Wedding photography is a discipline (and a profession) in its own right. One cannot afford to miss the D-Day, so I advise the bride and groom not to entrust the task of shooting to a person whose talents they do not know precisely. A simple but sometimes expensive solution is to assign the shots to a professional wedding photographer whose main activity it is.
A professional wedding photographer will take the time to meet the bride and groom several times before the wedding day, to collect their expectations, explain to them his way of working and reassure them (but also warn them that he is not a magician). He will anticipate the demands of the young spouses and will respect the ambiances specific to each marriage.
Making A Success Of Wedding Photos
Okay, you’re not a professional photographer, but you’re good at photography, and you’re a pretty good team. Your friends, relatives or friends of your friends ask you to take charge of the filming of their marriage. You’re stressed, you’re afraid you’re not up to it, but you accept, to please the bride and groom and because the challenge excites you. Let’s see how to best conduct this improvised wedding photographer job, and produce a lovely wedding photo album!
Photographing a wedding is not a simple thing, so let’s warn you right away. Besides, you will need some stuff. Needless to say, if you don’t have a reflex (digital or silver), you can go your way unless you risk disappointing the bride and groom. In effect, the shooting conditions are quite favorable (church, town hall), and a gear proper you will be necessary. To be comfortable, here is the list of materials you need to bring :
A reflex box on which you mount a zoom lens type Wide angle, ideally 17-85 stabilized that opens at 2.8 or 4/5.
Another reflex equipped with zoom for portraits and views a little distant, like 100mm with a large opening to have beautiful blurry backgrounds.
Big memory cards: you will shoot because you will be stressed, and when you are afraid to miss, you photograph much more (if not much better).
A small convenient bag to which you are accustomed, in which you will leave only your accessories (your two reflexes should be on the shoulder not to waste time).
One or two spare batteries
Other items, such as a tripod or a mini tripod may be useful, but be careful not to overburden yourself to keep an outstanding movement ability in action.
Make an appointment with the bride and groom long before the wedding, over a glass, to discuss their expectations and their vision of the thing, without getting too formal. A few days before the wedding, review them: you will see that they will have much clearer and more precise ideas, and will have sometimes changed their minds on specific points. Reassure them.
The night before the wedding, go to bed early to get fit. Eat healthily, and make your arrangements before the ceremonies (pee envy is always terrible in the church, lived experience).
Arrive early to spot the place, be well positioned and have people see you (they will know that you are the photographer, let you pass later, and usually favor your job). Turn on your devices as soon as you arrive; they will be on standby in case of inactivity. Also, turn on your autofocus (in the stress, it happened to me to make a dozen photos without autofocus).
Key Moments Of The Wedding
To be useful, without putting your photography technique (if necessary, see our tutorials to learn photography), you will have to be ready to shoot at crucial moments of the wedding. There are indeed a few moments not to be missed (the lovebirds would not forgive you !) :
- the signature at the town hall;
- the arrival of the newlyweds;
- the entrance to the church;
- the kiss (french kiss, most crucial moment !);
- signing with witnesses;
- the church exit (significant);
- groups of guests at the meal;
- the first dance;
- the after party, the party.
Official Wedding Photos
In addition to these photos on D-Day, there are official photos, prepared and made in an enchanting and idyllic setting (on the water, in a castle). You may not be entrusted with the production of these images (very often left to a pro in the wedding photo). But if that’s the case, here are some tips.
Wedding Photographer Rates
Official photos are photos that are laid out, prepared, and made in a pre-arranged place. Agree on the location (you can be a force de proposition if you know a great place, but often the bride and groom have an exact idea of the setting they want to give to the photo report).
Prepare the poses in advance, submit most of them to the bride and groom for validation, and keep some of them as a surprise;).
Don’t forget your flash: on the outside, if the light is intense, it can save your life to unblock some backsliding. Don’t take all your photos with the flash.
Be eclectic about the shots: close-up shots (portrait, dress, etc.) and more global views.
Feel free to make the bride and groom move, place them, etc. it’s a bit awkward at first, but you’ll see that they like it : they stage themselves for the best day of their lives: they are the stars, know how to use their excitement to re-shoot or fine-tune your frames.
Shooter! There will be a waste, and the sorting will be extended. Never mind, you can’t afford to miss.