Wedding photography is a mixture of many other photographic genres.
It incorporates portraiture, family and group photography, documentary, boudoir, event, and close-up images.
Perhaps it even incorporates landscapes. This is especially true if the location is particularly beautiful or important.
What is Wedding Photography?
This is probably one of the most stressful areas to be a photographer.
If you accidentally delete the photographs or lose the memory card, you are in big trouble.
Saying that, if you can take great photographs, you are a superhero. Then you can charge a lot of money for this service. Especially if you have a lot of experience.
Having a lot of knowledge photographing weddings is transferrable. The skills you learn here can help with other photography fields.
this is particularly helpful if you own freelance business. Your downtimes could be used for photographing portraits or events, for example.
In no way is this an easy or stressfree area of photography. A lot of time is spent trying to find and meet clients. Then, you need to listen to their wedding plans and wishes.
Having the best camera equipment is very important in being a professional wedding photographer.
You need a 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 being able to work at a high ISO, and a fast shutter speed. 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.
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 can host a zoom for unexpected moments.
Mirrorless cameras have come a long way in recent years. As technology advances, more people find them useful and beneficial.
But shooting with DSLRs remains the standard for how to photograph a wedding. That isn’t to say that Mirrorless camera doesn’t have their place too.
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 your arms a rest while you go to find the bride and groom for the romantic shots.
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 shots. You’ll get them next time.
I doubt many photographers are able to buy everything they would like outright. The purchases come in steps, as needed.
A wireless transmitter is a great addition to your camera and your workflow. The idea is that this little gadget will send your files wirelessly to a laptop or storage device.
If you have a laptop nearby, you can refer to the images on a big screen. This helps you ensure you captured the image correctly.
Other guests will get a kick out of seeing the images pop up one by one.
The other great thing is you can use your laptop or storage device to save and backup your images.
Also, if you’re feeling adventurous, you could send images to a colleague working nearby. The idea is they edit as you shoot.
Imagine you hand the bride and groom a fully edited album at the end of the wedding day. All done and dusted.
Now, that’s an experience worth paying for.
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 a few lenses to make sure you’ve covered all your bases.
This article gives you seven of the best lenses to use (ok, one is a drone) for a complete wedding package.
Some you will use more than others. But it is always better to have it and only use it once than missing the perspective and subsequent shot.
This photographer uses a multitude of zooms and prime lenses, so he is never caught out.
There are a few important things you need to think of wedding photography. The more kit you have means the more accessories you need.
If you use one or two cameras, how will you keep them close by? A shoulder strap is a great choice.
Having two cameras means needing more spare batteries. Every battery needs a special charger too.
Using one or more Speedlites for lighting effects is a great idea. But it means that you need to think of where to put them and how to fire them.
A hot shoe extender or some sort of transmitter will be necessary.
The more memory cards you have means they need protective storage. Having two is great for used and empty cards. Even more, if you are using two different camera systems.
Read our list of important accessories and see which you and your wedding photography could benefit from.
A camera bag is where you keep and store all your equipment. It needs to keep your apparatus separate and safe.
These items should not become damaged from the outside world or anything else in the bag.
An important aspect to think of here is how far are you traveling? Will you be taking clothing and other items with your camera gear?
If you need to fly to the location, then a really sturdy case is important. This means using a smaller bag for the portable kit at the location.
Another of the best wedding photography tips is choosing the right kind of gear. Also, you can’t turn up wearing your week-old jeans and pajamas.
This is why we have selected the most stylish camera bags for you, right here.
These bags are specifically for those woman photographers out there. Men, stop complaining – every other bag can be used by you.
For the best looking and most practical camera bags, look no further than our article here.
A lens cleaning kit is a valuable tool for making sure your camera’s important parts are kept clean.
This is useful for smudges and dust on the lens, the mirror, and the sensor.
A kit like this includes many items. Cleaner bottle, lens cleaning pen, lens brush, air blower, cleaning sheets, and lens cleaning cloths.
This is everything your camera is going to need to stay fresh, healthy and dust free. Just don’t go overboard and don’t clean unless you need to.
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.
It locks your camera and renders it unusable while it thinks and works. This has the potential for you to miss the special moments.
This is the area you can’t scrimp and save money on. Get the fastest, best memory cards and they will reward you with amazing images.
Drone photography is becoming more and more 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.
There are rules and regulations you will need to follow. Insurance might be necessary for accidental damage.
You will definitely need to register your drone with the FAA or relevant aviation association.
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.
Lighting at a wedding is like any other event. Inside will be darker than outside. So how will you get correct exposure?
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. And will give you an attractive narrow depth of field.
Some areas, you might find you can’t use any lights. The ceremony could be one of these areas.
Generally, off-the-camera flashes such as Speedlites are fine, and many 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 the settings that follow to capture powerful images.
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.
Off-camera flash lighting is a great help to your wedding photography. They can work with a Through-The-Lens (TTL) metering system.
This is where the flash will expose the scene depending on the available light.
It is a pretty smart way to add a touch of light, known as a fill, when it is needed.
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.
To use these Speedlites or any off-camera lighting system, they need to connect to your camera. This is used either by infra-red signals or radio-waves.
Infra-red is standard. Yet if there is something between the transmitter and the receiver, the lights won’t fire. Problem.
To combat a problem like this, you will find that a radio transmitter/receiver works better. This system certifies a correctly exposed shot.
They work and connect in a similar way. They work on transmitting the information to the flash unit that has a receiver attached to it.
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.
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
How to photograph a wedding is the main key word here. Gear is secondary to your approach, portrait posing, and composition.
Photographing weddings is a lot of hard work. It is also very time consuming when you look at all the aspects involved.
From finding and communicating with the happy couple to the handing over of the images. It is non-stop work over days. Even weeks.
It is very handy to see a workflow written down. Especially to give you 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+ dollars 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 checklist will allow you to focus on the next image.
These tips are designed to help you capture the best images at the wedding. It starts by informing you that you need to know the couple.
The initial communication is important, as you will find out about their ideas and wishes. This day is all about them and what they want capturing.
Be assertive, get the shot without being over the top and in the way. You are not a guest or a family member, you are working, so focus on the day at hand.
Do as much research and scouting for light and settings as you need. This ensures you are prepared and confident on the day.
Read through a few more of our tips on how to ensure the day goes to plan. At least from your side.
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.
Boudoir photography is another part of the wedding photograph list. That is if the bride wants it.
So, cover your bases and immerse yourself in this world.
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 details of the clothing, for example, the shoes or even jewelry.
The small details add to the overall scene and are a nice way to break up the wider shots of the guests and the location.
Getting used to using natural light for portraits is a great benefit to your wedding photography. A lot of the images of the guests are photographed outside.
This is a great way to show the area, and something a little more natural than a room full of guests. Save those for the dance.
Natural light is great. It’s constant and adds a warm tone to the mood and image. People are happier so they photograph better.
Prepare by scouting the locations beforehand and see where the light falls during that window of time.
Flicking through a wedding album, you will find that some of the images are black and white. Some images work better in black and white.
The photographer might use this desaturation to break up the monotony of color.
Black and white images help to cut distractions from unfavorable colors 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. Start here.
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 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
What holds true when posing women do not follow when posing men. The keywords for how women want to look could be cute and pretty.
This is what the best wedding photographers look for when focusing on the women.
With men, they want to be seen as strong, tough, cool and tall. So how do we show these things?
Well, the lenses and the perspective of the photograph play a part. Big noses can be made smaller by using a larger focal length lens. Balding heads benefit from a lower angle.
The two things that should be focused on when photographing a man is the ‘V’ frame and jawline.
The ‘V’ frame comes down to broad shoulders and a small waist. The jawline should be angular and defined for ultimate manliness.
These can be extenuated with clever uses of positioning and camera angles.
Posing women across all types of photography is very similar. Unless you feel like breaking rules and want to try something very outrageous and specific.
When it comes to portraits of any kind, communication is key.
You need to build up the trust between you and the subject to make them feel comfortable. This is how you photograph great moods, expressions and the tone of the image.
Start with the easier photographs, and move towards the more difficult photographs as the shoot progresses.
Visual instructions are very important. The model might not understand photographic terms and might get agitated if she feels confused. Be clear, kind and understanding.
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.
When it comes to photographing them, see how they fit together.
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 having a laugh together. Think of the atmosphere you want to show, which show differ from the other couple of photographs.
The families as part of the wedding photography are going to be small groups of people. The bride, groom, and their baby or children.
The bride and her parents, then with her siblings or extended family.
The same goes for the groom. The rule of thumb here is immediate, close and rest of the relatives.
You will find that these family groups will gravitate together. It is just a matter of keeping check of who you are photographing.
Kick people in and out of the photograph as necessary.
Group photography has a very specific model to follow. Shorter people at the bottom, taller at the top.
A triangle is something you want to aim for, where the tallest should be right in the middle, falling to the shortest on the side.
This provides a nice shape where the viewer’s eyes follow the lines of people to the top and bounce around.
Something like this needs practice, patience, time and assertiveness. It is difficult to keep a group entertained for a few minutes to set up the shot.
Be confident and be funny if you need to be, especially when you take group shots.
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.
There is a lot of work involved. You will find that there are certain things and people you will need.
A list of contacts that can help you, assistant, accountants and even photographic retouchers are possibilities.
Here are a few articles on what you may need to help get you started.
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 plus sides to being a wedding photographer. For example, you are your own boss. You can turn away clients if you feel that you don’t share the same vision or ideas.
You will learn a great deal. How to photograph and work under pressure. How to organize yourself and becoming assertive in knowing what to look for.
Plus, you get to go to the most important day of people’s lives and revel in their happiness. Imagine their faces when you provide them with the images.
Insurance for you as a wedding photographer can really be beneficial. What if you lose money on a canceled wedding due to weather?
What about that lens that the drunk uncle accidentally damaged when dancing the funky chicken at the wedding party?
Situations like these are covered by insurance to make sure you can keep working and photographing.
The three types you need to know about are General Liability Insurance, Business Owner’s Policy, and Errors and Omissions Insurance.
You will find all the information for these in our article.
Destination weddings are self-explanatory. They are weddings that take place in an exotic destination. Think of beaches in the Bahamas.
As a photographer, destination weddings can provide some very beautiful locations. They help to create very interesting and special images.
But, there are disadvantages that come with this style. You might not be able to scout the area beforehand, for example.
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 contract is a great piece of legislation. It’s 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.
As a wedding photographer, you will want to promote yourself as much as possible. This means posting photographs regularly on social media such as facebook and twitter.
Wedding photography competitions might help you get exposure. Not to mention great awards and gifts.
You might also want to submit your best work to a magazine or two. Even sell them on a stock photography website.
To be able to use the images of the couple and guests from the wedding, they need to fill out a model release form.
This allows you to use their image without any payment or repercussions.
For weddings, this is permanent as there is no lifespan. You will be able to share at your heart’s content.
Without these, organizations might not let you share or sell without a model release form.
The person might also ask you to take the images down. Or in extreme circumstances, prosecute you.
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 in yourself and therefore your work. Too high, and people could go elsewhere. Right?
This article suggests that your pricing is just a random number. It 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. Here, more is more.
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.
This setup can be made out of old equipment, such as an older DSLR and laptop.
An LCD screen might be handy so people can see themselves and a flash unit.
You could even plug an instant printer there and charge people for the photographs. Creative and fun.
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.
Post-Processing & Sharing
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 colors. 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.
The busier you are, the more time you will need. This time will be spent organizing yourself, booking, arranging, shooting, and post-processing.
As you gain more experience, you will photograph less. Your photographs will naturally become better and better every wedding season.
This will give you more time to edit and organize yourself. Photographers even edit the images on downtime at the weddings themselves.
Another way to complete all this work fast and efficiently is to have an assistant. They will help you photograph and capture the less important, but time-consuming tasks.
They could even be sat in a corner of the reception somewhere, working on the images. These could be sent to them via a wireless transmitter.
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.
All the photography is over and all your business cards handed out. You are still reveling in the happy mood on the way home. What’s next?
Well, this is the editing and post-processing stage, when you need to ‘cull’ the bad photographs from the good ones.
Selecting, moving and trying to keep hold of your ideas and flow can be difficult. Especially under pressure.
What you might benefit from is having a workflow. A step-to-step guide for yourself on how to turn those images into something really beautiful.
It will save you time and hassle. And will make sure you have done everything correctly and in order.
For a great post-processing software, look no further than Lightroom
. Not only does it house all the images you take, but it also helps separate or connect them as necessary.
Lightroom is wonderful at using keywords, folders, and collections. This no-nonsense program lets you adjust one or many images at once.
The program will even help you organize images into a book/album format. This allows you can 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 colors 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 colors, destinations and styles will be different next year.
The same goes for the photographers and the style of photographs that the couples want.
These could be simply desaturating the image. Turning the color into black and white, or even sepia.
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.