15 Wedding Photography Tips Every Beginner Should Know

What makes wedding photography so special?  It’s no secret that wedding photos are some of the most treasured memories that will be kept for a lifetime.

To top that off, wedding photography is one of the most lucrative niches for beginner and experienced photographers alike. Wedding photographers are there to capture the special day of two people, as well as other important moments in their lives like maternity and engagement photos. With this in mind, you may be wondering why wedding photography is such an appealing and rewarding niche. We’ve gathered info on advantages and challenges of working in the wedding industry, along with the best tips to keep in mind while photographing weddings that will help you capture the day to perfection.

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Advantages of Wedding Photography

There are many reasons why wedding photography is a great opportunity for brand-new photographers. First, it offers a sense of personal and professional satisfaction. Wedding photographers find themselves in the unique position to capture some of the most important memories and moments between two people, and put their skills to good use in the process. There’s no better feeling than being able to help others preserve these memories in ways that make it a joy to share them with family and friends!

In addition to the satisfaction, wedding photography is also a rather lucrative field. Because the demand for good wedding photographers is always high, the fees for photographers can be substantial. This means that you can make a decent living while doing what you love, without having to always chase after new clients!

Another great aspect of wedding photography is the potential to build long-lasting relationships. Weddings are often a very important event in people’s lives, and they typically remember their photographer as one of the most important people on that special day. Building and maintaining these relationships with clients, and attending meaningful events in their lives is something that many wedding photographers find truly rewarding. As a bonus, if they love how you’ve created lasting and gorgeous photos, past and present clients would tell their friends about your amazing skills, and you’d soon find yourself with more opportunities than you’d have dreamed of! 

Unique Challenges of Wedding Photography

That being said though, there are also unique challenges that come with the niche. Snapping pictures as the wedding day unfolds is often a fast-paced and high-pressure job, and photographers must be prepared to think and act quickly in order to capture the perfect moments. 

As an extra challenge, wedding photographers must maintain professionalism while still creating a comfortable atmosphere for their couples. It’s important to be able to capture real and genuine interactions between two people, without being too informal or overly personal with the guests and family members (that is, if you don’t know them well already!) A good wedding photographer must be able to find that perfect balance between being professional and being friendly.

And because wedding photography is so popular, you might find yourself competing with other photographers in the area. Photographers must be willing to go the extra mile to stand out from the crowd. (That’s why we’re sharing these 15 tips and tricks below, to help you get that extra leg up as a beginner!)

With the right skills and creativity, wedding photography can be an incredibly rewarding occupation. With all that in mind, here are 15 important tips to remember if you’re just starting out in the wedding photography business:

Tip 1: Start with the basics 

The first step to becoming a professional wedding photographer is understanding the basics of photography. Study the fundamentals of exposure and composition, as well as brush up on your camera settings. This will ensure that your skills are up to par for the special day. To further your knowledge, read photography books and websites, watch tutorial videos, and practice your technique.

Tip 2: Invest in the right equipment 

Having the right camera gear can make a huge difference in your wedding photos. Invest in a camera and lens that will give you the best possible results on the day. Don’t skimp on things like tripods and lighting equipment, either; these are essential for capturing stunning wedding photos.

Tip 3: Meet with the couple

Before the wedding day, meet with the couple to discuss their vision for the photos and to get to know their personalities. This will help you capture their unique style and essence on their special day. Not sure what questions to ask? Here are a few ideas:  

  • Ask questions about the couple’s preferences for poses and other details.
  • Share sample photos of ideas that the couple may be interested in.
  • Make sure to capture candid shots throughout the day.
  • Be flexible and accommodating to the couple’s needs and requests.
  • Take the couple’s moods and energy levels into account.
  • Be prepared for any special requests or props that the couple might bring.
  • Show the couple examples of your work and albums from other weddings.
  • Get to know the family members of the couple as well, to help capture meaningful photos of the couple and their relatives.
  • Ask the couple if they have any particular requests such as a certain time of day for photos or a certain location.
  • Keep communication lines open and listen to the couple’s wants and needs.

Taking the time to understand their vision, personalities, and needs will ensure that you are able to capture their special day in a way that is unique and meaningful for them. To provide the best possible service, be flexible and accommodating to the couple’s requests and preferences. With careful consideration, every photo will be beautiful and timeless.

Tip 4: Get the couple comfortable

The couple’s comfort level with you and your camera is essential for getting the best results. Spend some time getting to know them before the wedding and create a relaxed atmosphere on the day. Ask them questions about their love story, how they got to know and love each other, and share in the magic and excitement of that moment. This will help them to feel more at ease, and let you help their personalities shine through in the photos.

Tip 5: Capture the details

Details are what make a wedding special, so it’s important to capture them in your photos. Details like the bride’s dress, the wedding rings, the bouquet, and other decorations are all part of the big day. Make sure to get close-up shots of all the details to help tell the story of the day.

Tip 6: Experiment with lighting

Lighting is an essential element for capturing stunning wedding photos. Experiment with different types of light, from natural sunlight to the lights available at the venue. This will help you get the most out of your camera, and create works of art even when the wedding setup is simple, or you don’t have the fanciest cameras. 

Tip 7: Take time for editing

Editing is an important part of the post-processing process. Take your time to perfect your images with the best editing tools and software you have at hand. This will help you to create the most beautiful photos that the couple will cherish, and be excited to show off to their friends and family. 

Tip 8: Be timely

Timeliness is essential when shooting a wedding. Always arrive at the venue on time—ideally ahead of the flow of guests and well-wishers!—and stay on schedule to ensure you capture all the important moments of the day. 

That way, you’ll get the best possible results without getting frustrated or stressed over missing important moments, ensuring everyone is happy with the final pictures. 

Tip 9: Practice makes perfect

Before heading off to shoot a wedding, it’s important to practice with your camera and gear. Spend time experimenting with different settings, lenses, and angles to make sure you’re familiar with everything before the big day. There’s nothing more frustrating and unprofessional than not knowing how your new camera works when something goes wrong just as the ceremony begins! 

It’s also a great idea to do a few practice shoots to get comfortable with the process, and ensure you have the skills you need to successfully snap amazing photos of the special couple.

Tip 10: Create a shot list

What are the most important moments you can’t miss, as a wedding photographer? Make a list of those key shots that the couple wants and be sure to capture those moments throughout the day. 

These can include:

  • The Kiss (but you already knew that)
  •  Bride and Groom getting ready
  •  First look 
  •  Ceremony and vows exchange
  •  Family and wedding party photos
  •  Bride and Groom portraits
  •  Reception details

The shot list is also a tool that helps you to plan your time and stay organized throughout the day. Having one will help you move more quickly and efficiently between locations, allowing more time for creative moments. As a bonus, the couple can have peace of mind knowing that nothing will be forgotten.

Tip 11: Use a second shooter

Capturing an entire wedding through a camera lens doesn’t have to be a one-person job! Here’s how a second shooter can be invaluable on the big day: 

  • More angles: With two photographers, you can get twice as many angles of the same moment. That gives you more freedom to experiment with ideas to come up with the most stunning images.
  • More coverage: With two shooters, you have the potential to capture much more of the day as a whole. This gives you room to pick only the best of a bunch of photos, instead of having to rely on just a handful to show the couple at the end of the day.
  • Versatility: Two photographers can also be helpful in different settings, like if one shots in a church and one in a ballroom.

When you have multiple shooters, you can be sure you’ll have no shortage of photographs to look back on. On a professional level, having another shooter also alleviates the stress of capturing everything all by yourself.

Tip 12: Scout the locations

Visit the locations where the wedding will take place beforehand and scout out the best spots for photos.  Make sure to try and visit the locations at different times of the day to get a sense for the lighting and background of each spot. 

By doing this, you can plan ahead and know exactly what kind of shots you’re looking for when it comes to the actual wedding day. If there’s an opportunity, take some time getting to know the wedding venue and its staff, as well as practicing the shots you want to take. Scouting the locations also allows you to get a feel for the layout of the venue, allowing you to plan out the perfect shots and capture the big moments on the big day. 

Visiting the venue and locations beforehand gives you room and time to learn what rules and regulations the wedding venue might have, and plan your shots accordingly. This way, you’d avoid any unpleasant surprises on the day of the wedding, and make sure that everything runs smoothly.

Finally, taking the time to scout the locations for the wedding gives you the chance to get creative and think about possible backgrounds and compositions for the photos, which makes for more interesting and unique shots.

Tip 13: Get creative with angles

Experiment with different angles and perspectives to create interesting and unique photos.

Some suggestions: 

  • Try photographing people from a higher angle to create a sense of grandeur. 
  • Low angle brings a down-to-earth focus on the details and makes the subject look larger than life.
  • Capture images from different angles to create a unique and memorable set of photos.  
  • Play with the lighting to create a dramatic atmosphere. 
  • Use interesting backgrounds to add texture and contrast to the scene. 
  • Try shooting with a tilt-shift lens to achieve a miniature effect. 
  • Incorporate reflective surfaces to create interesting compositions. 
  • Incorporate storytelling perspectives to capture the love story.  
  • Use motion blur to capture emotion and movement in a single shot.

Tip 14: Be ready for candid moments

Some of the best wedding photos are candid moments that capture the joy and emotion of the day. Be ready to capture those moments as they happen. 

These can be  pictures of the bride and groom walking, laughing, kissing, forgetting about all the other guests and just enjoying time together. Or that moment when someone spills a drink, cracks a joke, and everyone breaks into belly-rocking laughter. 

Be sure to have a camera ready and shoot quickly, as these moments can be short-lived. Try to anticipate when these moments will happen, but also be aware of your surroundings. Be prepared to move quickly when needed to capture those special moments. 

Tip 15: Have fun and be flexible

Weddings aren’t funerals. They are celebrated events where friends and family gather to celebrate the love of two people. It’s important that the wedding photographer is able to capture this emotion. Let go of your inhibitions, loose up and have a good time. You probably know this already, but remember, weddings can be unpredictable. So, be flexible and ready to adapt to changes throughout the day. Remember to have fun and enjoy the special moments with the couple and their families. 

Bonus Tip: Create a Wedding Photography Portfolio

Creating a portfolio will help you to showcase your best work and set yourself apart from the competition. This will help you get hired for more jobs in the future and make sure your wedding photography business is a success. 

A portfolio can be created in several ways:

  • Create an online wedding photography portfolio with a website or through a service like Format
  • Use a physical portfolio of your work that can be taken with you to local wedding venues to showcase your best work
  • Have wedding packages or albums available to show potential clients
  • Use your photography blog to show off your most recent work
  • Join wedding photography forums and photography websites and showcase your work
  • Reach out to wedding magazines or websites and offer to send them samples of your work

Your portfolio acts as a powerful tool to leave a lasting impression and showcase your creativity, technical skills, experience and professionalism. Plus, it helps potential clients to get an idea of your style and creative vision. 

By selecting the best images that showcase your talent and skill, you can create a portfolio that will draw the attention of your clients and make them more likely to hire you. Plus, it’s also a great opportunity to explain the value of your services and increase your chances of getting booked.

When creating a wedding photography portfolio, make sure to include all the best shots you’ve taken, high-quality images and a variety of shots. It’s also a good idea to provide a detailed description of each photo so that your clients can get a better idea of the photo story and your skill set. Keep it simple and always aim to impress.

Capture this: Your next steps in wedding photography

Wedding photography is a special and rewarding job, but it can be intimidating when you’re just starting out. By following these tips, you’ll be sure to have the knowledge and skills you need to become a successful wedding photographer. 

Take your time to understand the fundamentals, invest in the right equipment, practice, create an outstanding portfolio that makes it easy for new couples to find (and want to hire) you, and remember to have fun with it! 

With a bit of dedication and creativity, you’ll be well on your way to creating beautiful wedding photos that couples will cherish for years to come.

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