cake Basics of Wedding Photography   Part 1/4

Wedding photography is a very challenging endeavor and there are a lot of things a photographer must prepare for and be aware of before they even attempt their first wedding. First of all, just because you’ve attended a wedding doesn’t mean you can photograph it well. We highly recommend that any would-be wedding shooters first begin by assisting as a 2nd shooter with an experienced wedding photographer before even attempting one on their own. It’s fairly easy to become a 2nd shooter, as long as you’re a decent photographer, as many wedding photographers are looking for reliable 2nd shooters all the time on the internet.

Once you’re ready to try going out on your own, remember there is a lot at stake in shooting a wedding, so being prepared can help smooth out the day and ensure you do a great job that the bride and groom appreciate.

This guide will delve into some of the basics of wedding photography, and help you in your development in this highly demanded skill.

1. Understand the Bride & Groom’s expectations from you

Before anything else, make sure you talk to the bride and groom and understand exactly what they’re looking for from your photography, and what results they want.

Some questions you need to ask them are:

  • Do they want candids or formal?
  • Black & white photos or colour?
  • How many photos are they expecting?
  • A CD of photos or an album of prints?
  • What are their expectations when it comes to using photoshop?
  • How long are you expected to shoot till? The first dance, the whole night?
  • Is the bride and groom willing to work with you to ensure the photos come out as best as possible?

Don’t assume that you know what they want or expect from you until you’ve asked the couple explicitly – searching through any photography forum on the internet reveals that this is probably the biggest mistake new wedding photographers make. Most importantly, have the results of everything you’ve discussed in writing in your contract so that there is no mis-communication or confusion and you can always refer back to it in an emergency.

bridegroom Basics of Wedding Photography   Part 1/4

2. Be Prepared

Remember, you’re being paid to photograph a couple’s most important day. If you’re prepared ahead of time for the worst-case scenarios, you’ll find that you’re better able to handle emergencies and unexpected problems and still complete your job to their satisfactoin.

The minimum equipment you need for a wedding is the following:

  • A main camera and a backup camera:
    Cameras fail and cameras get dropped. Always have a reliable backup camera on hand to take its place. By the way, don’t use a point & shoot for a backup camera. If you want to do this for a living, spend the money and get a good quality SLR at the very least.
  • Wide lens and a zoom lens:
    The wide lens will allow you to take photos that include the surroundings and place the subjects in context, while a zoom will let you get up close and personal and shoot intimate moments better.
  • An external flash:
    You’ll be shooting in wide open spaces or large dark halls, so an on-camera flash is going to be too weak to be effective. A good reliable external flash will be essential in providing the light you need to make effective photos.
  • Memory cards:
    Don’t use one memory card for the whole day. If you lose that one card, you’ve lost all the photos for the day. It’s better to use more smaller capacity cards than one large capacity card.
  • Backup methodology:
    Ensure that you backup your cards on to a laptop or portable drive throughout the day, even if you have more than enough memory cards to handle all your photos. This will ensure that the photos are safe and sound in a redundant storage location.
  • Strobes, filters, cords and tripod:
    This goes without saying, but make sure all your equipment has been tested and ready a few days before the event. This will give you time to replace or borrow anything that is faulty.

So now that you’ve understood expectations and prepared your equipment, in Part 2 we’ll look into what needs to be done for the big day itself.

The 4 blog posts for the Basics of Wedding Photography can be found here: