Wedding photography tips for photographers!
I’ve been photographing weddings for over 15 years now, with an average of 20 to 25 weddings a year. I’ve learnt a LOT in that amount of time!
I have plenty of advice on what and what not to do when starting independently.
Here are some of my excellent wedding photography tips for anyone aspiring to become a professional wedding photographer.
Create a kick-ass portfolio
For me, this one is a no brainer.
We live in an age where everything is online, and my target market is primarily millennials.
Most people love a one-stop shop, so having a really killer website with a fantastic portfolio and transparent pricing, I believe, is key to helping you book clients.
There are some great platforms specifically targeted at wedding and portrait photographers.
But what if you don’t have any wedding photography to show off?
I suggest reaching out to local photographers whom you admire and seeing if you can find a mentor.
Have a portfolio of your best work on hand and present yourself professionally.
I know many fabulous photographers who started this way and still maintain excellent relationships with the people who gave them a leg up.
Whatever you do, don’t ever use anyone else’s images as your own. You only need to read the Photo Stealers website to know that this is a massive no go and never ends well.
Know your gear
I would shoot weddings with some cheap gear back in my early days, and I did reasonably well.
But you can have the most expensive gear on the planet and still not know how to use it.
I believe it’s the person behind the camera and lens who has the vision, heart and technical skills to create a great photo.
It would be best to carry some tried and tested essential photography equipment to get you through an entire wedding day and know how to use them in all modes.
My suggestions are:
Two DSLRs (I work with mirrorless Canon cameras)
One wide-angle lens
One telephoto lens
One macro lens (or macro filters)
One prime lens (my favourite is the 50mm)
One flash unit
A well-supported bag
Keep in mind that I think the above is a basic list of equipment needed.
I have way more than this in my bag, and I use all of it on a wedding day.
I know how expensive it is to buy wedding photography equipment, and it took me years to build my bag.
Consider renting gear (I’ve done this many times).
A great place in Brisbane to rent from is Brisbane Camera Hire.
Oh my gosh, this one is super important.
You NEED liability insurance if you’re a wedding photographer, and in my opinion, no one should photograph a wedding without any.
I would also recommend having all of your gear insured as well.
The company I use to look after my gear and liability insurance is PPIB (Professional Photographers Insurance Brokers). They’ve always been excellent and provide great service when needed.
Go on, get out there!
Meet other photographers and network, and make friends.
I did this in the early days, and I’ve gotten to know some lovely people who have been kind to me.
Create a family and group photo list
I tell my clients well in advance that there is a section in their booking form to write down any lists and pairings that they’d like for their family photos.
I place a lot of importance on these images and stress that I don’t want to miss any because I know too well how disappointing it can be not to get these on the day.
Make that effort and also ask if there are a couple of assigned family members who can help direct you to find everyone.
A good tip is to ask your celebrant or priest to use their microphone for grouping everyone.
Prepare, prepare, prepare
I have a wedding photography list that I’ve been using for years, and I cross off my to-do list in the week leading up to a wedding.
I have everything from cleaning my gear to contacting the bride to putting petrol in my car. You never want to be unprepared!
Check out the venue
Make a date with your bride and groom to have a walk-through of their chosen venue together.
Tell them you’ll schedule this a month or so from their wedding day and stick to it.
This will ensure you create trust with them, and you’ll also be able to see the venue and scout for locations for photos.
A good tip is to do this at approximately the same time as their ceremony. That way, you’ll be able to see what the light might be like and have a plan in your head before the day rolls around.
Look your best
Look, I feel like this is advice that’s another no brainer.
I’ve come across other wedding photographers when working in popular locations, and I’m always surprised to see the odd person in jeans.
Think of how much effort your clients put into their big day and do the same.
I always wear a smart dress with flats, making sure I present professionally.
It does go a long way in how you present yourself not only to your clients but also to guests and family.
Shoot in RAW
Ok, so I know many photographers who would argue against this.
But for me, it’s the sage advice of ‘better safe than sorry’.
This is a day that you won’t get to repeat. It’s not a portrait session that you can re-schedule because of rain.
Do your best, buy extra memory cards and shoot in RAW. It will give you more flexibility, and if you didn’t quite get your exposure correct on a shot that is still amazing, you’d have more scope to correct this afterwards.
So here’s what I do on a wedding day.
I have two cards in my camera, and one is purely for backing up.
I wear my cards around my neck zipped up and typically photograph on 16GB cards.
As soon as I’m home and in the door, my bag is unpacked, and I’m backing up all of my RAW images onto three different hard drives.
Over the years, I’ve had several clients contact and tell me they’ve lost their wedding photos, and I’m always happy to re-upload these for download at no extra cost.
Honestly, every photographer’s nightmare is to lose images from a day.
Put the proper steps in place to ensure it doesn’t happen to you!
I hope you’ve enjoyed this blog article about ‘wedding photography tips for photographers!’.
Feel free to leave a comment and ask any questions!