Nowadays, almost everyone with a smartphone thinks he or she is a photographer and that they can whip out their phones and take perfect pics of any scene or event. However, as you probably know, it is not that simple.
To become a sought-after photographer, you will need to learn important tips from the experts and to use them consistently.
With enough practice, you will know exactly what to do to effortlessly create stunning wedding photo albums for your clients. This post is a guide packed with expert tips that will help you to quickly distinguish yourself as a professional wedding photographer.
Things that may make it difficult for you to shoot the perfect wedding photos
There is no denying that weddings are special events. They take a lot of time to plan and in the end, they are usually only an hour or a few hours long.
And there are no do-overs.
Thus, there is always the pressure to capture the perfect moments. This is a challenge that you can overcome by being mentally prepared for the pressure and following the first tip we present in our list below.
Secondly, it is also important to familiarize with the venue and to get prepared.
Failure to familiarize with the venue so as to know the best angles for photographs, whether you will need extra lighting, what kind of equipment to carry, and so on, will make it extremely difficult for you to capture the best photographs on the D-day.
Lastly, it is crucial to know beforehand what is expected of you. Simply talking for a few minutes with your potential clients won’t cut it.
There is a need to write even a simple contract that captures the expectations of the couple to be. The contract should include details about the number of shots, the types of shots, whether any editing is expected, and so on. Having such a contract will prevent disagreements on the wedding day.
Below are expert wedding photography tips to help you shoot professional photos.
Do a lot practice
Before you sign a wedding photography contract, you should know what to do and what not to do in wedding photography. You can only do this perfectly when you are not under pressure through practice.
The best way to do a lot of practice is to find a local professional wedding photographer and to become his apprentice/ assistant. Make sure you tag along with him to the events he is invited to so as to learn and participate his entire process.
By regularly going with him to his wedding shoots, you will be doing a lot of practice without any pressure and you will learn important tips and skills that will help you become a better photographer.
Prepare your equipment
To be considered a professional photographer, you need to always be fully prepared. Making excuses will only tarnish your name and your credibility.
Therefore, before you leave your house or studio for the wedding venue, you should make sure you have carried all the photography equipment and accessories you need.
If possible, hire or borrow an extra camera, for unforeseen circumstances. Also make sure you have extra memory cards and batteries. You should also have all the tools you need to backup your shots before leaving the wedding venue so as to prevent data loss.
It will be very unprofessional of you to arrive at the wedding venue with faulty equipment. So it is obligatory for you to check all your equipment beforehand to ensure that everything is in working order before packing it up.
Consider getting a second shooter
It will be extremely difficult to carry all your equipment and to shoot stunning wedding photos alone. You need someone to help you carry your equipment, set up the scenes, secure your equipment, and to capture the crucial moments you may be missing.
You may think it is expensive to get another shooter or a helper but that is not necessarily true. The best way to go about it is to ask a fellow wedding photographer to become your second shooter, with the promise that you will return the favor. This will help you get more shots and will make your work easier.
Do thorough planning
The details of your contract should form the backbone of your plan. This is because they will state what is expected of you.
From the contract you should write down what you will need to capture and how you will be going about your work.
In addition to the details, you should also have an album of wedding photos with couples in different poses.
You should show the album to your clients and ask them to choose specific poses and scenes that they may want for their wedding. You should then include them in your plan and the contract.
Always capture the firsts
What makes a great wedding photographer are the types of shots they take. The best wedding photographers almost always capture the ‘firsts’ after the wedding; the first kiss, first look, first dance, and so on.
And although some brides and grooms may forget to tell you to capture the firsts, they will subconsciously be expecting such photos in their wedding albums. So make sure you capture such moments throughout the wedding.
Do not forget to ‘shoot’ the guests
A wedding should only be about the bride and the groom, right? Wrong. For you as a wedding photographer, the focus should be on the individuals getting married but you should not forget their guests.
Many newlyweds often love reviewing such photos so make sure they feature in their wedding album.
To make the photos as powerful as possible, make sure you capture the reactions and the emotions of the parents, the siblings, close relatives, the members of the bridal party and the groomsmen.
The fact that you most likely do not know the parents or the family of the bride and groom, means that you will have to know them before the event.
You can either ask for their photos when discussing your contract or attend the wedding rehearsal to get familiar with them so that they are comfortable with you when shooting their portraits on the wedding day.
Smiles and Group Shots
Nothing will spice up a wedding album like a string of stunning photos of guests wearing genuine smiles. So capture those parents smiling, that photogenic kid at the corner, and the groom unveiling the bride.
Also make sure you have a word with the bridesmaids during the rehearsal or just before the wedding and tell them to smile. They will thank you for it.
In addition to the smiles, make sure you take as group shots. This is important because you will probably not have enough time to capture the portraits of all the guests.
You assistant should definitely help you to organize the people for the shot. And the moment everyone is in the perfect place, you should take as many group shots as possible so that you have a wide selection to choose one from during editing.
If you volunteer to assist several veteran wedding photographers before you take your first contract, you will realize that most of them work slowly and carefully.
This is not because they are old or something but because they have learned the value of being methodical.
You should also do the same. Rushing around the wedding venue or the reception area just so you can capture a million and one photos is not going to help you. You should instead take time to compose your shots, take a couple of shots, and then check them before moving on.
However, even as you do everything carefully, you’ve got to know at the back of your mind that weddings are fast-paced. Therefore, you can only spend as much time as is logical on one scene before moving on.
Capture the Small Details
Most of the times couples spend plenty of time and money to get the rings, the wedding dress and suit, to set the venue, to get the cake, and so on.
These unique details should definitely be in the album. The couple will be happy to see them and they help tell the whole story about the wedding.
Editing is Key
Many amateurs think editing is evil or disingenuous but it is not. Almost all professional wedding photos get some sort of editing.
However, editing is editing; it is not an opportunity to extensively alter wedding photographs. No amount of editing can clean a bad photo.
Therefore, you should keep editing as simple as possible. Choose only one black and white or color style to make your photos consistent and stunning.
As you can see, there are several ways you can distinguish yourself as a professional wedding photographer. Just make sure you follow the tips above.
If you can only follow one tip, make sure you follow the first one; practicing photography under the tutelage of a professional will help you to learn so many practical and useful tips that will help you to effortlessly thrive as a wedding photographer.