bigstock-Newly-married-couple-on-the-oc-27115934Wedding photography is more than meets the eye.  Yes, you need the shots where the bride and groom kiss, walk out of the ceremony as husband and wife, and of the bridal party immediately after the service.  But if you’re only getting those traditional shots, then you’re missing out on the wonderful details that make a great wedding photographer!

Here are some wedding photography tips that will make your wedding photos outstanding:

1. Arrive early

Photography the preparation, like the bride getting ready for her big day.  As she puts on the final touches with her mother, her best friend, or someone special in her life, you’ll inevitably capture some special and beautiful moments. Try taking a photo of her reflection in a mirror as she plays with her veil or of her shoulder as she stands in the window looking outside.  This is also one of the best opportunities you’ll have to capture details she might enjoy later.  For example, take some shots of the embroidery in her dress, of the edge of her veil, perhaps her leg in a garter belt!  If possible, take a shot of her dress hanging up next to a bridesmaid’s dress.

2. Shoot on Manual Mode.

Most likely you won’t be able to use flash during the ceremony and you’ll have to use whatever light you are presented with.  On manual mode, you’ll have full control over your aperture and shutter speed.  You can pump the ISO up to 800+ , set  your white balance set to auto, open your aperture wide, and slow down your shutter speed as much as possible without making your image blurry.

3. Be Prepared.

As soon as you are able, leave the ceremony and try to set up your camera shot out front before the bride and groom come out.  Don’t be afraid to ask them to stop and pause for a staged kiss.  They’ll thank you later!

4. Reshoot when needed.

You can’t request a reshoot if you don’t get your shots on the wedding day.  So be polite, but be assertive if there is a shot you would like to get.  Your bride and groom hired you to take great photos so they’ll trust your judgment.  You will want to get the traditional shots of the bridal party and families.  But take the opportunity to shoot some candids of everyone while you’re setting up the more posed and formal shots.  Also, during the reception, request 15 minutes or so to stage some photos of your bride and groom.  This will be your chance to get some more close up and intimate shots of the two of them.  Be creative with this time and maybe get a little artistic – take a shot of his hand on her back, of their hands intertwined, extreme close-ups of them lovingly gazing into each others’ eyes, and photos of the two of them with more creative angles.

5. Focus on the detail.

Get the money shots, but capture the details as well.  Instead of just taking a photo of the entire wedding cake, take a detailed close-up of the flowers on top.  Take shots of the centerpieces, place cards, out of focus shots of them dancing, reaction shots of guests, etc.

6. Give options.

When editing, offer some photos in color and some in black and white.  Most people like options.  And it doesn’t take much time to convert a photo into a black and white or a sepia. Learn more tips on how to create stunning black and white photos in  The Art of Black and White Photography.  You can learn a lot more retouching tips in a class like Photoshop Retouching.

When entering any specialized field, you’ll want to practice as much as you can.  Offer to do a friend’s or family member’s wedding as a second shooter.  And take classes like Professional Wedding Photography.  And when you’re getting the hang of it, try out WordPress for Wedding Photographers.  You’ll want to make sure other engaged couples can see your brilliant work!

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Wedding Photography: Build a Referral Generating Machine

Last Updated March 2020

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A step-by-step system to get a continuous stream of referrals for your wedding photography business. | By Laurence Kim

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