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Wedding Photography: So you’ve been asked to shoot a wedding…

by Blogger on ‎04-16-2012 06:45 PM - last edited on ‎06-26-2013 11:06 AM by Administrator

wedding photography



Will you be my wedding photographer?

It’s inevitable: you’ve just bought a new DSLR, you’re loving the addition of more autofocus points, the faster frames-per-second burst mode, the addition of GPS or some other whiz-bang feature, and you’re taking tons of new shots. After a friend or a relative sees your unending line of status updates on Flickr, Facebook, or 500px, the question comes:


“Hey, you’re a photographer, right? Can you be my wedding photographer?”


Your first impulse may be to get excited and agree on the spot. DON’T. You need to think about this, both for you and for them.


Wedding photography isn’t easy, it isn’t fun, and it can be a make-or-break thing for friend/family relationships. If you’ve ever wandered into an online forum with the question “my friends just asked me to be their wedding photographer, what do I need to know?” then this post is for you.


You probably shouldn’t shoot their wedding.

Nothing quite like a bit of encouragement right out of the gate, right? But it’s true: being the primary photographer at a wedding is serious business, even if the bride and groom are insistent that it’s low-pressure and they just want some “candid snaps”. Weddings tend to be very expensive events, and preserving those memories may not seem important at the time, but it’s one of the number one regrets of those who don’t do it right. For all of the potential brides and grooms out there: if you’re paying more for the band than your photographer, you’re doing it wrong. No one will remember bad music, but bad photos are forever. 


If you absolutely must shoot it:

Be the back-up instead.

You could try to convince your friends/family that a professional wedding photographer is needed. If it’s your dream to be a professional photographer: GREAT... but don’t cut your teeth on an important day like this. If they hire a pro, you can stand in as a second photographer to get a feel for how the day will flow. Like anything else, you’re going to need practice and real world experience before your jump in as a primary.


Be prepared.

There’s a saying in photography: two is one and one is none. Any time you have a single point of failure, you’re exposed to the possibility of having a very bad day. That means: have at least two camera bodies, at least two memory cards and batteries for each. You may want to have one body with a wide lens and the other with a telephoto lens on you at the same time so you can switch the type of shot you’re capturing without having to fuss with lenses. Make sure that all of your batteries are charged the day before so you’re ready to rock if one of them kicks it. Memory cards should be big, empty, and tested in advance. Don’t ruin their day by being lazy or forgetful!


You’re also going to want to have at least one flash/strobe with you (and know how to use it), along with extra batteries for it. A flash diffuser is generally a must so you don’t end up with scorching hotspots on your nuptial subjects.


Make lists.

Lists are super-helpful for just about everything you’ll do on the big day: make a list of the gear you need and check it when you pack.


A shot list is also handy, and it’s something that you should sit down with the bride and groom about before-hand. Flip through wedding magazines and browse the web; cut out and print off shots that they want to get. Create a mood board/book that you can take with you on the day, and check those shots of your list.


Get help.

Having someone who is there to assist you on the day of is a big help. An extra pair of hands to carry your spare gear, manage your check list and wrangle your subjects really helps.


These nuts and bolts tips are very rudimentary, and you can consider them 101 stuff. The real soul of wedding photography comes from knowing what the bride and groom are like, and finding those special moments during the day. You might have a knack for it and pull it off the first time… and you might also be a Wizard, Harry. For the rest of us: practice is crucial, and you don’t want to be practicing on a day that means to much to people you care about.


That’s not to say you shouldn’t try. What it is saying is that you shouldn’t run a marathon the first time you put on a pair of runners. Put the effort in and take some time to learn. You’ll know when you’re ready.



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by Exalted Expert / Community Ambassador on ‎04-23-2012 10:06 PM

My thoughts...

  • yes, do hire a proper designated photographer.  Don’t be surprised the fees will be in the thousands.  Their experience will be worth it.
  • 2nd shooters is a great idea, however, do NOT stand next to him when the paid photographer is taking a group photo.  Too often photos are ruined because people’s eyeballs will be looking at different cameras and the photo session will take longer than necessary.  Take your picture from a location where the group won’t be distracted.  Otherwise, help the photographer by keeping other distractions away (people walking in the background, other photographers drawing eyeballs away).
  • being a 2nd shooter gives you practice at a wedding and study how a pro perfects the experience. Notice the equipment they use and thing WHY.
  • seriously consider an external flash to help with no so perfect light conditions.  Minimize red-eye and allows for quicker recycle.  The wedding will not slow down for a built-in flash to recharge
  • hate Fong diffuser.  Prefer Demb, Fong creates too much unwanted light pollution directed to other guests in the room.  Tall ceilings, dark colour rooms, and lack of a back wall limits the Fong’s usefulness.  Also Fong demands a lot batteries for all the bounce lighting.  The Fong also makes it easier to overheat your flash from all the bouncing.  Pack a second or third flash to swap out when the first flash overheats.  I prefer the Mega Demb which folds flat in a camera bag.
  • consider a flash bracket to minimize red eye and side shadows.  Works really well with a diffuser.

I realize not every couple can afford photographer fees.  If that is the case, then do explain to them your limitations.  Go forth and do your best.  A photographer may be better than NO photographer.  I’ve been to a few weddings where that has happened because of cost.  The couple are very greatful to have something to remember the day and efforts that went into it.

  • show up early, possibly go to the rehersals.  This way you know what to expect at that magic moment.  It will also be an opportunity for you to better know everyone’s expectations (eg “no tripods?”).  Take some pictures so guest are comfortable with you.  You might get some great blooper moments.  It is also a place for you to make mistakes before the big day.
  • DSLR videos may be popular... DISABLE Auto Focus and Image stabilization PLEASE.  The video will sound like nails on a chalkboard!  Use a tripod. Who wants HD motion sickness?
  • work with the MC’s/organizer.  They may tap you on the shoulder when something significant is coming up.  This way you won’t be blind sided.  Ideally request a schedule to plan your day.  Certain ethnic weddings are even more demanding as they have both a western and ethnic component
  • Work with the other videographer that may be in the room....  Unlike in the past, that videographer is very likely shooting HD.  Having your butt projected on a 70 inch 1080p screen (in 3D!) is not something you want to be remembered for.
  • if you know what you are doing and have the card space, don’t forget to shoot in RAW to explore the fine camera settings after the wedding.
  • extra batteries, it’s amazing how much batteries will be used during the wedding day with little time to recharge.
  • If you have an SB800/900/910.  Consider getting the cheap SD-8a.  The longer battery life and quicker recycle is worth it.  Imagine being able to take 5 flash photos of the bouquet… mid-air!
  • along with extra batteries, consider extra memory cards.  I saw one photographer miss the bouquet toss.... They were too busy in the corner of the room deleting pictures because his card was full.

If the happy couple still has money to turn, get them to hire a separate videographer.

Yes, iPhone weddings are possible in the hands of experts, I don’t encourage it as many are shaky dark images


I’m a photographer


Wedding Photography


BTW.... talk to friends and get referrals for a photographer.  There's a lot of unhappy brides on the Internet. 

by Exalted Expert on ‎04-24-2012 07:42 AM

Having gotten married in the last couple of years, let me provide some insight.  My wife and I were able to put on our wedding (80 guests) for under $10 000, so there was skimping and bargaining going around like wildfire.  If you're on a tight budget, there's nothing wrong with that, but there are some things that simply should not be compromised - the most important of which is the photography. 


If you don't have the budget for a really expensive, uber-beautiful wedding, pay a photographer what they are worth and when you look back, you won't see the low budget wedding you had, you'll see the high-budget wedding you really wanted.  Photographers can do wonderful things, but you have to be willing to pay for them, and while they are not cheap, they're worth every penny.  Combine that with DIY things (like invites, table settings, etc) and you'll have an affordable wedding that looks absolutely wonderful when you look back at it.



by Exalted Expert / Community Ambassador ‎07-10-2014 08:14 AM - edited ‎07-10-2014 08:15 AM

Here's a viral wedding video....



  • turn on the beep.  Make it loud!
  • show up at the last minute and ask people to move.
  • turn on focus assist and use red eye reduction
  • use flash
  • when the bride is in the asile ... you are in the aisle
  • get up and walk around crowds and other iphone photographers
  • take many pictures, no two are alike
  • let the pro's compose the shot and get ready to shoot!
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