5 Good Habits for Wedding Photography Beginners
Good photography practices for beginners to adopt when starting out
Wedding photographers often get asked about their success secrets. People want to know about their practices, the gear they use, tips and tricks for getting better photos, and so on. But in simple words, it sounds like an easy job, right? Just capture a few pretty pictures and you’re good to go. But wedding photography is a lot harder than you think. It requires a photographer to be skilled in almost every genre of photography – environment, portraiture, fashion, action shots, landscape and so much more. The goal is not to walk away with just a few pretty pictures; any amateur can get lucky a couple of times. The challenge is to consistently deliver a full set of good images wedding after wedding. As professionals, it is important for you to deliver the quality of pictures that the client expects from you. Your reputation depends on it.
It can be a difficult task for beginner’s to cover their initial weddings seamlessly. To help you with that, we’ve listed out a few best practices to maximise what you want to get out of a wedding. These few tips will definitely help you smoothly sail the chaos that is Indian weddings.
#1 Set the expectations right
In the very first conversation with a prospective client, set some expectations on both sides. Be very clear about your style of photography and what you will deliver. Make sure that what the client wants and what you can deliver are in the same ballpark. If they ask something of you that you’re not sure about or haven’t done before, tell them honestly. It is also absolutely okay to say no at the cost of losing an assignment than having the client disappointed or disgruntled in your work later on. One bad word could mar your reputation and jeopardise potential future assignments.
#2 Preparation is key
This is perhaps the most important of all. We cannot stress enough about the significance of knowing what is happening where and when! You HAVE to familiarise yourself with the itinerary of all wedding events, highlights and programmes scheduled so that you can be at the right place at the right time. Also, get a list of all the important people from the couple and make sure you don’t miss them. You should have shots of all the people that the couple expects in your delivery – from close family members and best friends to the drunk uncle and the talkative Dimpy aunty!
It also helps to have a personalised must-have shot-list. Keep a mental list of shots that you definitely have to get on the wedding day. Portraits, candids, action shots, family photos, details – anything that is your and the client’s priority. You should also talk to the client and have one person to coordinate with from the family – they can help inform you about any changes in events or locate people during functions.
#3 Be professional
It is extremely important for you to be on time for all events – whether they actually start on time or not. If you said you’d be there to cover 6 events, make sure that you’re present for all 6 of them. Even if a family member asks you to take a picture with their phone, keep your cool. Setting a firm but polite tone of behaviour will definitely work in your favour.
Establish a relationship with your client as well as their close family and friends. This will help get you access to intimate moments and even introverts will feel comfortable in front of the camera. Just a smile, a hello or a small introduction will do wonders in getting them to relax around you! But also remember that you’re not a guest or a family member. Be friendly but not intrusive. Maintain professional decorum with the guests.
Professional behaviour does not apply only at the actual wedding, but also after it. Be true to your word and deliver pictures on the date you promised to your client. If you realise that you will not be able to deliver on time, be honest. Call them up, tell them and apologise for the inconvenience. But wouldn’t it be better to set a realistic timeline in the beginning itself?
#4 Dress for the occasion
This might not be high up on your priority list when thinking about shooting a wedding, but it is nevertheless important. How you dress is a reflection of your personality and your brand. It is a great way to blend in amongst the wedding guests and get your perfect candid shot! Dress smart but functional, and make sure you’re appropriately dressed for the event. You don’t want to stand out like a sore thumb in formals for a pool-party or dress casually for a super-formal wedding event. If you’re having trouble deciding what to wear, read our blog post on dressing guide for shooting at a wedding, where we go into detail about style guide for wedding photographers.
#5 Be adventurous but don’t interrupt
Once you’ve got your shots from the must-have list, don’t be afraid to experiment or try new things. Get down on the ground, climb up a ledge, be creative, try a different perspective. Try and get at least one portfolio worthy shot from each wedding. Use unconventional angles, reflections, props, dramatic lighting and anything else that strikes your fancy — and don’t be afraid to be bold. But at the same time, don’t interrupt the rituals. You should know when to keep your distance and be respectful of the wedding.
No one can be perfect in their first assignment, even seasoned wedding photographers make mistakes. So it is extremely important to remember that every assignment is a new opportunity to make mistakes and learn from them. Try and aim to learn or do something new at every wedding. Keep a note of what went wrong and how you can get past the hurdle next time. And lastly, don’t forget to have fun. Weddings are heartfelt and wonderful celebrations of love. Join in the fun and relax!
Cover Photo Credit: Akshay Sansare Photography & Films
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