So, you have bought your first digital SLR camera. You have familiarized yourself with it and are just starting to get comfortable with taking quality shots, when a relative or friend approaches you to help cover an upcoming wedding ceremony. In an instant you have been appointed a wedding photographer. You are both nervous and excited. The following few tips will help you to get a start on the dos and don’ts of wedding photography!
1. Know What the Couple Wants
Many beginner wedding photographers are not confident enough to interact with the couple, and they suffer from some form of miscommunication along the way. Find out what kind of shots the couple wants, what they are looking out for, and if there are any special requests. This goes a long way in helping you build a healthy rapport with the couple.
2. Visit the Locations Beforehand
Before the day of the shoot, it is a good idea to visit the locations. Try to visit at least some, if not all of them. By doing so, you will have an idea of what spots to shoot from and where the light will be coming from during the actual shoot. This is monumental in helping your confidence in choosing the sequence of which shots to take from which locations first. This is also a time to assess any special requests from the couple and decide whether they are feasible or not.
3. Turn Off Additional Sounds or Possible Distractions
You don’t want your camera autofocus beeps to disturb the couple in the middle of a kiss. Neither would you want your cellphone to ring during a teary-eyed speech during the wedding dinner. Switch off all possible audible distractions. It might seem insignificant, but the couple will definitely appreciate the gesture.
4. Use Two Cameras
Mainly you want a wide angle lens on one camera body and a telephoto lens on the other. Weddings do not give you the luxury of time to switch between lenses. Having the freedom to use different focal lengths will prevent you from missing those magical moments. If you don’t have a spare camera body, borrow one from a friend. Trust me, it is well worth it.
5. Be Bold But Not Rude
Anticipate the sequence of events! Sometimes you have to be in the thick of the action to get the shot. Frame the picture in your mind, go in, take the shot, and exit quickly. Be polite, as well, if you have to move through a crowd. During formal or group shots, be bold and ask for what you want. This hastens the process and allows the guests to return to the festivities quickly.
6. Master the Flash
You will need a separate flash unit mounted on your camera. Your camera’s built in pop up flash just won’t cut it due to its limited range and power. Learning how to bounce the flash off ceilings and walls is important, as head on flash often delivers very average results. For a more professional shot, diffusing flash is key.
7. Shoot RAW
By now you should have heard of RAW format, and you might think that it is a troublesome format to work with. However, for wedding photography, it is an indispensable tool. It allows you to alter the white balance of the completed shot after you have taken it to create entirely different effects.
8. Change Perspective
Try out different perspectives. Very often the most mundane objects, like flowers at the reception, make for stunning shots if you experiment from different angles and perspectives.
9. Be Prepared
Have extra batteries with you. Throw a lens cleaner into the bag. Bring along extra lenses. Unexpected events might occur, and you want to be as prepared as possible so as to avoid panic should the unfortunate occur.
10. Relax and Have Fun!
As a wedding photographer, your creative inspiration is the key to your success. Moreover, in the setting of a wedding you have little time to compose your shot. Being relaxed will help those creative juices flow and deliver professional results. Arm yourself with a smile and the people you are photographing will reward you with theirs!
About the Author:
Justin Au Eong is a freelance photographer from Singapore. After falling in love with photography at a young age, he has grown his passion. He enjoys sharing his passion and experience with budding shutterbugs across all different genres of photography.
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