Top 10 Tips to Photograph a Friend’s Intimate Wedding

Due to the very nature of the wedding, whatever you do will be magnified so my first tip is to…

how to shoot photos at intimate weddings

Photo by Elizabeth Busani; ISO 100, 1/4000-second exposure.

1.Tread Lightly ~ Don’t impose your personality on the day everything even your opinions should always be in deference to the bride and groom and when diplomacy fails humor usually works.

2. Expectations ~ Find out from the bride and groom what is expected of you and if necessary get them to tear out pages from magazines showing you the pictures that they like. Choose a style you are comfortable with and let them know that’s what you are happy to reproduce. It’s unfair to expect David Bailey, unless of course you happen to be David Bailey in which case you wouldn’t be reading this, and you produce something akin to a holiday snap if they know what to expect then it saves on hurt feelings later on.

3. Gain an understanding ~ of what happens at a wedding and when. e.g. the legal necessities and also because there are points throughout the service/ceremony which are considered disrespectful if you photograph them. You may also be called upon to act as interim wedding co-coordinator so you need to have an idea of what happens next.

4. Preparation ~ This is a once in a lifetime event and can’t be repeated so challenge yourself with your photography PRACTICE! PRACTICE! PRACTICE! Know your camera inside and out, should your camera fail at a crucial moment then you need to know what to do next, yes I’m afraid the buck really does stop with you. Practice!

5. Back Up ~ Yes literally! please take a spare camera with you! Should yours fail then you need have one waiting in the wings! Flash cards: use small denominations if one fails then you haven’t lost a great deal of imagery I normally carry plenty of 4GB cards with me. As soon as you can upload the images that you have taken to a laptop or portable hard drive then you know that they are safe!

6. Familarize ~ Yourself with the inner circle you should have the advantage here but if you don’t find out who the chief bridesmaid and best man are, try and be on first name terms with both should you need anything you need to be able to ask them.

7. Timings ~ What time is the bride getting ready would she like some prep shots, how long does it take to get to the venue, you need to allow yourself plenty of time, what time is the groom getting ready and do you need to take photographs of that. How long to get between the two. As you can’t be in two places at once get someone to drive you between the bride and groom or alternatively delegate the photographs to one of the groomsmen.

8. Where ~ yes you guessed it where you have to be and when. Make a list next to the timings:

  • Bride Prep – Address on the Day – Time to be there
  • Groom Prep – Address on the Day – Time to be there
  • Ceremony Venue Time to be there, a postcode is not enough you should have this address memorized for the day.
  • Make yourself known to the Officiant/Registrar/Priest/Vicar/Rabbi on the day they may look to advise that they have set up a photograph for you and will be looking to take their queues from you. They may also have strict rules about what you can and can’t photograph, if needs be negotiate but don’t get bogged down in it. Hint No-one likes being blinded by flash.
being a photographer for intimate wedding of a friend

Photo by Jack Zhang; ISO 1600, f/3.5, 1/125-second exposure.

9. Presentation ~ Once you have all the images together burn them to disk for the bride and grooms return from honeymoon, Please don’t under any circumstances be tempted to put them all up on Facebook in the race to get the images out there first.

10. Enjoy It ~ You never know this could be the start of a wonderful new career.

Good Luck

About the Author
Article written by Orly Lydon from intimateweddingphotography in the UK.

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