10 Tips for Shooting your First Wedding Season
It’s that time of the year! Newly engaged couples are popping up left and right and will be ready to book their photographer for their big day. Wedding photography can be a very profitable and enjoyable type of session, but it can be very nerve racking, stressful, and downright confusing. Knowing what to expect can help ease that feeling, so whether you’re thinking about taking the leap or you’re already a new wedding shooter, these tips can help you achieve the results you desire.
Wild Fyre Co | Kansas City, MO
MAKE SURE YOU KNOW YOUR MANUAL SETTINGS
This one may sound obvious, but understanding your camera’s manual settings will help your photos come out of the camera ready to edit. You may not always have favorable lighting, and you will have to account for people moving so you can avoid motion blur and keep your images sharp. Explore how your camera operates in different location settings so you’re confident in any light!
WORK A WEDDING (OR A FEW) AS A SECOND SHOOTER
If you haven’t had the chance to shoot a wedding, being a second shooter for an experienced wedding photographer is great practice! There is so much more behind the scenes work that plays into working a wedding, and it is highly encouraged to learn as much as you can so you can provide the best service to your clients.
BE CONFIDENT WITH YOUR LIGHTING
Wedding venues can be tricky for even the most experienced photographers to navigate. Many venues have odd lighting and flash restrictions, so you will thank yourself later for learning your lighting! Take your camera into areas with all different lights, with and without your flash, and figure out a general idea of what you would need in those situations where you can’t afford to miss those moments.
EXTRA GEAR IS ESSENTIAL
Absolutely nothing can ruin your day more than not being prepared! Always make sure to bring extra fully charged batteries, SD cards, and extra lenses. Pack lenses of various sizes for a wedding because you may be close up or far away, and won’t have a choice. Choosing a camera that has a dual memory card slot will help protect you in case your SD card becomes corrupted. Also, bring a second body just in case! Sometimes a camera will fail on you, and having another body will allow you to finish your job smoothly. Bring your flash equipment and extra batteries, as well as a backup flash method just in case.
Organization is essential before, during, and after the wedding day. Before the big day, communicate with your point of contact on what exactly is expected of you. Ask for an itinerary for the day of to make you understand exactly where to be and when. Learn what specific shots the client would like and who will be in each. Having an organized work flow from beginning to end will be such a life saver!
CONTRACT, CONTRACT, CONTRACT!
A contract will be the biggest protection for both you and your clients. There are plenty of resources to find wedding photography contracts, but make sure to have it looked over by a lawyer. Sometimes the verbiage that comes standard in a premade contract may not be entirely accurate or may not work in your state. Also, make sure your business is legal and insured to protect yourself, your clients, and your business.
CHARGE THE RATE YOUR WORTH
Weddings are hard work! Not only are you doing preparation work before your client’s big day, you must spend the day shooting the wedding, and then time after for editing, sharing with clients, ordering products, and whatever else you need to do to finish the project. We often forget to calculate just how much time and effort we put into our work, so take everything you do in start to finish into consideration when pricing your packages.
SWITCH UP YOUR SHOTS
Wedding photography tells the story of the day, and your client may end up with hundreds or thousands of photos. When shooting, remember to switch up the shots, and capture the details of things like rings, the dress, bouquet, venue, and personal touches. Capture details of everything! A simple photo can also be cropped to give it a new focus and capture emotion. Candid photos of the attendees and bridal party tend to be real and raw, and will be appreciated and looked upon for years to come.
COMMUNICATION IS KEY
Boundary setting is very important as a photographer. There are many situations that you can come across that will require you to be firm and stand your ground. Having clear expectations from your client can help prevent miscommunications and sour sessions. Clients may ask you things that cross the line, but always remember to be professional and firm in your responses. Setting boundaries also means knowing it’s okay to leave if you are being mistreated, harassed, or feel unsafe. Remember that you work for the married couple and not to let guests try to push you around. You may also come across times where your contract is breached. The ability to communicate with your client may be key to remedy a situation, but there is always the possibility of an unhappy or unruly client.
TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF
When you are shooting the wedding, it can be a lot of stress on your body! Be mindful to stay hydrated throughout the day. Bring some snacks because you never know when you will have a chance to sit down and eat. You will likely be on your feet all day, so the more comfortable and lighter the shoe, the better. Wearing black attire is also recommended to make sure you don’t stand out.