Find out how to rise above old and new challenges that wedding photographers often face with tips from Canon Ambassadors Fabio Mirulla and Carmen, and Ingo.
Rain can be viewed as the enemy by wedding photographers. Still, Fabio Mirulla uses a downpour to his advantage in this striking shot of a newlywed couple sheltering under an umbrella. One of Fabio’s top wedding photography tips is to embrace unexpected situations and force yourself to think creatively. Taken on a Canon EOS R with a Canon EF 24mm f/1.4L II USM lens at 1/125 sec, f/6.3 and ISO2500. (c) Fabio Mirulla
Wedding photography is a demanding but hugely rewarding profession. To succeed, you need to be highly skilled at engaging with people, thinking creatively under pressure, and ensuring your business stands out from the crowd in a very competitive field.
Fabio Mirulla is one of Italy’s most celebrated destination wedding photographers. Born and raised in Tuscany, where he is still based, he travels the world photographing couples in spectacular locations.
Carmen and Ingo are a husband and wife photography team based in Austria. The pair met and fell in love in 2003 and have been photographing weddings across Europe since 2006.
We asked both successful wedding photography businesses to identify the biggest challenges they face and to explain how those issues can be overcome.
Carmen and Ingo shoot weddings in locations all over Europe, so they are often unable to meet a couple in person before the big day. Instead, they use their presentation skills to make a good impression via video calls. Taken on a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV with a Canon EF 24mm f/1.4L II USM lens at 1/2000 sec, f/1.8 and ISO100. (c) Carmen and Ingo Photography
- Planning weddings remotely
Being an international wedding photographer can make it difficult to meet prospective clients who might live hundreds of miles away – and government health restrictions in 2020 meant that photographers often couldn’t meet clients face-to-face at all. “We’ve always had prospective clients who live far away when meeting them personally before the wedding wasn’t an option,” said Carmen and Ingo. “We’ve maybe only met 5-10% of couples between the booking and the wedding itself.
“The recent restrictions have made it even more important to sell yourself and look professional online,” the couple adds. “When hosting Skype or Zoom meetings, don’t settle for a mobile phone with bad lighting. For client calls, we use a Canon camera with a good lighting setup, and set the stage with a nice background. If your computer or software isn’t supported by your camera, you can use an HDMI to USB converter to ensure you look professional.”
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- Dealing with the unexpected
Weddings are planned months or even years in advance, but the big day will often throw up unexpected problems. “Bad weather, poor lighting conditions, an ugly location – sometimes you feel everything is against you. But it’s not the conditions that are the problem; it’s you,” says Fabio. “You need to stop wishing for something else and shoot the story that’s actually happening.
“To create striking images, you should look for the possibilities and be prepared to experiment. If you try to work to a formula, within preset limits, you can miss out on a chance to create something great.”
Fabio has concealed the grazing cows in the background of this image by shooting from ground level using the Canon EOS R’s vari-angle screen. Thinking differently has enabled him to create a fun, magical-looking image in which the newlyweds appear to be leaping over giant balloons. Taken on a Canon EOS R with a Canon EF 24mm f/1.4L II USM lens at 1/500 sec, f/16 and ISO2000. (c) Fabio Mirulla
- Creating order from chaos
On a wedding day, hectic preparations, crowded scenes, and busy backgrounds can be at odds with intimate photography. “It’s vital to keep connected to your subject,” says Fabio. “I work with Canon prime lenses, mostly 35mm and 85mm, for one reason: they force me to move closer or further away from my subject. This movement forces me to really ‘look.’
“In a chaotic room filled with people, such as when the bridal party is getting ready, movement gives me the opportunity to change my point of view,” he says. “I change my position and find that interesting points of view present themselves. It’s just as important when you’re outside. If you’re in a city or at a location where there’s a fussy background, moving around or shooting from high up or low down can make all the difference. Canon’s vari-angle LCD screens are great for this.”
Fabio prefers photographing smaller wedding parties as the atmosphere is often more intimate, and it offers greater opportunities to build relationships with the couple and their guests. Taken on a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV with a Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L II USM lens at 1/80 sec, f/5.6 and ISO1600. (c) Fabio Mirulla
- Overcoming the limitations of small weddings
Lockdown restrictions have limited guest numbers at wedding ceremonies – or, in some cases, meant no guests at all. How can you use that to your advantage? “I’ve shot some weddings with 600 guests or more, but I much prefer smaller, more intimate weddings because I’m treated like a guest,” says Fabio. “Sometimes, I’ve even had to act as a witness and sign the wedding certificate.
“With a small wedding, you can get to know people, build a relationship and spend quality time with them. That gives you the opportunity to create some really fabulous photographs. I recently shot a wedding with just six people, and it was one of the best weddings of my career – funny and emotional. The power of the love was so strong and the people had so much more time for each other. You should never be worried about shooting small weddings.”
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