So, a couple of weeks ago, I had an opportunity to assist a fellow Photographer In Training graduate with photographing a couple of weddings, which of course I was happy to oblige. Here are some additional wedding photography tips from a San Diego photographer.
- Key note: the nice thing about being a second shooter is that you don’t have all the stress that goes into shooting a wedding. The down side to being the 2nd shooter is: you don’t make as much $$. As the wedding photographer, you will more than likely be covering: the engagement, rehearsal dinner, preparation, the ceremony, and let’s not forget prints and “the album”. For any aspiring wedding photographers out there, be sure to factor in the cost of a second shooter. You will thank me later.
- Depending on the wedding size, I highly recommend having a second shooter. This enables you, the primary photographer to capture the most important shots, while the other photographer can capture shots that might have been overlooked.
- Have a game plan or strategy of where everyone needs to be. After meeting with the couple, make sure you meet with your 2nd shooter to go over all the details, if possible have the 2nd shooter crash the initial meeting. There’s nothing worse than showing up to shoot and having no clue where to stand.
- The wedding coordinator is your friend. The wedding coordinator controls the wedding for the most part, so pay special attention to any special instructions or suggestions he or she may have. My last wedding, I was instructed not to maneuver around during the ceremony; however after speaking with the wedding planner, she was giving me tips, as well as allowed me to roam the entire wedding, without restrictions.
- If you are shooting the bride/groom preparing for the big walk, make sure that the environment is clean or picked up a bit. No one likes pictures of a mess and it may not make the final cut. Hint, some of you may wish to clean a bit better. Note: Grooms do not like to have photographs taken, while getting ready. You may have to coax them into it. Tell them that you have taken lots of groom shots and they were happy they allowed you to capture these moments.
- Be prepared. As, I always tell you, make sure all your equipment is ready to go and tested, before your client’s arrive. This includes batteries, flashes or strobe light, light stands, memory cards, soft boxes, or umbrellas. Did I mention to bring extra batteries; especially if you are using your flash?
- More than likely you will not need to worry about model release forms; however make sure that the client is aware that you will be using his or her pictures for social media. Most people attending the wedding are aware that you are a trained professional and are there to take pictures.
- Did I tell you that the wedding planner is your friend? Don’t worry about going hungry, the planner will feed you and most likely right after the bride and groom, so that you are able capture every special moment.
Ok, now to get to your camera settings. This is going to be a tough one depending on the actual wedding ceremony. It may be indoors or outdoors, so if you only have one camera you will be more than likely busy making changes for difference in light such as: Aperture, ISO, Speed, and White Balance. Take your time and fire off a practice shot when you can.
If you plan on getting into this type of niche, I would highly recommend getting your feet wet, by being a second shooter. It allows you to learn on the job, while taking in the good and noting the not so good. And finally remember not to stress too much. Most clients will appreciate you being there for them.
I hope I have not bored you too much. I had fun writing this one. I trust I have given you some valuable tips to think about, before planning your next shoot. It’s not all bad, just be clear and informative, it will save you a lot of headaches. Remember nothing is set in stone and there is not perfect formula, so go out and have some fun.