Shooting a wedding is one of the toughest assignments that a photographer can take on, there are lots of potential issues and the stakes are incredibly high. To help out, our head of testing, Angela Nicholson, has compiled a list of the most common wedding photography mistakes that photographers make when starting out shooting weddings, along with some of her best wedding photography tips for how to avoid them.
Beginner Wedding Photography Mistakes: 01 Inexperience
If your family and friends know that you own a DSLR or advanced compact system camera, the chances are pretty high that at some point you will be asked to photograph a wedding.
It’s important to be realistic about your capabilities and experience before you commit to shooting a wedding – especially if you are to be paid to do so.
Be honest with the couple about your experience and don’t allow anyone to bully you into taking on the job to save money if you are not confident.
It’s also important to have the right kit. Ideally you’ll need two decent cameras and a selection of lenses along with a couple of flashguns.
What’s more, it’s absolutely crucial that you know your equipment inside out and are confident in using it. A wedding is not the time to be trying a setting for the first time.
If you decide that being the main photographer at the wedding is too big a step, you could always offer to take on the second photographer duties, shooting from alternative angles, getting background shots and duplicating some of the pro’s shots, it’s all good experience.
If you decide to get serious about shooting weddings the Society of Wedding and Portrait Photographers (www.swpp.co.uk) and the Guild of Photographers (www.photoguild.co.uk) have lots of information to offer and it’s worth considering joining.
These organisations’ websites have forums that are a great way of getting to know other photographers, including professionals who maybe looking for a second photographer for a wedding.
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Beginner Wedding Photography Mistakes: 02 Poor exposure
The bride’s white dress is one of the most important aspects of many weddings and it can be a real headache to photograph correctly.
Every wedding photographer’s worst nightmare is overexposing it so that it’s turned into a uniform mass of bright white with no detail, but the opposite (underexposure) makes it look grubby and grey.
Fortunately, a little underexposure can be corrected post capture, but it needs to be just a little underexposure to avoid loosing detail in the groom’s dark suit and bringing out noise in the shadows.
Ideally you want to use an exposure that produces an image that has detail throughout the tonal range.
This is one area where digital cameras offer a huge advantage over film cameras, because you can check the exposure immediately after taking a shot and adjust accordingly.
You can also use the camera’s auto exposure bracketing facility to take a sequence of images with different exposures in quick succession without incurring any extra cost.
Activate your camera’s histogram view and aim to produce images that have a peak towards the right end of the scale, but without a huge peak at the very end.
It can also be helpful to turn on your camera’s highlight warning so that burned out areas flash at you once the shot is taken and you can shoot again.
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