The Keys to Successful Wedding Photography

Photojournalist, sports photographer, landscape photographer, wedding photographer. Mel DiGiacomo wears many hats. Here, he takes the audience on a journey where he explains the nuances of wedding photography, his way:

“What I want out of a wedding is real life. I want some kind of truth, whether it’s my truth or their truth. Don’t ask me to describe what truth is, but that’s what I want out of a wedding.”

A Photojournalistic Approach to Wedding Photography

DiGiacomo credits his approach to photographing a wedding, in many of which he is the only photographer, to his years of experience as a photojournalist, something that has an undeniable influence on his work as a wedding photographer.

“You are always ready. You know what your exposures are, you know what lenses you should be using and you know how close or how far you should be.”

He describes himself as an ‘itinerant’, someone who walks around finding moments.

Benefits of Using a Wide Angle Lens for Weddings

using wide-angle lenses for wedding photography

A wide angle lens allows you to get up-close.

DiGiacomo explains his approach to wedding photography is to use wide-angle lenses and get right in the middle of action. He rarely uses any additional lights. In fact, the only light he has is the pop-up flash on his Canon 20D. But he loves his 24mm f/1.4 which he uses with his Canon 5D Mark III. He says,

“It demands that you get close. I mean you can’t stand back and shoot with that.”

candid wedding photography

Candid wedding moments are best captured when you are prepared to get up close.

Helpful Wedding Photography Tips from an Expert

DiGiacomo shares some golden tips to inspire budding wedding photographers:

  • Experimentation is the key. Go ahead and break the rules of photography
  • Find the moments and be ready to capture them, but know in your head which are the ones you want to photograph.
  • Practice the art of anticipation.
  • Use a wide-angle lens and get right in the middle of the action. Wide-angle lenses will give your photos dimension.
  • In a typical photojournalistic style, he says that the best lens is your feet. If you need a wide-angle lens, back up. If you need to zoom in, walk right into the frame.
  • Never ask your subjects to pose during a wedding. Spontaneous captures are better than posed ones.
  • Don’t be afraid to use a higher ISO. Modern DSLRs allow you to shoot at insanely high ISOs and get away with it. DiGiacomo says it’s better than using flash.
  • Shoot in color but process in black & white. Colors often take away the focus from the subject. When you process your photos in black & white, you take away the distracting colors and put the subject back into focus. Having said that, DiGiacomol also advises that every now and then, when a magical moment appears, you leave the photo in color.
  • Don’t get discouraged when you make mistakes. Everybody makes them, and this is how we get better. Keep doing what you are doing, and you will get better and make fewer mistakes.

Don’t be afraid to experiment!

For budding photographers looking for the simplest of advice to get started in wedding photography, this is what DiGiacomo has to say,

“Break a few rules. There are no formulas in life, so why should there be a formula in a wedding?”

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