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Photography Tips for Winning Wedding Shots

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Grow your list of satisfied wedding photography clients. After all, weddings will prove to be a very lucrative line of a photography business. Happy clients will refer you to their friends and will remember you the next time they need a photographer to take pictures of their anniversary celebrations or their children’s birthday parties.

Here are a few tips for you to keep in mind when doing wedding photography:

  • Talk to the couple about expectations. Even before signing off with the couple, show them your work. This helps set and clear any expectations, especially after they see your photography style and aesthetic. Put the details in writing. This includes the list of shots needed, how many will be printed, your fee for the event and the required down payment amount. To give them an idea of your work, show them your portfolio or allow them to walk through your gallery. It is a good sales strategy to already have framed portraits that are in antique picture frames, as well as gold or silver picture frames. This gives your would-be clients an idea of how the finished product (especially the portraits) will look like.
  • Talk to the couple about “other” photographers. Your meetings before the wedding will also be a good time to talk to the couple about guests that take pictures of the event. Their cellphones, tablets and cameras can actually be quite obtrusive. There are also guests who, in their desire to get their perfect shot, get in the way of the hired photographers. It can be useful to indicate in the invitation or at the entrance that guests are gently reminded to focus on the event unfolding before them rather than on watching the event from their screens.
  • Plan your shots in advance. Work with the couple beforehand so that you can come up with a shot list. This includes the following:
    • Bride and groom getting ready
    • Bride with her entourage
    • Groom with his entourage
    • Shots of the bride and groom having private moments with their respective parents and siblings
    • Bride hugging the maid of honor and bridesmaids
    • Shots of the bride in her dress
    • Mom giving last-minute tips to the bride or dad giving tips to the groom
    • Bride riding the bridal car
    • Groom ready to go and waiting
    • Guest’s reaction
    • Shots of each member of the entourage as they come in
    • Bride’s entrance and groom’s face as his bride is walking down the aisle
    • Bridal kiss

Of course, the couple may have other specific shots that they want to get, or you could provide some suggestions to help get them started. A shot list helps remind you to get all the key moments and prevent you from forgetting to take a shot with key members of the family.

  • Do your homework and preparation. Familiarize yourself with the location. Check the angles and lighting. Also look to see the best positions you can have while keeping unobtrusive during the ceremony. Be sure to keep an extra camera, batteries and memory cards. Read the wedding program or script to see how the ceremony unfolds.
  • Don’t forget the little details. Aside from taking pictures of the elements of the wedding ceremony and the people involved, do take shots of the little details. This includes the bride and groom’s accessories (wedding bouquet, shoes, rings, etc.), as well as the decorative details in the wedding location.
  • Be discreet and unobtrusive. Wear comfortable clothes and shoes that easily blend in with the crowd. You would want to look professional but also not attract too much attention to yourself. Also, when taking shots, make sure that you do not become too much of an obstruction to those who are watching the event.
  • Bring extras. This applies with an extra camera, as well as an extra wedding photographer. If you can, it will be good to have more than one photographer to cover the event from different angles (i.e. from the groom’s point of view and the bride’s point of view). Just be sure to coordinate so that you don’t get in each other’s way.
  • Prepare for the unexpected. It can rain. You can get lost on the way to the reception area. The ring bearer may suddenly decide to throw a tantrum during his walk down the aisle. Someone may trip. These things can and do happen – and a great photographer can actually capitalize in the unexpected and capture these memorable highlights.
  • Enjoy yourself. Relax and have fun – your sense of fun and celebration will rub off on your subjects and will also show on your photos. This will also help people smile and act more naturally in front of the camera.