Tip 1: Make it legal
Photographers who are new to wedding photography can make the biggest mistake: not having a signed contract. It is binding and legally binding. This creates a contract between you, the client.
Your client signing a contract means that they accept your role and responsibilities in the wedding. Contracts clearly outline your duties and the benefits your clients will receive. Because there is money involved, it serves as protection for both parties.
You can make your booking legally with a signed contract. ShootProof makes it easy to do both. Use the ShootProof Marketplace’s contract template and Invoices features to create a legally-drafted contract.
Congratulations to those who have received a signed contract with a retainer. Step up!
Tip #2 – Keep your lines open for communication
There are a lot of questions, bookings, payment discussions, and planning behind every scheduled wedding photography shoot. Communication is essential to ensure that all preparations are made and expectations are met. Clients will have several options to contact you, whether it is via email, phone or social media.
You must respond quickly
If you’re just starting your business, it can feel daunting to respond to messages. You might be worried that the client will not reply right away.
It’s normal. Keep in mind that your couples are currently planning a wedding and have many other things going on. Although they may take a while to get back to you, it is crucial that you respond as quickly as possible. Your friends will be more likely to recommend you to you if they have a positive experience.
Send a Questionnaire
To help you understand the details of your wedding day, send your couples a questionnaire. It is important to know exactly when coverage begins and where you must be located throughout the day. You also need to know the names and addresses of any family members or wedding guests.
You can also use questionnaires for more information about your couple. Find out how they met, what was their story and why they chose their wedding venue. You can use all of these details to write a blog post about your event.
Create a meeting
Set up a meeting approximately 2-3 weeks prior to the wedding to get to know your partner. This can either take place in person, or you can do it via FaceTime. It all depends on what is most convenient for you.
It is great to have face-to–face time with your client prior to the big day. This allows you to meet up with the client face-to-face, review the timeline, ask them last-minute questions, and relieve any nerves.
Tip #3 – Create a Workflow
Wedding photography doesn’t just involve shooting the events. You will be involved in the booking process, email communication and post-processing as well as the delivery of orders. Find ways to automate your workflow if all this is something you can do yourself.
Use Studio Management Software
If you look back at the previous tips, it is possible to see that client communication as well as contract signing are critical parts of your business. Tave studio management tools allow you to automate messages so your clients receive responses, questionnaires, contracts, and other information on time.
A studio management software can help you to manage your workflow. A dashboard is a feature of most tools that allows you create a timeline for your wedding photography. To help you prioritize which tasks to complete, set deadlines. Deadlines are crucial when it comes to wedding photography!
Tip #4 – Make a Shot List
This is not the right shot for your client!
This is the list you need to make before the day ends. What can you expect from yourself?
Create a well-curated list containing no more than 25 “must haves” and keep it in your memory. It should not be difficult to take these photos.
You’ll miss important moments if you keep looking at a piece of paper all day while you photograph the wedding. You’ll feel more present and engaged in the creative process if you have a gut sense of what you want.
You might only see the bride and groom as they are preparing for the big day. This is a wonderful opportunity to photograph details like:
- Close-ups of the rings and cords.
- Bouquets and corsage are some of the options for flower arrangements.
- Hanging suits and dresses
- Accessories such as perfumes, jewelry, cufflinks and other accessories
Perhaps the grandmothers made the bouquet. The tie of the groom might be a handcrafted or heirloom. Perhaps they were bonded by their ability to design their own invitations.
Although they may seem simple, they could have deeper sentimental significance. These objects serve as important reminders about the intimate details of the wedding. Include these items in your shot list as you never know what emotions might be evoked by looking at the images.
The bride’s preparations for the big day are highlighted in the bridal coverage. It’s also about getting together with her closest friends. Take at least one hour to capture these images:
- Makeup and hair done for the bride, maid of honour, and bridesmaids
- Parents assist the bride with accessories
- Bridesmaids and maid-of-honour having fun with the bride
- Brides put on a dress
- Group shots taken with the entire family
Pictures of the bride taken in front of a large glass, in the staircase or other amazing areas at the wedding are creative
Boudoir photography available upon request
As with the bridal shoot, the coverage of the groom shows the groom preparing for their event. It’s also about having a lot of fun with the groom’s closest friends. Moments such as these should be filmed for at least 30-45 mins
- A shot of ‘cheers,’ with beer or Scotch
- Groom: Put on jacket, tie, cuff links
- Family shots
- Photographs of the groom taken solo
- These are some of the funniest photos from the wedding party
You cannot control what happens at the wedding ceremony. It is your responsibility to pay attention and to capture the events as best you can. This is the most important and challenging part of the day. Make sure you have all the information and gear necessary.
Get a Copie of the Ceremony Schedule
First of all, ask clients and coordinators for a copy. Even though every religion has its own wedding ceremony, there may be some parts that are unique to yours. This is why you will need to have the actual event’s timeline.
Photographing wedding ceremonies is your job. You need to be able to predict how it will unfold so that you can get to the right spot at just the right moment. You’re less likely to miss any moments from the processional to the exchange of vows and rings to your first kiss if you know when they’ll happen.
Clarify Wedding Traditions
You will be exposed to many cultural and religious traditions as a photographer. Knowing what to expect is essential, especially if you have to adhere to certain rules.
You might need to adjust your coverage depending on the religious traditions or regions you live in.
A Hindu wedding, for example, may span multiple days. Catholic weddings often include the Liturgy of the Eucharist, or Communion. It is clear that much depends on faith traditions. You need to know the basics of how to act and wedding photography.
Here are some must-have shots
No matter whether the wedding will be civil or religious, it will likely have a basic outline. Important is to capture all the important aspects.
- The procesional of the wedding party as they walk down the aisle
- The reaction of the groom to the bride walking in
- Bride walking down the aisle
- The couple’s address and opening remarks by the officiant
- Vowed and exchange of rings
- The first kiss should be taken at the center and front angles (you must not miss this!
- Reaction shots from family, friends, or guests
- Recession or a confetti-filled escape
- Signature of the ketubah, or any other marriage contract
Group and Family Shots
The church’s policies and the client’s preferences may dictate how group shots are taken. This is when the couple may want to head to their cocktails party. Your job is to manage the situation and keep it moving.
It’s a good idea to notify event coordinators that formal group photos will be taken. This will speed things up. These are the standard group shots you can take, except for the official photos of the bride and groom.
- With the officiant, bride and groom
- With each set of parents, bride and groom
- With each member of the immediate family, bride and groom
With each extended family (grandparents and aunts uncles, cousins and nieces and nephews), bride & groom
It is possible to streamline the wedding portrait process by following a certain sequence. It will save you precious time and make your wedding day more wedding photography enjoyable for you and your couple.
The reception is where the real fun begins. Reception is just as unpredictable as the ceremony. These are the key points to remember:
Setup details for the reception, including table settings, name cards and favors
- Cocktail hour
- Grand entrance
- Toasts and speeches
- Cake cutting
- First dance and specialty dancing
- Bouquet toss and garter
The bride and the groom interact with their guests
- Enjoy the fun on the dance floor
- Other games
- Sparkler exit
- You should look for the action
Photographing a wedding ceremony is difficult because most guests are seated and standing. The reception allows people to move more. There are many candid opportunities at the reception, except for those that are part of the program, such as cake cutting or first dance.
Look around and see where the fun is. Is it in the photobooth or on the dance floor? You can see people laughing and talking over at tables, so go over there to get real smiles.
Wedding photographers are able to capture small, unexpected moments. Keep an eye out for unexpected moments that may not be noticed by others but are sure to make a lasting memory for the couple.
Remember the Composition
Composition is still a challenge for many wedding photographers. Some common issues can arise when shooting your first wedding.
Before taking the photo, take some time to examine the composition. You should ensure that the shot is free from distractions. You can try different angles to capture the scene if there are.
Use people and things to frame the bride and groom
For a fresh perspective, take a look at existing frames around the venue. This could be elements such as a window, or an archway that act as the background. Photos can be symmetrical and balanced by architectural elements.
A great way to get creative shots of the couple involves using guests as a frontground framing device. This will give you more context. You can show how people respond to or pay attention during the ceremony.
Take a look at the siblings or parents and capture the moment when they are crying during the couple’s ceremony. You can also predict how the guests will react to the couple cutting their cake.
Move like the Wind
You should be able to move fast during weddings. Even if you have to take photos of your guests in close up, be respectful so they don’t get disturbed. To reduce noise, make sure you turn on the silent shutter mode of your camera if it has one.
Practice before the Event
If you are using a new lens or camera for the first time, practice shooting before the big day. You can read articles and watch videos on wedding photography. If you have the time, you may even be able to visit the actual venue to take photographs.