Wedding photography is such a huge business and a very profitable one, too.
Not all couples can afford the top wedding photographers, and some prefer to have one of their friends immortalize the occasion instead of having a stranger around.
If you are a beginner in wedding photography or if you are the friend of somebody who’s getting married, keep calm and read on! We have some tips to make your task easier.
1. Check your equipment
Before leaving for the wedding, double-check that everything you need is in your camera bag: fresh batteries, memory cards, flash and so on. And just in case, bring spares of everything.
TIP: If you have an extra camera body, lenses and a flash, bring those, too. You know accidents happen all the time…
2. Discuss details beforehand
Talking details during the wedding is not a great idea. Take the time to have a chat with the couple beforehand, attend rehearsals and request a full program of the event. Talking with the ceremony officiant is good practice, too.
TIP: Some churches or other venues expect you to follow a special etiquette, but without proper preparation, you may do something wrong without even knowing.
3. Be quick and discreet
When you are shooting photos at a wedding, you need to be as invisible as possible (unlike this photographer).
You absolutely don’t want to disrupt the ceremony with your noisy shutter or stand in the wrong place at the wrong time (like this photographer).
TIP: Be considerate at all times. Don’t stand too close to the action. If you do get close, stand back as soon as you can.
4. Know which lenses to use
Fast lenses will make your task much easier, especially in difficult lighting situations.
TIP: Lenses like 35mm, 50mm and 85mm are standard prime lenses that will work very well. You can get a 50mm f/1.4 lens quite cheaply, and a 50mm f/1.8 is even cheaper.
The 50mm is a very versatile lens, good for portraits and shooting groups of people. If you can only bring one lens, the 50mm is the one you want.
If you want to bring a zoom lens instead of several different ones, try to stick to f/2.8 or faster, especially for shooting indoors.
5. Make your camera features your best friend
Prosumer and professional cameras have many features that will really come in handy when shooting a wedding.
Manual focus is the best way of focus, but unless you are well acquainted with it, you can still rely on autofocus. Some autofocus options, such as AI Servo or Continuous Focus, will be real lifesavers with subjects in movement.
Many cameras also have a face recognition option to ensure the face of your subject will be in focus. Enabling your camera’s burst mode, shooting several pictures by pressing the shutter only once, also is a useful trick to get sharp photos in low light or in situations where action is moving fast.
TIP: Study the camera manual – it will help you immensely.
6. Know where and when to use flash
You should use flash only if the circumstance justifies it (for example, in very dark environments like churches or other interiors).
Be careful, though. Flash can be invasive and ruin the solemnity of the moment, so try to avoid it by using a faster lens or by increasing the ISO value.
TIP: If the wedding is taking place outdoors in daylight, it’s best to use natural light and leave the flash in your camera bag.
Say 'I Do' to great photos!
You can’t turn into a professional wedding photographer overnight, not even with the help of good equipment and these basic tips. If your shots aren’t perfect, you can always make little touch-ups after they are taken.
The most important thing is not to get too nervous. Try to have fun while taking photos at the wedding, and remember a relaxed and positive attitude is always the most productive one.