The Do’s and Don’ts of Wedding Photography

As long as there are weddings, there will be a demand for wedding photographers. For the right person, it can be a highly profitable business; couples and families will pay top dollar to ensure that their special day is well-documented. However, shooting a wedding involves a lot more than just showing up with a camera. Here are some do’s and don’ts (or rather, one major DON’T and a few do’s) inspired by this video:

1. DON’T distract from the wedding.
When watching the above video, it’s difficult to focus on the bride and groom, not the photographers. Now imagine being a guest at the wedding: you are there for your friend or relative on one of the most important days of their lives, but can’t focus on the ceremony because of the photographer’s distracting tactics. Remember: it’s not about you, it’s about the couple and their guests. The following do’s are the keys to getting great shots without getting everyone’s attention.

2. DO look presentable.
A good rule of thumb is to imagine how you would dress for the wedding of someone with whom you are acquainted, but not close friends. You want to look polished and blend in– don’t draw attention by being overly casual OR overly formal.

3. DO pay close attention.
Wedding photography can easily be compared to sports photography: timing is everything, and there are crucial shots that you’ll only have one chance to get. Be aware of when key moments are about to happen (the first time the groom sees the bride, the exchanging of rings, and of course, the kiss), and shoot as many frames in those moments as you can. If there is a program for the ceremony, look over it closely. The better your timing, the less noticeable you will be.

4. DO use flash sparingly.
The bride and groom want to feel like they’re sharing a special moment with each other and their loved ones, not speaking at a press conference– not to mention that it’s always best to shoot in natural light when possible. Keep an eye on your settings and use automatic bracketing to make sure you get the correct exposure, and save the flash for when it’s absolutely necessary.

This photographer is violating just about every rule in this article!

This photographer is violating just about every rule in this article!

5. DO invest in the right equipment.
Close-up images are often the most powerful and memorable ones. To get that great shot of the groom slipping the ring on the bride’s finger without getting up close and personal, you’re going to need a telephoto lens. Having a good one on hand will also give you a tremendous range when you really need to stand back (for example, in the back of a large church).

Keep these tips (and your clients’ satisfaction) in mind, and there’s no reason you can’t find success as a wedding photographer!

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5 responses to “The Do’s and Don’ts of Wedding Photography”

  1. Neil says:

    Do state the bleeding obvious….

  2. Reinaldo Alvarez says:

    Just to think that I have done that before. Now I see how rude and inexperienced I was. This has opened my eyes. I’m going to start saving money for a 70-200 lens, and longer.

  3. Michaela Rivera-Cotto says:

    Even if I didn’t do photography, I’d be in shock if I saw someone do this to me or anyone I knew…so AS a photographer, it just makes my skin crawl!

  4. Thanks for this article about wedding photography. I like that you wrote to pay close attention to key moments and try to capture those. It also seems like a good way to prioritize what’s the most important thing to see in the ceremony.

  5. Jacob Oliver says:

    Thanks for sharing and hope you are keeping well.

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