Standing out as a wedding photographer can be difficult. The wedding photography industry is notoriously competitive, as well as grueling. Shooting a wedding can be intense, with long hours and a lot of pressure to get things right.
But the payoff can be incredibly rewarding. If you can survive the stress and come out with amazing wedding photos, your clients will be deeply grateful. You’re not just documenting a big event; you’re creating memories that they and their families will treasure forever.
If you want to get into wedding photography but aren’t sure where to begin, here are a few tips.
Establish your style.
If you’re not sure what your personal style is yet, start by looking at the different wedding photography styles out there. What do you like best? Are you going to go down the traditional or contemporary route? Or perhaps you’re more of an artistic photographer? How about reportage?
Most couples know what they want beforehand, so it’s important that you’re clear about what they’ll be getting from you. You should also check out the competition in your local area to see if there’s an under-represented niche you could take advantage of. Don’t forget that the wedding photos featured on your website should be a reflection your personal style.
A great wedding photographer plans well ahead. If you’re about to shoot at a venue you’ve visited before, don’t assume things will be the same the second time around, particularly for outdoor shots. If possible, assess the venue in the run-up to the big day, especially if it’s in a different season. For instance, the sun may be higher or lower, or the trees and flowers will be different.
These details can really affect outdoor group shots. Adjust your equipment accordingly, as it can make the difference between producing good photos and truly great photos.
Of course, all good plans must include good contingency plans. Ensure you have suitable indoor or sheltered locations as a backup should the weather take a turn for the worse.
Capture the emotions.
Clever wedding photographers are tuned into the emotions of the people they’re photographing. One half of your job is capturing any powerful, emotive moments created by the wedding participants. The other half is to create your own wow moments (more on that later).
One of my favorite memories as a wedding photographer was witnessing a father shed a tear at seeing his baby girl in her dress when she had never seen him cry before. It’s a moment she’ll never want to forget.
For spur-of-the-moment shots like this, I prefer not to get bogged down with technicalities. Focus too much on the composition and technical details, and you’ll miss the priceless ‘blink and you’ll miss it’ shots that we all strive to capture. Also, a narrow depth of field is often your best bet for these shots, as it further emphasizes the chemistry between the families and friends in the photos.
Paul Van Hoy II – Destination Wedding Photography