Seven years since inception, I have shot over 250 weddings across the world and it all began from that first itch to capturing someone’s special memory and putting a smile on their face. Looking back is always fun; a lot of mistakes made and lessons learned. As a wedding photographer, I sat by and thought over what I’d say to myself if I were to begin fresh now. Now, this post is not just to those who are raring to get started in photography, but also to the beginner in each one of us who loves to get started every now and then with a fresh perspective.
To capture those memorable moments at wedding parties and other events where lighting isn’t always optimal, many of us bring off-camera lights to help light up the scene. In the past, popular choices have been speedlights due to size, portability, and being able to run off batteries. The game has changed in the off-camera flash market with studio strobes and other flashes increasingly getting better across those three concerns.
As a photographer, at some point a friend, relative, co-worker, or a follower will ask you to photograph their wedding. Regardless of whether you are a product photographer, pet photographer, or any other kind of photographer that has nothing to do with weddings, they will ask you. And at some point, you will say yes, which is probably how you have found this article.
Wedding photographers get a behind-the-scenes look at every wedding that most guests and vendors don't see. It's one of the reasons I love shooting the beginning part of the wedding day so much. Aside from all of the cute details I get to photograph, the anticipation is palatable and it can be photojournalism at its best.
Sometimes when on a job, things happen. You might show up and take photos of the wrong couple at a proposal shoot. You might break into an abandoned house and discover it wasn’t as abandoned as you had thought. Or, you might turn around and see the groom you’re photographing standing nearly waist-deep in water saving a kid from drowning. You know, normal stuff.
Award-winning Wedding Photographer Susan Stripling recently shared an open letter she wrote dealing with sexism in the photography industry. In the letter, she shares her experiences with male peers, wedding guests, employees at camera stores, and everyone in between who makes gender an issue in a field where sex shouldn't matter.
It was my first wedding to shoot and I had never shot one before. I get stressed out really easily, so doing this was a bad idea for me all the way around. I missed shots, I missed a set of groups, and my lighting for the reception was terrible. On top of not having a clue on how to get a proper exposure for a wedding and what images were important to the couple, I delivered full-resolution files on a plethora of disks that caused more confusion than good. Today, I'm using online galleries provided by Pixieset and flash drives for file delivery.
As a former computer scientist, I’m all about finding efficiencies in my workflow and making my life easier. Some people might call it laziness. Logically, after years of shooting with a traditional DSLR kit, I was ready to ditch it in favor of moving to a small and light mirrorless set up. However, no other camera body appealed to me as much as my Nikon bodies for professional shooting. The combination of the great grip and ergonomics, fast and accurate autofocus system, solid battery life, and great image quality makes them a delight to use professionally. I didn't want to let go of the camera bodies so I decided to try something else first…
One of my biggest pet peeves is working with wedding videographers that treat their craft like it’s photography. In doing that, a lot of talented people sell their art form, and the art form of their peers, short. So what can you do to focus your videography and cinematography skills and make your wedding videos more refined? Think like a filmmaker.
One of the challenges wedding photographers encounter is how to structure pricing for their services. One common mistake is to include a free engagement session in all wedding packages. There are a few reasons why you should offer engagement sessions only as an add-on to wedding packages.
I often get asked about my lighting setup for wedding receptions. Receptions can be an unruly beast to light properly without good equipment. You never know what you’re getting into with things like ceilings, available light, and even the white balancing nightmare of the DJ’s LED light system. Don’t assume that these setups are going to make you a better photographer over night.
In person sales (IPS) have been a part of the photography process for years. With the onset of digital, it died down a bit, much to the disservice of both photographers (who are missing out on sales) and clients (who are missing out on memories). Thankfully, it's started to make a comeback, along with the value of printing images instead of just letting them live in the digital world.
We often aim to capture great expressions when cueing and posing subjects, but we sometimes overlook basic elements that may distract our viewers. In particular, natural pointers like our arms, hands, fingers, legs, and feet command a strong presence within images, but we don’t always recognize the power of their presence in the moment. While we surrender some control during truly candid moments, we should make every part of an image purposeful and keep natural pointers in check when posing.
It's important to remember that we are here to analyze and understand, but not be overly critical. While these tips/techniques are great in understanding the visual weight and posing elements within an image, they are not reasons to throw out what would otherwise be a great photograph.