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Wedding Photography Guide for Beginners

Last Updated on December 6, 2020 by PixelPluck

Wedding Photography is one of the most popular photography genres for professionals. It includes portraits, events as well as creative photography on and off the location. Amateur or Beginner photographers who want to start with wedding photography can refer to this simple guide from an expert. Read Wedding Photography Guide for Beginners.

Wedding Photography Guide for Beginners

Shooting weddings is a demanding task to undertake. You only get one chance at it, and so there’s no room for mistakes. The wedding day is a very special day for the couple. The photographs you shoot will be stored as memories for generations. Prepare and practice ahead of time because the last thing you want to do is mess it up. In this blog article, find tips and insights compiled into this Wedding Photography Guide.

If you’ve never shot a wedding before then it’s important to research everything ahead of time. Here are a few pointers to get you started in this Wedding Photography Guide for Beginners.

  1. Meet the Couple
    The first step before you start planning anything is to meet up with the couple. Talk about their requirements and any special requests, such as if you can use flash in the ceremony and if there are particular areas they don’t want you shooting from.
  2. Write a List
    This step is an important one that you need to plan in advance and make sure you don’t skip it. Take some time to sit down with the couple and write a list of some key guests they want shots of and who to include in the group shots. If you don’t do this then you risk leaving out some key family members. The couple won’t be impressed if they receive their photos and notice that for example, you haven’t included their grandparents in any of the shots.
  3. Check Out the Locations
    I’d highly recommend checking out the locations with the couple beforehand. Choose a few spots to shoot in so on the day both you and the couple will know what to expect and this will help to ease some tension. While you’re there it’s a good idea to take some test shots in different spots and practice a few poses and get the couple’s input on this. Read how to get the best out of ordinary locations.
  4. Practice Before the Event
    Practicing before the event is key for a successful shoot. If all you do is read about it without any practical experience shooting people then you’ll be setting yourself up for failure. 
    If you’ve been asked to shoot a wedding then chances are you have a fair amount of experience. As a beginner photographer, you’ve at some point taken photos of people. An easy way to practice this is by photographing your friends or family. Perhaps you could take them to the wedding locations for assistance.
  5. Preparation is Key
    There’s nothing worse than not knowing where you need to be and when. Avoid this make sure to keep a schedule of the day on hand and get this in advance if possible. One important thing to plan, especially for the ceremony is the positions you’re going to shoot from. Decide how you’re going to move between these positions, so make sure to scout out the inside of the building beforehand. A good time to do all this is at the wedding rehearsals, which the couple will probably be happy for you to attend.
  6. Take a Second Photographer
    Take a second photographer or request the couple to find one. It can be a huge help and will take a lot of the pressure off you. For example, If your photos don’t all come out well or you miss some shots then there’s a good chance your backup photographer has these shots. Another benefit is you could entrust them to shoot only the guests. You can focus on shooting the bride and groom.
  7. Request an Event Assistant
    If you’re not familiar with the couple’s family and guests then it can be difficult. Trying to round them up for group shots then it is a good idea to get the couple to choose one of their family members to do this.
  8. A Photo Checklist
    It’s important to make a list of key events or subjects that the couple will expect photos of. Especially if you don’t have experience in shooting weddings. It’s a good idea to get the couple’s input on this. A few key events which should be on your list include cultural customs, walking down the aisle, exchanging garlands & rings, cutting the wedding cake, and the dance. But don’t forget to shoot the small details such as close-ups, flower bouquets, rings, and the wedding dress.
  9. Have a Backup Plan
    The weather on the day can ruin all your preparation if you don’t have a backup plan. Every photographer dreads facing rain on the wedding day. You can use this to your advantage and get some very dramatic photos if you plan in advance.
Wedding Photography Guide for Beginners

Wedding Photography in Bad Weather

Prepare Your Gear
There are a few gear essentials you’ll need, including a backup of your gear in the event something breaks or you run out of battery or memory card space for example. Not everyone can afford to buy all of this though, so a couple of other options are finding a friend that has some kit you can use or rent it.

Here are a few tips to get the most out of bad weather:

  • Include some props, for example, you could give the couple a black or white umbrella to add some contrast.
  • Positioning the couple in front of a dark, moody sky can give impressive results.
  • If the ground is muddy and soft you don’t want your bride’s heels sinking into the ground, although this isn’t really your responsibility it’s a good idea to warn them ahead of time to take a spare pair of shoes.
  • You might need some alternative locations to shoot in, so find these beforehand and perhaps ask the venue owners if they have any good sheltered spots or rooms you can use.

Gear Requirement for Wedding Photography

Here’s some of the basic photography gear you’ll need:

  • A good camera, preferably a good DSLR. Low light performance is important. Fullframe camera like Nikon D850 or Canon 5D Mark IV is the preferred choice for professional wedding photographers.
  • Choice of lenses for different subjects. Read about the best lenses to upgrade from kit lens here.
  • Camera bag so you have your gear with you at all times and for easy access. Read about the best DSLR backpacks.
  • Flashgun with a diffuser for the ceremony and indoor shots. Read all about Speedlites here.
  • Memory cards with lots of storage.
  • Some spare batteries.
  • A sturdy tripod is a useful addition, but you can probably do without it if it’s a dynamic event.

Standard Practices in Wedding Photography

  • Don’t be intrusive or get in the couple’s way, but try to shoot from lots of different angles.
  • Check your photos for people blinking and don’t place anyone in a position so they’re squinting in bright sunlight.
  • Eye contact with the camera is important and you’ll find that in a lot of your shots at least one person will get distracted and look away from the camera.
  • Take as many shots as you can because the more you have, the greater the chance you’ll have a good one, and the more you’ll have to choose from.

Author: Jake Turner is a photographer with over 10 years of experience in many genres of photography.

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One comment

  1. Wedding Photographer

    Thank you so much jake turner for sharing this really helpful tips with Beginners of our industry as they may get about this industry more powerfully and also be ready for the problems and this may decrease their chances of mistakes.

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