Weddings are inherently stressful, time-consuming events. This is the case for the couple and their friends and family. It is also the case for wedding photographers.
To minimize stress and increase productivity, we’ve put together a quick list of five time-saving tips that will help you be a more efficient wedding photographer. From taking care of a few photos the day before to learning how to direct people in a firm, yet friendly manner, these tips will help you get the shots you need, without adding to the stress of the day.
Get the Photos of the Couple the Day Before
Many couples don’t like to see one another all gussied up before they actually lay eyes on one another at the wedding ceremony. And while that tradition is wonderful, it makes your job a lot more difficult.
When it comes down to it, if your clients want really good pictures of themselves, they are likely going to have to break tradition, get all dressed up, and see one another before the big day. Why? The shots of the couple will likely require at least an hour, and finding that much time to be alone with the couple on their wedding day is essentially impossible. So, have an upfront discussion about taking their photos the day before. Not only will this give you all the time you need to get the best photos, but it also allows the couple to give their looks a test drive.
Get the Photos of the Venue the Day Before
If you’re working the day before anyway, you might as well get some environmental shots of the venue before it’s overrun with wedding guests. Shots of the front of the church, for example, can be taken in the early morning or late evening to capitalize on the light of Golden Hour. Shots of the interior of the venue could most likely be taken the day before as well, as many weddings are decorated well in advance of the actual ceremony.
By documenting the venue the day before, you will have far fewer people with which to contend, the chances that the venue will look pristine will be improved, and you will save yourself some time on the wedding day as well.
Preset Your Cameras and Lenses
Having to switch out lenses in the middle of a shoot takes time, and in those couple of minutes, you can easily lose the attention of the people in the photograph. You should have multiple camera bodies anyway, just in case one bites the dust over the course of the day. So, why not preset your cameras with different lenses? Have one body with a standard zoom lens and another with a telephoto lens to give you a broad spectrum of possibilities without all the fuss of swapping out lenses.
Take Charge - And Don’t Be Sorry About It
If you’re to be successful as a wedding photographer, you have to learn how to take charge of the situation and direct a lot of people so you can get your job done well and in a timely fashion. There will always be that one friend or family member in the wedding party that feels compelled to help you do your job, whether that’s trying to pose people for the shot or providing friendly advice regarding the type of lens or lighting you should use. And while these people probably mean well, you’ve got to be able to kindly, but firmly, let them know that you’ve got it under control.
The same goes for directing people in the shot. There can be no qualms about what you need them to do and when. Use a firm, but polite voice. Be succinct, but offer clear directions. The couple will thank you for being so diligent and direct - they’ve got plenty of other things to worry about, and can’t afford to spend the entire day trying to get photos.
Resist the Urge to Rush
The wedding day is just one giant whirlwind of places to be, things to do, and people to photograph. In such a stressful environment, it’s easy to get into a rush. Unfortunately, rushing through your shots won’t get you the best results.
Yes, there are things you can do to save time, but even though time is of the essence, it is essential that you slow down and take a bit of a methodical approach. This doesn’t mean you need to take your allotted hour with the wedding party to take four photos. Instead, this simply means that rather than being driven by how many photos you can get, be driven by how many excellent photos you can get. Concentrate on your framing and composition. Work with the people in the photo to get them to smile. Be friendly and courteous, but as was mentioned above, be direct and succinct. If you move through your time with purpose, you might have fewer total shots, but you’ll have more good shots of which you can be proud.