Knowing how to photograph your first wedding can be a nerve-wracking experience as well as a steep learning curve. The reality is, every photographer gets asked to shoot a wedding at some point and if you’re competent and confident in controlling your camera, it can be a rewarding experience – in more ways than one.
However, the stakes are very high, and you don’t want to mess-up on the bride and groom’s big day. To help out, our friends at the photo management blog Photoventure have put together a few tips to set you on the right path.
1. Talk it through
The bride and groom have usually been planning their wedding for months and have a clear idea about how they want it to look as well as the photographs that they want.
Have a meeting with them to discuss their expectations and the style of photography that they’d like.
Show them some examples of your work, or styles you could adopt, to help them decide.
Make sure you’re clear about whether they want colour or monochrome images or a mixture of the two with a few duotones thrown in for good measure.
Before you leave make sure that they are clear about what you are going to shoot and what they will receive.
Be specific about print numbers, sizes and cost etc and make sure that everything is in writing.
Also, ask the bride and groom to nominate one or two people to help you organise the group shots on the big day. Ideally this should be someone who knows the family.
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2. Remember the processing time
Many people think that a wedding photographer just turns up and takes a few shots which are then magically turned into prints and arranged into albums.
However, experienced photographers know that there’s a lot more to it it than that.
Editing and processing the images to make them perfect can often take much longer than the actual wedding itself.
Plus there’s the time spent scouting the venue, preparing your kit and ordering prints.
Remember to factor all this in when you’re deciding whether to shoot a wedding and considering how much to charge.
3. Create a shot list
Following your meeting with the bride and groom you should be able to write a list of all the shots that you need to take, along with approximate times for the key events such as the bride’s arrival at the church, the speeches and the first dance.
List all the people that you’ll be photographing in each group and make a couple of copies so that you can give them to whoever is helping you round people up at the event.
By all means email the list to them in advance, but don’t rely on them to remember to take it with them to the wedding, print off a list that you can hand them on the day.
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4. Visit the venue
If at all possible, visit the venue for the wedding and reception before the big day at the same time that the ceremony will take place.
This will allow you to assess the position of the sun and find the best shooting locations.
Remember to look for dry and wet weather locations and avoid standing the couple in strong sun that will make them squint.
Try to find locations that offer attractive, uncluttered backgrounds with shade for sunny days.
It’s also worth doing an Internet search about the wedding venue as this may give you a few ideas for photographs.
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