectations. Some newbies may mistake it as fun events with many chances for networking with new clients, but it’s really one that’s laden with more responsibility and pressure. However, a silver lining is that it’s also currently one of the most lucrative forms of photography that offers great opportunities for beginning professionals. Weddings also make for some of the most beautiful photos you can include in your portfolio, so it surely makes up for the stresses it may cause you.
If you’re a starting photographer with aspirations to make it out as one of the best wedding photographers, consider the following tips to taking breathtaking wedding photos and help you succeed in this profession.
1. Have a shot list ready.
One of the best things that could make a difference in your client’s satisfaction is having a shot list ready. Talk with the bride and groom and ask them which parts of their wedding they want to be documented for life. Have them prepare a list of names of relatives and friends that you absolutely cannot miss to take pictures of. This list will also save you tons of time and will prevent the stress that comes with not knowing what to do during an overwhelmingly eventful part of the wedding or reception.
If you can, you can also ask the couple to nominate a ‘director’ from each side of the family. These ‘directors’ will help you in gathering everyone during shoots. You definitely do not want to have someone missing from a family portrait.
2. Check out the location prior to the wedding date.
Most photographers underestimate the importance of scouting the location before the wedding date. Knowing the place’s every important spot will help you identify which places to take pictures from. It’s really helpful having this knowledge since this saves a lot of time as well. If it’s possible, it’s also nice if you could visit the venues with the bride and groom, and take some test shots to examine how the lights are—inside or outside the venues.
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3. Prepare for the worst.
Despite visiting the venue, you should always prepare for the worst-case scenario. If you will be shooting an outdoor wedding, prepare for potential bad weather, and also think of the best routes that will take you early at the venue. Charge all your batteries, and bring as many blank memory cards as you can (most wedding photographers average at a whopping 60 gigabytes of photos during events). Coordinate with the wedding planner, and make sure you have a schedule of the ceremonies.
Generally, preparing for the worst will help you take the best shots no matter what the conditions are. A little pro-tip: turn off the sounds of your camera ahead of time. You don’t want your cameras sounding off as the couple say their vows!
4. Pack all the gear you need.
Have a master list of all the things you need during a shoot. Do you have a backup camera? Is a tripod ready? How about light equipment and flashes? Having these in your camera bag will ensure that shooting the wedding will be hassle-free and keeping your cool throughout the event.
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5. Consider having a partner with you.
With all the things going on around you, weddings may not be a one-man shoot. Have another photographer – an apprentice or a colleague – with you during the wedding. This will lessen having to move from one place to another and will help to take every picture on your shot list. It is a fact that you cannot really observe everything happening around you, so having a partner may be a smart choice.
6. Shoot in RAW.
Shooting in RAW may easily have the pictures occupy more memory cards than you expect, but it will definitely help you during post-processing. The file format gives you more flexibility while enhancing the photos during editing. If you feel like capturing in this format will make you slower, consider investing in a Class 10 SD Card with high-speed transfers and capacities. They may be more expensive, but they are definitely useful for handling big amounts of data.
7. Invest in a camera trigger.
A camera trigger, like the MIOPS Smart+ Camera Trigger, will help you capture shots remotely. Having this accessory will help you shoot faster and clearer photos since it removes the potential blurs that clicking on your camera button may cause. This MIOPS accessory in particular also offers better and unique functionality, helping you turn your camera into a high-speed camera. It has triggering modes like lighting, sound, laser, and HDR, all of which you could experiment with to take better pictures of wedding events.
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8. Zoom in on the details.
While weddings are generally about the people, it’s also an event full of symbolism. Take the time to shoot some symbolic items, like the rings, veils, and the bride’s gown. You can also take pictures of the wedding cakes, the altar, and reception details, all of which you could shoot more creatively. The couple will surely appreciate that you took the time to focus on the details, and not just the big picture.
9. Have a great time.
Stress is an inevitable part of shooting any event, but you should make it a point to have fun while you do it. Enjoying the work that you do is what will help you get through any high-stress occasion. If you have prepared everything you need – from shot lists to your gear – you can now relax and get rid of the stress and pressure from your head. Have fun! You were entrusted by a couple to capture one of the most important moments in their lives. You should feel more honored than stressed.
These are important tips you can take with you during any event, but there really is a great deal you can learn while out there doing the work you love. Capturing priceless wedding moments teaches you everything from being organized to more valuable qualities as a person like patience and grace. So, enjoy it! There are only a few jobs out there that allow you to join in on other people’s happiness, and you are in luck to be in one of those professions.
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