Final tips from the professional photographer
Shoot on location
“Sometimes it’s good to get a few quick shots on the way to the reception, if the weather permits,” says James. “Fields full of flowers make for dramatic, romantic shots.
“However, if you are faced with bad weather, there are other options for shooting outside. Grab some formal shots inside the church after the ceremony, or look for areas of cover, such as porches or archways.
“You can also cover the bride with a white umbrella, which will not only provide shelter from any rain, but also diffuse harsh light. Avoid a coloured umbrella; it will create a colour cast on her dress!”
Five shots you simply must get
James gave Gbenga a list of five essential shots to get when photographing his sister’s ceremony. “The bride walking down the aisle, the first glance between the bride and groom, and the father giving the bride away.
“After that it’s all talking, so don’t snap away during the vows, because this can be distracting. The next key shot is the exchanging of the rings, and finally, what I think is the most important shot of the day, the first kiss. Gbenga absolutely must capture that moment.
Other wedding photography considerations
01 Getting ready
“I don’t pose shots at all during this period of the day. I’ll just shoot candids as the bride is getting her hair and makeup done. I simply document what’s happening. This is also a great opportunity to shoot the flowers. Get really close and hide more than you show. Focus on one flower and blur everything else.”
“The key here is a long focal length, somewhere between 200mm and 300mm. Nobody will notice you and you can get some great expressions. You can also try shooting over someone’s shoulder, so that the back of their head is in the shot. This creates context and is a good framing device.”
03 The guests
“Finding a good location is essential for successful guest shots. I try to avoid skies if possible and look for neutral, dark backgrounds. Many good wedding venues have sweeping steps, which are great for groups because you can easily line everyone up. Also try shooting from a high window and ask everyone to look up.”
04 The cake
“Cake-cutting is a good photo opportunity. Ensure white balance is set correctly – there’s nothing worse than a green wedding cake! Shooting wedding cakes is a bit like shooting snow. Your camera will try to compensate for the brightness, so you’ll have to overexpose a little to keep all that icing pearly white.”
Get your breathing right for sharp shots
“Never hold your breath when taking a shot, as you are more likely to get camera shake. The best time to take your shot is when breathing out – about two thirds of the way.”
Make the most of shallow depth of field
“Using a large aperture, such as f/3.5, would create a shallow depth of field and that used correctly it could be a great creative device. Having the bride in sharp focus and the groom blurred in the background helps. Also shoot in Manual for this shot, giving careful control over my aperture and shutter speeds. I used the histogram to check exposure and spot glitches.”
Capture the couple when they’re unaware
A wedding photographer should always be ready to catch the moments when the couple weren’t conscious of me being there. The pair are completely natural here, and this gives the shot an edge that just wouldn’t have been there had Gbenga used traditional couple poses.