Hello new wedding photographers!
Welcome to the world of kisses, hugs, gorgeous couples… and also complicated timelines, stressed out coordinators, less-than-cooperative wedding parties, tipsy dancing, and more. It’s an exciting day to say the least. People ask me, “Isn’t it scary to shoot a wedding? That’s a lot of pressure!”
Well, here are ELEVEN tips that will make weddings not so intimidating! Confidence is key, my friends – get in a mindset that you are going to rock the wedding, and you probably will.
1) Get a list of family photos 4-6 weeks BEFORE the wedding
Get a list of the couple’s immediately family and make their groupings for them, or your couple can choose the groupings themselves. Get a list of any extended family members, “must have” shots, or friend groups that the couple wants a formal photo with. Then, you can show up on the wedding day with a list to run through and know that you’re not forgetting anything!
2) Be the calm in the storm
If something doesn’t go to plan on the day, you need to reassure the bride that everything is okay. Pimple? You can edit it out. Raining? You brought your clear umbrellas and are prepared with flashes to shoot the bridal party indoors. Overbearing mother? Lay low and focus on the couple. The venue is on fire? Call 911 then get back to portraits. If you are at all stressed, your couple will know. So be. Cool.
3) Be prepared
Bring way too many memory cards, way too many batteries, two flashes, two camera bodies, two or more lenses, bobby pins, safety pins, bandages, lip balm, umbrellas, wooden dress hangers, aspirin, Tums, Command hooks, etc. You will need them!
4) Dress appropriately
Do not wear white. Do not wear anything with a white base! Wear clothing that is weather appropriate, dress code appropriate, and modest. A wedding is not a place for the photographer’s cleavage. Dress like a guest, but one step more professional. Black is always in style. It also hides sweat marks! If you’re wearing a jumpsuit, make sure you can unzip it unassisted to use the bathroom. Do NOT wear heels or uncomfortable shoes. Wear sneakers if they let you run and jump and do your job better, but don’t sport neon Nikes, try an all black pair to blend in. And most importantly, keep a backup outfit in your car trunk. You never knew when something may rip or get wet or stained!
5) Ask the couple to kiss twice
During the ceremony. So, if for some wild reason you miss the first kiss, you have a second one as a backup. AND you have time to get verticals and horizontals.
6) Get a list of all vendors before the wedding
And send them each a set of photos after the wedding to use for marketing. Good vendor relationships are invaluable.
7) Be as helpful as you can
I’ve put down my camera and helped lace up dresses, wiped down ceremony chairs after it rained with rags, brought flowers up to the bride’s room, pinned boutonnieres, snapped iPhone shots for guests, tied ties, and set up centerpieces at the reception. Be a human first and a photographer second, and your clients will appreciate that.
8) Don’t use your phone in front of your client or their guests
Unless you’re taking an epic selfie with the couple. Legit – if there’s nothing else to do during cocktail hour and you need a break, go to an empty room or a bathroom stall and use your phone there. It’s not a good look!
If the couple offers you water or snacks in the getting ready room, take them. Stay hydrated all day and if it’s okay for you to grab an appetizer at cocktail hour, do it. Pack a few protein bars in case, because nothing is worse than a hangry photographer who probably won’t see food until 8:30pm. But… don’t drink alcohol. Even if your couple offers, or asks you to take shots with them, it’s best to kindly decline. Yes, you are at a killer party, but you are working. You are a business owner, and drinking on the job is a huge liability and problem if the couple ever didn’t like the photos. Stick with water, always.
10) Be there when they need you, and invisible when they don’t
Do not stand in front of family members during the ceremony. Kneel on the side of the aisle, or stand on the sides or behind the guests. Do not get a foot away from one partner and their parent to get a close shot of their dance. Use a telephoto lens instead. When someone needs you to take a table shot with their college friends, be there with a super big smile! If anyone needs their boutonniere pinned on, help them out. A great wedding photographer is one that guests love to dance and laugh with, but never hinders their experience of the day.
11) Work quickly and efficiently
Weddings are not the day to slow down and take your time – there is always a timeline, and weddings usually run a little late, too. Get all the photos you need by delegating and using your outside assertive voice when directing the wedding party + family.
Think this advice is rad?
Check out more articles for creative entrepreneurs like you