Image from Pexels
I’ve said before I am far from a professional photographer but, if like mine, your friends see you have a talent and passion for capturing images then you may get asked the question that all photographers dread.
Capturing the emotion of the biggest day in a couple’s life can strike fear into the hearts of any professional, let alone little old you. It’s an honour that someone is as passionate about your images as you are, it’s also an extremely bonding and brilliant experience to share.
So, you’ve said yes! Now what? I wrote a piece that includes loads of tips here so have a read of that to help give you some extra ideas.
Firstly you are going to need to make sure you have all the correct equipment. Wedding photographers don’t turn up with a Digital camera, snap a couple of pics then download them onto a memory stick. You need to consider lighting, quality of camera and be a pretty dab hand at editing.
It’s unlikely you are going to ask for any money but it shouldn’t be out of the question. If you feel there is something you really need to ensure the day goes without any hiccups then talk to your friend. If they don’t have budget and you are short on spare cash, but you really need to update your equipment you could consider a short term loan. Check out deals with various finance companies such as SwiftMoney but make sure you can make the repayments. No one wants you going into debt you can’t afford. If it really isn’t possible, talk to the couple again and see what they say.
It’s a nice idea to consider shooting on two different cameras and also a really useful way of avoiding any disasters. If you only own one camera then consider hiring something for the day, this could be an exciting way of testing a product out. Some companies will even loan you a camera for nothing, if they think you are a potential customer. It’s worth getting in touch with manufacturers and offering them the use of your images. Just check with your friends first. Brands love any free promotion so if you have a blog or a business, they might lend you one of their press products.
Photo from Jeshoots
You also need to have a good backup plan.
If you think about splitting the wedding into sections such as Pre ceremony, ceremony, Post ceremony and finally the reception, you can take the opportunity to download and backup any images you have taken. It’s definitely worth going mad in this area. Downloading onto a laptop, using icloud and even getting the images onto a spare memory stick will ensure you have plenty to fall back on if your technology lets you down.
Pre ceremony photography is a chance for you to capture the bride getting ready. This is a really special moment for any woman and you can capture some great detailed shots of the wedding dress. Family members and closest friends will likely be sharing in this moment too and there will be a plethora of emotions for you to study. Set up an area for more staged photos using as much natural light as possible. Then spend the rest of your time getting the raw emotion through unexpected and natural moments. Try to remember though that most brides are on a pretty tight schedule at this point. Don’t be the reason she keeps the groom waiting.
You need to leave the bride with an hour to spare to make sure you can capture the excitement of the first guests arriving at the church.
Wedding photography demands a great deal of research so make sure you visit all the venues you will be shooting at. Take a friend too so you can position someone in the frame and know, well ahead of the day, where the most beautiful photos are going to come from. If you know the time of the ceremony make a note of the natural light and where the sun will be. This will help you be more efficient through the day. A visit to the reception venue is also important. As soon as you have a table plan, make a note of all the important family members and where they are sitting. It pays to know your guest, of course anyone at the wedding will be related to the couple in some way. But if you have taken 20 photos of the bride’s cousins girlfriend, it may not be the same as 20 photos of their brother, sister or favourite niece.
At the ceremony you need to be close enough to catch the subtleties of emotion but far enough as to not interrupt the wedding for the other guests. Pre planning will help here too, especially if you have a friend stand where the bride and groom will, whilst you find the perfect discreet place which also offers you brilliant close ups.
Finally the edits. Keep a dump file of any unflattering photos that may upset the bride. Don’t bin them just incase your friend really wants to cherish every moment. Select a wide variety of detailed shots, fun shots, emotional images and family photos. Work individually to increase the lighting and smooth out any imperfections. Framing is vital but a good photographer will manage to snap away without having to make too many alterations. If you have experience of photoshop to help brighten someone’s face or smooth their colour, then do this. But be subtle. If Uncle Frank has a huge nose, don’t tamper with it. I’m sure he’s got used to it by now. Avoid adding too much definition to the eye too, this can be a real giveaway that a photo has been edited. Whilst you could play with this if the happy couple as you too, give them the most natural version of your photography you can.
Above all, enjoy it. This is your friend’s big day! She wants you there to have fun too. Take some time out of each session to really have fun but go easy on the champagne until later. It could be a good idea to place disposable cameras on the guests tables so you can stop shooting at 9pm whilst ensuring the funniest moments aren’t missed!