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Photographing a wedding is no joke - it is a high-stress, high-stakes gig that requires you to be on top of your game.
Starting out in wedding photography can be quite the task, too. You certainly want to get your feet wet by serving as a second shooter for a more experienced photographer. Doing so will help you learn the ropes and give you some on-the-job training that eases some of the pressure off your shoulders.
Combined with that kind of experience, the following wedding photography tips for beginners will help you get started on the path to success!
Take Time to Get to Know the Couple
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Wedding photography tips will only get you so far when what you really need to be a phenomenal photographer is phenomenal communication skills.
There’s a reason wedding photographers can specialize in “outdoor wedding photography” or “eloping photography.” That reason is there are so many couples with so many specific likes and each couple is afraid to ruin their perfect day with a photographer who’s goals don’t match their own.
If you’re not spending at least an hour with the couple during your first meeting, what I like to consider an interview both for myself and for the couple, then you’re not spending long enough.
Tour the Venue Beforehand To Figure Out Lighting
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It’s no secret to anyone that a lot of wedding venues present challenges, especially to newer photographers. It’s one of the reasons people can specialize in wedding photography and it’s one of the reasons this is going to be harder than you think it is.
As difficult as it is to deal with the events planner at the wedding venue, you need to tour the venue at a time as close as possible to the time of the actual wedding.
Don’t tour the venue at 9am for a sunset wedding.
photo by meatbull via iStock
When you get to the venue for the first time, try to imagine how it will feel for the bride walking down the aisle. While most wedding photography tips lists include a lot of info about ensuring the day is captured with as many shots from as many different angles as possible, I go about it a little differently.
I believe your photos should be exemplary of the experience the bride and groom had. Make sure you know what the lighting down the aisle will be like, and what the lighting at the beginning of the aisle is like so you can take photos of what the bride will be seeing moments before she sees it.
Devise a Shot List (With Help From the Happy Couple!)
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Too many photographers devise a wedding photography shot list by themselves or with the help of a pre-made wedding photography shot list they found online. And I don’t understand it at all.
You have the world at your fingertips with both the bride and groom. They are nine times out of ten so thrilled you asked for their specific input that you’re bound to find a shot they wanted that you never would have thought of, and consequently would have missed.
photo by timnewman via iStock
What I like to do is send a pre-formulated wedding photography shot list (ensuring it looks romantic, with maybe a splash of color) to the bride and groom as soon as you have officially been booked.
Ask them to take a look, maybe to Google “wedding photography poses,” and propose new shots of their own. Make sure the line of communication is open and that no ideas will be judged, since it isn’t your wedding after all.
Wedding photography techniques will only get you so far, what’s really going to set your wedding photography business apart is your willingness to do anything that is asked of you.
Don’t Listen to Too Many “Wedding Photography Tips”
The above video by Matt Granger is helpful to peruse before your first wedding but, wedding photography tutorials will only take you so far.
Wedding photography techniques need to be honed by you over long periods of time and lots and lots of weddings.
If you’re finding that lists of wedding photography poses and listicles about wedding photography tips are really only stressing you out more than they’re helping you, then it’s time to throw yourself into the fire and give it your best shot.
Wow Them With Beautiful Prints
photo by Kostyazar via iStock
So, the wedding is over. The couple is away in Hawaii. Your camera is fully loaded with a ton of unedited shots the couple is undoubtedly excited to see. Most photographers make the mistake of waiting much too long to hop on their editing game.
Procrastination in the wedding photography industry will kill the wedding photography industry.
When I’m editing my photos I like to imagine them as large prints, because my number one trick of simultaneously wowing the bride and groom and upselling them is creating prints of their wedding for their new home.
My issue is finding prints that are cheap enough to sell for twice their original purchase price, while also being of an exceptional quality.
If you’re going to use the tried and true in-person print method, then you want to ensure you’ve chosen your best shot and the best company to represent that shot. So, I go with CanvasHQ.
They almost always have an incredible sale going on. Earlier this week, it was 30% off plus free shipping.
They outline exactly how they make each canvass for your prints, which is a certain degree of transparency I love.
Another level of transparency on their website is the their turnaround time counter, which updates every single day.
I’ve gone back and forth with other print companies before, never really receiving any updates on where my prints were or receiving bad info on where my prints were which made me look so incredibly bad with my clients.
Finally, their prints are finished by hand and they come with all the fixin’s you need to immediately hang the print over the couch.
Your job as a salesman will be made so much easier by showcasing your photography through a canvas print.
But, no matter how many wedding photography articles you read, and no matter how many YouTube videos you watch, the only way to learn is by doing. Good luck! Let us know how your first wedding photography experience goes.