Wedding photography is a mixture of many other photographic genres. It incorporates portraiture, family and group photography, documentary, boudoir, event, and close-up images.
For this reason, wedding photography requires a variety of equipment and preparation. To be a successful wedding photographer, you need to get to know all the above-mentioned niches in greater depth.
Read our guide to get familiar with the best wedding photography tips and tricks!
What Is Wedding Photography?
Wedding photography is a photography niche that focuses on capturing the events of the wedding day. It also often includes an engagement photoshoot, boudoir photos, and the wedding preparations.
The photoshoot itself lasts from the beginning of the ceremony until the end, often until the middle of the night.
Recording the couple’s happiest day is truly motivating and uplifting. At each wedding, you get to experience a different love story and capture the couple’s love for one another.
At the same time, it is a quite stressful and demanding job. This is a once in a lifetime event for the couple, so you cannot afford to miss a single important moment of the day. You have to be everywhere all the time and provide quality service the whole day, with barely any time to rest.
But the result is totally worth the effort. Not only will you be able to capture such an important day, but you will also learn new skills – both technical and practical- that you will later be able to implement in various areas of photography.
Having the best camera equipment is very important in being a professional wedding photographer.
You need a full-frame DSLR or mirrorless system that can handle everything this type of event can throw at you.
There are many different styles and locations you will photograph. The camera you will use may need to change at a moment’s notice.
That means offering the ability to work in high ISO and full-frame sensor size. Having great focusing points will also help.
Shooting in RAW is a necessity, as this will give you more play when it comes to editing. Your system needs to be able to deal with different lenses too. You will need to use a wide variety of primes, or fast zoom lenses with great resolving power and extended focal range.
Also, having a backup camera (or two) will make sure that you are covered if something happens.
Having three cameras isn’t unheard of, as two cameras can operate while one serves as a backup.
The two-camera method is beneficial as one can sport a prime for portraits. The other one can host a zoom for unexpected moments.
Wedding photography requires several features that combine the advantages of sport and portrait cameras.
The camera has to be able to perform well in low light, have fast autofocus, has to have a variety of lenses compatible with the brand and the body.
This is our extensive list of what digital cameras are great for shooting weddings.
Lenses are the most important pieces of kit you will need.
It is completely possible to shoot a wedding ceremony with one lens (great example), but that lens will need to be a zoom.
Ideally, you’ll want to have at least a few lenses to make sure you’ve covered all your bases. Owning more lenses will allow you to capture moments in a cramped church as well as outside in a brightly lit park.
There are a few focal lengths and features that are standard for every professional wedding photographer. This article gives you seven of the best lenses to use for a complete wedding package.
Better to have a tripod and not need it than the alternative. As far as wedding photography tips go, you will benefit greatly from having one around.
In situations where group photos are taken, the tripod is a secure place to keep your camera.
It lets you use both hands when directing the excited family. Or tinkering with the flash units.
Also, it will keep the view perfectly still, getting the guests to pose in the frame, not trying to work around them. It reduces camera shake due to the mirror flick up.
More importantly, it will give you a chance to shoot remotely with your second camera.
Wedding Photography Accessories
There are a ton of accessories designed to make your photographic life easier. Some are a necessity, such as camera bags, a lens cleaning kit, and memory cards.
If you don’t have all these add-ons, you can still capture amazing wedding shots. You’ll get them next time.
You don’t have to buy all the accessories at once, but you will find that the more of these you can afford, the easier your wedding photography workflow will be.
There are a few important things you need to think of wedding photography. The more kit you have means the more accessories you need.
Some accessories, such as rain covers and extra batteries will make your work during the wedding day a little easier.
Some, on the other hand, are an absolute must. You definitely don’t want to get into wedding photography without having a reliable flash and tripod.
While these accessories can provide to be really helpful, you need to calculate them into your budget.
Read our list of important accessories and see which you and your wedding photography could benefit from.
To make your wedding photos even more outstanding, there are some props that you can use for special effects.
There are many ideas that are not breaking your budget but still improve your photos significantly.
Some of the tips in the article include using a bouquet for ring close-ups, adding bokeh to the photo with fairy lights, and creating a foreground by using the bride’s veil.
For more tips and tricks, make sure to check out our article!
These are important, as they will be saving all of your beautiful images. At the actual wedding, your camera might be set to photograph in rapid succession.
This is called burst mode or continuous high-speed mode. Photographing many images in a short space of time will put your card under stress and pressure.
You don’t want a slow memory card in these circumstances. Here, the camera might stop and need time to go through the 15 images you just shot.
This is the area you can’t save money on. Get the fastest, best memory cards and they will reward you with amazing images.
Wedding Photography Lighting
Huge lighting setups like what you have in the photography studio are not an option as they distract the wedding and get in the way.
Using lenses with a fast aperture means getting the most light out of the scene.
Some areas, you might find you can’t use any lights. Generally, off-the-camera flashes such as Speedlites are fine and can be used simultaneously. In other areas, reflectors might help bounce the light back into the image.
Find out what you can and can’t do at the wedding and go from there
This extensive article looks at lighting an entire wedding. Going from the dressing to the end of the wedding reception (party!).
There are many different locations throwing different temperatures at you. They will need some thought.
The best way is to scout beforehand. Here, you are looking for light and settings that you need to capture powerful images. You also need to check the weather in the case of an outdoor photo session.
Natural light is a great way to illuminate your subject without too much gear.
Windows are very handy as they add a soft, spread out feel. This light will also be abundant with the outside shots, where you might want to use reflectors.
Speedlites will help fill in dark areas, and freeze motion when people are dancing. Utilize the light, and add where necessary.
Whether you have to photograph in the middle of the day or at night, flash lighting is a great help to your wedding photography.
Using your flash during this time may help you to fill in light. You can also use a flash to add a more creative flair to your photos
They can be placed on your camera’s hot-shoe, and on a camera bracket. Or even handheld for fast adjustments. You can even sync many flash units at the same time.
This is great for different lights hitting the same scene from different angles. Go through our article here for all the information you will ever need.
To use these Speedlites or any off-camera lighting system, they need to connect to your camera. A wireless flash trigger allows you to trigger the flash without any physical connection to the camera.
Wireless flash triggers consist of two parts, a receiver and a transmitter. They work on transmitting the information to the flash unit that has a receiver attached to it.
To learn more about how to use a wireless flash trigger, read our article!
Reflectors are super useful for portraiture and wedding photography. They are great because they don’t need batteries or cables and they fold away into small, pockets.
They are pretty inexpensive too and can have dramatic effects on your photography. Basically, they bounce and re-direct light back into the scene, thus soften harsh shadows.
These are great to add a fill light as if there is more than one light source. You’ll find they are flexible enough to bend and further shape the light and where it needs to go.
Read this article and you might find yourself modifying them into shoot-through reflectors soon enough.
How To Shoot Weddings
Gear is secondary to your approach, portrait posing, and composition.
From finding and communicating with the happy couple to the handing over of the images, photographing weddings is a lot of hard work.
Writing time your workflow will give your clients an example of all the steps involved in wedding photography.
This also helps you understand where your time goes. Which could help you explain why you charge $2000+ to capture such a special event.
Photography checklists are a great way to help you see what images are expected from wedding photography.
The list will help you know what to look for when it comes to researching and location scouting.
By all means, use our article for inspiration and a handy guide of what you should be photographing.
Going through our wedding checklist will allow you to focus on the next image.
These tips are designed to help you capture the best images at the wedding.
The initial communication is important, as you will find out about the couple’s ideas and wishes. This day is all about them and what they want to have captured.
Do as much research and scouting for light and settings as you need. This ensures you are prepared and confident on the wedding day. You are not a guest or a family member, you are working, so focus on the day at hand.
Read through a few more of our tips on how to ensure the day goes according to the plan.
Capturing the small details is a very important area of wedding photography.
The wedding rings are the most important part of the ceremony. There are many ways photographers have captured these bands over the years.
Other details like close-ups of corsages, flowers and all the small parts that add flair to the wedding. Looking at the features of the clothing, for example, the shoes or even jewellery.
The small elements add to the overall scene and are a nice way to break up the wider shots of the guests and the location.
As every niche of photography, wedding photography also has its various approaches. When a couple chooses their photographer, what they first look at is the style of their images.
This is why it is super important to have a consistent, high-quality style that you can promise to deliver to your clients.
The approach you take to capture the big day is the thing that will determine how your photos look. You can choose to take pictures in a photojournalist’s way, but you can also experiment with the area of fine art photography.
Read our post to get to know more about the different styles of wedding photography.
Flicking through a wedding album, you will find that some of the images are black and white.
The photographer might use this desaturation to break up the monotony of colour. It is also a great tool for expressing emotions and emphasising contrast.
Black and white images help to cut distractions from unfavourable colours and show the viewer where to focus in the image.
Textures and patterns are great to show off through this monotone. Use it to your advantage today.
Indian weddings are unique experiences that require throughout preparations. Before the photoshoot, you need to get yourself familiar with the Indian wedding traditions.
Even in Indian culture, there are several different types of traditions. You need to get to know the couple before the event and learn more about their expectations. You should ask for example photos and descriptions about how they imagine their wedding to look like.
Such precautions help you avoid unnecessary stress while photographing the wedding.
Boudoir photography started as one of the incorporated styles inside wedding photography. Before the wedding, the bridge would gather her bridesmaids together to get ready for the big day.
This is a special time of female bonding. As the bride prepares, a photographer would capture her. These photographs are something intimate to be shared with the groom. They are also perfect for capturing sensuality and boosting the model’s self-esteem.
Boudoir photography is another part of the wedding photograph list. So, cover your bases and immerse yourself in this world.
Drone photography is becoming increasingly popular. The are many choices as technology grows, some even offer 4K video and very high-resolution images.
This is a great addition to photographing the surrounding area as a prelude to the wedding album. Due to the unusual angles, when shooting with a drone, the only limits are the sky and your creativity.
There are many places you can’t use a drone, and even have to ask for permission from those who own the property. Be smart and follow the rules first.
Photographing outdoors can save you from a lot of stress regarding low light conditions, having to use high ISO, or not being able to get far enough from the subject.
But it also comes with its own set of challenges. When photographing outdoor weddings, you need to deal with uneven lighting, distractions in the background, and the weather.
When choosing the time of the day for capturing a wedding, it is important to take the lighting into account. You also have to prepare for unexpected weather conditions.
Check out our article to read the best tips about outdoor wedding photography!
This is one area that isn’t just specific to wedding photography. But instead, all photography.
Due to the faced paced and stressful nature, it would be easy to lose a card. Or even accidentally format it while shooting.
That would be an absolute tragedy. Make sure you have enough cards to shoot the entire wedding day with (plus extras just in case).
At the wedding, or when you get home, copy the files and back them up immediately. Make sure you have the correct files before you delete them for the next wedding.
Cloud storage is a great way to keep them secure You can set it up at the event for less hassle.
How To Pose Wedding Photography
Posing couples as part of the wedding photography session is a great way to break up images of single portraits of the guests.
The bride and groom, the parents of the engaged or even the children together. Family photos can have a powerful impact. They also help to keep the theme of togetherness which is what weddings are all about.
Think of the atmosphere you want to show, which show differ from the other couple of photographs. Do you want to show love and tenderness? Then holding hands, holding each other or kissing are great examples to show that mood.
The children could be having fun or friends could be laughing together.
Before the wedding ceremony, many couples ask for an engagement photo session. While wedding photography belongs to the niche of events, engagement photos are portraits.
Therefore, they require different preparations. Just like portrait photoshoots, here are several poses and ideas you can try. The main goal is to capture the intimacy and love of the partners in a heartwarming way.
You can also put emphasis on a specific location that the couple loves or the engagement ring. Read our article for more tips!
Wedding Photography Business
Running your own wedding photography business can be very lucrative.
It doesn’t have to be a business. Even working as a freelance photographer can really be beneficial.
Knowing how to work with people in any kind of business is an absolute must. It is useful to have a list of contacts that can help you, such as assistants, accountants and even photographic retouchers.
Here are a few articles on what you may need to help with your wedding photography business.
Starting a photography business is always tricky. You need to get experience to get clients, but you cannot get clients without experience. This especially applies to wedding photography, since the couple usually doesn’t want to risk not having the best photos possible.
Luckily, there are ways that you can gain experience and build trust with your clients. You can work on engagement shoots and prove to the clients that you are capable of capturing beautiful photos. You can also ask a wedding photographer to mentor you and let you be their second shooter.
To learn more about how to start your business from scratch, read our article!
Wedding photography is stressful and fast-paced. But after a few, you will feel comfortable and you will find your own photography style.
There are many positive sides to being a wedding photographer.
You will learn a lot about time management and your own abilities. How to photograph and work under pressure. How to organize yourself and becoming assertive in knowing what to look for. You can learn to be assertive and turn away clients if you feel that you don’t share the same vision or ideas.
Plus, you get to go to the most important day of people’s lives and revel in their happiness.
A contract is a great piece of legislation. Its aim is to protect you and the couple. It makes sure everyone is on the same page and nothing is lost in communication.
The contract should have information about both parties. Dates and times as applicable.
It should include the photographer’s fee, the schedule for payment and what is expected of both sides.
If a problem arises, then you can point out the discrepancies in the contract. And hire a lawyer if need be.
Knowing how to price your wedding photography package is tricky.
If you charge too low, you miss out on your worth and value as a photographer. The couple might also see this as a lack of confidence and judge your work accordingly.
On the other hand, if the price is too high, people could choose to go elsewhere.
Pricing has nothing to do with your camera, education or experience. It all comes down to confidence. Confidence that you can take the best photographs for that value.
People will spend their set budget. This way, they feel they are getting the best photographer for their budget.
Post-Processing & Sharing Wedding Photos
Post-processing an image is almost just as important as how you photograph it.
There are many things you can do with programs such as Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom. But you can’t fix terrible images.
They are more for getting the best out of the images you took, and are happy with.
This is the area where you enhance the colours. You pull out the detail from shadows and sharpen areas you want the viewers’ focus to fall on.
Keep it subtle and don’t overdo it.
Most photographers are familiar with the two most popular photo editing programmes, Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom.
The question is, which one should you choose. None is better than the other, but they both have their strengths and weaknesses.
When it comes to importing and organising images, Lightroom is the programme you should go for. It is also better for batch processing and basic image editing. With the use of saved presets, you can finish your wedding photographs quickly and efficiently.
However, when it comes to more advanced changes, Photoshop and its layers give you the tools to significantly alter an image.
Read our article to learn more about the differences between the software!
For a great post-processing software, look no further than Lightroom. Not only does it keeps all the images you take organised. It also helps separate or connect them if necessary.
Lightroom is wonderful at using keywords, folders, and collections. This program lets you adjust many images at once.
The program will even help you organise images into a book/album format. This allows you to see how they will work together for the final product.
Have a look at our article for an in-depth guide for your wedding photography needs.
Adobe Lightroom presets are a great way to edit your photographs fast.
You upload them to your Lightroom preset folder, and they are free to use them as you wish. They adjust your image at the click of a button.
Exposure values, shadows, and highlights are a few modifications that could change due to the preset.
Others are more extensive, changing the tone and colours of an image to emanate a certain atmosphere.
Here are a few free presets for you to work with to get more from your images.
If you need some help installing these presets, see our article here.
Wedding photography follows weddings in the way that trends set the standard.
What is popular this year in colours, destinations and styles will be different next year. The same goes for the photographers and the style of photographs that the couples want.
Here is an article pointing out some of the trends popular with wedding photographers.
Like them or not, this is how some images have been processed for use in the real world.
As a professional photographer, delivering your images in a timely manner is paramount. The quality of your photos also needs to be stunning.
That’s where Pixieset comes in. This is a platform that allows you to easily share large files with your clients.
You upload your images and issue your client with a URL and password. They are then free to peruse, share and download. This all comes at a monthly fee.
This means your clients will be happy, satisfied, and likely to work with you again! It’s definitely one of the top options for file sharing.
For the full review, and information on how to get started, read our article here.
Wedding Photography Inspiration
Looking for inspiration to boost your portfolio? Or perhaps you are thinking about starting a website or blog to showcase your work.
We have the best seven wedding blogs that are useful for wedding photographers.
Not only do they help to show you what is out there. But give you an insight into what is popular and where you can find your niche.
Have a gander at our list. You won’t be disappointed. Know thy self, know thy enemy. A thousand battles, a thousand victories.
Destination weddings are weddings that take place in an exotic destination. Think of beaches in the Bahamas or cliffs of the Grand Canyon.
As a photographer, destination weddings can provide some very beautiful locations. They help to create special images that stand out from the usual wedding photos.
But, there are disadvantages that come with this style. For example, you might not be able to scout the area beforehand.
If you are looking to enter this field of wedding photography, read our tips. they will help to ensure you are as prepared as can be.
A really creative way to photograph people at weddings could be something really creative such as a photo booth.
Something like this is relatively easy to set up and will work wonders at the reception.
The guests will be able to photograph themselves in a more relaxed manner than having a photographer in their face. Plus, everyone loves photo booths.
This is something you can leave for people to use on their own, while you are still shooting.
You could even plug an instant printer there and charge people for the photographs.
Sometimes the best way to capture the wedding day is to think outside the box and add a story to the images.
Fine art is exactly that: it is an abstract style that is excellent for storytelling and expressing emotions. With fine art photography, you have full control over your pictures, choosing every element consciously.
Shooting a wedding in a fine art style ensures that you get to tell the couple’s story in a romantic and gorgeous way. Your photos will become not only documentations of the event, but also pieces of art.
Becoming a good wedding photographer requires throughout planning and preparations. You also need to ensure that everything goes well during the ceremony and that you don’t miss a single important moment of the wedding day.
We hope that our collection of articles have helped you get started with wedding photography!
If you like this post, read our review about the ‘Simple Wedding Photography’ ebook!