My guest blogger, Michelle from Kiddy Kats Photography, shares some tips for the amateur wedding photographer.
Weddings are one of the biggest events for a couple. It marks the beginning of their married life and as a photographer, it is your task to capture the most special moments. And it doesn’t matter whether you’re a professional or an amateur. If you are asked to shoot the wedding and you’re accepted, then you have to make sure that you can deliver. Who knows, this could be the start of your successful wedding photography business, so make it count!Now, we understand that shooting weddings are challenging even for those who have been doing it for years. It involves every type of photography from still life to action, and even landscape photography. Not to mention other couples asking for underwater photo sessions! Aside from the technique and knowledge of photography, you also have to be alert and quick on your feet if you want to capture those candid moments.
You also have to consider that just about anything can happen and things can quickly go wrong. If you’re not prepared, you may miss some of the highlights of the event. So to help you, here’s a list of our top tips for amateur photographers who want to ace their first wedding shoot. Just a heads up, we’re not going to talk about anything technical.
Top 5 Tips for Amateur Wedding Shooters
1. Prepare your shot list
One of the best techniques that have worked for us over the years is to prepare a “Shot List”. This means asking the couple beforehand to think of the shots they would love you to capture. Then compile this with your must-have list and check them off as you go during the actual wedding day.
Having a list of shots you need to capture is extremely important so you won’t forget anything or anyone. This is especially useful when it comes to group shots where the bride or group poses together with their friends and families.
2. Prepare the right gear
If you have good gear, you have a higher chance to capture the best wedding photos. However, since you’re just beginning, it’s understandable that you won’t have everything a professional photographer has. But you do need the basics. For us, this includes two cameras with different lenses.
A camera with a longer lens (prime or zoom) allows you to capture moments from afar without being obtrusive. Let’s face it, getting too close to the bride while she’s walking down the aisle isn’t a pretty sight! Plus, this will disrupt what should have been a meaningful moment for the bride. Aside from a longer lens, you need a camera with a wide-angle lens. This will allow you to take great candid moments including those with a group of people, especially while the bride and groom are preparing for the ceremony.
3. Scout the location
If it’s possible, try to visit the location where the wedding will be held. This will help you know where best to position yourself to take certain photos. Ask if there are areas that you are not allowed to set foot in, especially when the wedding is at a church or chapel.
Visiting the location will also give you an idea of how lights will come to play. As a photographer, lighting is the most important element. So having time to see and try different settings for your ISO, shutter speed, and aperture can help you find the perfect combination for the best photos.
4. Don’t forget the little details
During weddings, it’s easy to neglect the little things. But as the photographer, this shouldn’t be the case. The couple has spent a lot of time, effort, and money on planning every detail of their wedding. So make sure to take a photo of everything. Capture the rings, flowers, menus, shoes, watches, the back of the wedding dress, the veil, etc.
5. Set expectations
Before the wedding, talk to the couple and show them some of your work. Tell them about your style and create realistic expectations. Find out how many shots they want, what are they trying to achieve, and what they expect from you. Also, if you are charging them for your services, what’s your agreement for the price and what’s included? Make sure to settle all these things to avoid problems down the road.
Our last and final tip is to relax and just have fun with it. A wedding is a celebration. Thus, it’s supposed to be happy. Don’t worry too much and trust in your skills. Worrying will reflect in your face and with every worried photographer comes an uncomfortable bride, groom, and guests - which results in horrible pictures! So loosen up, smile, and engage with your subjects. The more fun you’re having as the photographer, the more natural your subjects will be and you will achieve better results!
Natural family photographs are a great resource to study, such as those from baby photographer Kiddy Kats Photography. There is a skill in capturing natural, fun moments and also a skill in making it look effortless!
Commonwealth Registered Marriage Celebrant
Member of the Association of Civil Marriage Celebrants Victoria (ACMCV)
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