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Wedding Photography plays a significant role in every couple’s big day. Great photographs will not only tell a unique story of their experience, but also provide tangible keepsakes to enjoy time after time, highlighting special moments to enjoy with family and friends for years to come.
Capturing the day perfectly can be challenging for even the most experienced wedding photographers. You’ll need to be proficient in several genres, including portraiture, family photography, documentary, event and macro photography, to capture details such as wedding bands, cakes and flowers. To get great results, you’ll also need to offer creative posing ideas, showcase memorable moments from the joyous occasion and be skilled in shooting in both indoor and outdoor locations, often in difficult lighting conditions.
Whatever your level of experience, if you’re confident in using your equipment and come up with creative ideas, you’ll have a good chance of capturing beautiful wedding photos.
Sample wedding image 1 Sony A7 III with FE 24-70mm F/2.8 GM lens at 70mm. Camera settings: 1/160 sec. f/2.8. ISO 1600
Wedding photography is important because it tells a story, highlighting unique moments from a couple’s special, unrepeatable day. Wedding photos are shared with guests, get hung on walls and photo albums are often printed for the couple to enjoy for years to come. This puts a lot of pressure on a wedding photographer, but with the right equipment and know-how, you can do a great job to eternalise a couple’s memories.
To get the best images, wedding photographers need experience of shooting in a wide variety of conditions, using natural and artificial lighting, indoors and out. Photos will include anything from guest arrivals and bride preparations, to a church ceremony and the first kiss - all of which are vital in telling the story.
Many wedding photographers use accessories such as lighting equipment to get better results, which may be as simple as a collapsible reflector or a flashgun. Ultimately, if you deliver professional images with a great service, you’ll get happy clients, new referrals and a growing portfolio to show prospective couples.
Sample wedding image 2, Canon EOS 5DS R with Canon EF 135mm F/2L USM Lens. Camera settings: 1/200 sec. f/2.8. ISO 640. ©Terence Francis
Shooting your very first wedding can be a daunting experience, however it will go off without a hitch by following these top wedding photography tips:
Sample wedding image 3 Olympus E-M1 Mark II camera with Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 40-150mm F/2.8 lens at 150mm. Camera settings: f/ 2.8. 1250sec ISO 250 ©Fiona Bischof
The majority of wedding photographers will choose between an interchangeable lens DSLR or mirrorless camera, however, some experienced photographers may opt for a medium format camera.
Many of the latest cameras include excellent body stabilisation and autofocus systems with face and eye detection, which is advantageous for getting your subjects pin sharp. For this reason many wedding photographers opt for Canon, Nikon, Sony or Fujifilm cameras. That being said, there are plenty of professional photographers who prefer the lightweight and compact nature of Olympus, Panasonic Lumix and Leica cameras, so it really comes down to personal preference when choosing your preferred brand.
Regardless of the brand, it’s essential know your camera features inside out and be able to switch instantly between settings by customising buttons to suit your workflow. This will allow you to shoot spontaneously and capture fleeting moments without worrying about the technical aspects of your equipment.
It’s well worth bearing in mind that instant cameras make a fun addition to weddings and can be dotted around tables, inviting guests to capture their own unique perspectives. They make a great icebreakers, are enjoyable to use and often lead to novel photos from the guest’s point of view.
Sample wedding image 4 (with Canon EOS 5D IV no EXIF data) ©Sarah Ascough
Having the right lenses makes a huge difference to the images you are able to capture during a wedding. It can be tempting to save weight by only bringing your favourite zoom lens, but you’ll kick yourself when you inevitably miss golden opportunities.
Aim to cover all focal widths from ultra-wide angle for group shots, to standard focal widths for natural portraits, through to a telephoto lens for longer shots of the ceremony. For most camera brands this means choosing a series of lenses from around 15mm to 200mm. Some lenses offer a close minimum focus distance, in which case you can save some weight by leaving a dedicated macro at home, whilst still capturing detail shots.
Always bring the fastest lenses you have, as this enables you to capture photos with a shallow depth of field and to shoot handheld during low light situations. This could be anything from an f/1.2 prime lens to an f/4 zoom lens, depending on what you have available. As with your camera body, set any custom buttons on the lens barrel to quickly switch between features and speed up your workflow.
Sample wedding image 5 (with Canon EOS 5D IV no EXIF data) ©Jeff Ascough
Just like all types of professional photography, it can be difficult to set your prices when starting out and building your business. Consider factoring in any meetings prior to the wedding, time scouting the location, travel time, parking, as well as any other sundry expenses. Factor in other costs as well, such as public liability insurance and equipment insurance.
Once the day is over, you’ll then need to organise and process all of the photos, as well as delivering them to your client in a professional manner. Prints, albums and frames are usually charged as extras, although some may be included in a pre-arranged package.
The wedding shoot itself can last anything from two hours to ten hours, depending on what is agreed beforehand. A professional wedding photographer will charge anything from £200 to £600 for two hours, and £1000 to £5,000 for a full-day session.
As a new wedding photographer consider charging just under or at the lower-end of the spectrum in order to get your business off the ground. In order to gain experience, it’s also beneficial to offer to photograph weddings for friends and family – not only is it a great wedding gift, but it will build your portfolio too!
Successful wedding photographers need to be organised, creative and skilled at taking different types of photos. You may pursue a single style, which attracts a type of client, or you may offer diverse styles to appeal to a broader audience. Whichever route you take, these tips will help you to capture special moments to set your work apart.
Wedding photography is an extremely rewarding job that attracts many talented photographers who enjoy capturing unique images of a couple’s special day. A good wedding photographer will be organised, observant, creative and knows their equipment inside and out.
If you’re looking to get into wedding photography, browse our huge range of cameras to find the one that will help you capture the most memorable photos which will be cherished forever.
By Nick Dautlich on 07/06/2022
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