Weddings are filled with fun, celebration, and thrilling emotions. They are special occasions signifying the most important time in a couple’s life.

If you’re a novice digital photographer and you were hand-picked by the bride and groom, consider yourself honored.  A bridal couple could choose a novice photographer for several reasons. Whether the bridal couple chose you as their wedding photographer to keep a close watch on their budget, or they preferred additional camera help for the professional photographer, you should be prepared to make their day memorable with candid digital photos.

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As the wedding photographer, be prepared to capture exclusive seconds that make the wedding memorable, like the bride and groom’s first kiss, or the instant the bride throws the bouquet during the reception. You just can’t get those moments back. Taking on the duties as a wedding photographer for any novice might feel like a huge responsibility. But, reduce any worry and prepare yourself with the advice below.

Prepare a photo list

Before the wedding day, meet with the bride and groom to see what type of photos they are looking for. Check how many photos they want and who should be included them. Do they want more couple shots, single shots or family and group shots? Also, find out if the couple expects all color photos, black and white photos, or a combination of both. 

Check the location

Visit the wedding and reception sites prior to the big day. Avoid scrambling around at the last minute, so you can locate the perfect spot in front of a sparkling fountain or a large sweeping tree. Visit the area at the wedding and reception times to check for proper lighting. Show the couple samples of location shots in advance or bring them along and take notes of their favorite photo locations.

What mistakes?

If you or the happy couple knows anything about photo editing, don’t press delete…save those photos! Digital cameras make it easy to take several pictures without worrying about mistakes. Create magnificent looking wedding photos with cropping and create perfect shots without discarding them.

Get up high

Every wedding should begin or end with a group shot of the entire wedding party and guests. Larger weddings pose challenges for group shots, so plan ahead of time where you can get up high to capture the best photos of everyone in attendance.

Climb a ladder or a scaffold, or take the photos from a balcony. At the higher elevation, you’ll see everyone’s face as they look up at the camera.

Use another person to help take photos

Once you check with the bride and groom’s list of wedding shots, estimate the time it takes and see if you need assistance. Recruiting a trusted friend of the bride and groom saves time and offers them a wide variety of shots from different perspectives.

Avoid cluttered areas

Imagine the bride’s reaction if her wedding photos include a crowd of unknown people, or dumpsters in the background. Unless the couple specifically asked for that type of background, they won’t be happy with it. Wedding photos look romantic and joyous when focused on the bride and groom. Create a subtle and serene background that compliments the each shot.

Go with the flow

Nearly every wedding endures its unexpected events, leaving the bride distracted. A sudden rain shower pours shortly after the wedding, the ring bearer goes to his mom instead of ending up at the altar, or the limo arrives late with the wedding party.

Even if the bridal couple is nervous during this trying period, they’ll be grateful you kept your cool. Prepare to capture all the unexpected moments, no matter how unsettling they appear. You’ll discover when the wedding’s over, those “devastating” moments actually become the couple’s most memorable.