words Al Woods
Being a wedding photographer is a beautiful job. You get to work for people who are celebrating one of the best days of their lives. You get to capture their happiness, tears, and joy, to make a permanent memory they can come back to forever.
But, exactly because of those reasons, being a wedding photographer can be stressful as well. When someone trusts you to do everything we have mentioned, it can be a bit nerve-wracking if something goes south.
But, just like in any other job, reaching close to perfection can be achieved by constant learning. To be better photographers, to better capture moments and emotions, we must constantly and consistently work on our craft. To help you better your wedding photography skills, we have prepared some tips and tricks that will improve your wedding photos for sure.
Test your camera settings in advance
No matter how long you have been in the business, testing your camera settings in advance is always a good idea. Depending on if the reception is outside, inside, whether it is a cloudy or a sunny day, knowing which settings you should use can be crucial in making good photos. So, if you have the opportunity, come earlier to see what kind of conditions you will be working in. If you have never worked at a certain venue, talk to other photographers so that you can be better prepared.
Of course, if you are more of a beginner in wedding photography or photography in general, be sure to know what your camera can do, and how you can achieve good photos no matter the conditions. You can simulate the conditions, get some volunteers to help you, or do anything else that can be good practice. This way, if the outside gets cloudy all of a sudden, if the venue is darker than you thought, you will be prepared and just a few quick camera settings changes away from your perfect photo.
Educate yourself in photo editing
What your camera lacks in settings, you can make up in photo editing. No matter if it is a color correction, contrast enhancements, or any other type of retouching, if you want it to look natural and professional, you have to learn and practice photo editing in different programs. Depending on how skilled you already are, you can choose from a variety of programs and get one that is not too difficult for you. Or if you want to make the job even easier, you can always use wedding LUTs. Unlike most photo editing programs, these Lut collections can allow you to finish photo editing in a short time. You can directly apply them to your photos, without spending too much time and energy on color grading.
To have the best photos possible, if you use certain software, make sure you study it thoroughly and practice on some old photos. Not only will your wedding photos look better, but you will save a lot of time in the long run.
Capture the getting ready part
The moments before the wedding are just as priceless as the wedding itself. Those feelings of excitement, being nervous and being impatient before your wedding cannot be compared to anything else. And just as with everything else at the wedding, the bride and the groom will want to remember this part.
So make sure you are there, capturing the bride putting on makeup, her mom or sister fixing her hair, the groom putting on his tie, or talking to his father. These moments might be the most intimate part of a wedding day and are certainly worth capturing.
If you and your clients are thinking of taking some pictures with just the two of them, make sure you have planned everything. To do this, look for the best places for the shooting, if you have any lighting setups make sure you know where you will put them, bring all accessories you might need, and generally think about what you will ask the bride and the groom to do in the photos. If you come unprepared, you might end up spending a lot of time on the on-site planning, and maybe not getting the photos that you want. Of course, there will always be some spontaneity, but you should have a structured plan.
The most prevalent emotion you can capture at a wedding is happiness. Whether it is the bride, the groom, their friends, or parents, everyone will glow in happiness on this day. And this is what people will want to remember. No matter if they look at their wedding photos after a month or 30 years, they will enjoy seeing everyone’s smiles. So, if the bride is walking down the aisle, or the happy newly wedded couple is doing their first dance, look around to see the smiles on people’s faces. And trust us, it will not be hard.
Capture the firsts
Just like the moments before the official start of the wedding, the firsts are something the bride and the groom will want to cherish. Whether it is their first kiss as a newly wedded couple or their first dance, moments like this are something that cannot be repeated. So, to help your clients cherish these moments and remember them forever, make sure you have done a good job capturing them. Also, be sure you have asked them if there are any other specific moments they would like you to pay attention to.
Pack enough accessories
If you have been a photographer for a while, you know how important it is to have all the accessories you need close to you. Whether it being other camera bodies, other objectives, or external flashes, make sure you have brought it all. We would advise you to bring your laptop as well. This will allow you to back up photos in real-time, so you will not have to worry about losing any photo data.
Taking wedding photos does not have to be stressful when you have a well-structured plan when you know your gear and what specifically you want to capture. Of course, be sure to always talk to your clients, and constantly strive to improve your craft. There is no absolute perfection in photography, but practice will definitely bring you closer to it.