Wedding photographers capture the best moments at wedding ceremonies. It would be best to have patience and fast reflexes to succeed in wedding photography. Spend time watching the guests and waiting to capture special moments on this emotional day.
Jump to Section
- What is wedding photography?
- What equipment do you need to photograph a wedding?
- 9 Wedding Photography Tips
- Want to learn more about photography?
- Annie Leibovitz Teaches Photography
What Is Wedding Photography?
Wedding photography is a branch of photography that involves capturing the most memorable moments of a wedding celebration. Wedding photographers use documentary and portrait photography techniques to capture special moments featuring the bride and groom, their family members, the bridesmaids, the groomsmen, and other guests. This type of photography can also include shooting the days leading up to the wedding ceremony.
What Equipment Do You Need to Photograph a Wedding?
You will need a few critical pieces of equipment to capture the best moments at a wedding shoot:
- A camera. Invest in a camera that suits your needs and delivers high-quality images—either a mirrorless camera or a DSLR will work. When selecting a camera, choose one with fast shutter speeds and reliable autofocus. While you can edit wedding photographs after the ceremony, the initial quality of the images will determine the final result.
- Lenses. Wide-angle zooms are ideal for group photoshoots and candid shots, while macro lenses work better for close-ups and small details (like rings, table settings, or bouquets). Keep various lenses on hand for different shots and scenarios, so you can swap them out when necessary.
- External flashes and diffusers. Some weddings occur at night or at venues with low natural light. Bringing your light source allows you to control the lighting and helps you avoid taking blurry photos. A flashgun or other external camera flash (and a diffuser to soften) are suitable light sources to add to your arsenal.
- Extra accessories. Keep extra batteries, chargers, and memory cards in your camera bag to ensure you have backups should anything go wrong with your main gear. Bring a backup camera.
9 Wedding Photography Tips
Whether you’re shooting your first wedding or you’re a seasoned pro, here are nine essential tips that every photographer can use to hone their wedding photography skills:
- 1. Know your gear. Familiarize yourself with all aspects of your camera gear, including your lenses, camera settings, and shooting modes. For example, a fast shutter speed is great for capturing fun party moments at the wedding reception, whereas a long shutter speed works best for still, pre-wedding portraits. A wide-angle lensis great for group shots, but a prime lens (lens with a fixed focal length) is a better option for that high-resolution shot of the wedding couple at the altar. Understanding each shot’s best settings and lenses lets you capture the best quality images when shooting weddings. Test out your gear beforehand to ensure everything is in working order.
- 2. Bring help. Consider bringing a second photographer who can simultaneously capture alternative angles of your shots. You can also ask your fellow photographer to capture all the smaller, candid moments, giving you enough time to shoot the significant, emotional events. Bringing a second shooter will provide you with more photo options during post-processing.
- 3. Prepare. Weddings can be stressful and unpredictable—you should prepare yourself for all possibilities. Whether it’s bringing extra batteries and memory cards, or finding additional locations to shoot the fun wedding party photos, have a backup plan and be ready to shift gears if necessary. Your preparedness can save the day and inform you how to handle similar issues at your next wedding.
- 4. Know who you’re shooting. The wedding day is about the couple and their friends and family gathering to celebrate their nuptials. Request a list of attendees or the seating arrangements to familiarize yourself with the guests you need to photograph for the wedding album.
- 5. Be familiar with the locations. Visit the venue before the wedding to see the layout and lighting opportunities. If you’re shooting the wedding party at a separate location, visit it before the shoot. Seeing the space beforehand will help you prepare for any potential obstacles (like poor lighting or an obstructive landscape) you may face on the day of the actual wedding. If you’re shooting a destination wedding, aim to arrive a day or two earlier to give yourself time to check out the location and meet the team at the wedding venue.