Are you thinking about getting into wedding photography? Weddings can be stressful, but so rewarding to provide clients with beautiful memories on their big day. If you’re thinking about giving wedding photography a shot – then check out some of our tips and what you should know before shooting your first wedding.
What Equipment Will I Need For Wedding Photography?
In order to capture the best moments on your client’s special day, you will need some key things in your gear bag. Here are some essentials for wedding gear:
- Camera – This one is a no brainer. A good camera is needed. Look for something that has dual card slots so you can shoot on two cards in case one fails. You might also want to look for a camera that does well in low light situations – in case you aren’t able to use a flash. For example, some churches don’t allow flash to be used. Another thing to consider is a camera that offers high quality images – most mirrorless or DSLR cameras on the market are great options.
- Lenses – You’ll want to keep a varity of lenses in your bag for weddings. Having different lenses that you can swap out will help you shoot a variety of shots and scenarios at the wedding. Wide angle zoom lenses will be great for most shots with people – such as bridal portraits, group shots, and candids. You’ll also want to have a macro lens on hand for those detailed shots of the rings, bouquet, and decor.
- External Flashes – Wedding venues vary greatly and you never really know what the lighting situation will be until you arrive. Some venues are bright and full of light while others are dark with minimal light. Weddings also span across several hours of the day, and you might find yourself shooting into the evening. Bringing your own light source is important so you can have more control of the lighting and provide quality images.
1. Get Comfortable With Your Gear
Once you’ve gathered the appropriate gear to start shooting weddings, you will want to become as comfortable as possible with it. Get to really know the ins and outs of your gear. What can it handle, what limitations do you have? Knowing your gear before a client’s big day will help you feel more confident in shooting and limit your technology mishaps. You don’t want to arrive to your clients wedding fumbling with settings or trying to figure out how to get your flashes working.
2. Be a Second Shooter
Before you start shooting weddings, you might want to check in your local photography groups to see if you can become a second shooter. This will help you get used to shooting in various settings and get to know the typical flow of a wedding day. The more experience you have with weddings the better before you begin shooting your own weddings.
3. Shoot A Fake Wedding
Along with second shooting to gain experience, try setting up a fake wedding or styled session to get some practice as well. This will help you feel comfortable working with your clients, take your time to learn how to shoot and correct any mistakes without the added stress of a real wedding.
4. Have A Solid Contract
We can’t stress enough the importance of having a solid contract in place for your photography services. Things happen and you will need something written in place to protect yourself. A solid contract also clearly outlines what your client should expect when hiring you as their wedding photographer. The Lawtog is a great resource if you’re in need of a wedding photography client contract.
5. Have Backups For Everything
Be over prepared! It’s wise to have a back up for everything in case something breaks or stops working. Things like memory cards, batteries, flashes, and chargers are things you should have a back up for. If it is possible, having a back up camera body is recommended.
6. Scout Your Location
If you are able to check out your venues before the big day – take some time to do so. Every venue will be different and getting some time to scope out how it looks and where the best places are to shoot will help you feel more at ease during the wedding. Sometimes you can ask the couple if you can join them at the rehearsal the day before to get a feel for the venue. If not, arriving a little early to take a moment to scope out the area will be helpful.
7. Get To Know Your Client
Take some time to get to know your client before their big day. After all, you’ll be spending several hours with them on a very important day. Your client will appreciate the effort of getting to know them as it adds to the client experience. You can easily get to know your clients by sending them a client questionnaire after they book you. Ask questions about how they met, what they like to do, etc… so you know a little more about the special couple you’re about to photograph.
8. Develop a Shot List
You can also use your questionnaires to gather information about what images your client would like for you to capture. Using a questionnaire to gather wedding day details will be helpful in creating your shot list. You’ll want to know how many are in the wedding party, what key moments will happen on that day (will they be cutting cake, special dances, etc…). Get a list of their must have shots and ideas you have then write it all down so you don’t forget.
9. Get a Timeline
In your questionnaire, you can also gather information to develop a timeline for the day. You’ll want to know when you are expected to arrive, what time the ceremony and reception start, time they will have special dances, cake cutting, and other key events of the day. This way you will be prepared and have a general idea of when things are happening and ensure you don’t miss any moments.
10. Hire an Assistant
It’s hard to be in multiple places at once. Consider hiring an assistant to be your second photographer so they can capture other angles, other moments and candids while you’re getting the formal shots. You may even find having an assistant just for helping you set up or move gear, holding diffusers or lighting equipment, and wrangling important people for formal portraits helpful if you aren’t going to have a second shooter.
What are your favorite tips for starting wedding photography?