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Fabulous Tips For Any Amateur Wedding Photographer


So, you enjoy taking pictures and surprisingly, you are pretty good at capturing those perfect shots. Photography is just a hobby for you, but you really enjoy it, and you were excited when your friend, THE BRIDE, asked if you would be willing to take her wedding photos to help save her some money on the overall cost of her wedding day. Of course, you agree to do it, but now you are having second thoughts. Where do you begin? What photos are traditionally taken at a wedding? How do you get everyone to cooperate? Well, here are some great tips to ensure that your first wedding photo shoot doesn’t turn into a disaster!

1. Have the bride and groom make a “shot” list. No, I don’t mean a list of their favorite drinking shots; I mean a list of the photography shots they want to be sure to have taken on their big day. Here are some wedding photo shot examples: bride with mother, bride with maid of honor, bride and groom with bride’s maternal grandparents, etc. You will want them to be as specific as possible and then go over it with them to make sure they didn’t leave anyone out. A wedding day “shot” list will also give you something to check off as you take each picture. Be careful not to let the list cramp your creativity, just use it to ensure that everyone of significance to the bride and groom get in a picture with them.

2. Get a wedding day photo coordinator. Have the bride and groom elect someone who can help you round up and identify family members and friends that need to be photographed. Give this person permission to be bossy and allow them to direct the photo shoot. For instance you could say to them, “Hey, I think I’m ready for the bride’s grandparents now.” And then send them on their way to round them up. This will save you the hassle of doing a lot of running around and will help you be able to keep an eye on your equipment at all times.

3. Scout and test shoot the location. If you find out the happy couple is having a sunny, beach side ceremony or an intimate, evening reception at a nearby winery, you may want to visit the location and take a couple of test shots during the time of day the ceremony or reception will actually be being held. This will help you become more familiar with the lighting and the surroundings of that particular location to ensure that you have a much better shoot.

4. Be prepared. In wedding photography, preparation is extremely important, so be sure to have plenty of back up batteries, film, and/or a back up memory card. It might even be smart to invest in or borrow a second camera, just in case something happens to your primary one. This day is only going to happen once, and in weddings there are no re-shoots, so you have to be prepared to make sure you don’t miss a beat!

5. Get an idea of what the couple is expecting. Show them some examples of your work and spend some time truly trying to understand exactly what the couple is wanting. Do they want a lot of shots of just them? Are they really into details like the flowers and decorations and do they want several pictures of those? How long do they expect you to stay with them? These are the questions you need to ask to familiarize yourself with what they want from you as their wedding photographer.

6. Be Bold. You’re a fool if you think you’ll be the only person there with a camera. There will be tons of family members and friends with cameras trying to capture the happy occasion as well, but you need to remember that the bride and groom are paying you and they expect you to get the best shot of a particular pose or event during the wedding. So, don’t be afraid to ask the couple or whoever else is in the picture to move or turn a certain way to ensure that you get a great shot. You should be insistent that you be the first one to photograph cutting the cake or the best man giving his speech. You should make everyone else at the wedding work around you, and you should not have to work around them and their personal cameras. Don’t be too timid and speak up, that is the best way to ensure that you get the best shot every time.

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Listed: April 21, 2010 8:37 pm