Honestly, when I started shooting weddings, I thought it’s going to be a cakewalk. I even thought it’s going to be straightforward and as easy as taking a few snaps. I liked photographing people and weddings are the place where I could find tons of them. Before venturing into wedding photography, you have to understand if this is what you are looking for and are passionate about. Once you get that right, there are a few more things that you have to consider to become a good wedding photographer.
1) Talk to the couple
I cannot stress more about this and this is at number 1 for a reason. Meeting the couple and talking to them is very important as it helps to break the ice and allows the couple to feel comfortable around you. The more they are comfortable when you point the camera at them, the more candid the pictures turn out to be. Next, you can understand their requirements in a much better way and know what they like and dislike.
2) Create a shot list
This is again related to the 1st point. We have to discuss with the couple whether they have any specific shots in their mind, after all it’s their big day and they would be dreaming about this day for quite long. Once that is sorted, you have to add more shots to this list, which covers all events. For example, bride and groom getting ready, the bride entry into the wedding hall, Groom with his close friends etc.
3) Get inspirations
Before every wedding, I browse a lot to seek inspiration. This is very important to any photographer for that matter. There has to that one photo that you click at each wedding that can be called as a masterpiece. So do your research and come up with your signature shot. And, go ahead and make it even more awesome.
4) Check. Double Check. Triple Check the gear. Check again.
The worst thing that can ever happen to a wedding photographer is gear failure. It’s an absolute nightmare. So check you gear a few hundred times before the big day. Check if the memory cards are formatted, lights are working, batteries are charged etc. Always have tons of memory cards and a spare camera. It’s always advisable to take a second shooter so he/she can bail you out if anything goes wrong.
5) Dressing and time sense.
We have covered dress code in an earlier article, do check it out here. Next, being punctual and reaching the location well ahead of time has its own advantages. You can assess the venue and make a list of locations to plan a portrait session after the function is over. You can set up your lights and take some test exposure shots. You can grab a bite, as you would not have time for that once the function kick starts.
6) Lens choices
Lens choice is always subjective and it depends on each photographer’s style and what kind of images he is planning to create on that particular day. I am someone who prefers primes even at gunpoint. You could be comfortable with a telephoto lens. But if you are dealing with a shy couple who are camera phobic, then you have to stick to zoom lens to create some lively images. So choose your lens wisely based on the couple, location and your style.
7) Details do matter
Often we tend to focus on the couple and forget the little details around us. Details like wedding rings, wedding cake, bride’s jewels, the venue etc will give an overall picture of the wedding.
8) Shoot what is needed
Have you ever imagined how your life would be if you have only 36 photos to shoot? How would you shoot in that case? You will carefully plan, have the lighting right, and get the poses right and then shoot. Practice the same even with a digital camera. Never go on that burst mode unless there is some fast action happening. Else, you will end up with tons of pictures after the shoot and you might even lose interest to edit it seeing the volume. Most importantly, do a round of culling after the shoot in the camera or in Light room before you sit at the edit table.
9) Talk to the couple
Didn’t we do that already? Yes. But this time, you need to keep talking to the couple during the shoot. You have to make them feel comfortable. Simple compliments will do. For example, you can say – “Hey, you guys look great.” That will ease their nerves and that will reflect on your photos.
10) Enjoy the wedding.
Yes. I know you are there on a professional assignment and you have to do your job. But that doesn’t mean you have to keep a stone face and be serious. Get into the wedding mood and get into the groove and don’t feel shy to shake your legs for a good song. Being happy will automatically help you to think creatively and that will show up in your photos. Just enjoy the wedding and enjoy shooting it.
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