Capturing the most beautiful day of the bride and groom with all of its emotions and highlights is one of the biggest challenges for every photographer. The fact that there is no trial run or second chance makes this challenge that much more difficult. Their wedding day is only for one day, but the photos of this special day are eternal.
In order to take authentic and unforgettable wedding photos of the bride and groom, it helps to pay attention to the details and to follow the events of the ceremony with a trained eye in order to ensure that the photographer always has his/her camera at the ready for every pinnacle moment.
Besides the many possible ways to photograph a wedding, one also has to keep in mind the time required for shooting and editing the photos as well as the budget the bridal pair has planned. Professional photographers are usually experienced and well versed, however, having them accompany the bride and groom throughout the entirety of the wedding is quite expensive and isn’t desired by all bridal pairs. Thus, some couples only hire a professional to take the classic portraits every bride and groom have done during a 2-hour shoot while other couples hire them to do a complete reportage depicting many details and including photos of events “behind the scenes.” Even those who want to best capture the special moments at a wedding as a hobby photographer should keep some things in mind that are particular to wedding photography.
We’ve gathered together 5 tips to help you take the best wedding photos possible:
Consultation with the bride and groom
Speaking in detail with the bride and groom before their wedding is paramount for successfully capturing their special day on camera. Thus, it’s necessary to organise a meeting between the photographer and bridal pair at least a few weeks before the big day in order to ensure that there is enough time to plan. Both parties should also come to the table with realistic expectations. The bridal pair must also feel comfortable in the presence of the photographer in order to ensure successful photos. Besides discussing the individual wishes and ideas of the bridal pair, organisational matters are also very important to the discussion. Some of these details include the planned schedule of the wedding: when and where the photographs should be taken, when does the celebration begin, and at which times might the couple want a break from all of the flashing lights?
Preparation and Gear
A dead battery or not enough storage space to save the photographs will definitely put both the photographer as well as the wedding guests in a dismal mood. Such errors should be avoided at all costs; a wedding only happens once and cannot be repeated. Thus, the photographer should be ready for all kinds of contingencies. Before the big day, the operational capability of the camera and its accessories should of course be checked to avoid unpleasant surprises. Planning for shooting a wedding during the day can be especially arduous and there are some things to keep in mind when making preparations.
There’s no time during the wedding to charge batteries or empty the memory card. Carrying a spare battery and several memory cards protected in plastic cases will help give the photographer as well as the bride and groom a sense of security and avoid making some of the most common mistakes. It’s also a good idea to bring along at least two different lenses with different focal lengths so the photographer can take up-close portraits as well as snapshots from a distance. When packing the camera bag with accessories, the weight should also be considered since the photographer always has to be on their toes while capturing all of the emotional and funny moments on camera. A heavy camera bag doesn’t only interfere with taking photos, but constantly changing out the camera’s lens also takes up too much valuable time.
The right location for photographing the bridal pair
Many couples like to choose enchanting locations to shoot their photos. Some classic examples of these are a backdrop of blooming flowers, a lush forest, or a castle. In order to make sure the photos turn out as best as possible, there are several things to consider when picking a fitting location.
The time required to do a wedding shoot should not be underestimated. Therefore, it can be advantageous to choose places that are close to the wedding reception in order to avoid having to travel for a long time and making the guests wait.
Lighting conditions also play a very important role. A sunny day coupled with an enchanting bridal pair will be sure to produce picturesque photos. However, in order to avoid disturbing shadows and glare from direct sunlight, it’s best to photograph the couple in the afternoon after about 3 PM. The lighting conditions for photographing are the most optimal at this time. In other cases, shady places with many shadows are chosen for the shoot. These kinds of settings provide a magical atmosphere for the photos.
If the bridal pair wants to take their photos indoors, appropriate measures should be taken to ensure optimal lighting conditions. A rotatable or free-moving flash as well as a diffuser will ensure the appropriate amount of indirect lighting and prevent harsh lighting contrasts.
What to do when the weather doesn’t play along
The most beautiful and authentic portraits of the bridal pair are best taken outdoors. When photographing outside, the lighting conditions are usually better and the elegance of the bride’s wedding dress is especially well accentuated against the contrasting stylish black suit of the groom. Unfortunately, however, the weather doesn’t always want to play along; but the weather doesn’t have to “rain on your parade” as it were. If the weather conditions are taken light-heartedly, it’s still possible to take brilliant photos with everyone smiling.
For any ideas you might have for photographing outdoors, you should always have a backup plan in mind. It would be a good idea, for instance, to look for places ahead of time that might provide some shelter from rain such as under trees or castle ruins. The bride and groom can also simply pose under an umbrella to make the photos a bit more humorous. If there’s not an umbrella available that matches, black and white photos can cover up unwanted colour contrasts with stylish effect.
The photo reportage
From the dressing room in the morning till the wee hours of the reception – a photo reportage showcases all of the highlights and details of the wedding day for eternity. This kind of wedding photography continues to gain popularity, but also requires the most work in planning, preparing, and implementation. Here, the photographer needs an eye for detail and to be persistent. When creating a photo reportage, it’s especially important to know the wedding schedule down to the minute. This is the only way to ensure that the photographer is there to capture every important moment like the bride putting on her wedding dress, the couple saying their vows, and the newlyweds exiting the church with their guests celebrating.
It’s also important to ensure the right conditions exist when photographing emotional moments behind the scenes, such as when the bride is putting on makeup or getting last-minute adjustments to her dress. There should also be enough space for the photographer in the dressing room as well as an ample amount of lighting. There are also times during the wedding when the photographer shouldn’t disturb the moment with a bright flash from his/her camera. It should also be decided beforehand when the photographer can take breaks, such as when the guests are eating.