This is the part 1 of the “How to Get Started in Wedding Photography” article.

Weddings are not only fun but they are also one of the most solemn of occasions. Two souls unite into one and take the momentous first step towards learning how to live together, take care of together and grow old together! As a wedding photographer you have an enviable task, documenting all those precious moments on the couple’s biggest day.

Wedding Photo Retouching

Wedding color correction by ana.hmelnitkaia

I like the whole idea of wedding. The bigger, the better. For some photographers it can be a nightmare, trying to make sense of the chaos and manage to get some decent shots. For others it’s like a duck taking to water, gleefully they will wade through the day and walk out smiling with some of the most beautiful images you are likely to see; and they do it day in and day out. How they do it? They know their trade, they have the tools and they know how to work with people. That’s the three things that you need to have to be successful in wedding photography.

Tools

That brings us to the first requirement, i.e.; tools. Tools include everything hardware and software, that you need in order to shoot and deliver professional images. If you ask 10 photographers all of them will advise you to have at least 2 bodies. That’s the bare minimum. There is a reason for that. Your couples pay you a lot of money to make them look great on the best day of their life. There are scores of guests and countless moments that are worth capturing. These moments cannot be staged later. As a wedding photographer you simply cannot afford to goof up. If your primary body fails you ought to be able to shoot with the other. A few wedding photographers that I know even carry film SLRs as a backup body.

Additionally, all wedding photographers carry several lenses on them on the day of the shoot. This is so that they have all the essential focal lengths covered. Having two bodies allow them faster transition from one lens to the other without having to miss moments while they are changing lenses. On top of all that pro shooters would shoot with at least one additional shooter.

If you cannot, yet, afford to buy an additional body, ask a friend to lend you one. Or else there are plenty of places you can rent one for a few bucks, till that point when you can afford to buy a second body.

What are the lenses that you would want to carry?

The first lens that comes to my mind is a wide angle lens. Zoom lenses would allow you some extra leverage, though I could go on and on praising the 50mm f/1.8 prime lens. On the other hand a lot of pros wouldn’t even consider the 50mm f/1.8. There is an old saying where I come from, as many paths as there are monks. As you can understand your style of shooting will determine which lenses you finally make your own. They will become part of your shooting style.

Camera Lenses For Wedding Photography

On an average you will need a wide angle, one medium tele-photo and a prime lens to cover the basics. Beyond this you can experiment with specialty lenses such as a tilt-shift, a macro or even a fish-eye. Speaking of macro lenses, it is one of the favorite lens of a lot of wedding photographers. This lens allow you to shoot those gorgeous close-up shots that are difficult to get using other lenses.

Having said that the 24-70mm f/2.8L is a great wedding lens to start with. Yes, I know that I have already praised the 50mm f/1.8 lens above, but at times that lens can become a problem. The margin of error with focusing, when you are shooting wide open, is really narrow. There is no way to fix an image in post-production if it is out of focus. A much more manageable lens is the 24-70mm. Plus, it allows you to incorporate more of the background which, from time to time, is a great idea.

Preparations

Remember the Murphy’s Law. If there are any number of things that can go wrong, they probably will. So, prepare my dear fellow photographer and try not to leave anything to chance.

So, how do you really prepare for the wedding day? First thing is to know the couple. If they were the ones who approached you, then you are probably familiar, but yet you don’t know whether and how much they will be co-operating with you on the day of the wedding. Remember, it is a big day for them and there are bound to be butterflies in the stomach. The best option would be to do a pre-wedding shoot / engagement shoot prior to the wedding. This way you get to know the couple and they get to know you. They understand what to expect from you and you no longer are the stranger with the big camera. This is also the time when you can educate them on correct posing etc.

If you know the place, especially if it is a community hall or a church, that gives you an advantage because you will be able to prepare in advance as to whether and how much of extra artificial lighting you need. If you don’t know the place I suggest you go and visit the place in advance so that you know what to expect on the big day and basically there are no surprises.

Ensuring that your gear are all in working and in prime condition is a must do before the wedding. If you are doing weddings only on the weekends and don’t have a habit of shooting on a daily basis then it is recommended that you check your gear at least a week before and then once again two days before the wedding. This will allow you some buffer in case you need to replace or take care of any equipment. If you are renting equipment, make sure that they are in working condition and take care that you learn how to use it when taking delivery and then practice it on the days running up to the wedding. This will ensure that you will not make a fool of yourself on the wedding day fiddling with the equipment.

Continue to the part 2..


Read other parts,
How to Get Started in Wedding Photography – Part 1
How to Get Started in Wedding Photography – Part 2
How to Get Started in Wedding Photography – Part 3

Rajib Mukherjee

Rajib Mukherjee

Rajib’s love for the road is second only to his love for photography. Wanderlust at heart and a shutterbug who loves to document his travels via his lenses; his two passions compliment each other perfectly. He has been writing for over 6 years now, which unsurprisingly, revolve mostly around his two favourite pursuits.
Rajib Mukherjee

You may also like

Rajib Mukherjee February 23, 2017

Pricing Yourself – How Much to Charge as a Wedding Photographer?

In reality it is a question of assessing your costs and then setting a price which covers that ...

Rajib Mukherjee September 4, 2015

Some Wedding Photography Posing Tips

Wedding photographers are often hard-pressed to produce works of art standing in the midst of utter ...

Ben Novoselsky February 28, 2017

A Wedding Photographer’s Guide to Photographing the Bride

The bride’s portraits on the day of her wedding is one of the most important appointments of the ...

Rajib Mukherjee April 1, 2017

The Essential Guide to Posing the Groom

A ton has been written and said about the essential aspects of posing the bride. However, nobody ...

Ben Novoselsky June 11, 2016

Things to Consider When Drafting the Wedding Photography Contract

About a year and a half ago I read an eye-opening article by renowned wedding photographer Gary ...

Rajib Mukherjee October 16, 2014

How to Get Started in Wedding Photography – Part 2

Compositions are everything in wedding photography; at least when you are not shooting candid ...

Ben Novoselsky September 2, 2015

How to Shoot a Wedding in a Photojournalistic Style

Every now and then there would be a requirement for a photojournalistic style wedding photographer. ...

Rajib Mukherjee October 21, 2014

How to Get Started in Wedding Photography – Part 3

One of things that you must learn is how to use off-camera flash. Or if I may recompose that ...

Kelsey Fox September 24, 2014

8 Unique Ideas for Wedding Photos

A new spouse, a new last name, and photos - the three must-have takeaways of any wedding. Though ...

Ben Novoselsky November 24, 2014

Awesome Tips for Photographing Groups

Photographing groups can be extremely difficult. Usually, the need for large groups occurs at ...

Ben Novoselsky May 9, 2016

What Kind of Wedding Photography Lights Should You Buy?

Lighting in wedding photography is a big thing. Regardless of your budget you have a responsibility ...

Rajib Mukherjee June 23, 2014

Five Reasons You Should Outsource Your Photo Editing Chores

Reason 1 – Liberate the Photographer in You

As much as you love to shoot, post processing ...

Rajib Mukherjee April 18, 2017

Checklist of Preparation for Wedding Photography

Let’ face it. Wedding photography isn’t a sort of pursuit that is for the weak heart. Wedding ...

Popular posts

Rajib Mukherjee 1210

7 Tips to Shooting Great Portrait Photographs

Portrait photography is like a bread and butter thing for professional photographers. No matter ...

Kelsey Fox 808

8 Unique Ideas for Wedding Photos

A new spouse, a new last name, and photos - the three must-have takeaways of any wedding. Though ...

Kelsey Fox 643

Low Light and the Wildlife Photographer: How to Take a Photo an Editor Can Work With

Wildlife photographers are faced with a unique set of challenges. Not only do they often have to ...

Ben Novoselsky 643

4 Methods to Get White Balance of Your Images Correct

Image before white balance correction

Are you plagued with the problem of strange color casts ...

Savannah Eaddy 642

Tutorial: How to Smooth Skin in Photoshop

In this tutorial I will show you how to use different filters in photoshop to smooth out skin and ...

Ben Novoselsky 642

The Use of Diagonal Lines in Photography Composition

We often read about the creative uses of lines in photography. The horizon line is one such oft ...

Rajib Mukherjee 642

How to Get Started in Wedding Photography – Part 2

Compositions are everything in wedding photography; at least when you are not shooting candid ...

Ben Novoselsky 642

5 Useful Tips for Making Great Images in Low Light

Cameras like the Canon 5D Mark III and the Nikon D3X have completely changed the playing field when ...

Ben Novoselsky 642

Portrait Photography Lighting Tips

Portrait photography, especially when we talk about studio portrait photography, as a genre, is ...