Thursday, September 9, 2010

CHAPTER NINE: Wedding Photography tips

So in the effort to keep some happy I am not going to go over the happy wedding. I decided instead to give some good advice for any want to be photographers out there that may want to do a wedding someday. Now, I am not the expert but I have done a few weddings and know how these things go.

The idea is to be invisible and to get in do the job and get out. Kind of like a spy or a hit-man. This will go into some detail and hopefully help someone out there.

1. Amount of photos. Well, 200-300 should do fine, if you know what you are doing this will give you all the shots you need and not take forever. Also think of the time you save everyone with the editing process, it is easier to go through 300 photos instead of 2000. Besides, anyone can take a camera and take 2000 pictures and accidentally get a few good ones. You should be able to take a few and get good ones, or just wait till you can to take on a wedding where someones one time event is in your hands.

2. Plan. Yes you should and must have a plan. If you do not have a wedding check sheet you are going to look and will be unprofessional. This sheet will tell you what the Bride wants, what shots she wants and when she wants them taken. Most weddings will come in two parts. Before pictures (The bride and groom not seeing each other) And after shots.

Before shots will consist of a 45-60 min time frame, again if you cannot do it in this time frame pick it up, the last thing you want to do is have everyone hate you after the wedding. You will go to the list and start with the groom as the boys will be ready first. Groom and the guys, then just guys, then guys and the girls, groom and girls, girls and guys and groom. So on like this and get one on one shots with groom with each of his party. Do this same thing in order with the bride when she is ready.

After shots will be a limited time frame. You have a waiting group of people that want to see the happy couple and want to eat. Give yourself 20-30 min, no more, if you cannot do this again, get a job at Wal Mart. This is the time to get the kissing one on one shots with bride and groom. Do this last! Have a plan and have the grandparents and all the family meet right after the I DO's even have them announce it as they leave. Take the whole group family and all and do the shots and peel them off so once they are done they can go. Wedding party next and get them all in and go down the list. Then they can go and entertain the guests and then get the two just them and the kissing junk. Guess what, you are done and everyone is happy, the rest of the shots you can get in and around the next two hours without having to make people stand around. There are lots of wedding sites with these lists and they have great contracts to build your own from as well.

3. After. As you do more weddings this process will come second nature. But in the beginning do all you can to make it happen or you will not get asked to do any more. Also, stick to your price, if you gave a quote stick with it and do it for that price. A Bride is emotionally charged and you do not want to take advantage of her. Now the fun part, editing. Go through and do your thing and get them the pictures when they come back from the honeymoon. You are on your way.

4. Dealing with others with cameras. I have been shadowed, followed, hovered, stalked and all that. This is part of the process, everyone will want to get a shot of the bride and so on. Deal with it. If you are confident in your work do not worry about it, most people will stay out of your way and remember you are getting paid they are not. Smile and ask if they got the shot, take the time to be nice and set up the pose or whatever and allow them to see how it works and take pictures as well. The only time I had this where it was a problem was in a dark place where the flash would mess up my flash is I shot one second after the other person. But outside of that just learn to get along and have fun.

5. How many cameras? I would say you need 2 shooters. It is really hard to shoot a wedding alone, ask any professional. With two one can pose and one can shoot. In the wedding one ca be u on stage and one down low, that way you get all the shots and see everything. The last thing you want is to miss a great shot like the bride running down after the kiss or a moment when he looks into her eye with that look ect... If you do not work with someone put a add in the paper or something, or train a friend. You will be the main but have a 2nd shooter just for the wedding itself and someone creative to pose if you want.

6. Go to everything. I go to wedding rehearsal, dinner, party, everything. This will give you so much more to work with and the wedding party will see you care. I once got tipped 300 bucks from the father because we took the time to be there and he was grateful.

Well hope this helps and go out there with a plan and have fun.


  1. it sounds like you should drop the pen and become a "expert" critic. i sense some insecurity.

  2. Lol... I think you missed the message, this is supposed to help and give some real outlines to do a wedding in a proper way. I fear that the digital age has made many "Photographers" That never would make it with film. You could not take 2000 pictures and hope some are good, you had to be good but taking pictures is not enough in a wedding, you have to have some people skills and manage.

    The "Expert" critic never does... he sits on the sidelines and watches, I am not that. If you know me you would know that, but that is understandable, maybe the shoe fit. If this advice is followed it will help and make you a better photographer... so take what you will...