Everything You Must Know as a Professional Wedding Photographer

Tips and Best Practices for Professional Wedding Photography

on July 17, 2020

Wedding photography has changed a lot in the past decade and is now in more demand than ever. But the landscape has shifted as technology continues to be put into the hands of everyday people. Professionals are being forced to up their creative game in order to keep the demands being placed on them. Since camera technology is so advanced now, there are even some great shots that are pulled from everyday people.

Even with the rise of technology and the click-happy world, professional wedding photographers are still able to capture the most magical moments of a wedding. The key is through preparation and picking up the right accessories. The mishaps due to instrument failure, sudden change of weather, or accidental incidents can always be managed through professional wedding photo editing. However, for that also, the photographer needs to take ample care so that the photographs reach the post-processing table in a workable form.

This blog post will go over the skills and preparation that professional wedding photographers must use to set themselves apart from everyone else!

The Most Important Wedding Photography Tip is to Come Prepared

Before going into the specifics, it’s essential that photographers learn to master the fundamental preparations that go into wedding photography. These small yet extremely significant factors can make or break a photographer’s career. Remember that all weddings are going to be different, but the fundamentals of photography will always remain the same. Here are the most basic tips of a wedding photoshoot:

  • Do the research to study the wedding plan in detail.
  • Learn a little bit about the couple. Consider a questionnaire.
  • Always create a photo schedule that plans around the couple’s schedule.
  • Stay in contact with the wedding coordinator.
  • Have a list of photoshoots.
  • Scout locations ahead of time at the same time of day, so you understand the lighting.

Different Stages of Photography for Weddings

There is so much diversity in weddings that it can seem quite difficult to plan out every detail. Just remember that most weddings always run a bit behind schedule so you’ll have a lot of panic and rushing. Usually, the photographer is the one that’s rushed the most.

Preparation for Pre-Wedding Photo Sessions

Preparation for Pre-Wedding Photo Sessions

This is an important photo session and one where the photographer will have the most time to work their magic. Depending on the culture, the bride and groom might wear formal attire, or they might wear their wedding attire. Pre-wedding events can last for hours, so be prepared for a marathon.

Always Layout a Timeline

Photographers are expected to be able to coordinate all of the photo sessions, so participants expect to be told how to pair off, where to stand, and what props to use. Therefore, professional photographers must have this stuff laid out so that they can quickly reference it.

Have a Backup Plan

Preparation for Pre-Wedding Photo Sessions

Professionals always have a backup plan in case something unexpected happens – which is quite common in wedding planning. What will happen if it’s storming on a day when outside photos were planned? What if it’s cloudy and messing with the lighting? Always have a backup!

Coordinate Props and Outfits

Wedding couples should coordinate their outfits with the photographer so that the proper props and lighting can be planned. For instance, backdrops much be planned around the outfits so that there is no bleeding. Just remember that the wedding planner is going to have the final say in the attire and venue, so your job is to make sure the photo sessions are planned around that.

Plan Poses

Plan Poses

While the couple will provide some insight into poses, it’s up to the photographer to set up the shoot. Plan more poses than their suggestions so that there are a variety of amazing shots. In most cases, the couple’s favorite photos will be shots that they had not thought of.

Preparation for Wedding Day Photo Sessions

When it’s time for the big day, everything is going to be happening so fast that photographers who go in unprepared are going to quickly get overwhelmed. This is the time when professional skills are put to the ultimate test!

Scout the Location Ahead of Time

Scout the Location Ahead of Time

Plan for lighting, poses, and each moment. Write them down for quick reference during the wedding. Make sure that there is adequate lighting to that there’s not a struggle to capture the important moments.

Set the Expectations Ahead of Time

Meet with the bride and groom in advance and describe what they can expect from you on the wedding day. Make sure you’re both on the same page when planning each shot.

Turn off all Sound on Your Wedding Photography Camera

Turn off all Sound on your Wedding Photography Camera

A camera that beeps and clicks during important wedding moments might disturb the subjects involved. Make sure the sound of every device being used is turned off.

Learn to be Bold Without Being Obtrusive Either

Photographers need to flex their ninja-like skills to remain mostly unseen. People who spot a camera pointed at them are going to act differently. In order to keep photos as authentic as possible, plan a strategy that allows you to be mostly unseen. This is why scoping the area ahead of time is so important.

Preparation for Post-Wedding Photo Sessions

Preparation for Post-Wedding Photo Sessions

Once the ceremony is over, a professional photographer’s job is still not finished. Here are some of the important preparation tips that professionals need to consider for their post-wedding photo sessions.

Always Plan Each Shot Ahead of Time

Again, it all falls back to planning specific shots ahead of time. Some important post-wedding photos include a scenic shot of the couple, pictures of the first dance, and bridesmaid photos. These sessions will not be as chaotic as the wedding itself, so props and lighting can be planned in advance.

Get to Know the Guests

Get to Know the Guests

Understanding the guests and their significance to the couple is essential to capturing all of the right post-wedding shots. You’ll often want to have individual shots of the couple with their friends and family. But there will be individual shots to consider as well.

Plan for Group Shots

Plan for Group Shots

Everyone will want a picture with the couple, but only those selected as VIPs in advance will have specific photos taken. The rest is done in group shots in order to improve efficiency. There’s just not enough time to get individual shots of everyone at a wedding. So, VIPs are selected by the couple in advance, and the rest are categorized into group shots. This must all be written and approved well in advance of the wedding.

Bring the Right Wedding Photography Camera and Accessories

By this point, everything should be laid out with an easy-to-follow plan. So now it’s time to talk about the actual equipment. It would suck to start shooting at the actual wedding only to realize you need an extra light or you brought the wrong lens. Here are some important choices to make:

Bring the Right Wedding Photography Camera and Accessories
  • Bring the right lens. In fact, it’s recommended that you bring two cameras to the wedding – one with a wide focus and one with a long-focus lens.
  • Most professionals will bring at least four different flash units to the wedding – one as a spare and three for portrait setups.
  • Flash brackets are also a must-have accessory! These will allow the flash to be set high enough so that it doesn’t cast unwanted shadows.
  • Flash modifiers are also an amazing accessory because they work well with standard flash and help make the photos look more natural.
  • Reflectors are an amazing tool for ensuring that the backdrop for portraits is lit properly. However, they only work when enough light is present.
  • Polarizing filters will control reflected light and helps create customized photographs. They enhance the natural environment.
  • Tripods are a must for most wedding photos since they perfect specific photos. However, most photos are taken by hand, when possible, always use a tripod.

Common Wedding Photography Mistakes and How Post Processing Can Fix Them

Weddings are so sporadic that even the best photographers will find that some of their shots are flawed. Fortunately, image post-processing can fix most of the common mistakes. Here are some examples:

  • Photos with too much noise can look grainy and distorted. Fortunately, photo editing experts can reduce the noise and clear this up quite nicely.
  • The rapid movement at weddings can cause certain shots to be blurry, ruining a perfect scene. This is another issue that proper editing can clean up.
  • Improper lighting is probably the most common photography mistake, but processing technology is so advanced that the right team can brighten (or darken) photos, bringing them to life.

Smart Photo Editors Can Bring your Photos to Life

Even the most skilled photographers need post-processing to bring their images to life. Smart Photo Editors (SPE) has a team of image editing experts to offer professional photo editing services like skin retouching, exposure correction, background removal, and more apart from wedding photo editing that helps professional photographers and studios thrill their customers with photo post-processing. Contact SPE today to discover how our services will help!

-Smart PHOTO Editors

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