As a wedding photographer, I am often asked for advice. “This is my first, can you help me? Give me some tips? I’m afraid I’m not up to it”: this message, I’ve received it dozens of times. When you cover your first marriage, it’s pressure and that’s normal. This is a unique moment that will not be repeated. We have no right to make mistakes.
Here are 10 simple tips for those who will pass their baptism of fire. Not 50 tricks, just 10. I focus on the essentials, so that, on D-Day, you won’t have to remember advice No. 72 paragraph B of the guide of the perfect photographer.
With these recommendations, you will be able to get out of your marriage unscathed, without forgetting anything that is important. Follow the guide:
1 – Prepare your equipment
I have a checklist that says everything I need to bring:
Case – Battery (at least 2) – Memory Cards – Goals – Flash – Trépied – Fabric to wipe its optics.
That is really the union minimum. The day before, I charge all the batteries thoroughly. I check that my cards are formatted, ready to register a new wedding.
If possible, provide emergency equipment. Wedding photography is quite challenging for the equipment and one is not immune to a breakdown. For my part, I have two cases, memory cards more than necessary, and two batteries per camera.
For focal lengths, I think the best is to cover from 24mm to 200mm. For “small format” devices(APS-C), this means from 18mm to 150mm. This allows you to meet any need.
2 – Equip yourself with a cobra flash
If you haven’t already done so, you have to equip a flash type cobra (orientable head … very important detail). Being a wedding photographer means dealing with situations of limited light, such as at the town hall or in church for example. My style does not match so much with the flash, I prefer to use natural light … but sometimes you don’t have a choice. For those who are not familiar with using a flash, first put it in TTL (automatic) mode and play with the button – or the – to adjust the power of the flash if necessary. (I would make a video about the basics of flash one day.
What I recommend is to direct the flash towards the ceiling or towards a wall of neutral color and if possible (depending on the models) take out the small white tongue. Here’s how I use the flash:
3 – Do you train !!!
In addition to the previous trick, if you lack practice, practice. This is not a joke. Enjoy an evening with friends to make your hand with the flash for example. This type of material requires practice to fully understand everything. And the worst thing to do is to use his flash for the first time…. during your first marriage.
Another example of exercise: a couple of photos. If you’ve never done one, how do you get away with it? My advice is to train a couple of friends, who will be delighted to have beautiful pictures. Try different poses, chat with them to put them at ease, test different angles of view, etc…
Wedding photography is a demanding discipline. So to be successful, you have to practice. Would you have the idea to compete at an athletics competition without training… Of course not.
4 – Make a “Shot List”
This is THE advice if you want to be sure not to miss anything important. At each wedding, I have on me (or rather in my camera bag), a sheet on which I noted, the day before, all the important things for the bride and groom. And how I know all this… it’s simple, I ask them. This brings me to the next piece of advice.
5 – Discuss as much as possible with the bride and groom
It is absolutely essential to know the couple you are going to photograph… at least a minimum. Discuss with them their expectations. There’s nothing worse for brides and grooms (and therefore for you) than ending up with photos that don’t look like them.
If this is your first marriage, this exchange can be a good opportunity to explain that this is your first marriage. They will be more lenient about the end result.
Some will think: “But never in life! It is absolutely necessary to hide the fact that we are starting.” To these, I ask them a simple question: “How could you hide it! When they ask you to show them the pictures of your previous weddings.
6 – Spot the places
In wedding photography, the key is PREPARATION. Spot the different places of D Day. Avoid unpleasant surprises at all costs, especially in terms of light. You won’t necessarily be able to do much about it, but at least you’ll know what to expect.
7 – Plan group photos
This part is probably the least exciting to photograph. Nevertheless, this remains an obligatory passage in many marriages. My solution: ask the bride and groom to make a list of groups and choose one of the guests who will take care of D-Day to call the people who need to be in the photo.
This avoids wasting time and energy.
8 – Shoot in RAW
The RAW format will give you a lot more opportunities in post-production. More flexibility to be creative, more flexibility also to make up for (possible) technical errors (expo and white balance among others)
The counterpart: the files are heavier. You’ll need bigger memory cards and more space on your hard drive… but from my point of view, it’s worth the cost.
9 – Shoot the details
Today, the details have an important place for brides. Future wives have often spent several months searching, searching, picking up the decoration of their wedding, their shoes, their dress, etc.
Details are an integral part of a marriage story. So you should spend some of your time on it.
10 – Change focus
If I listened to myself, I would only shoot at 50mm. Despite this, I force myself to change my focus. For the simple reason that it prevents me from going around in circles. You don’t want to lock yourself in your preferred goal. The risk is that the end result is monotonous.
And then always photograph with the same rock, it can kill your creativity.
11 – BONUS advice but VERY IMPORTANT
Turn off the sound of your case when you’re focusing. Nothing is more annoying, annoying, unbearable than hearing in the church, the famous “beep-beep” of your camera.
That’s it for today. I hope this will help you.
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