Wedding photography involves capturing the most memorable moments of a wedding celebration using techniques from documentary photography and portrait photography to capture special moments featuring the bride and groom, their family members, the bridesmaids, groomsmen, and other guests.
This type of photography may also include shooting the events leading up to the wedding ceremony. Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned professional here are five tips to help guide you to cover the big day.
Preparing for the big day
Test out and familiarize yourself well with your camera gear, including your camera settings, lenses, and shooting modes. While a fast shutter speed is great for capturing fun party moments at the wedding reception, a long shutter speed works best for still, pre-wedding portraits. A wide-angle lens is great for group shots, but a prime lens with a fixed focal length is a better option for that high-resolution shot of the wedding couple at the altar.
Understanding the best settings and lenses for each shot allows you to capture the best quality images you can when shooting weddings. A second photographer who can simultaneously capture alternative angles of your shots and all the smaller, candid moments, will give you enough time to shoot the significant, emotional events. This will also give you a wider range of photo options to choose from during post-processing.
Arriving at the Location
Prepare yourself for all the possibilities by bringing extra batteries, and memory cards, finding additional locations to shoot the fun wedding party photos, and seating arrangements, and requesting a list of attendees, to be familiar with all of the attendees that you will need to photograph for the wedding album. Visit the venue beforehand to survey the layout and lighting opportunities.
This will also help you prepare for any potential obstacles like poor lighting or an obstructive landscape you may face on the big day. If it’s a destination wedding, arrive a day or two earlier to give yourself time to check out the location and meet the team at the wedding venue.
During the Wedding Ceremony
Refer to the shot – list you have prepared beforehand throughout the ceremony to ensure that you have captured all the important shots. The list below should help.
- Groom’s first look at the bride in her wedding dress
- Bridal party preparing for the wedding
- Sweet emotional moments with parents and family
- Flower girl walking down the aisle
- Bride walking down the aisle
- Cake-cutting ceremony
- Emotions and tenderness during the vows
- The newlyweds’ first kiss.
- Post-ceremony exit
- Couple portraits
- Dances, rituals, traditions, and speeches
- Group pictures of the people important to your couple
- Any other shots that the couple and their family might find important
Take a Prominent Position and Predict Moments
To capture an intimate moment between the bride and groom on the dance floor, find a space that gives you the best angle to click your photos without being intrusive. Predicting moments is necessary for positioning. Think about being ahead of the moment and plan where you need to be for the shot that is going to happen. It is necessary for you to survey the venue before the wedding.
For instance, some churches have entry restrictions for certain areas during the ceremony which might require a longer lens and a change in your plan. You may not be able to capture the bride walking down the aisle from both front and back. Get realistic and prioritize.
Choose to accept your limitations and reconfigure your expectations for yourself. Since you can’t be everywhere at a time, try to prioritize quality over quantity. A front shot will be more important than a back one. Or else take the help of a second photographer.
Strategies to Position Yourself
- Anticipate the moment before it happens such as: The bride is going to walk down the aisle.
- Position yourself ahead of the moment such as: You are in the aisle near the front so you can capture her as she is walking.
- Think ahead to the next moment and where you’ll need to be such as: The groom is smiling or crying when the dad is going to hand off his daughter, so you need to turn, step back two paces, and capture that.
Shooting the Details
Be attentive and watch at all times for minor details. Ignore distractions that may make you miss out on capturing a memorable moment. Detail shots can help you in scene-setting and storytelling. Couples plan every intricate detail such as invitations, flowers,centerpieces, jewelry, shoes, and wedding cake.
But time has to be divided wisely between shooting tender people’s moments and the picturesque details. Here is how you may plan when to shoot the details.
- Dressing up Details: If you know dressing up details is important to the bride, shoot them right away. If you know that they aren’t as important to her, focus on shooting the details in an overall image composition as a storytelling element, instead. For example, the dress hung in the background while mom and daughter got their makeup done.
- Ceremony Details: There is always a buffer time between shooting the bridal couple and the start of the ceremony. While the couple freshens up you or your assistant can shoot the details.
- Reception Details: Wedding planners usually keep the reception area cordoned off during the cocktail hour. You can take this opportunity to shoot the details after you have taken the family pictures, and a second photographer can shoot the candid moments of the cocktail hour.
- Different Angles: Use different angles with creative ways to capture a wondrous memorable moment, besides the classic poses. Taking multiple shots from different perspectives can give you memorable candid images and a wider choice at the editing table.
At the Editing Table
Having a close family member at the editing table always helps to whittle down the best of images for the wedding album. But while taking their opinion into account, remember that you are the pro and know what is best. Downloading and using Lightroom Presets, will enable you to improve and style your photos in just a few clicks.
You can use them to correct lighting, set a colour motif, and enhance the overall mood. They are available in different styles- some imparting mild tones to the images while others reinforce them for a better definition. Use your creativity to experiment with the presets with complexly tinted tones.
Create a signature look in all your photos to establish your own brand as a wedding photographer by applying the tones throughout your shots. Here are a few presets to style your wedding photographs.
- Elegant Wedding: This is ideal for both indoor and outdoor wedding photos giving them a detailed look with bright and soft tones. It makes the photos look bright and vivid by enhancing the lighting and tones. Its light matte finish matches the overall feel of its conservative yet unique aesthetics, and can be used as an Instagram preset.
- Boho Wedding: Portraits? Outdoors? Garden Scenes? Diffused Lighting? Not a problem with this preset imparting warm brown and soft matte style to your images setting a dramatic, emotional, motif!Its warm browns complement the skin tones and the muted tones add a gentle look and feel. It draws out expressions very well.
- Bright Wedding: This preset’s bright, soft, warm and vivid colours make it versatile enough to be used on all wedding and engagement photos. You can use it to correct the lighting and emphasize the colours. Since it doesn’t alter the colours much, it helps retain a natural look.
- Retro Wedding: It imparts sepia, brown monochrome and balanced tones helping you achieve a timeless look on all wedding and engagement photos. It converts any image into rich sepia, with deep and well-defined tones, adding a vintage film charm to your shots.
- Exotic Wedding: If you are covering a destination or outdoor wedding, this preset vibrant warm hues and a sunny tropical feel are perfect for your photographs.It beautifully captures the magical, breath-taking, look of destination weddings set against tropical scenery.
- Wedding Smiles: This preset is great for outdoor scenes, wedding and engagement Portraits. It sets a dramatic atmosphere by intensifying tones and cooling colour temperature. It is darker than most wedding presets but also more defined. It is great on portraits especially when emphasizing the expressions and emotions. You can create a bolder look, with this wedding preset.
- Warm All Over: It is ideal for portraits, wedding and engagement photos because of its expressive tones. Even without colour, it can highlight the couple’s features and draw out the atmosphere of the occasion. This is all because of its complex warm tones and balanced contrasts.
- 10 Professional Wedding Presets: This is the ultimate wedding preset collection for wedding photographers. These are available for both Lightroom Mobile and Desktop in various styles and aesthetics. It imparts stunningly defined tones, and a grand, dramatic, atmosphere to your images. It has been created by a professional photographer, for the photographers.