Wedding Photography for Beginners – Vol. 4 The Ceremony
Welcome to Volume 4 of a new series that I’m calling: Wedding Photography for Beginners! In the next few weeks, I’ll be taking you through a number of important topics and giving you insider’s tips and tricks. My goal is to make your transition into Professional Wedding Photography as easy as possible. There will be 8 articles in total that will discuss everything from attracting new clients…to revealing the best kept secrets for capturing breathtaking bridal shots. Did you miss Vol.1, Vol.2 or Vol.3 ? Let’s get you caught up! Interested in reading all the articles but don’t have time to keep coming back to the blog? Subscribe to The Presetpro Weekly Newsletter and get all of the articles PLUS Free Lightroom Presets conveniently sent to your inbox each week.
The ceremony is often viewed as the most nerve wrecking part of the wedding day. The pressure to get the perfect shot can be stressful for new photographers. The good news is, it doesn’t have to be this way! With a few tips, lots of preparation and right equipment, you’ll be ready to take on your first wedding ceremony with confidence!
Before the Wedding Day
Scope out the location
A great way to feel at ease about the ceremony is to visit the location ahead of time. I suggest visiting at the same time of day that the ceremony will take place, so that you can predict what the lighting will be like. Take your equipment with you and snap a few test shots.
Pick your vantage points
Ask for an itinerary ahead of time so that you can get familiar with the flow of the ceremony. The length of the ceremony will differ from culture to culture. It’s important that you know the sequence of events so that you can pick your vantage points before the big day.
Your lighting set up will depend on whether you’re shooting an outdoor wedding or an indoor wedding. If it’s an outdoor wedding, consider if the ceremony will take place in the shade, partial shade or full sun. If it’s an indoor wedding, consider if there is enough light to properly expose the scene. Is your speed light enough? (See Vol. 1 for more info on lighting) Do you need to bring in mono lights? Weather will also play a key factor. Always look at the weather report the day before and adjust accordingly.
Know the rules
Many venues and places of worship have strict rules that photographers are expected to follow. For example: It isn’t uncommon for a pastor to ask you to refrain from using flash during certain parts of the ceremony. Or, they may ask you to stay further back so that you don’t obstruct the view. Knowing this information ahead of time can save you a lot of disappointment and head ache on the big day. I suggest discussing the rules with your clients so that you’re all on the same page and there aren’t any unmet expectations.
The ceremony is where a second shooter can really shine. The events move quickly and it’s always comforting to know that you have another camera firing away if you miss a shot (We all miss a few!) A second shooter is also helpful when transitioning between shots. For example: You could be in the centre position shooting the bride and groom from the aisle while your second shooter is setting up at the signing table. A second shooter can make your life easier, they are worth their weight in gold!
The Wedding Day
I’ve made note of this in previous volumes, and I will continue to include this tip as we move forward in the series. Arriving early to the venue (whether it’s the getting ready shots, the ceremony or the reception) is one of the most important things you can do. Giving yourself enough time to set up, take a breath and prepare yourself for whats to come can make all the difference. You’re new to this and you need to make preparation time and grounding yourself a priority. (See Vol. 3 for tips on getting to the ceremony on time)
Set up your lighting first. This can be the most time consuming task when you arrive at a venue. If you’re shooting indoors with mono lights, it can take a few tries before the light is bouncing correctly. Take some test shots and make note of the settings on your camera. You may need to switch settings on the fly as you move around the venue. Make sure you have a fresh memory card and fresh batteries in the camera. Keep two extra sets of batteries and a second memory card in your pocket. Remember to keep your old batteries separate from the new ones. You don’t want to mix them up and loose power to your flash at the wrong moment. (I’ve done that…oops! lol)
Work those angles!
Clients love to see multiple angles of the ceremony and the more you can move around (discretely) and capture the scene from different vantage points the better! Always be mindful of what’s behind you, the last thing you want to do is block the other guests. Remember, your next gig could be someone that’s attending the wedding! Treat everyone with respect and don’t forget to smile and schmooze!
Remember, every successful wedding photographer started out exactly where you are right now. You can do this! With a few tips, lots of preparation and the right equipment, you will be on your way to producing beautiful ceremony shots! Don’t miss Vol. 5 where we will discuss everything you need to know about bridal party photos. Thanks for reading and I’ll see you next week!
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