In this article, I'll go over some tips on how to become a wedding photographer, how to get your first gig, how to deal with the pressure, and how to take the wedding photos. The more you know, the better equipped you will be to deal with whatever problems you might encounter.
Photography is something that naturally a lot of people are drawn to. It can be hard to break through and separate yourself from the pack. By preparing as best you can, and taking the time to learn things about the profession you wish to pursue, you can get ahead of your peers.
The good thing about pursuing a career in wedding photography is that there are always weddings happening. There will always be a business for wedding photographers. In fact, wedding photographers can earn anywhere between one and three thousand dollars from just one wedding.
Finding Your First Job
The chances are that your first couple of jobs are going to come from friends and family members. Make sure that they know going to your level of experience, and that wedding photography is something that you're new to.
It’s important to make sure that whoever is providing you with your first job doesn’t have unrealistic expectations. You should be able to do a fine job, but you’re not going to be a pro on your first shoot.
If you don't have any personal connections that can get you work, try looking for public listings calling for the services of a wedding photographer. If you want to get serious with your wedding shoots, there are organizations you may want to consider joining.
Tips To Make Your Job Easier
Any number of things can go wrong on the big day. It's important to remember to be prepared for anything. Keep extra batteries charged, have extra memory cards. Get your hands on an itinerary for the whole day, so you know what you're getting into.
It’s not a bad idea to bring an extra camera. Not only will you have a back-up if your primary camera stops working for whatever reason, but you’ll have a second camera you can keep on different settings, or with a different lens, to quickly get different kinds of photos.
Make a list before the event of specific ideas and kinds of photos you'd like to do, and check them off as you go. Having a plan of potential shots planned can make things easier for both you and the couple. It'll help keep things moving smoothly if you're ever lost.
Make sure that the couple is aware of your experience and that their expectations are reasonable. Show them some of your work and make sure that they make clear just exactly what it is they want.
If this is your first time shooting a wedding, you probably aren't going to be blowing any minds; however, you can still do a reasonably good job.
It can be easy to become overwhelmed when shooting a wedding. Do your best to remain calm in situations that might be particularly stressful. Things go wrong sometimes. It's important to remember that you're there to do a job and that you can get past whatever you're facing.
Your work is affected when you’re distracted or distressed. If wedding photography is something that you seriously want to get into, you should consider whether or not you’re the kind of person that is well equipped enough to deal with the pressures that may present themselves.
Capture Real Moments
Not every photo has to be posted. As a photographer, half of the time you should be lurking in the shadows; looking to capture real authentic moments that guests and people who aren't trained will have a harder time capturing.
Candid photos are some of the best photos to have because they help you remember an authentic moment exactly the way that it was. If people are conscious that a photographer is right near them, they might be a little on guard. Try to fade into the background and capture authentic reactions and emotions.
How To Take Photos
The first step to taking a good photo happens in the settings. The most important setting when it comes to weddings is exposure, due to the bride’s white dress. Underexposure can make the photo look weak and gray while overexposure can turn the bride into a mess of bright white light.
Make sure to find photo settings that are appropriate for the setting before taking any photos. The background is also important to keep in mind. The best wedding photos tend to have a nice, clean background; particularly the organized family photos.
Good physical lighting is also crucial. Utilize the light in the room. Make use of your flash. Experiment with what you have and see what looks best. Make sure to get plenty of photos where the bride and groom are making eye contact and others that are entirely candid.
Feel free to get a little creative with the photography. As long as you aren't too obnoxious, you can go a little out of your way to get those exciting shots.
Continuous shooting mode allows you to quickly take pictures in succession which can be especially useful when trying to capture the perfect photos in an exciting moment. You might want to leave this setting on as it can be beneficial.
Essential Lenses For A Wedding
A 50mm lens is essential for shooting a wedding, and will commonly be a workhorse for any portraits you take. Still, to cover your bases and ensure that the wedding is being shot properly, other lenses are necessary.
Ultimately, the total size of your kit will depend heavily on how you most enjoy getting shots. At a minimum, three lens sizes are recommended. The categories each lens falls into are:
- A wide-angle workhorse, such as the 50mm
- A zoom lens, such as a 70-200mm
- A landscape lens, such as a 15-35mm
Other lens sizes can help significantly, as well. If the wedding has a focus on details or capturing the jewelry, a macro lens could be greatly beneficial. If the wedding venue is small or intimate, a smaller zoom lens will be much easier to use. Judge and replace the lenses for shooting a wedding based on location.
A 50mm lens is an essential part of shooting almost any wedding. Great for portraits, candid shots, and any night scenes, this will commonly be a workhorse for shooting the wedding.
If you have multiple camera bodies to shoot the wedding on, leaving the 50mm on one body the entire time is a great option. Due to how quickly the lens can take great shots, this is the best general use lens anytime that you can move freely during the wedding.
70-200mm Lens (Zoom Lens)
This is another incredibly versatile lens for shooting weddings. The wide range of focal lengths allows for all kinds of shots, and the zoom lets you capture moments without getting close and possibly interrupting.
In general, your zoom lens should have a wide range to allow for the best photo and framing from where you can go. Often during the ceremony, you cannot get too close or block off the view from friends and family members. This is when the zoom is most beneficial.
If the wedding ceremony or reception will be happening in a smaller location, or if you are capturing moments such as the bride donning her wedding gown, consider switching to a smaller zoom lens such as a 25-75mm. This will allow you to bring a versatile look to the events while staying out of the way.
15-35mm Lens (Ultra-wide Lens)
Although this will most likely be the least used lens out of the ones listed here, it is still essential for most weddings, especially for outdoor shots or scenery.
This lens will be most used for capturing ultra-wide shots of the wedding venue, location, beautiful architecture, or general scenes. The distinction between ultra-wide lenses and wide lenses vary depending on the camera used. This is great for establishing shots to help tell the story of the wedding.
Other sizes of lenses are always welcome, although it is important to not bog yourself down with too much gear. At a wedding, you will be moving often to grab the best shot. Your camera gear exists to help you capture the best moments, not distract you from them.
Use your best judgement when deciding on what lenses are necessary for a wedding, especially to accompany with a 50mm lens. For more information on how to accompany it and decide what specifically you need, check out this handy guide.
With that said, if you are looking to expand the list of lenses to bring to a wedding, there are two good ones to start with. These include:
- A macro lens, generally 100mm or 124mm
- An 85mm lens, for better portraits or softer lighting
The macro lens is perfect for capturing any details at the wedding ceremony. This includes shots of jewelry, the sewing of the wedding dress, baubles on the cake, etc. The possibilities for which details to capture are practically endless. While these are important and will help the lucky couple remember the day, be sure to not miss out on key moments while trying to capture details.
An 85mm lens is best used for portraits or photos that need to be taken at a slightly longer distance than the 50mm. Due to being a slower lens, this does not excel in low light conditions, limiting its use. Still, for any portraits in good lighting where the background should soften and highlight the person or couple, it is a hard lens to beat. The greater distance can be helpful if you do not have a smaller zoom lens, as well.
Wedding photography is something that can pay off for you if you're committed to it. You're going to have to put in some work if you want to do well, but hopefully, this article has put you on the right track.
Understanding the intricacies of photography and wedding photography, in particular, can be fairly difficult and intimidating but if it is something you're truly interested in, you're more than capable of taking the steps necessary to becoming a truly successful photographer.
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