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Wedding Photography

Capturing the perfect shot at a wedding is no easy feat. You need to know how to make a photo feel authentic, and reflect the couple’s personality. There are many things that come into play in order to get this shot, like how you capture the bride’s expression, how you capture the groom looking at his bride, what kind of light you use and more.

By David BurrowsPublished about a year ago 5 min read
Wedding Photography
Photo by Jeremy Wong Weddings on Unsplash


Wedding photography contracts are often overlooked and not taken seriously by couples. However, it is important to have one before the wedding day because it protects both the photographer and client from any unforeseen circumstances that may arise.

A wedding photography contract should include the following:

The total number of hours of coverage

The location of the event

The date and time for coverage to begin

The date and time for coverage to end

A list of what is included in the service (i.e. prints, albums, digital files)

A description of how many photographs will be taken at each event (i.e. ceremony, reception)

What type of images are available for purchase (i.e. digital files, , prints, albums)

What types of images are not included in your package (i.e. portraits, engagement photos)

Details about how you will be payed for the service.

Photographers Preparations

Make sure you have at least two consultations with the couple; get to know them and what sort of wedding they want. Always ask about any photographs they want, because you can be assured they have been looking at wedding photos online and have some ideas of their own. Don’t be offended by this, embrace it. Try to recreate some of them.

Make sure you have a check list of all the photographs you need to get after the wedding, i.e. bride full length and half length, couple together, groom and all the men in his family, that sort of thing.

Check and know, like the back of your hand, any journeys you have to make that day. Getting lost and being late is very unprofessional.

Visit all venues prior to the big day to make sure you know everything about where you will be taking photographs, i.e. lighting and angles. Is there a wooden floor? If so, wear trainers or soft shoes, as you will be moving around and you don’t want to disturb the ceremony with the sound of shoes on a wooden floor.

Will you need a flash at the ceremony? If so, make sure you use a defuser as you don’t want a bright flash going off in their faces when they say “I do”

Always make sure you have at least two camera bodies, spare SD cards, and plenty of batteries. If anything goes wrong with any of your equipment, you have spares.

Getting Ready Photographs

Sometimes the bride will want you to take some photographs of her getting ready. This is usually unknown territory for you as it is always at someone’s house that you have never been to, so be prepared. The lighting could be bright or dark, and you might be taking photographs inside the house and then in the garden. You might be taking photographs of the bride one minute and then lots of people the next.

Take all of your cameras and your lenses to this part of the day. Take your time. If you need to change your lens for every shot, then do it. Keep a keen eye on your camera settings and your white balance. Remember, when you finally show the couple the photographs from that day, these will be the first ones they look at. If you don’t get these right, the couple will not want to see the rest of them.

Always be aware of what’s in the background. A bad background will make a good shot look bad.

The Ceremony

The wedding ceremony is the most important part of a wedding, and it should be captured beautifully.

Here are some tips on how to photograph the wedding ceremony.

The best time to take pictures is during the processional or the recessional. It is also possible to take pictures while they are walking down the aisle, but you will need to balance between capturing their walk and focusing on getting a good shot.

If there is a religious service, it would be best to avoid taking any photos during this time so as not to offend those in attendance or distract from the service itself.

Take shots of guests arriving and being seated if you have time before or after other parts of the ceremony have taken place so that these people can be included in your photos too.

When guests are leaving the ceremony, it is good to take pictures of their exit.

If you have time, take pictures of the wedding party either before or after the ceremony as well.

Photographs Outside

This is where, as a photographer, you really need to take charge and organise. Hopefully, you will be fully prepared with your check list.

People like to aimlessly wonder around after a wedding, so it’s your job to make sure they don’t wonder off into the background of your photographs.

Go through the list and when you have finished with people, let them go to the reception. That way, as people disappear, it will be easy to see who’s left.

Always use a tripod for this and remember to have a high shutterspeed. These are very important photographs, and you do not want them to turn out blurry. Also, remember not to shoot into the sun and always watch your background.

The Reception

Photographing the reception can be tricky and the lighting is almost guaranteed to be poor. On top of that, everybody is starting to get drunk.

Hopefully, you will already know about the lighting as you came here before the wedding. I often walk round with my camera and a camera flash unit with a diffuser as you do not want everybody’s faces to be shiny. Have fun with everyone while you are shooting them, but do not engage in long conversation. Remember, you are there to do a job, not to be one of the guests. I can not stress this enough Do not have an alcoholic drink. You will be offered drinks all day; only drink soft drinks. The reason for this is that if you have a drink, you are then part of the wedding and you need to distance yourself from the wedding while still being there, much like the venue staff.

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About the Creator

David Burrows

I am a freelance photographer and I also write blogs. I love to share my knowledge and passion for photography with others. I have been a photography blogger for the last year. I write about travel, people, nature, and photography advice.

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