For this first article, I wanted to talk about a subject I like very much and which takes up a large part of my day; wedding photography. I love photography and I’m lucky enough these days to shoot those special days when couples wed. A wedding is a significant event, for the happy couple of course, but also for the photographer, believe me! So here are all my tips, accumulated through all the marriages I’ve shot, and you can put them into action if you’re just getting started.
Meet with and share ideas with the happy couple
This first tip might seem unnecessary, but it is a key step that will undoubtedly have an impact on the photographic results. For taking pictures of a wedding, there’s nothing like having the parties at ease in front of your camera. So don’t hesitate to discuss, exchange ideas, and plan the big day. You’ll want to run everything by them except your own creative genius!
I’m not a geek when it comes to equipment, as they say. I do like it, but it’s never been my absolute priority. Still, for such a big event, it is unthinkable to take pictures with bad equipment or to go into it without everything you need… Make sure you have good memory cards, and several of them, don’t forget the flash (and the batteries). The flash will be useful in churches or dark rooms, so make sure to charge your battery, bring along your tripod… All these little details will make a big difference.
My number one tip: don’t box yourself in with one focal distance. Try mixing things up so you can produce a comprehensive photo report and tell a beautiful story with several depths of field (tight, wide, etc.).
Technical Side of the Shot
On the big day you’ll need your technical knowledge. Even though you know what you’re doing, it’s always good to have a refresher course. Here are a few little tips which are good to keep in mind as you ready yourself for the wedding day.
- Pay attention to lighting in the church or in those dark mayor’s offices. Check on your settings and don’t forget the flash. Make sure you’ve got the right speed, so you don’t go with a speed that’s so slow your pictures will turn out blurry. Don’t hesitate to read and reread all the technical tips on the web and in books you can find. For me, it’s always helpful to brush up on my skills.
- Get yourself an external flash, or a cobra flash for those in the know… 😉 In other words this is an adjustable flash that you can add to your camera. Even though I’m not the biggest fan of the flash, you do need one, and you’ll see what a lifesaver it can be!
- For group photos, choose a nice spot without shadows, and check your settings, especially the aperture. F2.8 is sublime for portraits, but should never be used for group pictures, because they’ll end up all blurry!
- Photograph in RAW! That’s right, RAW will fill up your memory card in no time, but for post-processing, this is the format you have to have. It offers you more possibilities than JPG and sometimes lets you catch little glitches (overexposure, underexposure, color problems, etc.).
Camera angles for taking original pictures
Let’s move on to the part I like best! Creativity! Because although we enjoy technique, above everything else photography is a creative act, so let’s talk about original ideas so you can give your photos that something special.
Be careful not to let your creativity infringe upon your professionalism. Don’t forget those “traditional” photos the wedding party loves so much, including the exchange of rings, signatures, celebratory toasts, the reception, etc. Talk with the couple about what they would like and make a list you’ll bring with you, and that way you’ll be sure not to forget anything.
- Those group photos…in my mind, they’re the least fun part (from a photographic standpoint), but you have to do them, so let’s make it a happy and joyful moment! Let your creativity flow. Choose a nice spot and let yourself go! Suggest various and original poses for the group so you can move away from the traditional frozen pose. Get the party to jump, run around, hide behind bouquets, make faces, goof around, be themselves and be unique and you’ll have something special!
- The same for photos of the couple. Follow them as they stroll around and steal some of those special moments with your zoom. Have them hop, dance, laugh. Have a good time and try out some new ideas. Go ahead and get a preview before you start taking photos so you can come up with ideas that fit in well with the location.
- Bank on those stolen moments. There’s nothing like it for a wonderful photo spread and a thrilled wedded couple than capturing those splendid moments where children play, knowing looks are exchanged, a loving kiss is shared… Those touching little moments among guests that deserve to be preserved forever.
- Capture the details! Sometimes it’s that little detail that makes all the difference: a pair of shoes, a decorative touch, a quick bow tie adjustment…yes, a wedding is overflowing with special little details that can be the perfect subject of a beautiful picture. Seek them out!
- Play with angles, highlighted areas, and natural frames. Well that is what you might call my dada, my unique inspiration! Doors, locks, banisters, flowers in the foreground, the guests…use the decor, the locations, and the natural settings to create your unique photos.
After these modest tips, dear photography blogger who was once also that anxious beginner, you can also find lots of tips out on the web and in some very thoughtful books on the subject. More than anything else, make sure you practice, taking photos of your friends, at home, learn how to master your camera and its settings. The more you practice, the more comfortable you’ll be and your technique will work to support your creative instinct on the big day.
And don’t forget to have faith in yourself!
Blogger and photographer, Céline is never afraid to speak her mind or let her camera do the talking! She is passionate about imagery. She is a photographer, but she is also a writer, sharing her photography, her travels, and her favorite discoveries. She has a quirky penchant for kids, for photographic composition, travel, pastel photos, and oh so much more!
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