11 Helpful Wedding Photography Tips for Aspiring Photographers

So you have a wedding to cover. And you’re not confident of what to do, or have even the slightest clue of what to expect? Fret not shutterbug brethren! While it can be thought to be a hassling, stressful experience; it need not be all that bad. In fact, get yourself covered by reading up on our list of wedding photography tips, and you shall handle all that comes thrown at you, sometimes literally, with aplomb and grace.

1. Make a ‘Shot List’

This is one of those wedding photography tips that can potentially save you a ton of headaches. Thinking ahead about what your clients/friends require of your shooting, and compile a list. Checking these off as you go through them will ensure that there will be no regrets about not getting a shot of the happy couple with the uncle’s sister’s third-cousin’s neighbour.

2. Get a Volunteer to help with Coordination

Wedding Photography Tips - Get a Volunteer to help with Coordination

Image: Sameer Walzade

Getting the big family photo can always be a bit of an issue. People are going everywhere and that too in constant motion, especially if people are in a ‘festive spirit’. To avoid this chaos, get the family to elect a nominee who will be in charge of finding all the people you need to shoot when the time comes.

3. Be Prepared

Wedding Photography Tips - Be Prepared

Image Courtesy: V Plan Unlimited

Take the time to go to the venue beforehand so that you can get the lay of the land. This will help you with light and in planning your shots. You can even use this opportunity to take a few test shots. Murphy’s law loves striking in weddings, everything can go wrong. Have backups, for the weather, for your camera and its batteries, for yourself if needed. Think about routes and times, and have a copy of the itinerary so that you can plan ahead. If possible, and available, attend the rehearsal so that you can consider in advance where to shoot from. And always turn the sound off on your camera, beeps do not add to the occasion. Okay, so that’s two top wedding photography tips in one.

4. Use Two Camera and Shoot the Small Details

Wedding Photography Tips - Use Two Camera and Shoot the Small Details

Image: Ramit Batra Photography

Rule of the thumb – always get an additional camera to work with. Try to use a wide angle lens, which are great for candid shots and in tight spaces, and a longer lens –as large as 200mm if you can- will add variety to your shots.

5. Draw the Line Between Bold and Obtrusive

Wedding Photography Tips - Draw the Line Between Bold and Obtrusive

Image: Intocandid Photography

Being meek in a space filled with so many people isn’t going to help you in your quest for the perfect shot. Sometimes you need to be bold to capture the special moments. Thinking ahead and planning shots can help you with achieving the right timing, and in avoiding getting in the way. During the formal shots, don’t be afraid to ask for what you want from the couple and their party.

6. Start your Mastery over Diffused Light

Learning how to bounce a flash or to diffuse the intensity of the light is a key ability to hone for any photographer. The lighting in most wedding venues is rather low. If you are allowed to use a flash, consider whether bouncing the flash will work – remember that doing this off a coloured surface will add a hue of that colour in the shot – or whether the purchase of a flash diffuser might be a better option. If flash isn’t an option, then the only alternatives are a fast lens at wide apertures and/or bump up the ISO. A lens with inbuilt image stabilization would also help.

7. Always Shoot in RAW

Many do not have the time for the extra processing that shooting in RAW requires, but at a wedding it can be dead right useful, due to flexibility to manipulate the shots after taking them. Weddings can present the aspiring, and even veteran, wedding photographer with tricky lighting, thus requiring the manipulation of exposure and white balance after the shots are done.

8. Backgrounds, backgrounds, backgrounds!

Wedding Photography Tips - Backgrounds

Image: Arjun Kartha Photography

There is a lot of motion and assorted chaos that happens at a wedding. People are pinballing everywhere, especially all over the backgrounds of your shots. To ensure that you have a neat approach to your shots, mark out areas with good backgrounds. An uncluttered area with shaded spots out of direct sunlight would be ideal. This would be great for those formal shots, where you can avoid the possibility of a tipsy wandering mausi, looking for her next set of cheeks to pinch, entering the frame.

9. Hold onto your Mistakes

The advent of digital photography has given us the ability to shoot hundreds of photos at a stretch, but that also leads to us deleting any images that we feel don’t meet the mark. This is a hasty move, as you might be getting rid of some interesting useable images. Always understand that images can be cropped or manipulated later on, giving you more arty/abstract shots that can add flavour to the wedding album.

10. Utilise Perspective, Fill Flash and Employ Continuous Shooting

wedding-photography tips - wedding moments

Image: PhotoTantra Photography

To have a varied and interesting wedding album, take a multitude of shots in different ways. Vary your photos, get creative with the perspective. The majority of the images in the album will be at a fairly level angle with formal poses; mix things up by taking shots from down low, up high or at wide angles. Have a little fill in flash, particularly in backlit or midday shooting conditions. Sometimes, it’s the shot you take a second after the formal or posed shot when everyone loosens up that really defines the moment; continuous shooting mode helps greatly in accomplishing this.

11. Have Fun!

wedding-photography tips - Have Fun!

Image: Vinay Venugopal

India weddings are always intense events, full of potential pitfalls. People can be panicky and stressed out, and you can help by keeping a cool head. So, here’s one from the pages of the Indian wedding photography tips manual:The whole celebration goes on a better note when those you are photographing are relaxed, when all of you are having fun. The best way to loosen people up is to smile. Disclaimer: Effective implementation of this strategy will lead to sore jaws and cheek muscles.