Photography is one of the most creative fields of art, and it takes years to learn and master the craft. And when it comes to wedding photography, the difficulty bar rises a few more inches.
Around 94% of couples keep “hiring a wedding photographer” as a top priority on their to-do list. So, the industry has immense possibilities. If you are a budding wedding photographer, the below hacks will help you enhance your skills and get a headstart in your career. However, if you are a pro, you can still discover some tricks you might not be aware of.
Table of Contents
- Prepare a Checklist
- Scout the Location
- Capture the Light and Humorous Moments
- Make Use of Natural Lighting
- Don’t Miss the Details
- Consider Seconds
- Get Extra Camera and Lens
- Get to Know the Couple
- Narrate a Story with Your Shots
- Be Bold but Don’t Intrude
- Always Shoot in RAW
- In a Nutshell
Prepare a Checklist
A wedding is a series of several activities, and there is a high chance you will miss a few of them if you do not prepare a checklist beforehand. So, the first hack to cracking wedding photography is listing down every major wedding event. You can also contact your client to clarify that you are not missing anything. Here’s what your checklist might look like:
- Getting Ready
- Bride and Groom’s Dresses
- First Looks
- The Rings
- Speech Shots
- Empty Hall Shots
- Family Shots
- Reception Shots
- The Flowers
- Band Shots (if any)
- Dance Shots
- The Menu
- Farewell Shots
There can be many other wedding moments, and you want to capture as much as you can.
Scout the Location
You will get to know the lighting condition of the place and how to tactfully make the most out of it. You can also try visiting the location with the couple before the wedding and take a few test shots.
Capture the Light and Humorous Moments
More than the posed shots, the candid ones make for the best wedding shots. Capture the moments that highlight love, connection, fun, and laughter. Look out for tight hugs, spontaneous laughter, and other moments of joy and liveliness. These shots will add vibrance to the entire series.
Make Use of Natural Lighting
Since a wedding does not involve any studio setting, you have to make use of natural lighting and unravel your creative skills. It would be better to visit the location around sunset before the wedding day. Sunset shots are among the best pictures you can take of a wedding, and preparing beforehand will help you figure out the best angles for the day shots.
Don’t Miss the Details
Details make for the best photographs and are all the more important in wedding shots. At a wedding, it becomes challenging to crack the details as everything is raw and unplanned. So, you’ve to develop an eye for what appears important and unique. Look for things and moments that are distinct, significant, and sentimental, and take single shots of those.
Having a second photographer can be of immense help. That way, you can divide the responsibilities between yourselves and cover more moments. You don’t have to run around during the wedding to capture everything on your own.
You can even split categories, for example, one of you can get the formal shots, and the other can take care of the candid ones. It is imperative to understand that wedding videography is quite different from other photography genres like construction videography, which you can find out more here. So, while planning the shots, these aspects have to be kept in mind.
Get Extra Camera and Lens
You might be just starting out as a wedding photographer and not have a whole pack of gear, but you cannot miss the essentials when it comes to successfully shooting a wedding. Beg, borrow, steal, do anything but make sure you have an extra camera and a different lens than the one you have.
Use a wide-angle lens as it’s a great option for capturing candid shots in limited spaces. Also, have a zoom lens, maybe a 55-200 or 70-300, so that you can get the close-up and faraway shots without having to switch between the two cameras.
Get to Know the Couple
Your clients will quite naturally have high hopes for their wedding photographs, so you need to spend some time to know them and understand their needs and expectations of you as their photographer. Discovering these requirements will help you better plan your shots and fulfill their expectations. Also, ask them about the family members and friends most important to them so that you can include them in the list of “must-have” shots.
Narrate a Story with Your Shots
Your wedding shots shouldn’t just be a series of images fit together in an album; they should subtly visually narrate the whole wedding story. You have to put a great deal of thought before the wedding to meticulously plan and prepare so that you can bring your shots to life.
Give a rhythm to the wedding story by using different shots such as establishment shots, conversation shots, relationship shots, and emotionally focused shots. Try surfacing the backstory of the couple in your images and make them unique with your signature photo style.
Be Bold but Don’t Intrude
Being shy and timid won’t get mind-boggling wedding shots, so you need to be bold to capture those special moments. However, don’t do anything that disrupts the ceremony. Try moving around to get different perspectives and position yourself right. During the formal shots, be the director of the show and ask the couple and others to pose as you want. Click your heart out and make the most out of it.
Always Shoot in RAW
Never make the mistake of shooting your images in JPGs or other formats; always choose RAW for wedding photography or, for that matter, any kind of photography. RAW gives you much more flexibility during post-processing to manipulate the different aspects of your shots.
At weddings, you do not get much time to plan your shots, and you just click, click, click. That way, when you look at your shots later, you might find some important shots have messed up due to bad exposure or white balance. Shooting in RAW will let you take care of all those during post-processing.
In a Nutshell
“When you have to shoot, shoot. Don’t talk.” – the quote accurately defines wedding photography. Just get all the rules right, set your camera, and click your heart out. The more you click, the more chances that you will get “the wedding shot.”