“I’m shooting my first wedding. What are some wedding photography tips I can use to get me through it?” This is a common question asked every day, and shooting a successful wedding takes more than photography skill. Here are some helpful tips to help you plan out shooting your first wedding.
Wedding Shot List
The best wedding photography tip we can give you is to create a shot list. Your wedding shot list will outline all of the must-have shots throughout the day. It’s going to include general items such as the kiss, ring closeup, cutting the cake, and so on. You will also be making note of special requests such as grandma sitting in the front row, bride & groom kissing under a willow tree, and any other shots unique to the wedding. If the bride wants a specific photo to include on the wedding photo thank you cards, make sure it’s on the list. Create an easy to follow list of chronological events and periodically check them off during the day.
Official Family Wrangler
Weddings are both exciting and stressful for everyone involved. When the time comes to shoot the formal family portraits, it can be difficult getting everybody organized. This is even more true if the drinking festivities are already underway. You will need a wrangler, from the couples family, to help locate people and bring them to the group portrait location. In most cases, you’re not going to notice if Cousin Judy is missing from a group portrait but a family wrangler will.
Know Your Locations
Before the big day takes place, get a feel for your shooting locations. How dark is the church? If speed lights are not allowed during the ceremony, which can happen, you need to switch over to your fastest lenses. I’ve shot weddings where the rules set by the church restricted me to shooting the entire ceremony from the back wall of a dark cathedral, over 60 feet from the alter. By knowing this information about my location in advance, I was able to prepare and bring the right equipment needed for the job.
Whether they mention it or not, the happy couple is going to expect that every single detail of the entire day is captured forever. Always be on the lookout for interesting images of the little details such as floral arrangements, table settings, and all the cute final touches that went into the overall wedding. These images will look amazing when designing custom wedding photo books for the bride and groom.
Being prepared is how we avoid potential wedding photography disasters. What happens if a battery dies or your memory card bites the dust? What happens if you need more fill light? What if you miss a once in a lifetime shot because you were busy switching out lenses? Have a backup plan. Make sure you have extra memory cards, batteries, and everything you could possibly need. If you don’t have a second photographer, then make sure you have an extra camera. This can prevent you from missing shots when changing lenses.