Kick start your Wedding Photography business...
Weddings are one of the toughest photography branches to get into. Most importantly your part as a Wedding Photographer, and knowing your role when shooting.
Below is a list of what I have experienced or feel are common mistakes that can be fixed when shooting Weddings:
1. Prepping, Below is a basic list even for any session or event that can help you be prepared:
- Batteries (have more than one, investing in a battery grip and having at least 3-4 batteries for each camera is great for all day shooting).
- Lenses and cleaning cloths for them (clean lenses make clean pictures) I know lenses are expensive but camera companies and third party companies make decent lenses for your price range, maybe consider a sigma lens as an upgrade for half the price as the name brand lens.
- Memory cards (clean your cards out and make sure you have a few formatted and ready to go, nothing is more saddening then taking about 50 images and your card is full) make sure your cards have at least 16 GB or more memory, this ensures not having to use a new card sooner.
- Speedlights ( invest in one if you don't have one, there are third party manufacturers that make pretty decent external lights for a fraction of the brand name products, big deal? your decision) Nothing ruins a photo like on camera flash, so invest in a speed light and diffuser or bounce card. Have back up batteries in case you run into issues with your speed light, and think of investing in more than one.
- Have a camera strap at all times (your gear is important so take care of it) regardless of style (handheld, neckstrap, or the new spider straps) a camera strap is a good way to make sure you have a hold on your gear and prevent it from falling or getting lost.
- Camera bag (rather in depth topic but, pack your camera bag like you would pack a suitcase) Meaning put things in a place that they are easily accessible and do not conflict with anything in your bag that you don't need or can't take the time to move around in your bag. Styles of camera bad, for weddings or shooting in general, be professional, nothing says I'm not serious about shooting like a pink camera bag, its fun to have a cute bag but "IT'S NOT PROFESSIONAL". Just like a suit for an interview at a law firm, you wouldn't show up in a pair of crocks would you?
- Business cards (when shooting a wedding, you are hired. but bring cards along at the end of the event if you are asked, hand out a few. but don't hand them out like it's an expo) Make your cards professional and clean, information should be found easily.
- Weather resistant covers (most cameras are weather proof but I'd rather be safe than sorry) there are tons of damage resistant cases and water proof cases, mostly for cameras but not as much lenses.
- Camera body (last but not least) Invest in 2, one primary shooter and one for back up, try to pick a camera that can use all the same lenses. Canon makes that fairly easy. In the event of camera malfunction, have a second body set up to shoot, can use the same lenses and speed lights as well, batteries are a plus if they all fit. Luckily I shoot a canon 7D and a 5D mark ii which uses the same battery.I can use the same lenses since all canon cameras can use 95% of the same lenses, I make sure every lens I have is even compatible with my canon rebel xs. batteries might not be the same but I can use the same lenses, external lights, pocket wizards, and most of the same add ons for all cameras.
- Battery chargers ( bring these too, never know when you might need to charge, unlikely but good anyways)
- Finally yourself (dress the part of someone who enjoys shooting) (everyone's budget is different, but I've learned over the years, if there is a job you want to get, you will find a way to dress the part no matter what) Dress like a professional, doesn't mean you have to wear dress pants or wear a full suit, but there are more fashionable options out there that are professional yet trending. Sticking with blacks, whites, golds, grays with matching tones or co-ordinationg colors are professional enough. Navy is also professional as well, played up with a nice watch, some costume jewelry and some basic make-up, you can keep a professional look without breaking the bank or over doing it. Proper footwear is a must, heels are great but always have a back up pair of flats.
2. Wedding day shooting
- As I like to shoot, I myself always have a second shooter, in most events, I cannot be in two places at once for a bride and groom prepping. It is fully understood by the second shooter where to be at all times, where to meet up if heading to a separate location from prepping to the ceremony. But most important, in the time the second shooter and myself have we shoot the most important parts or prepping.
- Pre-ceremony portraits
- Ceremony (walking down the isle both directions, ring and vow exchange, bridesmaids and groomsmen, groom, bride, parents of both sides, ceremony decorations or location like a church)
- Post ceremony (individual portraits, group, traditional wedding images, etc)
- Reception ( garter toss, bouquet tossing, candids, cake cutting, details of the tables, seating arrangement table, gift table, cake, bouquets etc)
- Prepping (no matter what situation, use as much natural light as possible, like I stated above ON CAMERA flash is unattractive and looks like almost anyone can take it, even with their phone) When shooting the bride/groom getting ready, some of your best shots will be closer to the window. getting the key details of garments or small movements while bride and groom are getting ready is a good way to just get candids and not bother a nervous bride or groom.
- Pre-ceremony portraits ( make sure you have ample enough images, not a whole lot but enough of bride/groom, and the other important people)
- Ceremony ( it's important to not ruin the bride and groom's train of thought, you as the photographer also have to keep in mind the family members and friends who also want to take pictures too) Make sure to shoot at a time when you don't catch flash or then end up in front of you, we all know people are hard to edit in or out. Don't forget the most important parts before the bride and groom leave for the post ceremony photos.
- Post ceremony (this is where the more portrait type images come in, a few candids but more organized images come in) In the past I have come across other photographers images, handful of amazing wedding images and some mediocre to say the least. When posing a bride a groom you are telling the story of a couple in love, not a couple going to the prom. Posing should not be a PROM related type posing, it should be a more connected and more sensual type of posing showing the connection and style of the couple. How they connect or get along, their quirky styles, and cute ideas. Posing is based off of their style of wedding (flowers, place settings, venue, etc) EX. A country style wedding, you would not pose a couple to look like a bridal ad with a pronovias dress silk bodice, decked out in jewels or diamonds. that would be concrete jungle vs country, it would look out of place. But a country themed wedding with a lace dress, is more workable with the same flow of dress, colors. The poses are based off the style, not always the idea you have.
- Reception (capturing the emotion and keeping the night simple) having 2 shooters is great, while one gets the details, the other gets the moments, switch it up, you get more memorable shots while your second shooter gets some behind the scenes or different angle shots. While shooting the reception, it's key to get the most important parts of the evening, make sure you get the father/mother dances for both. Cake cutting garter tossing, bouquet tossing, and the guest planned kissing of the bride and groom.
Most of all have fun!
When it comes to editing, I cannot obligate anyone to process the way I do or like anyone else. The editing software you own, you should know how to use the finer detailed settings, and know the limit on editing. My honest opinion, White vignetting, selective color, and in camera filters are highly unattractive. for a bride and groom, make sure you give them the best quality images. (Never shoot with the in camera black and white, always shoot color and change it later. Never shoot only JPG, once you over write a JPG you have no other way of fixing, and primarily you should shoot RAW even with a RAW/JPG setup to shoot both. you get more out of your images and have more control when editing.)