Ten Things to Avoid as a Wedding Photographer

Being tapped by friends or family to take pictures of their big day can be an exciting experience.  But it's easy for someone with a brand new camera, and a desire to use it, to bite off more than they can chew.  Help fulfill your photographic aspirations with a few tips on what not to do should you ever find yourself in the frame for taking pictures of a wedding. 

  1. Don't bother to ask the Bride and Groom ahead of time what they might want.  A lot of things that can go wrong during a wedding shoot boil down to a general failure to plan ahead.  Chief amongst these is any idea that you can simply show up on the day, Camera in hand and expect to get the job done in time.  Without a plan of what sorts of pictures you'll want to be taking, you'll almost certainly miss some shots, or at the very least end up taking much longer to get the pictures your clients will want.
  2. You Forget to Bring Your Spare Camera! In general, when working as a professional photographer you want to have two cameras not just one.  This is because even the best Camera could suddenly stop working at the most inopportune times and you won't have time to fix it or go get a replacement in the middle of a shoot.  If you're thinking of doing anything in professional photography, you really need to invest in a second camera.  
  3. You Are Too Lazy to Visit the Location Before the Big Day. As before, simply showing up on the day at hand without any idea as to the venue, facilities or features is going to cause problems.  If the couple have chosen to get married at a stately home or grand old church, you'll want to take advantage of the terrain to get a better shot that makes the most of the setting. Furthermore, by visiting ahead of time you can get a better idea of where the sun will be so as best to avoid those awful pictures of people squinting when forced to look directly into the light. 
  4. Taking all the Photos by Yourself. At smaller events where it's quite likely, even expected, that you can handle it yourself, this does not matter so much.  However, in an age where more and more people are turning to lavish, expensive ceremonies, it can be fantastically difficult to cover everything with just the one cameraman.  Consider getting a second photographer and delegating various shots to them or even have them take some of the key pictures alongside you to increase your joint chances of getting the perfect photos. 
  5. Don't Leave Your Stepladder at Home.  Group shots are almost mandatory at weddings.  The best way to get a good group shot is to take if from a raised vantage point.  If the location doesn't have any helpful balconies or raised slopes you can stand on, then bringing your own means of elevation is essential to get everyone into those photographs.
  6. Bringing Your Overly Critical Inner Photo Snob – Remember that you are there to take photos on behalf of the bride and groom.  It's their day, not yours and you might not necessarily know best when it comes to which photographs to reproduce into print.  Arrange to meet up with your clients after they return from their honeymoon and let them choose from the photos you have taken which ones to bring to full print.  Don't automatically assume you know best – except where the photo is obviously a complete mess. 
  7. Have Camera.  Will Take Pictures.  How do I Use This Flash  Simply owning a flashy camera doesn't make you a photographer anymore than buying a white coat makes you a doctor.  Frugal friends and relatives might think they can save a bit by getting you to do the photography, but you need to ask if you have the skills, experience and techniques in order to do a good job.  Don't be afraid to refuse, but to take the opportunity while at the wedding to take some photographs of your own in an unofficial capacity to build experience. 
  8. Forgetting to Back Up Your Files – Backing up your files isn't just for office workers anymore.  If something happens to your photographs before you can deliver them to your client it can be an absolute disaster.  Make sure to duplicate your photos and save them to a back up computer drive or something similar as soon as you can.   
  9. Only Taking Pictures of People – The overused expression "A picture paints a thousand words" continues to resound with truth.  Consider taking additional pictures of events around the wedding.  Pictures of the rings, flower arrangements or those of the venue empty and waiting for people all help to build up and tell the story of the event that happened that day and nicely round out any album.  
  10. Saving Pictures as JPEGs.Working as everyone does with digital cameras you will have several formats for images that your camera can save your pictures on.  In general, you want to be using RAW files, which contain the most data in the pictures.  This takes up more space in your camera, but makes the end pictures clearer and easier to work with later when looking to process through image editing computer software like Photoshop. JPEG's, by contrast, are a compressed image format. It is ideal for small pictures on the Internet, but the blur from the image compression is lacking in the quality demanded of professional photography. Make sure your cameras aren't saving to this format.

Being a Photographer?

I hope this article has helped you with your photography plans – should you wish to know more why not see our range of Photography Courses




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