Tips For Shooting Your First Wedding

Hey, if you're reading this blog then CONGRATS! You've booked your first wedding and you're preparing to shoot it. In my time, I've captured around 40 weddings of many sizes and I'm here to let you in on a few secrets. There are so many important things for you to know before the big day, and I hope to outline all of these things in this post. Grab your pen & paper (or iPad for all you tech-savvy people), and let's get talking!

 Don't feel like reading about shooting weddings? Check out my Youtube video that covers everything in this blog & more!

Tip #1: Be Prepared.

Weddings are a big deal, and these photos are going to last the couple their entire lives. You want to make sure you're capturing the day to the best of your ability, and this starts with prep work!! Yes, that's right. There's a lot of pre-wedding details that need to get sorted out before you jump right into it...

1. Communicate with the Bride pre-wedding.

Below is a list of some of the items you should talk about before the wedding day:

  • Family Photo Shot List
  • Your time of arrival
  • Your departure time
  • General timeline for the day
  • Where will you be taking the bridal party photos?
  • Where will you be taking the bride + groom portraits?
  • Is there a first look?
  • Are there any specific photos your client wants? (Possibly have them send you a Pinterest board)
  • Ask the bride & groom if they’re comfortable with you standing in the aisle for the entrances and first kiss. It’s important for you to be up close with all the action, but if not - bring a long lens.

Helpful hint: Make sure you have a photo timeline prepared, even if the bride gives you a very generic timeline. Make your own timeline, with everything you need to shoot outlined. This way, you'll know when you need to capture each thing, and you can be on the look out for what's next.

2. Pack Your Bag.

Another important part of prepping is making sure your camera bag is good to go! Whether you've got a fancy camera bag or if you're just using an old backpack, you've got to be ready for any + all chaotic camera gear situations. Here's a few tips in regard to your camera bag...

  • Bring back ups! Back up lenses, extra cards, and extra batteries. 
  • Shoot dual card slot (and if you can't, offload your card ASAP after the wedding)
  • Bring snacks and lots of water
  • Wear comfortable shoes
  • Wear a comfortable outfit (with pockets to keep your phone close for the time)

Helpful hint: Don’t be afraid to rent lenses if you need them. The right lenses help make your photos fit the style you want (especially prime f/1.4 lenses)

Tip #2: Shoot, shoot, and never stop shooting.

When you capture a wedding, you never want to miss an unscripted moment! Since this is your first wedding, I highly suggest shooting more than you think you need. In case something goes wrong, someone blinks or whatever, it's better to have options just in case! Here's a few more tips in regard to shooting...

  • Always check your photos after a few shots to make sure everything looks how you want. 
  • Don’t just focus on the couple, but make sure you get candid photos of important family members, guests, and the bridal party. 
  • Switch between landscape & portrait so you have a variety of options for your portfolio. 
  • Capture photos of the details for vendors: flowers, food, dress, suits, DJ, venue, etc. This is a great way to get connected with local vendors!
  • Always boost up your bride & groom while they're being photographed! Let them know what they're doing well, and this will help ease any nerves they might have.

Helpful hint: Use lots of poses for bride & groom poses, you can even bring a sticky note with all your ideas so you don’t forget!

Tip #3: Be confident (because you're amazing)

If there's one thing I wish I could tell myself as a beginner photographer, it's to have confidence in my ability! Don't let the fear of the unknown keep you from trying new things (like shooting weddings).

You set the mood for the day so stay positive. The bride & groom will feel stressed if you’re stressed, and comfortable if you’re comfortable. 

Have tons of fun!! Weddings are a BLAST to shoot, and it's a privilege to capture the most special day of someone's life.