Successful wedding photography means investing a bit more time rather than just turning up on the day. I figure if it ensures that everything runs smoothly on the day, then it’s worth it. A wedding is a one off, one day event that can’t be redone. No photographer can afford to not take it seriously.
Attending the rehearsal is especially important, I think, if you are unfamiliar with the venue. It will give you an idea of how things might look and run on the day, you can check out the lighting and make note of any obstructions. It’s also a good opportunity to meet the bridal party, the couple’s parents and the celebrant before the ceremony. Take this chance to discuss your photography style with the celebrant as well to make sure you won’t be disrupting the ceremony. This is your time also to speak up if you have concerns about how anything is going to be run that might make it difficult to get key shots.
A pre-wedding warm up in the form of an Engagement shoot is one of the best ways you can prepare your bride and groom for their wedding photography. This is a great way to further engage with your couple and get them used to being in front of the camera as well as your shooting style. Having done this, come their wedding day they will know what to expect from the photography and be much more relaxed in front of the camera. You will also have a better understanding of how they interact together as a couple, what they are comfortable with and how they will interact with you.
Wear comfortable clothing, quiet shoes and be discreet. While you need to dress professionally and appropriately for the occasion you also need to be discreet. Noisy heels click clacking around a church is not practical or sensitive to the situation. I always wear flats and while I do move around a lot during the ceremony, while doing so I am also discreet and try not to take any attention off the event. I’m also aware that at some point during the day I might need to run, I’ve been known to climb fences, walk in rivers and have had to avoid cow pats – comfortable shoes are important.
Have a backup plan and backup gear
Make sure you discuss backup options in case of bad weather or conditions unsuitable to photograph in. It always pays to have a second photography location in mind.
The worst situation you can put yourself in is not being prepared with your gear. You should always have extra batteries, memory cards, lenses and camera bodies if you can. You don’t need to necessarily carry these all around with you all day, but have them available, and keep them somewhere nearby, in your car perhaps. If your batteries die, your memory card corrupts or you drop your camera or lens, you need to be able to keep shooting no matter what.
Set a schedule and set expectations
Let them know what to expect from you on the day. This includes your shooting style, how you will approach certain photos, family groups and timing.
You will set a schedule with the couple as part of your photography coverage planning and it is important to allow enough time for each aspect of the day. There will be getting ready shots, ceremony, family photos, bridal party portraits and reception. You should also have a general idea of how much time you need to capture each of these events throughout the day. Seeing as there are many other vendors involved in the day who are also working to their own schedule e.g. make-up artists, caterers and drivers, there’s a high chance that things won’t run to schedule. Being able to adapt to changes means it will be much easier to work around issues that could interfere with your photography schedule.
Be able to adapt, think on your feet, and be prepared.
While we can plan and prepare as much as possible for a wedding day, from my experience they often don’t run as planned. It is important to be able to act fast and think on your feet, be flexible and adapt to any changes that might happen throughout the day.
Never pretend you’ve got the shot
I think you should always be honest with your bridal couple. If you have been limited on the day and don’t feel confident that you have got certain shots, make it known and try and make an effort to get them. You don’t want to be in a situation where the bride asks why you haven’t provided a certain shot that she specifically asked for and having to say that time didn’t allow for it on the day. I always let my couple know how I’m feeling with the shots I’m getting. If I don’t feel confident that we have enough time on the day to get specific shots, I will speak up and let them know their options.
I’ll admit after photographing weddings for more than 5 years, I still get nervous! It’s important to remain professional – cool, calm and collected. If something doesn’t go as planned don’t stress about it – your stress can rub off on the bride and you want her in the best mood possible!
There is only so much you can do to control the outcome on the day and the rest of the time you just have to go with the flow. Remember to smile and laugh and try to have fun with everyone.
PhotoBox recommends creating photo books to best capture your special day.
Erin King Photographer
Photographer of weddings and pets Melbourne, Vic, AU & Wellington, NZ www.erinking.com.au
www.facebook/erinkingphotographer (photo credit to Erin King)