Wedding Photography for Beginners – Vol. 5
Welcome to Volume 5 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, Vol. 3 or Vol. 4? Let’s get you caught up! Interested in reading all the articles but don’t have time to check the blog? Subscribe to The Presetpro Weekly Newsletter and get all 8 articles PLUS Free Lightroom Presets sent to your inbox every Tuesday!
This week we are discussing wedding party shots! Wedding party shots are photos of the couple posing with the bridesmaids and groomsmen. Wedding party shots may also include family photos. These shots are usually taken during the break in-between the ceremony and the reception. Here are my 6 tips for capturing beautiful wedding party shots:
1. Personality Type
When you meet with the bride and groom for the first time, try to identify their personality type. Are they: romantic, hip, traditional, silly, serious, artsy, etc? Or, are they a mix? Asking them directly is the best way to find out. Be prepared to be surprised! On more than one occasion, I’ve met with a couple who appeared to be very serious, but ended up requesting funny/silly group shots. Catering the photos to their personality type will ensure that the wedding party feels comfortable and the photos feel natural. Don’t forget to work in your own shooting style as well (See Vol. 1 for more details).
2. Inspiration Board & Shot List
First, ask the couple to create a photo inspiration board. This can be done with social media platforms like Pinterest. Having their wish list ahead of time ensures that everyone is on the same page. Second, ask them to create a shot list for the family photos. E.g. – Mother’s side (names), father’s side (names), siblings (names). Having a list cuts down on organizing time and guarantees that the shots will run smoothly.
3. Consider the Background
When deciding where to take the wedding party shots, think about the background. A unified background always looks better than something that’s busy and chopped up. Also consider the color of your background. Ask yourself: Does it work well with wedding party attire? Does it work with the theme of the wedding? Adjust as needed.
4. Weather & Lighting
As with all photos, the weather and lighting will play a big part in what you’re able to capture. Make sure you have a plan for indoor and outdoor scenarios. You never know what the day will bring! Be prepared to use natural light and/or off camera lights and flash if needed (See Vol. 1 for more info on lighting). If you’re shooting outdoors, try to avoid direct mid-day sun and spotty areas. Your best bet is to find a solid shady spot that isn’t too dark. For indoors, make sure that you take a few test shots to find the right camera settings and get your flashes bouncing properly.
5. Take Charge
On the wedding day, the couple will be looking to you for direction. Don’t be afraid to take charge! Be mindful of the time and what you need to accomplish before you move on to the next series of photos. When arranging the shots, think about things like symmetry and spacing. The best wedding party shots are symmetrical, spaced well and easy on the eyes. Always remember to be kind and respectful when arranging people in the group. Not only is it the right thing to do, but your next booking could be someone in the wedding party. It never hurts to be patient and kind!
6. Have fun with it!
This may go without saying, but remember to have fun with the wedding party shots! This is your chance to be creative and guide the photos in any direction that you see fit. Venture out of your comfort zone and try something unexpected. The best photos are often completely off-the-cuff and thought up in the moment. Embrace the chaos and see where it takes you!
Remember, every professional wedding photographer started out exactly where you are right now. You can do this! With a few tips and tricks, you’ll be on your way to producing beautiful wedding party photos in no time! Don’t miss Vol. 6 next week on the blog, where I’ll be giving you pointers on capturing gorgeous portraits of the bride and groom. Thanks for reading and I’ll see you next week!
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