21 Tips For Amateur Wedding Photographers

In most articles about wedding photography, you will find tips that are technical and great for professional photographers who have been perfecting their craft for years. We found this article on Digital Photography School that we wanted to share with you that offers tips for amateur wedding photographers.

If you are someone who is just about to shoot their first wedding, you are still newer to wedding photography and have only photographed a few weddings here or there, or maybe you are considering taking your photography over to the booming wedding industry, this is a great article for you. 

Here are 21 tips that we hope will help you out if you are an amateur wedding photographer: 

1.  Create a 'Shot List'

Make sure you work with the soon-to-be bride and groom before the wedding to figure out a specific shot list of photographs they are hoping to capture. Throughout the wedding day, you can have the list with you, and you can check off the shots as you get them... especially when it comes to the family shots. 

Photo credit: Deposit Photos

Photo credit: Deposit Photos

2. Have A Family Photo Coordinator

Taking all those dreaded family photos can be stressful. You have so many different personalities, family members who are not listening, some that hate posing for photos and others that think they can tell you exactly how to do your job. Having someone in the family that the bride or groom has designated as the family photo coordinator can help you out during that time. They will be able to know which family members need to be where, and can help you keep things moving so they can get the party started. 

3. Scout the Location Ahead of Time

Visit each and every location ahead of time that you will be shooting at over the course of the wedding day. It is good to know exactly where you are going, how long it takes to get there, some great photo spots around the property of the venue, and more. 

4. Be Well Prepared

On any wedding day, things go wrong. The best thing you can do with this is just to make sure you prepare as best as you can. Make sure all your batteries are charged (and that you have extras), your memory cards are blank and ready to go, and it is even beneficial to know ahead of time what the venue looks like and what types of photos you want to shoot. 

5. Set Expectations With The Couple

Make sure the bride and groom know your photography style. Figure out from them what types of shots they want to be sure to get, specific moments they want captured, and more. Also, be sure to have some form of contract and payment price agreed upon before the wedding takes place. 

6. Silence Your Camera

Switch off your sound on the camera before the event. You do not want to be in the church while they are saying their vows with your camera making noises that everyone can hear.

Photo credit: Deposit Photos

Photo credit: Deposit Photos

7. Don't Forget To Take Photos Of The Small Details

During a wedding, even those tiny details are important to the bride and groom. Make sure to get photos of the wedding rings, the bride getting ready and her gorgeous wedding gown. Capture the bouquets, and other decor including table settings, the cake table, and more. It will be all those little details that the bride and groom may forget, and if you have captured them beautifully in the photos, they will enjoy looking back on them all in their wedding album. 

8. Use Two Cameras On The Wedding Day

Bring along an extra camera with you, that has a different lens on it - perhaps one with a wide angle, or one longer lens - just to give you a different look to some of the photos you take. 

9. Consider A Second Shooter

Having another photographer with you can be helpful. It is not possible that you can be in every place capturing every single moment that happens throughout the wedding. Having a second shooter can help you focus on the bride and groom, while they are focusing on the other details. Having another eye is never a bad thing. 

10. Be Bold

You can not be timid as a wedding photographer. You want to make sure you can get the shots you need to because it is the bride and groom who you will be impressing with your work in the end. While you must be bold, do not be obtrusive. If you are moving around during the ceremony, and you know it will make noise, try not to do so while they are saying "I do;" keep your movement when there is music playing. When you are taking formal shots, make sure you ask for what you want the couple and their families to do. If you are not bold and speak up, you may find that the group can walk all over you and make the process more difficult to get the photos you need.  

11. Learn How To Use Diffused Light

Being able to bounce a flash or diffuse it is important to your wedding photography. In many churches, light tends to be low, and if you are allowed to use a flash think about if the flash will work or if you need to have a flash diffuser to soften the light. If you can't use flash in the building, you will have to use a fast lens at wide apertures and/or bump up the ISO. 

12. Shoot in RAW

A wedding is one time that it can be useful to shoot in RAW as it gives so much flexibility to manipulate shots after taking them. Weddings tend to have tricky lighting so you may need to manipulate exposure and balance after the fact. If you shoot in RAW, it will help you out in the end. 

13. Showing Off Ceremony Photos At The Reception

If you are able, it may be fun to bring a computer to the reception, so guests can see the photos you took at the ceremony. You could play them on a continuous loop... it could be a fun element you offer.

14. Remember Backgrounds

During a wedding, there are guests everywhere. Make sure you keep in mind what is in the background of your photos when you are shooting. If you are taking a great shot of the bride, groom and their families, you would hate to have a group of guests standing in the background talking, or a very cluttered spot of the venue that is an eye sore. Always consider your background before you take any shot. 

Photo credit: Deposit Photos

Photo credit: Deposit Photos

15. Don't Delete A Mistake

Do not get into the habit of taking a photo and then immediately checking what you have done (which is easy to do with a digital camera). Just keep shooting. If you are reviewing the photos quickly as you take them, you may discard more than you want... as you may be able to crop or manipulate the shot later on. 

16. Get Creative With Your Shots

Change up your perspective while at the wedding. Take shots from up high, down low, at wide angles and every other unique way you can think of. 

17. Take A Wedding Group Shot

Try to capture a photo of every single person at the wedding in one shot. Try to get high above the group, so you can make sure you are wide enough to get everyone in the photo. This can be a really fun group shot that the bride and groom will treasure for years to come. 

18. Fill Flash

When taking photos outside after a ceremony or during the posed shots, you should probably keep the flash attached to give a little fill in flash. Dial it down a little so that shots are not blown out, but in backlit or midday shooting conditions where there can be some shadow, fill in flash is a must. 

19. Continuous Shooting

If you have the ability to shoot images very fast, that is a handy tool to have on a wedding day. Be sure to switch your camera to continuos shooting mode and make sure to use it! 

20. Expect The Unexpected

On pretty much every single wedding, something is sure to go wrong. With so many things that have to happen, a wedding can be stressful. All brides want the weather to be perfect, family and friends to all get along, and things to go right on schedule. But remember to expect the unexpected. Things will go wrong and it could be a moment (after the fact) that the bride and groom can laugh at, and it could make for some really awesome wedding photos! 

21. Enjoy It and Have Fun! 

Even though you are working and taking amazing photographs, weddings are fun and you should be sure to enjoy yourself just as well. The best way to capture the most awesome photos is by having people relax around you, and if you are having fun and are not stressed out, they will have fun as well. 

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We hope you have enjoyed these tips from the original article on Digital Photography School

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Do you have any other great tips for those just starting off in wedding photographer? Tell us below!