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60 Wedding photography tips for beginners and pros

When you have a wedding coming up, you want to make sure you have the best wedding photos for the happy couple to look back on.

But what are some of the top wedding photography tips out there to ensure you don’t miss a single moment? Let’s find out!

When it comes down good wedding photography, you need to think about three separate categories. You don’t only take photographs during the ceremony, you take them before and after the ceremony as well.

Here are some of the kinds of tips you’ll pick up:

  • What pictures you MUST get
  • How to best compose your photos
  • Preparation tips before the event
  • Good communication for a satisfactory experience

1) Tell A Story

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Every wedding tells a story, so that story must be reflected in the photos you take of the wedding day. To ensure you tell the full story of the wedding day, make sure you shoot all the following things. When you create your shot list, make sure you include a shot of the invitation, the exterior of the wedding venue and other small details. So, at the end, you can use your shot list to create a story of the entire day.

2) Get the First Look Shot

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One of the shots you absolutely need to add to your shot list is the first look shot. At one point before or during the ceremony, the groom will see the bride for the first time in her wedding dress. Evidently, this is a shot you can’t miss and is considered as a favorite of many wedding photographers.

3) Get Nature Shots

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Photography for weddings can take place in the great outdoors. Many brides and grooms love taking their wedding photos with a beautiful natural environment all around them. There is no limit to what you can use either as a setting, this ranges from the beach to some grassy meadows. It all comes down to where the bride and groom feel most comfortable. For the best wedding photography in the outdoors, it is recommended to speak with the bride and groom about the setting beforehand.

4) Capture The First Dance

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One of the most important moments to capture as a wedding photographer is the first dance. While some keep their first dance minimal, other have something quite elaborate for their wedding day. Either way, if you are the wedding photographer on duty, make sure you have a good view of the bride and groom during this special moment.

Related:

  • Learn the difference between lustre and glossy prints

5) Take An Umbrella

Even if a wedding has been planned meticulously for months, you can never predict the weather. Evidently, wedding photography can become affected because of the weather conditions. Therefore, good wedding photographers will always have a black or a white umbrella on them without any distinguishable markings. Doing so enables you to still take wedding photos of the bride and groom in the outdoors, without the weather ruining everything.

6) Make Sure The Bride Wears Waterproof Makeup

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Most brides wear waterproof makeup, especially when you consider the amount of crying that can happen during every wedding. Still, it does not hurt to remind the bride of waterproof makeup, especially if photography for wedding invitations takes place before the actual event.

7) Get Advice From An Experienced Wedding Photographer

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You may be getting a lot of good tips for wedding photography today, but nothing beats experience. If you want the best tips money can buy, it does not hurt to get the advice from an experienced wedding photographer friend or mentor.

8) Prepare Your Equipment

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As a wedding photographer, you will be taking photos inside and outside the venue; this means that your photo equipment must be highly adaptable. So, one of our best photography tips is to always take a spare camera and accessories. By doing so, you are prepared if something should go wrong.

9) Purchase The Right Accessories

One of our most important wedding photography tips is to obtain the right accessories. There are some accessories you definitely need for professional wedding photography; this includes but is not limited to a spare camera, medium zoom lens, telephoto lens, an external flash, memory cards, spare batteries, and lens cleaning equipment. While there are more accessories we could recommend in this overview of wedding photography tips, these are by far the most important.

10) Get Some Help

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Once you notice the amount of equipment you need as a wedding photographer, you will also notice that it is next to impossible to carry it all around yourself. In fact, a professional wedding photographer often ensures some help is available, especially to carry all the equipment around when the wedding photos are being taken.

11) Try Multiple Locations

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Sometimes, the happy couple would like photographs in various locations, not just photographs from during the big day. So, another one of our valuable wedding photography tips is to have a photoshoot with the bride and groom in various locations outside the wedding.

12) Get The Shot Of All First Moments

If you are photographing your first wedding, it is important to be familiar with all the first moments. There first moments do not only include the first kiss and the first dance, there are individual first moments for the bride and groom individually. So, make sure you capture all those moments if you are the wedding photographer.

13) Look For Guest Reactions

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Every wedding contains a bunch of group shots as well. One of the group shots are the reactions of the guests to the bride and groom. Evidently, you cannot shoot moments of the bride and groom and the reactions of the guests simultaneously. This is why you need a helper to take these particular group shots on the wedding. We already mentioned the importance of a helper in this overview of wedding photography tips, but the most important reason is undoubtedly to shoot these group shots.

14) Get Familiar With The Guests

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The happy couple is bound to have some guests they think are more important than others. So, it is vital that you include these guests more often in group photos. In order to get the shot the happy couple wants, it is important to get familiar with the guests beforehand as a wedding photographer.

15) Get Enough Photos Of Friends For The Wedding Album

In our wedding photography tips, you’ve already noticed that we briefly mentioned the importance of knowing guests and that group photos are just as important. As a wedding photographer, it is also important to get the shot of the bride and her best friend, or the groom and his best friend. Therefore, ensure these photographs are on the wedding day list too.

16) Save Time With Group Shots

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Group photos can save you some valuable time. After all, a wedding photographer cannot keep an eye on everyone of the wedding party at all times. To ensure the wedding day captures everyone, you can schedule strategic wedding photographs shortly before or after the ceremony.

17) Search For Smiles

Another one of our valuable wedding photography tips is to find smiles. The happy couple wants to look back to their wedding day and see those smiling faces. So, when you see a smile, it is time to get your shot.

18) Make A Shot List Before The Event

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All the wedding photography tips in the world are not enough if you do not have a shot list before the event takes place. A professional wedding photographer has to take numerous shots and you don’t want to miss anything during the wedding day. So, writing down the shots you absolutely need to get beforehand is one of the most important wedding photography tips we can give you.

19) Nominate One Of The Family Members

When you need to take photographs of the bride, groom and all the family members around them, you want to ensure everyone is positioned correctly. Therefore, it is time to get a family member to help you. A family member ensures nothing will go wrong by positioning all the relatives in the right manner. That way, you won’t have any sour faces captured on camera.

20) Visit Locations Beforehand

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Another one of best wedding photography tips is to scout the locations where you will be shouting. It is common tip provided by professional wedding photographers, and it is not difficult to see why. Being familiar with the location in question allows you to get familiar with the best spots to take photographs.

Granted, this may be tough if you have a busy schedule, but if you can take some time out, it definitely makes a big difference.

21) Check Your Memory Cards

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Your equipment must be impeccable on the wedding day. You must pay particular attention to your accessories too, including memory cards. If you often do wedding photography, there might be some photographs left from a previous wedding.

So, make sure there is enough room on your camera and erase the existing photos on your memory cards before you leave. While it may look as one of the most straightforward and best wedding photography tips, it is one of the most important wedding photography tips for any wedding shoot.

22) Talk To The Happy Couple

The bride, groom and even relatives will have some expectations of the wedding shoots. Therefore, another one of our best wedding photography tips is to speak to the happy couple before you take photos.

The couple may have a preference for a certain theme or may want something included in their photos. If you know about these beforehand, you can make sure they are incorporated in photos of the bride, groom, friends and family.

23) Be Aware Of Camera Sound!

As a professional wedding photographer, you do not want to disturb the ceremony in any shape or form. Unfortunately, this does happen a lot, even with experienced photographers. So, one of the most important wedding photography tips is never to disturb the ceremony.

Keep the sound from your camera to an absolute minimum. After all, nothing is more annoying than the sounds of a shooting camera in the middle of a speech, the first kiss, or other vital moments.

Also, if you use a drone to shoot video, the sound will be VERY LOUD!

24) Remember to Focus On The Details

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Most wedding photographers have no problems taking the vital shots of the bride and groom, or the family for that matter. However, there are many that actually forget to take detail photographers during their first wedding shoot. The rings, the bridal bouquet, the invitation. They are all potential photos during your first wedding shoot.

25) Use Different Cameras

Having more than one camera for wedding photography can be incredibly advantageous. After all, it helps you to implement all those wedding photography tips we have already provided you with. For example, if you have one camera with a wide angle lens and another with a longer lens, you will be able to take all the desired photos during your first wedding shoot.

26) Don’t Be Shy

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Being shy and putting yourself in a corner will not enable you to take photos that will be talked about for years. For your first wedding photography assignment, it is important to overcome shyness and be a little bolder. Of course, being bold with wedding photography does not mean being intrusive.

27) Take advantage of and be aware of light diffusion

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A wedding shoot can benefit greatly from light diffusions, especially in environments where there is low light. For example, if you use a flash in a darker environment, it could cause a coloured light to bounce off from an object. So, one of the most valuable photography tips we can give you is to master light diffusion before you attempt wedding photography.

28) RAW Wedding Photography

Shooting in RAW may be daunting for many new wedding photographers, but it should be a consideration nonetheless. In fact, RAW shots can be be manipulated far more than any other because of their extra processing time. As you may have guessed already, RAW photographs also pose a solution to those tricky lighting situations you can encounter at wedding venues.

29) Check Your Backgrounds

One of the problems that gets new photographers every time is a poor background. The subject may be shot perfectly, but the background may be clashing. As a photographer, it is important to be aware of the background at all times; this includes the background during the actual ceremony. While you cannot choose your surroundings as a photographer, you can make strategic decisions when it comes to shooting.

30) Don’t Delete Photographs During Shooting

Some photographs have a poor habit of deleting photographs they aren’t happy with during the ceremony or party. Evidently, this is not a good idea. Some photographs may appear like they don’t work shortly after you capture them. However, on second glance, they may work after all. So, take enough memory cards and never delete photographs on the day.

31) Try A Different Perspective

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Getting unique wedding photography is often a case of experimenting with different perspectives. Every time you take a photograph of the bride or groom in a normal position, you should try a different perspective too. Whether it is shooting from up high or down low. There is always a unique way to capture unforgettable moments that become even more unforgettable through the right angle.

32) Use The Fill Flash

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When it comes to lighting, a lot of things can go wrong. To counter some of these common lighting mistakes, you must use the fill flash during wedding photography. Many wedding photographers will tell you that the fill flash is extremely useful for environments with plenty of background lighting or midday wedding shoots.

33) Use Continuous Shooting Mode

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Using the continuous shooting mode can be very advantageous for wedding photographers. In fact, using continuous shooting mode in wedding photography enables you to get more relaxed photographs. Think about it, the formal photograph you capture first is often less relaxed, while the second or third from a continuous shooting mode looks a whole lot better and calmer.

34) Have Some Fun With It

Not everyone likes to have their picture taken, especially by someone who they do not really know. Having fun with your wedding photography is the perfect way to calm down those nervous subject.

As the photographer, don’t forget to smile and be friendly to the people in your environment. This will put the people around you more at ease when you take photos. Of course, don’t forget to shoot in continuous shooting mode for more relaxed photos.

35) Have a contract and put everything in writing

 

It is important to have a contract in place if you are the photographer for a wedding. Wedding photography can envelop many things, so having a contract that describes your wedding photography services in great details ensures you are covered as a photographer.

36) Get The Wedding Itinerary

To ensure your wedding photography efforts go without a hitch, you must have the itinerary for the wedding. Since wedding photography is fast-paced, as you don’t want to miss anything, a wedding itinerary ensures you get all the essential shots. It also ensures you are in the right place at the right time, so be sure to familiarise yourself with the goings on for the wedding day.

37) Consider Props

While not every photographer does so, there are some advantages to using props for some of your shots. Using props enables you to capture more creative surroundings, and give the happy couple more unique photos.

Of course, it is also a good idea to discuss the use of proper with the happy couple beforehand. After all, the couple may have certain hobbies that can be incorporated in the wedding photos.

38) Discuss Wedding Shots With The Couple

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Some couples prefer wedding shots to be more formal, while others prefer their wedding photos to be more relaxed. Since couples can have different expectations where photography is concerned, it is advantageous for the photographer to speak to the couple before the happy occasion.

Talk to the couple about the photographs you want to shoot and ask them for their personal input. Doing so ensures that you capture the right shots as a photographer, but also ensures that the couple will be very happy with the results afterwards.

39) Consider offering services for boudoir shoots

The boudoir shoot is becoming increasingly more popular. In fact, it is almost a tradition for the bride. That being said, not all photographers are comfortable with wedding photography that includes a boudoir shoot. While not every photographer is comfortable with it, it may be worth considering adding this service to your photography services if you are comfortable to do so.

40) Stick To Your Style

Every wedding photographer has his or her own style. This is why it is important to speak to the couple beforehand, so you know the type of wedding photography they expect. Never change your style for the expectations of the couple. Instead, you can recommend someone else.

However, most couples will choose wedding photography based on the photographs displayed on a photographer’s website. So, ensure you display your particular style properly on your wedding photography website. If you are an amateur, then be sure to show some examples of your wedding photography to the happy couple beforehand.

41) Take Enough Batteries

Wedding photography requires plenty of batteries, as you will spent many hours shooting the bride, groom, and their respective family. So, always check if you have enough batteries. Also, be sure to charge all those batteries so you do not run out.

42) Invest In Faster Memory Cards

Not every memory card is as good for wedding photography. In fact, some memory cards can be rather slow. Ideally, you want a memory card with a good writing speed; this will benefit continuous shooting mode for RAW shots. For wedding photography, we recommend a writing speed of 95 MB/s.

43) Practice Crowd Control

A crowd can actually be a serious problem for a photographer, especially when they are trying to shoot photos of the happy couple or a specific group of people. To counter this particular issue, it is always good idea to take someone under your wing for crowd control.

Contrary to popular belief, you do not necessarily have to hire someone for the day. You could speak to the master of ceremony or even appoint a member of the family to keep the crowd under control during the day.

44) Always Compose Your Photos

It is easy to always be looking for the next shot at a wedding. As such, the composition of your photographs could easily be lost. Evidently, getting the right composition for every shot is the trademark of good photographers. So, don’t ignore your composition, even when you feel you are under pressure during the ceremony and other important parts of the day.

45) Give The Bridesmaids Some Tips

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The bride is not the only person you want to capture great shots of. The bridesmaids are also an important part of the wedding. So, speak to the bridesmaids before the ceremony so you can capture them from their best angle too. Simply tell the bridesmaids to walk slowly and don’t forget to smile. By doing so, it will be much easier to capture outstanding photos throughout the ceremony.

46) Flower Positioning

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Brides often ask for tips on bouquet holding. Since brides do not hold a wedding bouquet on a daily basis, it is not that uncommon for the bride to want some tips from her photographer. To get the best results where photography is concerned, tell the bride to hold the bouquet around the belly button area. Doing so gives some outstanding results, as the shape of the arms is optimal too.

47) Adapt Photography To Your Environment

While you may have planned your photography into the smallest detail, sometimes the environment you find yourself in can provide some lovely surprises. For example, you may encounter a beautiful sunset or sunrise on the day of the ceremony. When this occurs, don’t forget to adjust your photography so you can capture some of this stunning environment too.

48) Don’t forget to focus specifically on the bride

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The bride pays a lot of attention to her dress and her overall appearance on the day of her wedding. So, you must also ensure your photography efforts cover the bride in great detail. When you shoot the bride, ensure you capture her dress, her makeup, the bouquet and every other aspect. So, you should definitely reserve some time on photography of the bride alone.

49) Reduce The Pressure

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Wedding photography is more stressful than most people think and this could certainly influence someone’s enjoyment of the job. Therefore, you could consider asking a second photographer.

Interestingly, you do not necessarily have to pay for the services of this photographer. Simply exchange services for weddings. For example, the second photographer can work for free during your wedding, and you can do the same for his. That way, everyone wins without losing out on too much profit.

Or you can just pay upfront, whatever good terms you both can come to!

50) Display Your Photography At The Wedding

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Even though you shoot photographs during the ceremony and will be too busy to worry about anything else, an increasingly large number of professionals now display their photos at the party venue. Simply upload the photos you have taken during the ceremony and put them on a screen at the venue.

By doing so, you do not only delight the happy couple with some lovely photos(provided they gave you permission in advance), you advertise your services as a wedding photographer at the same time.

51) Look For The Little Things

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When you shoot at a wedding, it is all too easy to look for the obvious shot such as the first dance and the first kiss. However, you need to be aware of the small signs of affection too; this may include a smile of the mother during the first dance or other small events. This is once again a reason to have a second person taking photos, as they can capture these precious shots more easily.

52) Be At The Front Of The Ceremony

While you may not feel comfortable doing so during your first wedding, it is essential to position yourself at the front of the ceremony. By positioning yourself in the front, you can capture all the essential photos. Of course, it is recommended to keep your movements to a minimum, as you do not want to disturb the ceremony as you capture photographs.

53) Avoid A Cluttered Background

We briefly touched upon the importance of paying attention to the background of your shots. Within this framework, it is also vital to check for clutter in the background. Clutter can steal the attention away from the actual subject, and doesn’t do any special lighting justice. So, avoid any cluttered backgrounds for all photos.

54) Get Some Practice Shots

New photographers and amateur photographers often take practice shots before the event. This is not a bad idea either, as you can visit the venue and search for some interesting angles beforehand. In fact, even experience photographers still try their hand at practice shots from time to time, especially for venues they haven’t been in yet.

55) Ask About The Dress

The wedding dress is definitely a crucial part of the wedding and must be captured appropriately. If you want to make sure the bride is happy with the photos of her wedding dress, always make sure to ask the bride about the parts of the dress she loves most. Then, make sure those parts play a prominent part in the photos you take.

56) Talk To The Officiant

Even a photographer has to stick to the rules of a wedding, so it is vital to speak to the officiant. As a general rule of thumb, religious ceremonies tend to have more rules. Getting familiar with those rules ensures you don’t cause offense when you are shooting the occasion.

57) Trust Your Instincts

While you can stick to the many rules and the countless tips we have provided in this article religiously, you want to trust your own instincts as well. If you have a natural eye for photography, then your instincts will deliver some outstanding photographs too!

58) Don’t underestimate Black And White Photographs

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When you need to simplify photographs, or want to create more contrast, then using black and white photography is a must. It is used to add more emotion and depth, so it can certainly have some value for special events such as a wedding.

59) Learn To Use Natural Light

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While the flash can be your best friend when lighting conditions aren’t optimal, using to learn natural light is just as important. In fact, natural light can benefit wedding photos to a whole new extent.

Please note that there will be situations where you cannot use any natural light; this can include environments with low light conditions. Of course, having good equipment can help with capturing natural light and countering low light conditions. Over time, you may want to upgrade your equipment to counter these common problems.

60) Take sparkler photos

Sparkler photos are become super popular these days. Essentially, these photos are taken after dusk when it gets a little darker. The guests would grab a sparkler and “write” or “draw” in the air with the sparkler, as the photographer takes a long exposure shot.

The long exposure will catch the light from the sparkler as it makes the design, and the end result is super cool!

Conclusion

Even if you a relatively new photographer, our tips will help you to take the perfect wedding photos in minimal time. Of course, being the best photographer also means mastering these tips. So, be sure to keep our list of tips on hand if you want to become one of the best in your area.