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What to Photograph a Wedding? DIY Guide to Destination Wedding Photography with Tips

Having the capacity to adequately document an event requires a great degree of responsibility and photographic competence. When it comes to fine art portraiture and high-end reporting, faults are not tolerated at all.

wedding photography

The lack of a second chance to capture a specific moment means that erroneous exposures and out of focus images are out of the question.

The best way to get started is to think of all the possibilities.

One of the best pieces of wedding photography advise I've ever had was to get the couple to start thinking about the pictures they want you to take on the big day well before the wedding. This has been one of the most challenging things I've had to learn.

Make a list, and when you complete each shot, mark it off the list. This comes in handy when snapping pictures of the whole family. Receiving your photos and discovering that the happy couple was not accompanied by Grandma is the worst feeling!

Consider hiring a wedding photographer and a family picture archivist to document your special day.

The time set aside for family portraits seems like it may be a bit of a strain. Everyone is in the mood for a good time, and things might get a little out of hand if you don't pay attention to what's going on around you.

wedding photography

Family members should serve as the "directors" of the picture session and elicit nominations from the newlyweds themselves. So that the couple can get back to the party in good time, they may round up everyone, help them get into position for the photo, and keep things moving.

Determine the location by conducting a reconnaissance mission.

Visit the venues where you'll be filming in order to prepare for the big day.

Even while I'm sure most professional photographers don't do this, I find it quite helpful to be aware of where we're going, to have an idea of a few different shooting angles, and to be conscious of how the light might effect our images. Even before a few weddings, I've taken the couples on site tours and a few practice shots (which turned out to be great "engagement images").

When it comes to wedding photography, preparation is key.

You must be well-prepared for the big day because anything might go wrong. In the case of bad weather, have a contingency plan in place, keep your batteries and memory cards charged, and plan your routes and arrival times in advance. Make sure you have a daily schedule so you know what's going on. It is highly recommended that you participate in the rehearsal of the ceremony, as it will give you a good idea of what to expect when it comes time to photograph the actual event.

It is crucial to set expectations with your partner.

The duo will be able to see your work and personal style. Get to know the people you'll be filming, what you hope to get out of it, and how you intend to use the material (for prints, etc.). The price should be decided upon in advance if you're charging them for their participation.

Turn off the sound on your camera.

Distracting beeps are heard throughout speeches, kissing, and vows. Turn off your camera's audio and leave it off before you start shooting.

Observe and document the smallest of things.

The backs of dresses, shoes, and flowers should be photographed, along with any other interesting decor or food items. These provide depth and intricacy to the album's ultimate product. If you're looking for ideas, pick up a wedding magazine from the newsstand.

Two cameras are necessary.

Beg, borrow, hire, or bring an additional camera and set it up with a different lens for the day. A wide-angle lens (excellent for impromptu shots and shooting in restricted spaces, especially before the ceremony during the day's preparations) and a longer lens are two of the primary tools I employ while photographing weddings (it can be handy to have something as large as 200mm if you can get your hands on one; I use a 70-200mm).

wedding photography

Consider bringing in a second photographer for the big day.

It may be beneficial to have a second photographer on hand for marketing purposes. For the ceremony and speeches, one photographer can get the official photographs, while the other can take candid shots of guests at the reception. It also takes some of the pressure off of being "the one" in charge of taking all of the photos!

Don't be annoying, but don't be overbearing.

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In order to catch a fleeting moment, you'll need to be a little more proactive than usual.

If you want to avoid producing a snarl, you need to be on top of your game and know exactly where you need to be at exactly the right moment.

I aim to walk around at least four times throughout a ceremony, but I try to synchronize my movements to music, sermons, and longer readings. Be proactive, know what you want, and respectfully ask for it from the couple and their entourage during the formal shots. As of right now, you're in command of the show and in charge of keeping it on track.

Using diffused light is a simple yet effective technique.

The ability to bounce or spread a flash is vital. It's impossible to see much in many churches because of the low light levels. In the event that you're permitted to use a flash (which isn't always the case in religious settings), think about using a colored surface to bounce the light from your flash or purchasing a flash diffuser to lessen the brightness before shooting the photo.

Using a fast lens and wide apertures or increasing the ISO will be necessary if you don't have access to a flash. The use of a stabilized lens may also be helpful. Find out more about how to use flash diffusers and reflectors to improve your photography.

For the best results, shoot RAW.

Because of the added processing time, many of my readers assume that shooting in RAW is not an option for them. However, shooting in RAW for a wedding may really be quite advantageous, as it provides for significantly more latitude in post-production after the fact. Shooting RAW can help photographers deal with tricky lighting circumstances at weddings, which necessitates post-production adjustments to exposure and white balance.

At the front desk, put up a photo album.

When it comes to digital photography, speed is one of the most tempting qualities. Consider the practice of uploading images from the day before and allowing them to run as a slideshow at reception for the duration of the event. There has been an increase in this practice in recent years. This adds a jovial tone to the night.

Take a peek at the images on your profiles.

When photographing a wedding, you'll often find yourself surrounded by people, including in the backdrop of your images. When it comes to formal pictures, it's extremely important to scout out the location ahead of time and hunt for attractive backdrops.

In order to get the best picture, you'll want to avoid crowded areas and places that aren't directly in the sun's rays. Here, you may get more information on designing the right backgrounds.

Keeping your "mistakes" is an important part of learning from your past experiences.

There's always the desire to go back and fix anything that doesn't seem perfect when editing digital photos. Using this strategy, you run the risk of discarding some of your favorite and most useful photos. Make sure to keep in mind that photos may be edited later on to provide more artistic/abstract views that could add major appeal to the final album if you so want.

Think about it from a new angle.

Photography is a great opportunity to express yourself creatively. However, even if most of your photos are taken in "conventional" or formal poses, make sure to add some variety by taking pictures from different angles, such as low or high, or even a wide view.

Pictures of the guests at the wedding

Weddings are an excellent opportunity to obtain a picture of everyone in attendance at once. A key part of my technique is to plan everything so that after the ceremony, I may instantly ascend to a vantage point above everyone. This may include the use of a high ladder, a balcony, or even a roof in certain circumstances. It's easier to catch everyone's expression and fit a huge number of people into a single picture from a lofty vantage point.

You must be able to quickly relocate everyone to where you want them to stand and then be ready to snap the picture without everyone having to wait for too long. You should have the bride and groom show up first, followed by a few aides who can herd everyone in the same direction to the wedding spot. Here, you may get more information about how to take group photos.

Add some color to these blanks by using flash

When taking images outside after a ceremony or for posed portraits, it's probable that you'll want to keep your flash attached. This will add a little of a fill flash to the image. In order to avoid very gloomy photographs, I normally turn down the flash by one or two stops. If you're photographing in low-light or at midday, you'll need to use a fill flash in order to eliminate the shadows. Here's where you can learn more about using fill flash.

There is an option for continuous shooting.

The ability to swiftly take a big number of photos on a wedding day is an asset, so make use of the continuous shooting feature on your camera. After the formal or staged photo, when everyone is more relaxed, you may be able to get a genuinely memorable image!

Don't be surprised if anything unexpected happens.

"Things may go wrong, but they may be the nicest aspects of the day," someone else told me on my wedding day. Something like this was spoken to me on the day of my wedding by someone.

In every wedding that I've been a part of, something went awry at some point. If the best man cannot find the ring, it rains, the groom forgets to put up his fly, the flower girl decides to sit in the middle of the aisle, or the bride can't remember her vows, these are just a few examples of things that may go wrong during a wedding ceremony.

It's understandable that these events look a little scary at the moment. However, it is at these times that a wedding may be genuinely remembered by the bride and groom and offer them with priceless memories. There are some humorous photos that can be taken of them if you try to capture their spirit.

It's still clear in my recollection when the couple's car collided with a tram as they neared the park where we planned to take pictures at the first wedding I photographed. Both the bride and the husband were overcome with tears. The scenario became more amusing when everyone had recovered their calm, and we were able to take a few pictures before leaving the park. It was clear that everyone liked them.

Make the most of your vacation

Weddings are meant to be joyous affairs, and as such, they should be treated as such. People you shoot will feel more at ease in their own skin if you are having fun as a photographer. The best method to get them to relax is to smile for the camera (warning: I always come home from photographing weddings with sore jaws and cheeks because of my smiling strategy).

What is the best wedding photography equipment?

Camera having a full-frame sensor (35mm equivalent) (plus backup camera)

Mirrorless cameras like as the Sony A7R III and Fujifilm X-Pro2 are now the most popular choices. This year's most popular cameras are the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV, Nikon D850, and Nikon D5.

When shooting a wedding with a DX camera, it's challenging since wedding settings are often dimly lit, necessitating the use of a bigger sensor so that no flash or LED illumination is required.

Medium-format cameras like the Pentax 645Z or the Hasselblad H5D-50c work brilliantly as an alternative to full-frame cameras.

The greatest wedding photography zoom and prime lenses are detailed below.

Switching between zoom and prime lenses frequently is a good way to capture a broad variety of photographs. Wedding photographers unanimously agree on the following lenses as the best for wedding photography, listed in no particular order:

These lenses include Canon's 35mm f/1.4L, Canon's 80-200mm f/2.8L IS II, Canon's 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II, and Canon's 24-70mm f/2.8L IS II.

Sigma's ART lenses, including the 35mm f/1.4 ART, are also becoming increasingly well-known.

Wedding photography using kit lenses is practically impossible because of the f-stop restrictions and inferior optical quality.

With a fisheye lens in your wedding gear, even the most conventional locations are given a unique look. They come in handy for taking portraits.

Possibly, the barrel distortion that shows at the frame's boundaries has an aesthetic quality to it

Other well-known options include lenses like the Nikon 16mm f/2.8 FX and the Canon 8-15mm f/4 USM.

The use of flash at a wedding

Photographing weddings necessitates the employment of both on-camera and off-camera flash units (but make sure you check first with the celebrant as a courtesy). Even if you don't have to, it's impossible not to utilize them at some point. The optimum solution is to have a model that can simultaneously operate in both TTL and manual mode.

TTL mode is really handy in wedding photography since the photographers are constantly moving around and don't have the time to change settings for each shot they take.

The most commonly used flashes for wedding photography are the Canon 600EX-RT, Nikon SB-910, Godox TT350, and Yongnuo YN-622.

a portable and constant source of illumination

Wedding photographers working in low light situations have other options than using flash.

As its brightness and directional control may be easily controlled, portable LED lamps are becoming increasingly popular.

However, the battery life of some models is severely restricted, which is a detriment. Lowell GL-1 Power LED, Westcott Ice Light and Yongnuo YN-160 Video Light are the most often used LEDs.

Light diffuser

To improve the quality of light from a camera-mounted flash, just bounce the light off a ceiling or wall, as seen in the image below.

In order to get the kind of beautiful images you imagine when you think of wedding photography, you have to work exceptionally hard and use a lot of soft light. Wedding photographers frequently utilize diffusers, such as Gary Fong's Lightsphere or a classic Omni-bounce, to soften their light.


Professional wedding photographers and videographers may soon be using drones in their work. Due to the fact that many high-end clients want to have some aerial photos shot during their wedding, investing in drone technology may not be a bad idea.

Even if you decide to go with the DJI Mavic Pro, make sure you've done your research beforehand.

An additional piece of equipment

For wedding photography, there are a few things to bear in mind. If you have many flash setups, you'll almost probably need wireless radio triggers to keep them all in sync.

Those without access to photo assistants should carry tripods, monopods, and super clamps, which can be used to hold just about anything in place while shooting.

Last but not least, you should always have a heavy-duty camera bag, spare memory cards, and extra batteries on hand just in case something unfortunate happens.

Wedding photography shot list reminder

There are certain fundamental factors to keep in mind while planning your picture shoot, despite the fact that every wedding is unique. This shot list is essential to learning how to photograph a wedding correctly.

Any photographer may benefit greatly from keeping track of the images they need to take, and a simple to-do list is a great reminder.

As the most stressful phase of the session, it's a good idea to establish a list of the sorts of photos that you definitely must take.

Pre-ceremony, Ceremony, Reception, and Portraits (Solo and Group) should all have at least 15-20 separate ideas for each component of the shot list; each segment should have at least 15-20 ideas to go through.

There should be a pre-wedding meeting with the bride and groom and a list of people they wish to be photographed with when there are more than 100 guests.

The Technical Aspects of Photographing a Wedding

Keeping the number of inadvertent exposures low

When it comes to wedding photography, there is no space for error, as previously said.

Because wedding albums are almost usually edited in Lightroom or Photoshop, JPEGs don't provide for as much flexibility in post-processing as RAW files do.

Preventing improper exposures can be accomplished through the application of two very effective strategies:

First and foremost, shooting in manual mode isn't always necessary; aperture priority mode comes in handy when you're on the move in search of noteworthy moments but don't want to be troubled with shutter speed concerns.

When using the live view exposure preview, it is possible to cut down on the number of test shots needed to get the right exposure. This may be a lifesaver if you don't have time to take test photographs.

While photographing weddings (and in particular a bride), it's important to use considerable caution when using flash. Most modern cameras include this function, which makes the camera's LCD screen to flash red when a picture is overexposed.

To preserve the delicate elements of her wedding dress as she goes down the aisle, photographers need to lower their exposure. This is especially prevalent when photographing a bride outside in direct sunlight.

If you can't get the perfect exposure, it's better to have your photos slightly underexposed than overexposed.

optimum values for aperture and shutter speed

Aperture, shutter speed, and ISO settings for wedding photography are tough to prescribe, but there is a general range that works well in the great majority of cases.

Blurring may be avoided with a shutter speed of 1/60 or 1/80 second and an aperture of f/1.8 to f/5.6, which can be used for a wide range of portrait subjects.

Even while f/5.6 is ideal for capturing large gatherings of people, f/2.8 is usually adequate to keep the bride and groom both in focus.

If the illumination is adequate, the ISO level should not be greater than 400. Under no scenario should the ISO level be increased above what is strictly necessary.

The autofocus system in use is a servo one.

Wedding photographers must be extremely cautious when it comes to getting the focus just right, in addition to making sure they get the finest possible exposures. When capturing moving subjects during a wedding event, AI Servo AF is the finest solution.

With this option, the focusing distance is constantly changing, making it difficult to capture moving objects effectively. Your subject will be constantly focused on the sensor when you press the shutter button halfway down in Servo AF mode.

Using Flash in a Creative Way

Speedlights can be used either on or off camera.

Wedding photographers are significantly limited in their creative possibilities if they employ an on-camera speedlight. Outdoor portraits, on the other hand, can benefit from its use in conjunction with natural light. An effective fill light is often provided by a speedlight in this situation.

In order to avoid flat or washed out images, the speedlight's head should be angled slightly to the side when it is used inside.

When it comes to wedding photography, using an off-camera flash is by far the better option. Three to four speedlights and radio frequency transmitters are common equipment for wedding photographers.

The main advantage of this method is that the subject is never lit directly from the front; instead, the light source is always positioned to the side.

A similar set-up may be used for little elements like rings, cakes, and flowers in addition to portraits.

An assistant or second photographer can hold the off-camera flash at arm's length, like in this image provided by Getty Images. While this may not be viable in a crowded wedding venue, it may have amazing results in the right circumstances when used.

Utilizing sync for the back curtain

It's a good idea to change the default flash setting from front curtain sync to rear curtain sync while photographing weddings.

Back curtain sync tells the flash to fire at the end of an exposure rather than at the start. Motion blur in dancing scenarios will now appear behind the subject rather than in front of it, making the scenes more convincing.

How to Get Ready to Take Wedding Photos of the Bride and Groom

You can't miss while planning a wedding photography session how important the bride and groom are and how treasured the photos you take of them will be. Before you make your final choice, bear the following points in mind.

Photographs that were shot on location

Exceptional wedding albums are the result of a photographer's ability to strike a fine balance between candid and planned shots. Clients are the ones who decide which approach they prefer, and you may use this information to chose which images to feature in your portfolio.

You should, of course, ask as to whether or not the couple has any special requirements.

Typical candid approach moments, such as the first kiss, first dance, and smiles from parents and other relatives, go rapidly, so you need to be on the lookout for such.

People talking about something important, unexpected laughter, and other similar incidents are all worth noting in addition to the adorable youngsters who are having a good time playing.

Moments like these are valuable since they can't be planned or replicated. If you're looking for something a little out of the ordinary, these photos are an excellent choice.

Posing tips and tricks

There are no special skills required for posing people; everyone may learn how to do it.

The most essential thing to remember when photographing couples is that they must contact one another. They can lean on one other, lay curled in the other's arms, place their heads on each other's shoulders, and many more positions.

When two people are touching, there is a level of intimacy that may be captured in your images. If your clients are bold and physically fit, there are almost no limits to what they can do; they can leap, lift each other, crawl, swim in a nearby river or ocean—there are basically no constraints.

You can also urge your subjects to experiment with their clothing and other accessories.

For the groom, you may direct him to do so, while for the bride, you can encourage her to be fun and spin about in her wedding gown so that everyone can admire it.

Photographers are doing a great job when they can bring out the child in people.

This is a wonderful time to solicit the help of a second photographer to aid you in managing huge groups appropriately, as posing groups is significantly more challenging than photographing couples.

In order to avoid these mistakes, the group must be properly oriented and everyone must be looking directly at the camera at all times during the shoot.

When photographing large groups, it is necessary to take many shots of each group and to experiment with two or three possible alignments.

When photographing a group of people, it is likely that you will need to adjust the aperture in order to avoid making mistakes due to a narrow depth of field.

What Makes a Good Piece of Writing Great?

Negative backgrounds should be kept to a minimum.

It's a mistake that every wedding photographer has made, and it's one that they always regret in the editing stage after the fact.

Repairing bad backgrounds may take a long time and a lot of effort.

As much as it's easy to lose sight of the backgrounds and focus solely on the issue, this "background awareness" should be educated in order to avoid making the same mistake repeatedly, this is especially true during wedding ceremonies.

The reality is that backgrounds are just as important as shutter speed, aperture, and ISO when it comes to your camera as a whole.

It is possible to find bad backgrounds in a wide range of shapes and sizes. People who are unaware that they are being shot, bizarre patterns, an excessive number of little details, distracting colors, and so on and so forth are all examples of things to avoid when taking photographs.

Make a mental inventory of what you're doing.

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