Top 3 Wedding Photography Tips
Learn from One of the Top 5 UK Wedding Photographers
Shooting a wedding is one of the most difficult photographic assignments you can embark on! You need to be organized, methodical, sociable and produce stunning images…and you only get one shot at it! We asked Andy Robinson of J&A Cameras + Photography (who has recently been placed in the Top Five UK Wedding Photographers of 2016 by the Guild of Photographers*) to share with us his top three tips for all those looking to shoot their first wedding.
Tip One: Check Your Equipment
Not an exciting tip, but as the couple are depending on you for their memories, the equipment that you use must be fully functioning! Make sure that you have enough batteries to cover a full day’s shooting, and that they are fully charged. Same applies to the memory cards, format them beforehand and always buy a recognized and reliable brand – more problems are caused by cards corrupting than cameras breaking down! I use Delkin’s BLACK range and have fortunately never had an issue. Pack at least two cameras (beg, borrow or buy a spare body if you only have one) – not only does this give you the security of a ‘back up’, but it also allows you to shoot with a different lens on each body. Those moments saved by not having to change lenses can mean the difference between catching the moment or missing it. Basically, if you plan for everything to go wrong, then you can ensure that you are prepared!
Tip Two: Get the Couple to Make a “Shot List”
Each wedding is different and all are unique, but generally you will always need to do some ‘formal group shots’. Many photographers dislike this part of the wedding, but I enjoy it as you are documenting people’s existence! This is more relevant when friends and family die – these may be the last good photos ever taken of them, so become even more precious. Having said all this, however, if there are too many formal shots requested then your guests will become bored very quickly – hence the need for a ‘shot list’.
A few weeks prior to the wedding, contact the couple and see if there are any ‘must have’ photos (the bride’s tiara may have been a family heirloom, for example) and at this point suggest that they write down a list of no more than six or seven formal group shots. Ask them for a copy, but more importantly ask for a copy to be given to someone good at organizing. This is usually the Best Man, but anyone with a loud voice will do! By limiting the number of group shots the couple have to think about who they’d really like in the photos, but best of all, you minimize the time it takes to do them and the rest of the guests don’t get bored! As a footnote to this, I will always take a large group shot of everyone attending the wedding, so that each guest has been photographed at least once!
Tip Three: Be Happy
Have fun at the wedding! Smile! The more you’re seen to be enjoying yourself as a photographer, the more people will react favorably towards you. Laughter is infectious and weddings are about celebrating, so if you can show that you want to be there and are enthusiastic about taking the photographs you’ll be rewarded with far more emotion-filled images (which is the ultimate goal as a wedding photographer – capture the moments, the whole picture and the emotion that sum up the day!). By the same token, stay calm whatever situations may throw at you. Weddings can sometimes be hectic and occasionally stressful when things don’t go according to plan, but if you exude calmness and confidence you will put people at their ease. Calm photographer, calm bride!
So there you have it, Andy’s top three tips for making it through a wedding day in one piece! Be yourself, try to stay focused and you will surprise yourself, delight the couple and have some fun along the way! Good luck and enjoy it! If you have any specific queries about wedding photography do please e-mail Andy directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the website www.jandacameras.co.uk. *www.photoguild.co.uk