There is a growing notion that it’s okay to break the basic rules of good photography when it comes to wedding images.
Often-quoted reasons are: everything happens so fast that you hardly have time to think about technique; most weddings happen indoors so it’s natural that images will be underexposed (where did this come from, really?); there is so much clutter that there is no point thinking about composition…and this one takes the cake—people keep moving all the time, what do you mean the pictures are blurry?
The big question to ask is: how are some photographers still able to apply good technique and capture images that demonstrate a healthy mix of emotion and perfection? The answer is, they are willing to fight the challenges that wedding photography brings.
So, how can you go about doing that?
True, the light at wedding venues most often is unusable. You might even find yourself shooting in conditions that resemble a candlelit dinner (in the intensity of light not the mood). Despite this, underexposing your images by a fair degree is unforgivable.
Photographers who overcome low-light conditions either crank up the ISO on their competent full-frame bodies—thereby allowing the use of a reasonable shutter speed—or use speedlights. While the former is an easier option, there are limits to which you can push the ISO. Ideally, speedlights is the way to go.
As wedding photographers, you’ll be forced to use additional light sources sometime or the other to make good pictures. So, now is better than never.
There is no reason why a wedding image shouldn’t follow the basic rules of composition. It can’t get any simpler than the rule of thirds, and if you’re looking to make images that stand out, you’ll be spending sleepless nights thinking about balance, patterns, leading lines…everything that makes your pictures scream “expert”.
An extension of your rules of composition, framing is a simple rule (in comparison) to apply at weddings. Wedding venues—the design of the place, the elements within—present a hundred opportunities to frame your images.
Out-of-focus or blurry wedding images are inexcusable. The most meaningful part of your image, if not all, should be in focus even if your subjects are constantly moving.
#5. White balance
Shoot it RAW or shoot it right. Your bride might not really like her white wedding gown looking yellow in all the wedding pictures. If you’re unable to get accurate colors even with a custom white balance, make sure you fix the temperature in post.
People no longer like selective coloring (and turning the rest of the image black and white) in images. Or for that matter, bleaching the skin, over-sharpening the eyes or whitening the teeth to the point where the subject looks like a vampire.
The safest approach is doing less, not more. Experiment only if you know what you’re doing. Never go overboard.