One of the most important elements of a wedding is the photographs. How can you make sure that your photographs are great? It’s not as hard as you might think! In this blog post, we will outline how to photograph a wedding. We will go over equipment needed, some tips for photographing during different parts of the day and some general photography advice.
What is the best gear for wedding photography?
Before we dive into several tips for photographing a wedding, let’s first look at what the best gear is for wedding photography.
It is essential to have a full-frame camera. These cameras can take better pictures in low light, they are built for creative use and the dynamic range allows you to capture more tones within one image.
Full frame cameras come with many different brands; however we highly recommend Canon or Nikon as these companies produce some of the highest quality equipment on the market today.
Best zoom and prime lenses
A zoom lens would be a best choice for wedding photography as you will not have to change your lenses during the shoot, but it is also important that this lens is fast. A wide aperture of f/stop number two or lower would be ideal. This way you can blur out any distractions from behind and make sure that nothing else captures attention besides the subject in front of the camera. Some great prime (or fixed) lenses include 50mm, 85mm and 135 mm focal lengths – these are usually referred to as ‘nifty fifty’, ‘portrait’ and ‘mid-range’ respectively because they allow photographers to accomplish several things at once: show off some bokeh effect on their subjects with blurred backgrounds while still keeping a nice, wide-angle for detail shots.
Flash at a wedding
It is important to have a flash for weddings. For the best results, we recommend using an external flash rather than relying on your camera’s built-in model. Sometimes you can’t get close enough to the action and this will prevent you from capturing moments that are truly special and unique!
Light diffusers can come in many shapes and sizes. The most common types are softboxes, umbrellas or the infamous light sphere . A light diffuser will help you soften up your flash so that it does not look harsh when it reflects off of people’s skin.
Drones are becoming extremely popular in wedding photography. Drones allow you to take stunning aerial shots of the venue, which is perfect for showcasing your location!
It’s important that all lenses have lens hoods so that when it rains or shines bright sunlight, there will be no flare on any images captured with a lens. This can ruin an entire shoot if this happens during the most crucial times before and after the ceremony!
Aside from the equipment mentioned above, you will also need a camera bag and extra batteries. A tripod is another essential item for wedding photographers as it can be difficult to work with long exposures on a full frame DSLR while holding the shutter button down yourself.
25 tips for photographing a wedding
Next, let’s dig into several tips to help you photograph a wedding.
Different Types of wedding photography
There are three different categories of wedding photography: details, portraits and candid shots. How you photograph each one will be unique!
This type is all about capturing the little moments that happen before or after the ceremony – like decorations, shoes or even older family members who might not want to get in front of your camera but still love seeing their younger relatives grow up. If there’s any time during a wedding when it’s okay for guests to take photos (without ruining anyone else’s special day), this would definitely be it! The best way how to approach photographing these kinds of details is wait until everyone has gone outside for the formal group photo shoots and then start taking some individual shots without feeling too intrusive on the atmosphere.
Just like it is with details, photographing portraits at a wedding can be tricky because you want the photo to look as natural and beautiful as possible – without any over-editing or staged poses! How do we make this happen? It’s all about timing: when everyone starts mingling early on in the night and they’re feeling more comfortable around each other (and tipsy!), that’s your window of opportunity for some great shots! Your best bet here would probably be either during dinner or just after guests finish eating, when people naturally mill around instead of staying seated at their tables. If there are speeches going on before hand, sit back and observe how much interaction takes place between different groups of people – that way you can tell when the best time to take each portrait would be.
These are probably some of our favourite photos from any wedding because they capture genuine expressions and emotions, instead of forcing people into awkward poses or making them laugh on cue! How do we go about getting candid shots? Well it’s definitely not easy; keep in mind that these types require the most patience out of all three categories so just relax and stay alert throughout the night! The key is to roam around both inside and outside while staying close enough to catch every moment but far away enough for people not feel like they’re being followed around by a photographer. If there’s ever an opportunity where guests are dancing freely without caring who’s watching, you’ll definitely want to make the most of it!
What is posed photography?
Posed photography is when you’re asking your subjects to pose in a certain way or specific position – whether that be with their hands on each other’s waists, facing the camera front-on or even just striking a cheesy smile. How do we avoid making every shot look too posed? It’s all about being relaxed and natural: if you’re not comfortable posing people yourself then don’t try it! Let them decide what looks best for them so they’ll feel more at ease when having their photos taken.
How to bounce flash
Bounce flash is when you point your camera and direct the light source (like a speedlight) upwards towards the ceiling, which creates softer shadows and reduces harsh red eye. How do we make sure our subjects don’t get blinded by their own reflections? It’s all about making them look up: if they keep looking down or at their feet then it’ll be difficult to avoid that reflection! Just tell them to take a deep breath in before having their photo taken so they’re not breathing out any excess air – this will also help ensure there aren’t any distractions from moving around either. How high should I bounce my flash? The higher the better; aim for anywhere between 45-60 degrees but even just bouncing your flash off the wall is better than not bouncing it at all! How do I bounce my flash off the ceiling? Make sure that your flash isn’t directly pointing upwards towards the roof because this will create a dark shadow around their eyes. You’ll want to tilt it slightly by about 15 degrees so you catch some of the light from above – but make sure they’re still looking up and aren’t looking down or else there won’t be any difference either way!
What is client education? How do we make sure our clients understand what to expect from us and vice versa? It’s all about communication: try your best to ask as many questions before the day of so you know exactly how much direction they need! Don’t be afraid to speak up if something isn’t working for you because even just a quick chat can save everyone time in the long run.
How to photograph group shots
Group shots can be difficult because you want to make sure that everyone looks their best, but no one wants to sit around waiting for an hour before the reception starts! How do we avoid this? Before any wedding day I always try my best to come up with a game plan so each group shot only takes about 20-30 minutes – otherwise it’ll all start looking very rushed and unorganised. Here’s some tips on how to take good group photos:
Before getting started on photographing your subjects, it’s important firstly that they understand what will happen during the photo session (i.e. where they stand) as well as when (so there aren’t any awkward pauses in between). How do we make sure they’re relaxed? How do you know if there’s enough time for the photo session before the reception starts? How can I avoid having my subjects standing around all day waiting to be photographed?
The first thing that needs to happen is your clients need to understand how posing works, especially when it comes to group shots. Tell them exactly what you want (i.e. where their hands should go) and most importantly tell them why (so they don’t look stiff or unnatural). Always ask several people at once so no one feels singled out – this also ensures everyone gets a chance in front of the camera instead of just sticking with those who are more confident! How much time should each pose take? Ideally each shoot should only take about 20-30 minutes (depending on the number of people involved) otherwise it’ll start to look rushed and unorganised.
How do we make sure they’re not standing around all day waiting for us? Ideally you should have a pre-wedding meeting with everyone so you can get an idea of how much direction your clients need during their photo session – if there aren’t too many people then this isn’t necessary but being mindful is always important! How far back should I be from my subjects when photographing group shots? If possible, try to step back as far as you can without compromising quality because it’ll allow more space between them which will help keep things relaxed instead of cramped together.
Moments are what matter most
It’s important that you’re capturing the moments that matter the most. Whether it’s the couple saying their vows, the first look, cutting the cake, you should have an idea of what those most impactful moments will be and ensure that you’re positioned properly to capitalize on shooting those key moments during the wedding.
Create A Shot List
Don’t be afraid to have a shot list for yourself so you can prioritize what needs to be captured first. How do I make sure I don’t miss anything? How long should each pose take? How far back should I stand for group shots? These are all common questions that need answering! Simply ask your clients beforehand if they have any ideas on how they want the day to look, otherwise it’s up to you – just remember there isn’t always a right or wrong answer when it comes to things like this!
Shoot the small details
Details are what make a wedding unique to each couple, so don’t forget the small details that might go unnoticed! How do I avoid getting in their way? Be mindful of where you’re standing at all times because empty space is something you always want on your side.
Use two cameras
If you have a second camera at the ready, don’t be afraid to take advantage of that – it can help minimize your time changing lenses which will allow for more candid shots!
Find a wedding photography family photo coordinator
It’s always helpful to have someone designated as the wedding photographer family photo coordinator during the big day because it lightens your workload, especially if there are a lot of people all at once – they can help get everyone into place and make sure that you’re not overwhelmed.
Scout the venue
It’s important to visit the venue and location a few times prior to the wedding to get a sense of what you can work with and start planning a shot list well in advance.
What about the reception?!
The reception is another time where client education really matters because some people don’t know who else will be speaking throughout the night besides their bridal party and immediate family members. If there are speeches being made then try your bests to be seated in the middle of the room so you have a clear view without too much distraction because it’ll allow for more candid images to occur.
Post-Processing Wedding Photographs
After you’ve shot all the photos at the wedding, the next important step is editing them. Here are a few tips for post-processing wedding photographs:
Editing wedding photos in Lightroom
First make sure you’ve exported your images from the memory card to a hard drive, then copy them all into one folder.
You want to find an editing style that works best for yourself but try not to go overboard because it’ll end up looking over-edited and fake – nobody likes that! It’s also recommended to create different folders with subfolders inside of them so they’re easily accessible in case there are specific edits needed on certain types of photos (i.e. first look).
Once you’ve opened all the files and determined which ones to keep, you may begin working in Lightroom.
Common corrections will include:
- color temperature
You may use Lightroom’s “sync” option to group and process images that have been taken in similar circumstances. This is particularly useful for wedding photography, as it allows you to sync photos together and apply complex adjustments such as skin corrections and unique visuals.
When it comes to these more complex phases, skincare needs to be flawless because your customers want to look their best in their wedding photographs. The same might be said for correcting typical problems such as garment creases – every wedding photographer should be able to do this.
Wedding Photography Presets
Presets are one of the best ways to apply edits across multiple images quickly. How do I create my own presets?
You can start by using wedding photography presets that have already been created for you! These may be beneficial to use in case there’s a specific look or style that your clients want – just ask them if they have any ideas before beginning so it’ll save time and work later on down the road.
If no presets exist, simply begin editing all photos individually with preset-like effects until you find something appropriate enough to keep as a preset while also being different from other photographers who will edit their pictures in similar fashions.
There are also a myriad of presets available to use out there that you can just port into Lightroom for use until you find your own style. Pixieset has a free preset library that you can download and use for your own wedding photography needs.
Sharing images from the wedding
Once you’re done editing all of your images, it’s time to share them with everyone! How do I go about doing this?
There are a plethora of ways that you can get these images out there and into people’s hands – for example:
- Sharing on social media sites such as Facebook or Pinterest
- Sharing on photo hosting websites like Dropbox, Zenfolio or Flickr
- Sending directly through email
- Uploading onto your website so customers can download prints
- Partnering up with an online printing company where they can order their pictures in whichever way they choose
- Downloading the photos on a hard drive for the bride and groom to download
Which is better, Lightroom or Photoshop?
There really isn’t a right answer to this question, as it’s mostly based on preference.
One is not better than the other – they’re simply different and both have their own benefits which you can choose from if needed!
In general, Photoshop is great for making cosmetic touch ups, like removing blemishes or removing unwanted objects in the background. Whereas Lightroom is great for bulk editing photo elements like HSL, contrast, exposure, highlights and shadows. You will most likely need to employ the use of both tools for the best edits on your wedding photographs.
Editing speed up tips
You can use presets to create different edits on multiple images at once. How do I do this? Using Lightroom’s “sync” option is useful here, as it allows you to group and apply complex adjustments across similar photos – perfect for wedding photography! If there isn’t a preset that does something specific that you want, then simply edit each individual photo until they’re all looking how you’d like before applying them into one final set of edited photographs. Another tip would be to automatically correct white balance in your camera so nothing needs adjusting later on down the line during post-processing!
How can I improve my skills as a wedding photographer?
The most important thing would probably be learning how to predict where light will fall during different times of day, especially around sunset time when light changes drastically over short periods of time. How do we go about doing this? Well you’ll definitely need a good eye and some experience first but the best way to learn is by studying how light changes on different days throughout the year; if it’s cloudy or sunny, what happens when the sun sets and where does it hit during each hour of that day? Having more knowledge will help you predict lighting conditions before they happen so your photos turn out as beautiful as possible!
What are some examples of great wedding photography?
There are many ways to shoot weddings: traditional, modern, even with vintage inspired elements like film cameras instead of digital ones (we personally love both!) How can I make sure my own work stands out from others’ similar styles though? The answer is simple: do what you love! How does your work differ from others? What makes it unique and why would couples want to book you over anyone else?! Be confident in yourself, be genuine, connect with people on a personal level – that’s how we make sure our photos stand out because they truly reflect who we are as photographers.
How long should I leave between shots?
You don’t really need to wait more than two seconds in between each shot, especially if someone’s posing for an awkward photo where everyone needs time to compose themselves first – just keep snapping away until you get something perfect (and not too blurry!).
How do I make my images look less stale?
Just take more photos! It sounds simple but the more opportunities you have to get a good shot, the better chance you’ll end up with one that nobody can resist sharing. If your subjects are looking away from the camera then use flash – it’ll give their eyes that extra twinkle and draw attention back towards them.