- Photoshoot tips for wedding photographer
- Know your client's values
- Prioritize your client's values
- Visit the wedding venue in advance
- Shoot everything
- Take control and be the director
- Do not let anyone lead your photoshoot
- Shoot Wide Medium and Tight
- Create a List for Family Portraits
- Hire a second shooter
- Important camera settings
- Use higher F/Stop for group photos
- In-Camera Backup
- Shoot in RAW
- Do not shoot in continuous autofocus
- Pay attention to your background
Wedding day is a significant event for an engaging couple and having wedding photos is mandatory these days to have a good memory about the event. Knowing the subject of wedding photography distinguishes a good photographer from a bad one, hence the difference in income occurs eventually. Today we give 15 wedding photo editing tips for photographers who want to advance their career that will include not just gear and lighting setups, but advanced and in-depth wedding shoot ideas on how better to arrange the photoshoot and how to interact with your clients and their guests at the event.
Photoshoot tips for wedding photographer
In this article, we are not going into the depths of camera settings. Still, we focus more on how to interact with your couple, and their guests and how to manage things around your photoshoot for breathtaking wedding photography value. In the beginning, it is important to get to know each other as a photographer and a couple and pre-set your wedding photoshoot.
Know your client's values
Imagine that you are at a wedding, and there are potentially hundreds of things happening at once. If you are early in your career, it’s just you who can only point your lens in one direction, you need to make sure that what you are capturing is actually what your client values.
Sit down with your clients to discuss their wedding in person during the sale. Do not ask them about their wedding plans or about their timeline, these little details do not matter at the moment, so save them for later. Ask them open-ended questions that get them to tell stories about things that they actually value. For example: What are you looking forward to most on your wedding day? – when you ask those types of questions, pay close attention to how they describe and answer those questions, this will tell you what they actually value.
Prioritize your client's values
You may shine with enthusiasm to do the shots you want to have for your portfolio, but if those shots are nowhere your client actually values then they should take a back seat until you have covered the must-haves, the things that they actually want. Hence, don’t only focus on what is interesting for you, but think in the frame of your wedding clients.
Visit the wedding venue in advance
Visiting the wedding venue before the actual photoshoot will make you know the area you are going to work in and get familiar with angles indoors and outdoors. Ask your clients how everything is going to be organized inside and outside to have a better picture of the incoming photoshoot.
This means if you do not know whether you should shoot it or not, shoot it anyway. Maybe it is food or oeuvres, or maybe it’s some random wedding detail, you do not know whether your client wants it or not, so just shoot it anyway. It costs you virtually nothing to capture extra images but it is going to cost you a lot if you end up missing photos.
Take control and be the director
A lot of photographers are uncertain and timid especially early in their career, they are afraid at weddings to approach people and ask them what they need or if they want to photograph. To beat that hesitation, ask your clients to introduce you to the crowd so you won’t be fighting against that initial conversation barrier. Make notes of the guest names, because you can't remember all of them, but having a small description such as “A beard guy name is Thomas” would help you to get their attention as you need it. People would like to give you better feedback when you call them by name.
Besides, the camera in your hand is literally your passport - you are being paid to ask for photos to direct to pose people, in a kind way, of course, you do not want to be obtrusive. As most of us creatives, we’d like to be introverted, but that camera is your passport to be an extraversive version of yourself.
Do not let anyone lead your photoshoot
A bonus tip here, coming from the previous one. Staying in control of your wedding is a hard task and what makes it harder is that everyone will give their tips and suggestions to you about what you should do with your photos, where you should take your pictures, and so on. You do not have to be mean to anybody but just let them know that you know what you are doing, be a professional and do professional wedding photography even if you are a beginner. The best way to get this done is at pre-wedding communication, where you can discuss this in advance and make sure your couple delivers that to their guests. Besides just making it more comfortable for yourself on the ongoing photoshoot, having the couple on your team makes them trust you more, treat you as a professional photographer, and appreciate your work.
Shoot Wide Medium and Tight
If it is your first wedding or even early in your career, you are going to have a hard time storytelling and being creative when on the spot and pressured, everyone struggles with this. With time you are going to gain comfort and confidence in just being able to think creatively in a pinch. But for the beginning think Wide-Medim-Tight. This means that in order to properly tell a story within an album, wall art, or even on a Blog spread, we need a variety of images. And specifically, you need that “Wide” image, that establishes the overall scene for this story.
You need medium shots to show who is involved in the story. Then you need a close-up or the tight shots to be able to show details and the emotion within the key members of that story. With this framework, you are going to see it all throughout television and film.
Create a List for Family Portraits
Family portraits are one of the most important aspects of the wedding day. This is also the number one area for client complaints. It always comes down to two main thighs, either you did not get a certain portrait or you did not get a certain portrait combination that they were wanting. Maybe you did the entire bride side of the family but they also wanted a shot with just the girls or with the boys out there and you missed those shots. We discourage using shot lists that detail every single shot for a wedding day because it can really detract from your creativity and being able to capture what is happening in front of you. But most certainly, you should at least have a shot list of the family portraits. You should ask your client what portraits they want to have along with the combinations. Let the clients know that it takes around two to three minutes at least per combination so they do not go crazy with this. Then make sure when you see the timeline that the timeline permits whatever is needed to capture these portraits, if not, you are going to say something.
Missing family portraits are one of the easiest potential complaints that you can nip right in the bud with just a little bit of planning.
Hire a second shooter
This tip is probably one of the most important tips for wedding photographers, and one of the most that you are going have problems with. But if you want to fast-track your career development as a wedding photographer – hire a second shooter who is an experienced wedding photographer. Maybe you are getting $500 or even $1500 for these first early weddings in your career, hiring an experienced second shooter is probably going to cost you at least $500. And that means this could be all the revenue you are generating or at least 30-50% of it for others. So why would you do this? Because you are going to treat these early weddings like live educational events, attending a live workshop that can easily cost you $1500-2000 or even more you can hire an experienced wedding photographer as a second shooter usually for around $500 for maybe an eight-hour day. That person will have shot weddings as a lead, as a second, and even more. That person will instantly level up the quality of your work which your clients are going to love, but on top of that, you get to ask them and watch them do what they do. If you have a question on the dance floor and how to light it – ask them. Do you want to understand how they got a particular shot - ask them! In addition, you get to have all the images that they are creating into your catalog which you can then study after the shoot. So, if you do not need money right now, this step can actually amplify your career by 5 to 10 times in and of itself a year from now you’ll be so much further ahead because you’ve had that time to learn from more experienced photographers.
Important camera settings
Now, as we have finished the block for the event shooting and interactions, let us delve into a couple of important camera settings that will help you to have the right shots of the ceremony.
Use higher F/Stop for group photos
For your aperture, when you stop down things get sharper all the way through, and your depth of field is not as shallow when people are not on the exact same plane of field. The reason you want to do this in group photos is when you have people standing and they are not standing exactly next to each other, if you are shooting at F/1, some people are going to be out of focus. Make sure you are stopping down to 2.8 or 3.2 – somewhere in that range just to keep things nice and sharp. But in case you are shooting with a corp sensor, you do not need to stop down too much, and the aperture of F/2 works with the corp sensor which corresponds to F/3.2 on Full-Frame. You do not have to stop down that much at the couple’s portrait shots because they are going to be on the same plane, but for the group shots, you definitely want to stop down.
Does not matter what camera you are using, just make sure that that camera has in-camera backup and that you’ve turned the feature on and you are using it while doing wedding photography. This feature is a must-have. This is where you take your shot and the camera is going to record the same image to both your primary and your secondary card. If you are shooting a once-in-a-lifetime event, you need in-camera backup to save you from all the possible “what-ifs” that could potentially happen and save yourself from these headaches. Make sure you have dual-card slots and an in-camera backup feature enabled.
Besides, when experienced photographers leave the wedding they send the primary cards with the lead shooter and the secondary backup cards with the second shooter. That way two copies of those images exist at all times just in case someone gets into an accident or anything else. You don’t clear those cards until all the images are on the server where you store all the jobs, as well as on the cloud and verified.
Shoot in RAW
Shooting RAW is going to offer you far more flexibility in post-production. If you have your photos compressed after the photoshoot into some JPG or even TIFF these photos will lose details in post and won’t be top quality anymore. Hence, shooting in RAW you save those details and are able to do anything without losing that very initial quality and details while doing pro color adjustments or professional face correction.
Do not shoot in continuous autofocus
The reason for that is because nowadays with our cameras being so amazing we depend on them a little too much, and we complain when the focus will not be where you want it to be. If we have this whole mentality of “you need to shoot everything in manual and do not shoot in auto”, then we should also apply that to our focus as well. We are not talking about shooting a full manual, but you should move around your focus point. Do not depend on your continuous autofocus, face auto-focus, or eye auto-focus because what will happen, especially if you are doing it during a ceremony, there are a lot of people, a lot of faces – your camera has no idea what it’s focusing on. Set it to single-point auto-focus and move your focus square and or do focus and recompose, which is an old-school tip but it just works – it is fast and never lets you down, whereas continuous auto-focus just has no idea what it is doing.
A specific application for that is If you do have your couple walking towards you, that is a great place to use auto-focus. So, generally, during a wedding day, those are the only times that you are going to use continuous auto-focus.
Pay attention to your background
Taking photos as things are on wedding days is inappropriate. Sometimes you have to move things around to clear a busy background. For instance, when dealing with the getting ready section of the day, if your bride is in the spot and there are all kinds of water bottles and people’s clothes and dresses and bags and so on, either move your bride somewhere else or have them clean up the background. You should always take your shots based on the best light and the best background. People pay lots of money for their weddings and they do not want to see that stuff, hence do not be afraid to interact with your couple and manage to move things around to make things look much better before you take photos and no one is going to say NO to you.
That is all we have for you today on wedding professional photography. We have discovered how important it is to manage your shoot in a way to stay in control and have your couple on your side. That confidence will come with experience, but the practice shows that even having no experience will make it better with confidence, and most important to have your client be sure about you. Knowing your subject and these 15 wedding photography tips will significantly improve your and your customer’s experience.