10 Tips for Amateur Wedding Photographers
Shoot in RAW
Many readers may feel that RAW is too time-consuming due to additional processing. However, a wedding is an example of when it can prove to be extremely useful. RAW allows for more control over the images after they are taken. RAW can be very helpful for wedding photographers who are faced with difficult lighting conditions that require them to adjust the exposure and white balance.
Show your photos at the reception
Digital photography has many great features. One of them is its ability to be instantly uploaded. I have seen many photographers bring a computer to the reception and upload photos earlier in the day. The slideshow can then be rotated during the evening. This adds an extra element of fun to the evening.
Take into account your background
Weddings are challenging because there are so many people around, which can affect your photos. For formal shots, it is important to plan ahead and find good backgrounds.
Ideal backgrounds should be free from clutter and have shaded areas that are not in direct sunlight. It’s unlikely that a great aunt will wander into the shot. Learn more about creating backgrounds.
Don’t discard your “mistakes”
Digital is tempting because you can check your images and delete any that don’t work right away. This can lead to you losing some of the most interesting and useful images. You can crop or manipulate images later to add more interest to your album.
Change your perspective
Be creative with your shots. Although most of the images will be taken in formal or normal poses, you can still have fun with your shots by shooting from different angles, such as down low, high up, and wide.
Photos of wedding groups
At every wedding that I have photographed, I tried to capture everyone in one shot. This is done by finding a spot where I can see everyone from high above me right after the ceremony. You might need a ladder, a balcony or even a roof to do this. You can include everyone’s face by getting up high, and it is possible to fit many people into one shot.
It is important to quickly get everyone to where you want them to be, and be ready to take the shot without waiting for everyone. The best way to get everyone there is to get the bride or groom and have some helpers to guide them. Learn how to take group photographs.
If you are shooting outdoors after a ceremony, or for posed shots only, it is a good idea to have your flash on hand to provide a fill flash. To avoid blowing out the shots, I like to turn down the flash a bit (a few stops). Fill flash is essential, especially in low-light or midday situations where there may be lots of shadow. Learn more about fill flash.
Continuous shooting mode
It’s very useful to be able to quickly capture a lot of images on a wedding day. So switch to continuous shooting mode with your camera and start using it. Sometimes the best shot is the one you take after the formal or posed shots when everyone is relaxed.
Expect the unexpected
Another piece of advice I received from someone on my wedding day was: “Things can go wrong, but these are the best parts of your day.”
Every wedding I have been a part of has had a problem. The best man cannot find his ring, it rains just before the ceremony ends, and the groom forgets to put up his fly. Or the flower girl decides she wants to sit in the middle of the aisle. Or the bride doesn’t know her vows.
These moments can be a bit overwhelming at times. These moments can make a day special and provide memories for the groom and bride. You can capture these moments and end up with fun images that really sum up the day.
The first wedding I ever photographed is the one where the groom and bride’s car collided with a tram while they were on their way to the park to take photos. The groom was stressed and in tears. After everyone had calmed down, the bride was in tears, the groom was stressed out. They were a favorite of everyone.
Weddings are all about celebration; they should also be fun. As a photographer, having fun is key to making people feel relaxed. Smile as the photographer is the best way for people to relax. Warning: My smiling strategy makes it difficult to photograph weddings with sore cheeks and jaws.