Be Free

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Tips for Shooting at a Wedding

Before we went "Pro" we shot several weddings for friends
of ours as a wedding gift. We
didn't study or think much ahead of time about what we were
going to do when we got there.

It is a nice gesture to offer to take photos for friends, but
considering what is involved will make the results far more appreciated.

Being the primary photographer at a wedding is a weighty responsibility. It is far more fun and much more comfortable to just contribute photos to the total taken of the event, rather than being the sole documenter of such an important occasion!

Anyway, I thought we'd share some things we've learned
along the way .

Foremost, if the couple has
hired a photographer, then be
sure that you are in no way interfering with their work. Stay out of their way. Know where
they are at all times and
do not get between them
and their subjects. And when they are taking the group shots, stay far off so that the presence of another camera
aimed at
them will not create a distraction. We've noted that having several people taking pictures at once does confuse the subjects.

Let the paid photographer take the usual pictures. You are free to find unusual
angles which will often capture things that the paid photographer won't get.

But, let's say that they didn't hire a photographer. They are actually expecting you to capture the day for them! Here are some tips:

1. If possible go to the church (or where the ceremony will be held) in advance, at the same time of day that the wedding is scheduled. Look over the logistics. Where is the best light coming from?
Where will you be able to sit (or stand) to get the best angles? What might make a nice backdrop for posed shots?

2. Be sure that you have your camera battery charged; it is best to have a spare. Have spare cards, too.

3. Ask the couple if they want you to move around in the ceremony, or shoot from a seat or a balcony or a doorway. Once you know where you will be, take some practice shots to get the settings. If possible get someone to pose for you that is wearing white or black (or both).

4. Children always liven up a picture. Even if they don't end up in it! Having them in view cheers people up. Putting children with grandparents makes appealing shots.

5. Giving people something to do with their hands helps them relax. Let them put their hands on the bride's shoulders, or give them a prop to hold.

6. Make sure that you get full-length shots of the bride and groom! Allow room for cropping (so they can be printed 4x6, 8x10, or whatever!) You'd be surprised how hard it is to get good full-length shots. Make that a priority.

7. Think about what you yourself would hope to have captured if you were the bride: take pictures
which tell a story.

8. Liven up the group by having them do something silly. This frees them. Their expressions are more natural. Their personalities show through.

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