Tips for Photographing a Wedding [Part 1]

Jun 8, 2012

Topic: Wedding Photography
Time Investment: 7 Minutes
Suggested Product: Wedding Photography Contracts


As always, my blogs arise out of frequently asked questions, and this is one of my favorites! Weddings are beasts. Pretty beasts, but beasts. Why do I say this? I have found that no two are alike. They are always different. Different locations. Varying lighting. This is also what makes it fun!! Just remember, weddings (along with births, graduations, homecomings and a few other types) can never be redone. This places great value and commitment to your services. Make sure you are ready. 

Here are five tips to being ready to shoot a wedding. In fact, most of these can be applicable to all portraiture types.

Note: These are not all inclusive- these are very basic.


Second shoot…a lot!

Working with a primary or main photographer is invaluable. Even if the primary is not a good teacher or has no time to teach at a wedding.  The mere presence of working and watching how a wedding unfolds from a photographer’s perspective is worth its weight in gold.  If you are unsure of how to secure a second shooting gig, call around. Ask local photographers. Some may say yes, some may say no, some may never respond. But you will never know unless you try.  Seeing it for yourself is way more valuable than reading in books or in online forums.


Obtain back up equipment

With weddings being such important days, you should always have back up equipment: 2 bodies, multiple lenses, tons of batteries and memory cards.  Brides and grooms invest greatly in their weddings and their wedding photographer (financially and emotionally); therefore, you should offer the same. Invest in your business and your clients. Always have yourself covered.


Make sure you have insurance

Equipment and liability. Life happens. There are many different types of insurance out there; make sure you read the policies thoroughly to cover yourself.  Evaluate the coverage amount, deductible cost, yearly cost, and what the policies specifically cover.

Equipment – Some policies, such as through PPA, offer insurance for equipment.

Business Liability –  Liability insurance covers things such as bodily injury or property damage. All of which you could potentially be liable for.


Learn On & Off Camera Flash

This list isn’t a checklist of requirements; it’s suggestions from my own experience. Own a speedlite at the very least.  Despite pre-planning by visiting the venue and the bride’s continual reassurance “there is enough light” — be prepared.  Learn how to utilize the speedlite (or other variety of flash/strobe) through TTL and Manual mode. This way if you walk into Batman’s Cave you won’t miss him and Poison Ivy kissing after their cake cutting.  Bad joke…I know….


Do. Not. Go. Solo. Off. The. Bat.

I sound harsh saying that huh? But I’m serious. For many, this is a day you can never redo. It’s not a portrait session where you can reschedule at a later date. This is it. Refer back to #1.


Remember these aren’t all inclusive, just a few pointers to kick things off.

I’ll follow up next week with Part 2  on tips for while shooting the wedding! And don’t forget about Part 3!



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