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Beginner's Tips for Shooting a Wedding

by Chris Gampat on 02/22/2010

With PMA in full swing as I am writing this, there are probably some of you looking for alternative things to read about. I shot a wedding this past weekend and of all the loads of tips that I’ve written in the past I’ve never written about weddings. So if you’re getting into shooting them and want some tips, keep reading.

Photograph Everything

This is being used loosely. That doesn’t mean photograph the details in the hardwood flooring as well. What it means is that you should be trying to get as many photographs as you can that will not only provide to be filler in between all the majorly important shots but also will make people go, “Oh, I didn’t notice that was happening.”

In the industry, it’s called being the fly on the wall. It also ties into moving around silently and not being noticed very much.

Get the Details

Elements of Photojournalism

Our posting on photojournalism should really help you out with this. Photojournalism and the skills associated with it is a huge part of wedding photography. The reason why is because it’s all a documentary process. You’re telling a story when you shoot a wedding. There will always need to be establishing shots, closing shots, etc.

Get Different Views

Shooting everything from one height level gets boring after a while. Try raising your camera up above your head or ducking while shooting. The former usually delivers some of my best and most interesting shots.

These different views get you thinking about how you can use your different angles to get better photographs.

Have Fun With Your Subjects

The opening photo was one of my funnest pictures during the shoot. When I told the subject what I wanted to do, they were a but confused. Then when they started doing it and seeing the results, they loved it. These are the types of things that your clients will really appreciate and will make for memorable times.

This will call upon your more creative side as well. So if you’re the type of photographer that likes to think out of the box, then this is for you.

If It Elicits an Emotion, Shoot It

This once again ties into photojournalism. If something happens that elicits an emotion out of someone (laughter or a smile perhaps) capture it. These types of things are important. The reason why is because when the bride and groom are reviewing their photos afterward they’ll be happy to see these and will remember everything that happened. They may even feel the nostalgia if the photos are good enough.

Get The Must-Have Shots

Digital Photography School has a listing of the must-have shots for every wedding. I can tell you though that it is a very general list and that the list won’t apply to every wedding. For example, traditional and ethnic Hindu weddings will call for different things to be documented than a Roman Catholic wedding. But the general list is still a great thing to memorize.

For my pros out there: what other tips can you add to shooting weddings?

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