Wedding Photography is one of the most lucrative industry for budding photographers, but most amateurs soon find out that covering a wedding is completely different than shooting location and candid photography. As a wedding photographer, a lot rides on your shoulder – helping the happy couple preserve their happiest memories of the big day, making sure you satisfy the requests of the bride and most importantly making sure you don’t obstruct the actual process of the wedding. Here we have compiled a list of 10 handy tips that will help you become a successful wedding photographer.
- Preparation is Key: Each wedding is different and you have to be prepared to shoot at every kind of situation. You should have a backup plan for every kind of scenario – from bad the weather to your camera running out of power. Make sure you have an itinerary of the sequence in which the events will be carried out on the wedding day and if possible visit the rehearsal dinner. These will give you an idea about where to stand during a particular event and how to make the most of the available light.
- Scout the Location: It is never a bad idea to have a detailed knowledge about the location where the wedding will be held. If you scout the location beforehand, you will know how much time it takes to reach the location, which route to take and also how the light will come into play. You can also ask the couple to accompany you to the location to do a mock wedding photoshoot. This may seem like a lot of work, but this first-hand knowledge about the location will help you capture the wedding seamlessly and without any hiccups.
- The Bride: The most important person in the whole event is the bride. It is her special day and you are hired to capture the happenings of the day. Many brides complain that the end results are not how they expected. That is why it is best to sit down with the bride before the wedding and have a chat with her about her expectations, which people in the wedding are close to her and which pictures she thinks must be in the finished album. You can also ask her to give you a shoot-list where she will point out the events that must be captured – her sister’s dress, the wedding cake etc.
- The Groom: You cannot ignore the most important man at the venue. There are several things which you can capture – the boys getting ready, the boys helping the groom with his tie, the cufflinks, etc. Every wedding is different but you should focus mainly on the bride and groom in most of the shots. Ask the couple to set aside about an hour for the close up and romantic shots.
- The lighting: Like any kind of photography, lighting can make all the difference between a marvellous shot and a mucked up picture. Know when to use the flash and when to make the most of the natural light. Use the light meter to determine this. If you are using natural light, determine which angle and direction will produce the best image. Try to gauge the colour level of the natural light to bring life to any picture. Another thing you use whenever you feel like it – the shadows. Especially around noon, the sun’s rays may cause your subjects to appear grainy. Cleverly using shadows will help you direct more quality towards the image.
- Know Your Gear And Lenses: You must be in-sync with your gear and use it as an extension of yourself. Make sure you know all the settings, modes and which to use in which situation. You should also have a number of lenses handy for the occasion. Since you will be shooting several different types of images at a wedding – candid, macro, portrait as well as food photography, you need to have different lenses for different situations. You should at least have two kinds of lenses – one wide angle and one long. The wide angle lens will come in handy during the candid shoots and the long angled lens for other purposes. If possible use two cameras as then you won’t have to switch between lenses frequently. There are several websites which lend camera bodies at cheap rates.
- Day Time wedding photography: If you have a day wedding, you should choose settings and modes on your camera accordingly. Moreover, use the natural light whenever you can as these will give you some of the best shots. If you are planning on shooting some candid shots in a shaded area, shoot those when the sun is brightest as it will yield the best illuminated pictures. If you are shooting out in the open, make sure the sun is behind the subjects’ back as it will provide a better picture. If you make the bride and groom face the sun, the sun will fall on their face, making them squint and the bride’s dress will be deemed as a bright object by your camera and muddle up the whole exposure of the photo. Many professionals use natural objects as reflectors as they give the pictures a whole new effect.
- Night time wedding photography: If, on the other hand, you are asked to cover a night wedding, you should plan accordingly. Though the low light at night may provide some technical challenges, the low light can give you a lot of freedom in letting your creativity flow free. Make the most of the natural light by using high ISO or a long exposure. If you need to add artificial light, use side lights and back lights to bring out interesting effects in the images. Covering a night Wedding requires a greater effort than day weddings but the images you capture are far better than any daytime wedding photography.