Monday, October 28, 2013

Wedding Photography Tips

I haven't taken photos of many weddings, my back and knees can't take it (and its just one big headache stomach ulcer creating experience!) but here are some tips. Some common sense, some based on my own experiences. Any mistakes I've made have been due to rushing and not stopping for a breath.

  • Get your self insurance, from some one tripping over your bag to your memory card becoming corrupted and losing all the shots.
  • Have a contract! This should have details of the cost, what part of the day is photographed - getting ready, up to formal shots, speeches, first dance etc. What do the couple get, an album, how many shots in the album, what extra prints cost etc. Detail when you will deliver first look (for the couple to choose the shots) to delivery of album/prints. How many digital shots will they get, what size- printable, web only etc.
  • Get a list off the couple of exactly the shots they want, and a list of the names of the wedding party doesn't hurt, this will help build a list of the photos needed. Some weddings will have ex spouses, new partners, etc. so not just a simple set of parents for bride & groom / the couple getting married.
  • Research the area, sometimes it can be hard to find an appropriate let alone nice spot to take the formal photographs. This may require a short detour with the couple or even the whole wedding party if people/transport are up for it.
  • Talk to the priest/registrar/etc. He or she will tell where you can and can't go, whether they want you to use flash or not. Some churches there are parts of the alter area where you can't go. Sometimes you will encounter some one who doesn't want you using flash. A quick chat with the right person will set you right, but also put you in their good books introducing yourself.
  • Talk to the best-man or better a groomsman as the best-man will probably be busier. He can help you herd the wedding party together for the formal photographs, they usually know most if not all the wedding party, but give them him the name list you got to help get them all together.
  • Make sure all batteries are charged, this seems obvious, but don't become oblivious to it! Bring extra batteries.
  • Make yourself a method of keeping track of charged and flat batteries, and empty and full memory cards.
  • Don't use/fill high capacity cards. Space the day out over 3/4 cards, you don't want all the photographs on one card, and something going wrong with that card.
  • Make sure you have transferred photos off the cards you will be using, you don't want to have to format cards with photos you need, or you don't want to mix photos from different jobs, nevermind needing the space.
  • Bring second body if you have it, Murphy's Law and all that, but also handy to have a telephoto and wide angle on the go together, particularly during the ceremony.
  • Pack gear well and have everything accessible. You don't want to be rooting around the bag making noise or missing a shot.
  • If you bump up your ISO in the church, don't forget to turn it down when you go outside and do the formal shots.
  • Don't wander too far from your bag. One wedding I did, the priest left immediately after the ceremony and my bag got locked in. Luckily there was someone else around who had keys so I could retrieve it!
  • Don't be scared to remove guests from the formal photograph area. You want ALL the wedding party looking at your camera, not each person looking at a different camera. If you don't ask them give you a few minutes on your own, your photographs will be a disaster.
  • Take MULTIPLE shots of the same group, you are guaranteed people blinking!!
  • Take the couple off on their own to get some more intimate shots so there are no distractions and they are more relaxed.
  • The venue usually suggests this soon after your arrival, but if not, take fake cutting the cake photos. You mightn't have been hired to stay up to stage, and also there will be a dozen(s!) people crowded around to take photos.
  • Take a wander around the reception area, take shots of the tables, place names, flowers etc.
  • Take lots of candid shots - outside the church/venue, where the reception is, these are so much more fun and natural than just having the formal shots. Its also nice for the guests not part of the wedding party.
  • If you do hand digital files over to the couple for them to print themselves make sure they know the ratio (4x5, 2x3 etc.) you have given the photos to them in. And make it very clear to them what sizes they can print them at, you don't want an angry bride coming back saying her prints are all cropped!
  • Finally, don't underprice yourself!


  1. Wedding Photography Toronto: A unique wedding photography tip is to bring your wedding guests into the picture by making sure there are disposable cameras on all of the tables at the reception. When your guests are taking pictures, each one will capture his or her own unique experience on your wedding day. You will probably get some cool shots that you would never dream to have gotten with just one photographer.

    1. Excellent tip, I love candid and fun shots, so much more relaxed than the official ones, and like you said will add that extra perspective to add to the memories of the day.