I’ve spent some time analysing my weddings and wanted to share a few tips from last year. I changed things up a bit and decided to shoot a lot of weddings alone (even though I thrive in a team environment) and switched from zoom to prime lenses. I used all of these tips to make this change as smooth as possible for myself!
Before the Wedding…
- Practice Shooting in Unfavourable Conditions… If the wedding is in a church and you’re not allowed to use flash, you still have to shoot it. If it’s outdoors at high noon and the bride is facing the sun and squinting through the ceremony, you still have to shoot it. For this wedding, I purposely left my flash behind so that I could focus on natural light and challenge myself to produce some beautiful and emotive reception shots.
- Create a Vision Board… Browse Pinterest for beautiful light, inspirational compositions, poses, and silly group shot ideas. Flip through them in the weeks leading up to the wedding so that on the Big Day, you’ll have a little toolbox of ideas ready for your Creatives. Speaking of Pinterest, I only get asked to replicate “that shot I saw on Pinterest!” if there’s a lull in my flow. If I have a strong sense of which direction I want to take, the less chance there is for this to happen. At the same time, they can be pretty fun, like the shot below!
Visualise the Creative Session
- Infuse Your Passion… I place a strong value on connection photography, but weddings are so fast-paced and prescribed. The creative session is my favourite part because I get a chance to slow things down, allow the couple to enjoy the shoot (and realise they just got married!), and really get the shots I’m passionate about.
- Set the Tone… By now, you have probably gotten to know your couple and have a sense of their relationship. Some couples are goofy and fun, others are passionate or mysterious. Instead of posing them unnaturally, focus on creating a feeling that will resonate with them during the session. You want to create images that demonstrate the unique love they have for one another.
Telling the Story
- Ask a Bridesmaid for Help… We all know that asking a bridesmaid to help wrangle family for group shots is essential. They are often eager to help with other issues as well. This summer, I had help from a bridesmaid when the Groom’s father was trying to photograph every moment, and even bumped into me in the aisle while trying to photograph the B&G’s first kiss! Once dad realised I was there so that he could enjoy himself, I managed to get this shot of him dancing with the flower girls…
- Detail Shots… tell the part of the story that the B&G probably didn’t get a chance to appreciate during the wedding. Sometimes, these are personal touches from family and friends that tell a larger story than just “what it looked like” on the wedding day. They can really accentuate the story with deeper relationship connections and are, of course, great for wedding and parent albums.
The wedding industry is intense and there are a lot of outside pressures telling you what kind of photographer you need to be. The thing is, there is a place for everyone. I strive to shoot only outdoor weddings and to one day specialize in elopements, so that is the photographer I am trying to create. Who do you want to be?
As a girl from a small town who lives the simple life, I do what most people would consider crazy and photograph weddings using the most minimal gear:
- Nikon D700
- Nikon D600
- Sigma 35 1.4 ART
- Nikon 85 1.8
- Tokina 100 2.8
- A wackton of Lexar Professional Memory Cards
- Spare batteries
- A Spiderholster (essential to life)
Since I’ve chosen this setup, I’ve felt a huge weight lift off my shoulders and have been able to focus more on creativity than anything else. I might add a Sigma 24 to the mix one day, but I’m pretty happy with this setup. If everything broke and I only had one body and one lens, I would confidently capture a wedding beautifully. I’m just not the kind of person who thrives with too many choices