11 Camera Tips For Wedding Photography
Wedding photography is a special genre of photography. You’re recording the happiest day of two people’s lives and how they celebrate it with their closest friends and family.
You’ll want to use the best camera available, but you also have to be fast on your feet and ready for anything. The bride could be late, flowers may wilt, or there could be tears or laughter at any moment.
As a wedding photographer, you need to adapt and work with what you get! Keeping your couple happy is key too as they can provide you with many referrals in the future.
Use a tripod
- Be comfortable with your tripod and know exactly how to use it.
- Use a tripod to avoid camera shake and shoot at low shutter speeds.
- Use a tripod to shoot in low light.
- Use a tripod to shoot panoramas (you can set up your shot in advance and then fire off shots without any extra movements).
- Use a tripod to shoot at night (especially for long exposure shots like fireworks or star trails).
Being prepared for the weather
The weather can be unpredictable. Make sure you have an extra gear in the car with you just in case. Some good things to include are:
- A rain cover for your camera and lenses.
- A set of dry clothes, including socks that won’t fall down when you walk around in the rain (the best solution is compression stockings).
- An umbrella or a poncho for yourself. It’s no fun being soaked when you’re trying to shoot amazing photos!
- If it’s really cold, keep your extra batteries warm so that they’ll work properly. This can be as simple as putting them inside your coat pocket next to your body. I also recommend packing hand warmers if it’s going to be below 30 degrees Fahrenheit (about -1 C) outside. You need those hands to be working their best!
- A polarizing filter will help get rid of reflections and glare on wet objects or surfaces!
When shooting a wedding, never shoot in JPG. Always use RAW. It is the best format for editing and getting the most out of your images. Shooting in JPG is like throwing away money. If you need to save space on your memory card, just lower your image quality to medium or low, but never shoot in JPG if you can help it. It’s always better to shoot in RAW than a jpg and it doesn’t take up much more space anyway so there really isn’t any reason not to shoot RAW!
Avoid using automatic modes like the plague! Auto modes are for amateurs and make you look like one too!! Auto mode gives you no control over how your camera will capture the image and usually results in bad exposure and boring images that don’t make an impact on anyone who sees them!! Use manual mode as much as possible! If the manual is too hard for you, then try aperture priority mode or shutter priority mode which lets you pick either aperture or shutter speed so that your camera picks the other setting for you! You can also use exposure compensation which lets you tell your camera how bright or dark to make an image based on what its meter tells you it should be!
Keep your distance from the bride and groom
- First, remember that you are a guest at the wedding.
- Second, make sure you can see the videographer, and he can see you.
- Third, watch out for guests’ flash cameras as they’re likely to be taking photos without looking where they’re pointing their camera.
- Fourth, be wary of shooting from a low angle as this often gets in the way of the officiant.
- Fifth, avoid hovering over the bride’s shoulder as she is signing her name on the marriage certificate — it’s distracting to both her and your client.
Get to know your couple before the wedding
Get to know your couple before the wedding. If you’re anything like me and you have to travel for a wedding, it is always excellent to have time on the other side of the camera. You can always use this time for testing any new equipment or lenses that you may be unsure about using on the wedding day. It can also be used as a creative session with your couple so you can get to know them better and find out what they are looking for from their photos.
I personally like to interview my couples over the phone or have them fill in a questionnaire before we meet up, then send it back over email just so I have all of their answers in one place and I don’t forget anything important! I also ask them if there are any photos they really want to be taken on their day so I can make sure those are all captured!
Another great thing is meeting up at the venue beforehand since this gives you more of an idea of what lighting situations you will encounter throughout the day. As well as giving you an idea of how long things will take and what kind of locations are good/bad etc.
Provide them with proofs
Once you have shot the wedding, you will need to store these images and make them available to your clients. Most wedding photographers today provide digital proofs instead of hard copies. These are images that are sent directly to your client via email or a link that they can download from your website. It is crucial that you also offer clients other options for storing their photos such as albums, photo books, prints and whatever else you choose to offer.
I encourage you to use online printing services such as Millers Lab and MPIX in order get professional quality prints for your clients without having to invest in expensive equipment or supply space in your home. In addition, it’s important to know where the best places are for getting albums printed so that you can offer this service as well.
Choose the right lens
With so many different lenses available, choosing the right one can be a challenge. The goal is to find the lens that will help you get the shots you want. Following are some examples of good lenses for shooting weddings:
- Wide-angle: Good for large group shots and anything where you’re in tight quarters and don’t have space to move back
- Telephoto: For portraits, allowing you to get up close even when your subject is far away
- Macro: Great for close-up detail shots, such as the bride’s ring on her finger or details on her dress
- Zoom: Best for action shots when you need to follow a moving subject without moving yourself
- Prime: These are amazing if you’re in a low-light situation and want a shallow depth of field.
Always pack a spare camera
As a photographer, you rely on your equipment to deliver. You need to be prepared for any type of situation and have backups for all of your critical gear. Forgetting even one item can turn into a disaster pretty quickly, especially when you don’t have time to run back home to get it.
There are two things I recommend: carry two camera bodies and have a backup bag in the trunk of your car with emergency supplies like batteries, memory cards, memory card reader, lens pen, and anything else you may need in case something happens where you don’t have time to grab it from the main bag.
Capture candid moments
Capturing candid moments from a wedding is probably the most important part of covering a wedding. You can capture all the portraits and posed shots you like, but at the end of the day, those are not the memories that will matter. Candids are lasting memories. They are what tell your clients’ stories and make them love their photos for years to come. Here’s how to make sure you don’t miss any important moments:
- Use multiple cameras: Keep a camera in continuous shooting mode around your neck so you’ll never be surprised by what happens next.
- Be ready for anything: Be on high alert so you won’t miss anything. Every moment counts!
- Get out of your comfort zone: Check out new angles and always look through your viewfinder instead of just pointing your camera in the general direction of something interesting happening. Being creative with how you shoot candids is key!
Always be prepared!
This may sound obvious but always prepare for the worst. You should have a checklist of items to pack and ensure you have a backup camera in case your main one malfunctions or breaks. Ensure you know your equipment well enough to operate it in manual mode in case that becomes necessary. Additionally, check the weather and adjust accordingly.
If it’s going to be bright and sunny, check how this will affect lighting conditions and make sure you’re ready with reflectors or filters to help reduce the glare on pictures (an absolute must). If it’s going to rain, make sure you can protect yourself as well as your gear so that all parties involved still get beautiful pictures out of the day. In every way possible, plan ahead because there is nothing worse than getting caught unawares when something goes wrong!