Everyone knows you’re good at photography. You’re the designated family photographer at all family gatherings. Then comes the moment when someone asks you to photograph their wedding and you find yourself saying yes. Now what?
Here are some tips that will help make the day go smoothly and you’ll look like a pro.
Have a family list. Before the wedding, ask the couple to make a list of family members that they would like to have included in the photographs. This can be very helpful if the families are large. Having a list helps reduce confusion when it comes time for family shots and it ensures feelings won’t be hurt if someone is forgotten.
What pictures to take before the ceremony. The first picture I take is an outdoor one of the church or setting of the wedding. Then I go in and photograph any decorations, candles, etc. I may photograph their car if it is parked outside and decorated.
To help reduce the amount of pictures taken after the ceremony, I ask the bride if she would like some of the bridal party beforehand. You can take pictures of the bride and her attendants and of the groom and his separately. Some couples don’t mind if they see each other before the ceremony so some full party ones can be taken also.
If the bride wants you to get pictures of her dressing be mindful of modestly. Usually I catch the moment of the dress going on and her attendants buttoning her up, along with makeup application, and veil pinning. Look for those special moments between the bride and her mother/sister/friends and later with her dad.
During the ceremony. Always ask permission about taking pictures discretely from the back or balcony during the ceremony. This is where a tripod and telephoto lens is needed. You won’t be using your flash for these photos so make sure you use a wide aperture if the wedding is indoors to let in enough light. Setting the timer will help to avoid blurry photos.
Group Shots. People generally don’t photograph well facing directly forward. Have people stand turned at a slight angle toward the center. I always count to three so people know when to be ready. For the formal shots, make sure all the guys have the hands doing the same thing. I usually have them stand with hands in front – right over left.
Be creative and do some fun group shots along with the standard formal ones. Look online for ideas.
When doing group family shots, watch for hands on shoulders and around waists. People may think those poses look good for formal shots, but really it just looks like a hand growing on someone’s shoulder. Save the shoulder hugs for fun snapshots.
Don’t forget the guests. Don’t forget to photograph guests enjoying the wedding. A good time is before the dinner is served while people are chatting at their tables.
With good preparation and a little creativity you can shoot a great wedding.