I love being a wedding photographer! It’s a job most people grimace at, but I simply adore it. The energy that surrounds weddings is contagious. The mood is pure joy and the guests are full of love.
That being said, the wedding day is long. Being able to create wow-worthy images throughout the entire day is not as easy as it seems. Just follow these tips to make sure you keep the creativity and positive energy flowing! Creating stunning wedding imagery for your clients can be one of the most rewarding things you ever do as a photographer.
The getting ready portraits set the tone for the day. I always take these portraits wherever the members of the bridal party are getting ready. Sometimes that means I’m in a beautiful room with large windows that let in the most amazing ambient sunlight. Other times I am in a room with no windows and I have to rely solely on an off-camera flash or the lighting in the room. Both of these scenarios, though, offer a lot of opportunity for interesting and unique photographs. Some of my favorite images include the bride interacting with her mother, the bride putting on her dress, bridesmaids helping the bride, and flower girls doing cute things.
Oh, how I adore the first look. This is the first time the couple sees each other after they are dressed in their wedding attire. Although I do have some of my couples that don’t see each other until they meet at the altar, most of my couples love to do their posed pictures before the ceremony so their guests do not have to wait hours for them to arrive at the reception.
During the first look, I love to get both people’s reactions to seeing each other. This is where having a second photographer is so helpful. However, if you don’t have the opportunity to have two shooters, I would quickly move from one to the other. I tend to use my M.Zuiko ED 40-150mm F2.8 PRO lens so that I can set out of the scene and be an observer, not an orchestrator.
This is the time of the day where I am in complete control of every image. I have a detailed list of which pictures to take. For my groups, I take several bridal party images in several locations. I like to capture both traditionally posed and fun pictures of the group. I love offering my clients lots of options and have found that this is very helpful when designing their album. I also like to photograph the couple with each member of their party individually. I will also photograph specific groupings of the bridal party together as requested.
I generally move through my family pictures quickly. Again, I have a list that I work from. I continuously build and break down my family grouping, but my couple always remains in the center of the group.
For example, my first image would include the couple in the middle with one set of parents flanking both sides of the couple. My next image would be to add the siblings. My next image would be to add the grandparents. After that, I would remove everyone but the couple and restart the process with the other set of parents.
My favorite set of images is always the couple portraits. I love getting creative with the couple. I use multiple locations and a variety of poses around the event to ensure I get maximum pictures in a short amount of time. Because my style of photography includes an outdoor element, I try to make sure I utilize as many outdoor areas as possible. This includes ivy-covered walls, cityscapes, bridges, waterfalls, ponds, woods, or even the outside of the building. My focus with these images is to capture the love between them and the unique personalities they bring to their marriage. Expression is everything!
For me, the wedding day is only the beginning. I love that the vast majority of my wedding clients are still married. As a wedding photographer for 16 years, this says a lot about my clients and their commitment to each other. During the ceremony, I am like a fly on the wall. My couples should not hear or see me for the most part. I love to capture both close-ups and wide angle shots during the ceremony. My M.Zuiko ED 40-50mm F2.8 PRO lens and my M.Zuiko ED 7-14mm F2.8 PRO lens are my go-to lenses during the ceremony.
However, if I am outside or in a large cathedral, the M.Zuiko ED 300mm F4.0 IS PRO is an amazing lens to use! Make sure to take pictures of the whole bridal party, close-ups of the couple, the parents watching the ceremony, the exchange of rings, and the first kiss.
Let the fun begin! This is the time I let the DJ or band take over running the show. I take a back seat and become an observer again. The only time I really step in is during the cutting of the cake. My couples have no idea how to pose for these pictures, so I like to guide them along the way. Other than that, I photograph the reception in a photojournalistic style.
Last but not least, it is vitally important to photograph the details of the wedding! The couple has likely spent countless hours on the decorations and details. Some of the most important shots include the rings, the cake, the table decor, the beading on the dress, and the shoes.