A wedding is probably the most precious day for most couples. If you are hired as a wedding photographer, you should focus on capturing the best moments that will create a memory album for their big day. Unfortunately, wedding photography significantly differs from other photography genres. Unlike other types, wedding photographers only have one chance to get the right photos. Consider the following tips for capturing amazing moments on photos and videos resembling what you’d typically see on popular bridal shows.
The most common mistake made by wedding photographers is ignoring the importance of a signed contract before assuming their role as a wedding photographer. A legally binding contract outlines the agreement between the client and your photography business. The contract lists your roles and responsibilities and client expectations. Like other contracts, the contract protects both parties because payments are involved. You should legalize your services by insisting on a signed contract and partial payment as a retainer.
You should memorize a list of must-have shots before the big day is over. Memorizing these shots is handy as you won’t be distracted and probably miss important pictures referring to the piece of paper while photographing. Having a gut sense of important shots to capture makes you fully invested in this creative process.
As a professional wedding photographer, you should take must-have shots of the event while accommodating other requests from the couple and guests. Don’t make the mistake of solely relying on instincts. That said, consider the following photography ideas to include in your shot list for the wedding day:
Wedding photography often begins early in the morning as the bride and groom prepare for their big day. Immediately after you arrive at the venue, the family, couple, and other guests will be preparing for the day. This is a perfect opportunity to capture detailed shots of:
- Close-up photos of the cord, veil, and rings
- Invitation cards
- Hanging suits, dresses, and shoes
- Bouquets and flower arrangements
- Jewelry, cufflinks, perfume, and other accessories
While these are simple items, they have a deep sentimental value that the couple will appreciate. They are important reminders of the specific details of their big day.
This coverage highlights the bride’s preparation for the wedding. In most cases, the bride spends this time with her sisters and special friends. Capture the following shots during this period:
- The bride, maid of honor, and bridesmaids’ hair and makeup preparations
- Bridesmaids enjoying their time with the bride
- Family shots
- Creative shots of the bride in stunning backgrounds
- Boudoir shoot upon bride’s request
Groom coverage should also document the groom and his team’s preparations. Important shots include:
- Cheers shot
- Family shots
- Solo groom pictures
- Groom putting on the cufflinks, tie, and jacket
Remember that you can’t control what happens during the wedding ceremony. You should remain attentive to get important shots. The ceremony is important, yet most challenging for wedding photographers. You should have the right information and gear to capture events in real-time.
To achieve this, go through the ceremony schedule. While weddings have multiple similarities, you might not be familiar with some inclusions of the ceremony. Get a copy of the schedule to understand the events and timeline of the ceremony.
Knowing how the event unfolds is important to prepare and get the right shots. From the bridal procession and exchange of vows to the first kiss, you can miss these events if you aren’t aware of the schedule.
Group shots in the wedding depend on the client’s preferences and church policies. Before the couple heads to the next event, take charge and enlist the help of the wedding coordinator to arrange for quick group shots. Apart from official couple photos, other group photos to take include:
- Bride, groom, and the officiant
- Bride, groom, and both sets of parents
- Bride, groom, and immediate family members
- Bride, groom, and extended family members
Receptions are usually the last part where a lot of activities happen. Like the actual ceremony, you can’t control the events of a wedding reception. However, you shouldn’t miss the following shots:
- Grand entrance
- Cake cutting
- Reception setup details, such as table settings
- Cocktail hour, toast, and speeches
- First Dance
- Dance floor fun
- Reception games
Be on the lookout for action and unexpected moments. Use background items and people to frame your reception pictures for a better appearance.
Wedding photography is a challenging genre that requires much practice and accuracy. You should use various techniques, including portrait and documentary photography, to capture these memorable moments.