Whilst you may think being the maid of honour or best man is a stressful affair, being the official wedding photographer can be just as harrowing. Tasked with capturing a couple’s big day, you may have some questions and insecurities. Will you be able to get the perfect shot? Have you got the right gear? Where are you going to position yourself? Fear not, for all these thoughts are perfectly natural and will be addressed in the article below. Read on for some quick and easy tips for a first-time wedding photographer.
Just like planning a wedding, it is wise to prepare ahead of time to make sure you are not caught off-guard in unexpected situations.
Ideally, you should start with a full-frame camera, mainly because many of the available prime lenses – the go-to for still wedding shots – perform best when paired with one. Don’t sweat it if you don’t have one at hand though, crop-sensor cameras are perfectly capable of capturing stunning images with full details if handled right!
Using a high-resolution camera with a fast aperture lens is highly recommended, as it will help you capture those beautiful unguarded moments, especially in darker venues. For example, a Nikon Z 6 paired with the NIKKOR Z 35mm f/1.8 S is the perfect combo to get you started in capturing emotions and movements in low-light conditions. Also, bring along a general-purpose zoom lens as it makes your life easier during crowded occasions, such as a banquet. The zoom will allow you to capture great shots from afar, without having to manoeuvre around or interfere with any of the guests.
Many of you may prefer natural light in your photographs, but having the option of artificial lighting up your sleeve is vital. At evening events in particular, a flash gun will do wonders in highlighting your subjects in the dark.
Be sure to bring back-up equipment too. There are no second chances, so bring a second camera body, a handful of memory cards, and batteries to the venue. Better safe than sorry!
Once you get all that gear ready, remember to pack everything tightly; as you will have to be mobile to keep up with the couple on their big day.
Before the wedding, it’s always good to have a talk with the wedding planner and the couple. Get to know what they’re expecting and what the schedule will be like for the day. It is paramount to rehearse with the couple at least once to understand the logistics and figure out your role and positioning throughout the wedding. Make sure to communicate with the couple and respect their wishes on photo compositions, so everyone is happy with the resulting images captured.
During the wedding, be cordial and be as quiet as possible taking pictures. The best photographers blend into the environment and capture authentic moments as they happen organically. Also, while wedding venues usually have an open bar, it is only appropriate that you, hired as the wedding photographer, do not work under influence of alcohol.
You can certainly take a breather once the day is over, but do try to process the images as soon as possible and pass them to the hands of the newlyweds – they deserve the images and the bragging rights for such a momentous night!