Posts Tagged ‘Wedding’

Texas report details the harsh realities, risks of being a wedding photographer during the COVID-19 pandemic

17 Dec

A recent report of out South Texas reveals the harsh reality of being a wedding photographer in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States. In an article titled ‘Texas Wedding Photographers Have Seen Some $ #!+’ shared by Texas Monthly, reporter Emily McCullar tells the story of a wedding photographer who was diagnosed with COVID-19 after it was revealed the groom of the party had tested positive for COVID-19 and didn’t inform the wedding photographer.

The photographer, who remains unnamed throughout the article, was informed of the groom’s positive diagnosis by a bridesmaid in the party. But not before the photographer had spent ‘an hour or two inside the unmasked wedding party’ taking photographs. The photographer said ‘[the bridesmaid] was looking for me to be like, “Oh, that’s crazy,” like I was going to agree with her that it was fine.’

That wasn’t the case though. The photographer suffers from asthma, a serious comorbidity factor that can increase the risks of a positive COVID-19 diagnosis. Additionally, the photographer has three kids and a husband at home that she didn’t want to infect, should she end up COVID-19 positive.

After discovering the groom’s secret, the photographer and her assistant left. Texas Monthly notes ‘her exit was tense.’ ‘The wedding planner said it was the most unprofessional thing she’d ever seen […] Bridesmaids accused her of heartlessly ruining an innocent woman’s wedding day.’ The photographer even recollected a bridesmaid telling her ‘I’m a teacher, I have fourteen students. If I’m willing to risk it, why aren’t you?’

After leaving, the photographer ‘canceled her Thanksgiving plans with family, sent her kids to relatives’ houses so they wouldn’t get sick, and informed the brides of her upcoming weddings that she’d be subcontracting to other shooters,’ says Texas Monthly. Sure enough, a few days after the wedding, the photographer started feeling symptoms and eventually tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

The photographer said the couple whose wedding she was photographing ‘didn’t care’ about the diagnosis and ‘didn’t offer to compensate her for the test, nor did they apologize for getting her sick.’

The article goes on to point out that this incident is far from an isolated one. As you browse through the hashtag ‘#TexasWedding’ on Instagram, there are a handful of images that show groups of friends and family celebrating matrimony with what appears to be little regard for protocols suggested for mitigating the spread of COVID-19, a disease that’s confirmed to have killed over 302,000 individuals in the United States alone.

A screenshot of a few images that show up when you search ‘#TexasWedding’ on Instagram. Faces have been blurred for privacy sake.

The report details statements from other photographers, who share their experiences trying to shoot weddings throughout the pandemic. A reoccurring theme is a lack of masks, proper social distancing and little means of sanitation options, such as hand sanitizer.

As for the original wedding photographer, she recalled a heartbreaking conversation she had with a bridesmaid at the wedding:

‘I have children,’ she told a bridesmaid, ‘What if my children die?’ The bridesmaid responded, ‘I understand, but this is her wedding day.’

The report notes that not all wedding anecdotes it came across from photographers were as reckless as the featured one, but even in the anecdotes that featured more responsible weddings, nearly half of the guests were unmasked, including those who had high risk factors. While Texas reduced the size of wedding gatherings — from 500 to 250 individuals — there’s still plenty of risk in having that many individuals together at a single venue.

Vaccines are being distributed around the globe, but according to experts on the matter, it will still be a while before anything gets back to ‘normal,’ whatever that may look like. And until then, this unfortunate reality is what many wedding photographers (and other professions) will have to face as the death toll continues to rise, particularly in the United States.

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Sony’s new Visual Story iOS app is designed for wedding and event photographers

02 Dec

Sony has announced Visual Story, a new iOS application for Sony camera users. The app has been designed with wedding and event photographers in mind and provides users with simplified gallery creation, cloud storage, and web delivery solutions.

Visual Story offers automated image transfer from compatible Sony Alpha cameras to the cloud. From there, users can edit and deliver curated digital albums directly to their clients. To speed up image selection and organization, the app also utilizes AI and reads the metadata of your images.

‘The voice of our customer is at the center of everything we do. Today’s professional photographers constantly challenge themselves to deliver higher quality content faster than ever to their clients,’ said Neal Manowitz, deputy president of Sony Imaging Products and Solutions Americas. ‘Visual Story allows them to streamline their workflow, ultimately giving them the ability to edit, select and send photo galleries to their clients on the day of the ceremony or event. Sony continues developing innovative hardware and software solutions empowering content creators to capture, communicate and share in ways never before possible.’

With Visual Story, photographers can quickly and easily create, edit, curate and deliver a photo gallery. When your camera is connected to the app, images are automatically transferred from the camera to the connected smartphone or tablet in addition to Sony’s cloud service. Images are automatically organized using AI and can be sorted based on metadata, star ratings, shooting timeframe, focus position and additional parameters.

AI can also sort based on different types of images from an event. For example, AI can detect cake and ring ceremony images from a wedding, identify photos of speeches and dances, and more. The app can also detect when a subject’s eyes are shut, reducing the number of images you must choose from when creating a gallery.

Visual Story includes auto presets as well. Photographers can automatically apply custom edit presets or utilize built-in fixed presets. You can register an edit preset prior to shooting, such that all transferred images are automatically applied as the images are transferred, ensuring a consistent look across all photos. Additionally, the app includes a variety of editing functions, including controls over exposure, white balance, contrast, hue, saturation, and luminance.

By utilizing cloud storage, images can be synchronized across multiple devices. Further, ‘Visual Story also allows wedding photographers to automatically create an online gallery for their clients, which can be delivered instantly on site. This can be offered to their client as an additional service, or complimentary and included in their wedding or event package.’ You can also embed a selected logo and social media information directly into the images in the photo gallery, making it easier to market your business when clients share images online.

When creating a photo gallery in the app, your ratings and selections can be saved as an XMP file as well, meaning you can transfer your ratings/selections to your computer for easier processing later.

Visual Story is available now for iOS in the Apple App Store. It is a free download. Your iOS device must be running iOS 13 or newer. Visual Story is compatible with select Sony cameras, including A7C, A7R IV, A7S III, A9, and A9 II. The Sony A7 III will be supported in a planned firmware update in Spring 2021.

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5 Must-Have Lenses for Wedding Photographers and Why

11 Oct

The post 5 Must-Have Lenses for Wedding Photographers and Why appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Lily Sawyer.

Have you ever wondered which lenses for wedding photographers are best?

There is a plethora of choice when it comes to lenses, and lens companies come up with new products all the time. Many photographers are attracted to these bright and shiny things and end up with a huge collection of lenses, many of which hardly see the light of day.

But if you have to pare back to the absolute necessities and are allowed five lenses in your wedding photography bag, these are the ones that I would recommend. I have been a professional wedding photographer for seven years now, and deciding on these five lenses took some time and serious consideration over the course of my career.

They are:

  1. The 70-200mm f/2.8
  2. The 24-70mm f/2.8
  3. The 85mm prime
  4. The 35mm prime
  5. A macro lens (105mm or 60mm for Nikon, 100mm or 60mm for Canon)

Let’s look at each lens individually to see why.

lenses for wedding photographers

1. 70-200mm f/2.8

It’s big, bulky, and heavy, but I wouldn’t do a wedding without this lens. The 70-200 f/2.8 is my workhorse when it comes to weddings. It is a versatile lens that gives you amazing sharpness at all focal lengths. The bokeh is beautiful, especially at 200mm and even with a stopped-down aperture (thanks to the compression created by the long focal length).

A 70-200mm f/2.8 makes a wedding photographer invisible. You don’t have to be close to people’s faces; you can capture candid expressions and serendipitous moments from a fair distance away. This lens is especially useful during the wedding ceremony, when you would rather be far away and out of sight or hidden behind a wall or door. It allows you to capture the exchange of rings, the vows, and the kiss discreetly.

lenses for wedding photographers example photo

If you require an even longer zoom while staying at the same distance, you can choose to photograph using Crop mode (if you shoot full-frame and your camera offers this option). This will generally give you a 1.5x crop factor (it only uses a portion of the image and enlarges it approximately 1.5x). If you do this, make sure that you have enough pixels for the crop in case you feel the need to straighten or change your composition in post-processing.

For example, if you are shooting with a 12 MP camera in its full-frame mode, when you convert to your Crop mode the camera becomes a 5 MP camera. This is below the minimum amount of pixels you need (generally around 6 MP) to enlarge prints to a decent size.

And if you have to crop in post-processing, 5 MP will not offer enough pixels to do so without compromising print output sizes.

lenses for wedding photographers wedding program

However, if you are photographing with a 36 MP camera in Crop mode, it drops to 15.3 MP. While this is a significant resolution reduction, it still leaves you enough wiggle room for minimal and sensible cropping if necessary.

If you use Crop mode, don’t forget that when photographing on a full-frame camera, or when using a lens designed for APS-C cameras, the camera only uses the center of the sensor. So if you forget to compose accordingly in-camera, you will get a nasty surprise after you have taken the image: cut off heads and limbs, and badly cropped compositions are two examples.

When using APS-C lenses on a full-frame body, the rest of the unused sensor area is blacked out. But when using full-frame lenses in Crop mode, this is not the default. You will still see the entire full-frame sensor if you don’t change your settings.

lenses for wedding photographers married couple

70-200mm is an excellent focal length for flattering portraits. When photographing at 200mm, I typically stop down to around f/4 or f/5.6 at a shutter speed of 1/200-1/400th, and the sharpness of the image is stunning against a creamy bokeh background. My 70-200mm f/2.8 lens also has a built-in lens collar you can use to steady your setup when hand-holding (and you also have the option to attach it to a tripod).

Without a tripod, you can steady yourself as much as possible by leaning against something strong like a wall or a stable surface such as a table. You can also keep your arms pinned against something sturdy to reduce camera shake, especially when using your lens for portrait work at the longer end of its focal length.

lenses for wedding photographers couple in golf cart

lenses for wedding photographers beautiful venue

There are also 70-200mm f/4 lenses, which you can purchase at vastly cheaper prices compared to the f/2.8. I personally do not have the f/4 version, but if you’re on a budget and you don’t mind not having the option to photograph at a wider aperture, then I see no reason why you should avoid the 70-200mm f/4. It is lighter and smaller (it has fewer glass elements compared to its more expensive counterpart) which lessens the weight you have to carry around at a wedding.

lenses for wedding photographers golf cart venue

lenses for wedding photographers just married sign

2. 24-70mm f/2.8

The 24-70mm f/2.8 offers the focal length versatility needed when you are photographing on the go, which is what wedding photographers require for most of the day. You can use this lens to capture wider location scenes, candid photos of people, guests arriving, people milling and chatting while waiting for the ceremony to start or during the wedding breakfast, some decorations and details, the first dance, and the leaving photos, to cite just a few.

lenses for wedding photographers 24-70 example

lenses for wedding photographers 24-70 example

I use this lens for photos that do not require close portrait work, although it can definitely be used for that type of image. The 50-70mm range will yield pleasing results, like the image directly below. However, my preference is to use prime lenses for portraits.

The 24-70mm lens sees a whole lot of action on the wedding day, and is definitely my other workhorse for capturing people, wider shots, and behind-the-scenes images.

lenses for wedding photographers girl with flowers

lenses for wedding photographers

Many photographers use a much wider lens for location photographs, such as a 14-24mm f/2.8. But while I would love to add this lens to my arsenal, this is not an absolute necessity. With the 24-70mm, you can photograph location scenes wide enough. And should you need to capture a wider scene, you could photograph a few images and stitch them together in Photoshop as a panorama. This is easy enough to do by making sure the exposure setting for the series of shots is the same, standing on a fixed point, then capturing a set of images while adjusting your composition slightly.

You can do the same for a photograph of all the guests, too. In fact, the two times mentioned above are the only times I need an ultra-wide lens for a wedding, so I cannot yet justify adding it to my list of must-haves.

lenses for wedding photographers people dancing

lenses for wedding photographers people dancing

3. 85mm prime

This is my all-time favorite lens, and the one I use for portraits of the bride and groom, bridesmaids and groomsmen, individual guests and small groups (the list goes on!).

As a fixed lens, an 85mm prime requires more work on your part; you have to zoom in and out with your feet. But the extra effort is worth it. The portraits are cleaner, the backgrounds are creamier, and it is a fabulous lens in very low-light conditions.

lenses for wedding photographers married couple

The best thing about this lens is that it is tack sharp from the sweet spot on. Accurate, light-sensitive, with great results; this is my go-to lens, and it never leaves my bag. As a prime lens, the 85mm is fast, small, and extremely reliable.

lenses for wedding photographers married couple silhouette

I have photographed an entire wedding of a relative (as a guest) using only an 85mm lens. I was asked on the day if I could cover the wedding and I agreed, with only the D700 and my 85mm lens in hand (I generally carry that combination with me for personal snapshots and photos of my family).

The photos from that wedding are published on one of the UK’s top wedding blogs, which is proof that you can photograph a wedding with what you have, given that you know your gear well enough.

lenses for wedding photographers

The 85mm for Nikon F-mount cameras comes in either as an f/1.8 version ($ 480 USD) or an f/1.4 version ($ 1597 USD), with a huge price difference between the two due to the glass elements and optics. You can also purchase the 85mm f/1.8 S for Nikon Z-mount cameras for just under $ 800 USD.

Canon has an 85mm f/1.2 available for $ 1999 USD, as well as an f/1.4 version ($ 1599 USD) and an f/1.8 version ($ 419 USD). For Canon mirrorless users, there’s the Canon RF 85mm f/1.2 (for an admittedly premium price). And Sony offers an 85mm f/1.8 for $ 598 USD and an 85mm f/1.4 for $ 1798 USD.

I have the Nikon 85mm f/1.8 and it has always performed marvelously for me. The f/1.4 has been on my lens list forever, and while I could buy it I have held off, given that I have never felt the need to upgrade.

lenses for wedding photographers

4. 35mm

One of my early serious lens investments was the amazing 35mm f/1.4. If there is a lens I can always rely on, it’s this one.

It’s an ultra-versatile lens that you can use to photograph the bride getting ready, which is the time when wedding photographers are usually under pressure to capture everything. This includes the location, the many accessories, any small details, candid shots, the dress, the natural interactions between the bride and her loved ones, and group portraits. Plus, you must do this in a very short amount of time, often in small spaces like cramped hotel rooms.

A 35mm lens is also perfect for photographing wider scenes, because you can get images without the exaggerated distortions caused by a wider focal length.

lenses for wedding photographers 35mm example

lenses for wedding photographers 35mm example

This lens is super fast and sharp. It has yet to fail me. With this lens, you can get close, which is very handy when you are in a crowded space.

As if that weren’t enough, my 35mm lens opens up to f/1.4, which allows you to photograph in extremely low light, especially if you are too pressed for time and space to use off-camera flashes.

Even though the 35mm focal length is already covered by the 24-70mm f/2.8 (discussed above), the difference between f/1.4 and f/2.8 (two extra stops for four times the light) cannot be underestimated.

lenses for wedding photographers

lenses for wedding photographers

The 35mm is also offered as an f/1.8 version by Nikon, but it’s a DX lens that you can purchase for cheap (under $ 200).

You may wonder about the astronomical difference in price compared to the professional f/1.4 counterpart. First of all, you cannot use the DX lens on a full-frame camera without losing pixels, and the lens becomes 52.5mm which can be very limiting in tight spaces.

Secondly, the 35mm view is close enough to what the eye naturally sees, and I like that view. It allows you to capture images that give the viewer the impression that they could have been there seeing the scene themselves. This is an important element in any wedding photography, specifically wedding photography with a documentary style.

lenses for wedding photographers

If you ever get to physically hold each lens in your hands at the same time, the enormous price difference between the f/1.4 version and the f/1.8 version won’t even be in question. The f/1.4 is considerably heavier and much bigger than the pocket-sized f/1.8. But don’t be fooled by appearances; the f/1.8 is also an outstanding lens with exceptional capabilities in its own right, and for crop-sensor cameras may be more than sufficient. It is definitely easy on the budget.
lenses for wedding photographers

lenses for wedding photographers

If you already have a 50mm lens and your budget is constrained, then a 50mm prime could replace the 35mm prime on this list. It is also an incredible lens.

Although a 50mm doesn’t give you as much room to maneuver in smaller spaces as a 35mm, the bokeh on the 50mm is stunning and it’s impressively sharp too, which is one of the top benefits of prime lenses. Like the 35mm lens, the 50mm is available as an f/1.8, f/1.4 or, for Canon cameras, an f/1.2 maximum aperture. The price difference is small between the f/1.8 and the f/1.4, but it jumps up to a huge number for the f/1.2.

lenses for wedding photographers details

lenses for wedding photographers church

5. 105mm (100mm) or 60mm macro lens

A macro lens is the last of my must-have lenses for wedding photographers. It’s absolutely key if you want to capture detailed images of rings. You can also use your macro lens for photographing jewelry and other accessories while the bride is getting ready.

If the bride’s dress is adorned with jewels, a macro lens would also be ideal for photographing the details.

In addition, macro lenses are also great for portraits if you do not require an aperture wider than f/2.8. This makes macro lenses versatile options to carry around, especially 60mm macro lenses, which look and feel minuscule compared to the 105mm options (100mm for Canon). These macro lenses can generally stop down to f/32, which is handy, especially when photographing location landscapes in extremely bright sunlight.

lenses for wedding photographers

lenses for wedding photographers rings

Some photographers even use the 105mm macro lens as a substitute for the 70-200mm lens if the latter is just too out of reach. You can use the 105mm in Crop mode, which gives you 157.5mm; this is long enough to still be very inconspicuous at a wedding. A 105mm lens is also smaller and lighter, and it opens up to f/2.8. Plus, it doubles as a macro lens.

lenses for wedding photographers details

lenses for wedding photographers

The post 5 Must-Have Lenses for Wedding Photographers and Why appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Lily Sawyer.

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Wedding Photography – 21 Tips for Amateur Wedding Photographers

03 Oct

The post Wedding Photography – 21 Tips for Amateur Wedding Photographers appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Darren Rowse.

Wedding Photography Tips

“Help me, I’m photographing my first wedding! Give me some wedding photography tips, please!”

It’s a question that photographers frequently ask. So while I’m not a pro wedding photographer, I thought it was time to share a few tips on the topic of wedding photography.

I’ll leave the technical tips for photographing a wedding to the pros. But, as someone who has been asked to photograph numerous friends’ and family’s weddings, here are a few suggestions.

1. Create a shot list

Wedding Photography Shot List

One of the most helpful tips I’ve been given regarding wedding photography is to get the couple to think ahead about the shots that they’d like you to capture on the day.

Then compile a list so that you can check each shot off. This is particularly helpful in family shots. There’s nothing worse than getting the photos back and realizing you didn’t photograph the happy couple with Grandma!

2. Wedding photography family photo coordinator

I find that the family photo part of the day can be quite stressful. People are going everywhere, you’re unaware of the different family dynamics at play, and people are in a “festive spirit” (and have often been drinking a few spirits) to the point that it can be quite chaotic.

Get the couple to nominate a family member (or one for each side of the family) who can be the “director” of the shoot. They can round everyone up, help get them in the shot, and keep things moving so that the couple can get back to the party.

Wedding Photography Tips

3. Scout the location

Visit the locations of the different places that you’ll be shooting before the big day.

While I’m sure most pros don’t do this, I find it really helpful to know where we’re going, to have an idea of a few positions for shots, and to know how the light might come into play. Before one or two weddings, I’ve even visited locations with the couples and took a few test shots (these made nice “engagement photos”).

4. In wedding photography, preparation is key

So much can go wrong on the day, so you need to be well-prepared. Have a backup plan (in case of bad weather), have batteries charged, memory cards blank, think about routes and times to get to places. Get an itinerary of the full day so you know what’s happening next. If you can, attend the rehearsal of the ceremony, where you’ll gather a lot of great information about possible positions to shoot from, the lighting, the order of the ceremony, etc.

5. Set expectations with the couple

Show the couple your work/style. Find out what they want to achieve, how many shots they want, what key things they want to be recorded, how the shots will be used (for prints, etc.). If you’re charging them for the event, make sure you have the agreement of price in place upfront.

6. Turn off the sound on your camera

Beeps during speeches, the kiss, and vows don’t add to the event. Switch off your camera sounds beforehand and keep them off.

Wedding Photography

7. Shoot the small details

Photograph rings, backs of dresses, shoes, flowers, table settings, menus, etc. These help give the end album an extra dimension. Flick through a wedding magazine at a newsstand for a little inspiration.

8. Use two cameras

Beg, borrow, hire, or steal an extra camera for the day, and set it up with a different lens. I try to shoot with one wide-angle lens (great for candid shots and in tight spaces, particularly before the ceremony in the preparation stage of the day) and one longer lens (it can be handy to have something as large as 200mm if you can get your hands on one; I use a 70-200mm).

9. Consider a second wedding photographer

Having a second photographer can be a great strategy. It means less moving around during ceremony and speeches, and it allows for one photographer to capture the formal shots while the other gets candid shots. It also takes a little pressure off you as “the one” who has to get every shot!

10. Be bold but not obtrusive

Wedding Photography Tutorial

Timidity won’t get you “the shot,” so sometimes you need to be bold to capture a moment.

However, timing is everything, and thinking ahead to get in the right position for key moments is important so as not to disrupt the event.

In a ceremony, I try to move around at least 4-5 times, but I try to time my move to coincide with songs, sermons, or longer readings. During the formal shots, be bold, know what you want, and ask for it from the couple and their party. You’re driving the show at this point of the day and need to keep things moving.

11. Learn how to use diffused light

The ability to bounce a flash or to diffuse it is key. You’ll find in many churches that light is very low. If you’re allowed to use a flash (and some churches don’t allow it), think about whether bouncing the flash will work (remember that if you bounce your flash off a colored surface it will add a color cast to the picture), or whether you might want to buy a flash diffuser to soften the light.

If you can’t use a flash, you’ll need to use a fast lens at wide apertures and/or bump up the ISO. A lens with image stabilization might also help. Learn more about using flash diffusers and reflectors.

12. Shoot in RAW

I know that many readers feel that they don’t have the time for shooting in RAW (due to extra processing), but a wedding is one time that it can be particularly useful, as RAW gives so much more flexibility to manipulate shots after taking them. Weddings can present photographers with tricky lighting that results in the need to manipulate exposure and white balance after the fact, and RAW will help with this considerably.

Wedding Photography

13. Display your shots at the reception

One of the great things about digital photography is the immediacy of it as a medium. One of the fun things I’ve seen more and more photographers doing recently is taking a computer to the reception, uploading shots taken earlier in the day, and letting them rotate as a slideshow during the evening. This adds a fun element to the night.

14. Consider your backgrounds

One of the challenges of weddings is that there are often people going everywhere, including the backgrounds of your shots. Particularly with the formal shots, scope out the area where they’ll be taken ahead of time and look for good backgrounds.

Ideally, you’ll want uncluttered areas and shaded spots out of direct sunlight where there’s unlikely to be a great aunt wandering into the back of the shot. Read more on getting backgrounds right.

15. Don’t discard your “mistakes”

The temptation with digital is to check images as you go and to delete those that don’t work immediately. The problem with this is that you might just be getting rid of some of the more interesting and useable images. Keep in mind that images can be cropped or manipulated later to give you some more artsy/abstract looking shots that can add real interest to the end album.

Wedding Photography picture

16. Change your perspective

Get a little creative with your shots. While the majority of the images in the end album will probably be fairly “normal” or formal poses, make sure you mix things up a little by taking shots from down low, up high, at a wide angle, etc.

17. Wedding group shots

One thing I’ve done at every wedding I’ve photographed is attempted to photograph everyone who is in attendance in one shot. The way I’ve done this is to arrange for a place that I can get up high above everyone straight after the ceremony. This might mean getting a tall ladder, using a balcony, or even climbing on a roof. The beauty of getting up high is that you include everyone’s face, and you can fit a lot of people in a single shot.

The key is to quickly be able to get everyone to the place you want them to stand, and to be ready to get the shot without having everyone stand around for too long. I’ve found that the best way to get everyone to the spot is to get the bride and groom there and to have a couple of helpers herd everyone in that direction. Read more on how to take group photos.

18. Fill flash

When shooting outside after a ceremony or during the posed shots, you’ll probably want to keep your flash attached to give a little fill flash. I tend to dial the flash back a little (a stop or two) so that shots are not blown out. But, particularly in backlit or midday shooting conditions where there can be a lot of shadow, fill flash is a must. Read more about using fill flash.

19. Continuous shooting mode

Having the ability to shoot a lot of images fast is very handy on a wedding day, so switch your camera to its continuous shooting mode and use it. Sometimes it’s the shot you take a second after the formal or posed shot when everyone is relaxing that really captures the moment!

Wedding Photography Rain

20. Expect the unexpected

One more piece of advice that someone gave me on my own wedding day: “Things will go wrong, but they can be the best parts of the day.”

In every wedding that I’ve participated in, something tends to go wrong with the day. The best man can’t find the ring, the rain pours down just as the ceremony ends, the groom forgets to do up his fly, the flower girl decides to sit down in the middle of the aisle, or the bride can’t remember her vows.

These moments can feel a little panicky at the time. But it’s these moments that can actually make a day and give the bride and groom memories. Attempt to capture them, and you could end up with some fun images that sum up the day really well.

I still remember the first wedding I photographed, where the bride and groom’s car crashed into a tram on the way to the park where we were going to take photos. The bride was in tears, the groom stressed out. But after we’d all calmed down, people began to see some of the funny side of the moment, and we even took a couple of shots before driving on to the park. They were among everyone’s favorites.

21. Have fun

Weddings are about celebrating; they should be fun. The more fun you have as the photographer, the more relaxed those you are photographing will be. Perhaps the best way to loosen people up is to smile as the photographer (warning: I always come home from photographing weddings with sore jaws and cheeks because of my smiling strategy).

The post Wedding Photography – 21 Tips for Amateur Wedding Photographers appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Darren Rowse.

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A recent survey reveals wedding photographers spend only 4% of their time taking photos

22 Feb
A recent survey revealed wedding photographers spend roughly 4% of their time actually taking photos.

UK-based company Your Perfect Wedding Photographer recently conducted its fourth annual industry survey. Although more than 300 full-time wedding photographers participated in the survey, it’s important to remember that the findings reflect a small segment of local wedding photographers and the results may be more typical for a specific region rather than the industry as a whole. That said, there are a few interesting tidbits from the data.

Here are some key takeaways:

  • The average number of weddings captured a year is 28, down by 1 from 29 in 2018.
  • The average cost of a full day starting package is £1,590 ($ 2,063 USD), up by £30 from £1,560 ($ 2,023 USD) in 2018.
  • The average yearly marketing cost is £1,253 ($ 1,625 USD), down by £21 from £1,274 ($ 1,652 USD) in 2018.
  • 40% of Photographers use a Canon Camera, 31% Nikon, 22% Sony, 7% Fuji.
  • The average age of those surveyed is 39 years old, up 1 year from 38 in 2018.
  • 44% of respondents were women and 56% are men.
According to the survey, Instagram has become the leading social source for bookings – surpassing Facebook from last year.

Note that the above info only represents a fraction of the information revealed in the survey. Statistics on important items such as biggest expenses, average editing time, and percentage of wedding photographers that partake in online awards is also included.

Participants also shared their thoughts on this industry. ‘It’s getting more competitive with more people charging less. I would love for photographers to charge properly so the average moves from £1500. It has been this for so many years and hasn’t moved with inflation or other external costs increasing. My rate reflects my experience and the level of service but at a glance, it can be harder when someone is comparing primarily on price,’ laments one commenter.

On a more positive note, others elaborated on what they love about being a wedding photographer. ‘The wedding photography industry is more exciting than ever at the moment with amazing new talents shining through all the time. There is also a growing movement away from the staged, fake “traditional” wedding photography towards the documentary style, real and genuine moments that weddings are really all about. Artistic storytelling is becoming more mainstream and expected at last and not just a slogan on photographers’ websites,’ exclaimed another participant.

You can find the entire survey here.

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Tips to Achieve Memorable Getting Ready Photos at Any Wedding

27 Oct

The post Tips to Achieve Memorable Getting Ready Photos at Any Wedding appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Jackie Lamas.


Even though every wedding is unique, each wedding photographer knows that the timeline of photos is pretty much the same, beginning with the getting ready photos.

Learn how to successfully photograph the bride and groom getting ready, what you’ll need to prep for beforehand, and why it’s important to capture this part of the day during a wedding.


What are the getting ready photos exactly?

The getting ready portion of a wedding day is when the bride and groom begin to get dressed for their wedding celebration.


Getting ready photos are to include both the actual getting ready portion and the details of the day like shoes, florals, dress, rings, etc.

It’s usually when the bride is getting her makeup done, getting into her dress, putting on her jewelry, and all of the other final details that go into her complete look. The same goes for the groom; photos of him getting into his tux or suit, putting on his watch, tie, and shoes.

Image: The getting ready portion of the wedding day lets you get photos of the important details of...

The getting ready portion of the wedding day lets you get photos of the important details of the day.

Sometimes, getting ready photos will include more people during the shoot. For example, the bride might want to get ready with all of her bridesmaids and have her maid of honor help with putting on her veil.

Tips to Achieve Memorable Getting Ready Photos at Any Wedding

Other times, you might get the bride and groom getting ready together in the same space. Either way, it’s a crucial moment during the day that leads up to all the festivities. It tells more of the story of how the wedding day unfolded.

Prep for the getting ready


Inform your clients during a pre-consultation

A pre-consultation is where you meet with your clients and go over the details of the wedding day. It is important to find out if the couple will be getting ready in the same location or different locations.

Tips to Achieve Memorable Getting Ready Photos at Any Wedding

If at all possible, advise your clients to get ready in the same location but in separate rooms. That way, you can bounce between both of your clients and capture the getting ready shots.

However, sometimes it isn’t possible. But don’t worry, sometimes you can re-create some of the getting ready moments before the ceremony and still get those beautiful getting ready photos to go with the narrative of the day.

Tips to Achieve Memorable Getting Ready Photos at Any Wedding

Advise your clients to tell their key people (those helping with the brides or grooms outfit) to be ready, too, since they will also be photographed during the getting ready stage. This goes for the mother of the bride, father of the bride, bridesmaids, and groomsmen.


Make sure the key people are dressed and made up for the getting ready photos so everyone looks great in the final images.

Tell your clients to make sure florals are ready during this time so that you can photograph them before the wedding day begins.

Prep your gear bag

There are a few items you should have handy for the getting ready portion of your day. They aren’t required but do make the getting ready photos more streamlined and easier to photograph.

Tips to Achieve Memorable Getting Ready Photos at Any Wedding

One handy tool is a Command Hook. This will help you stick the hook where you want, hang the dress or suit, and photograph it virtually anywhere at the location of the getting ready photos. It also helps hang other details that are important to the wedding day.

Bring a small poster board or some fabric to style a flat lay of the details. This could include things like the rings, shoes, garter, bouquet, or special details like vow books. It can give you a cohesive look to the detail photos. That way, you’re also not limited to the surfaces in the getting ready room, if there are any available spots.

Tips to Achieve Memorable Getting Ready Photos at Any Wedding

PlayDoh or similar putty can help keep rings styled or from falling over. Roll a tiny ball and place it under the rings, ring boxes, jewelry, and other items to keep them in place. Then simply remove it after you’ve achieved your shot.


Use a video light or flashlight from your phone to light the details if you need a little boost in light. Some getting ready rooms, like bridal rooms, are tiny and don’t offer much light, so having a video light or using your flashlight from your cell phone, can help give you the light you need. It can also help you to get interesting photos of the details like rings or shoes.

Tips to Achieve Memorable Getting Ready Photos at Any Wedding

While these items aren’t a must, they do help with styling the details of the getting ready portion.

What to photograph during the getting ready portion of a wedding day

The getting ready part of a wedding day isn’t just about photographing your clients getting into their dresses or suits – it’s much more than that. It’s about capturing a part of the day that begins all of the events that everyone is excited about!


When photographing the getting ready, mix different style shots like full length and close-up shots of the same scene.

When you photograph a getting ready, make sure to get photos either styled or depending on your photography style, the following:

  • Rings, ring boxes, ring pillows or carrying cases
  • Florals: bouquets, boutonnieres, hairpieces, and corsages for others
  • Shoes
  • Accessories like jewelry, watches, gifts of the bride and groom
  • The something blue, something old, something borrowed if they are part of the wardrobe/attire.
  • Getting ready: Makeup and hairstyling, adjusting their dress/suit, putting on the dress/suit
  • Putting on shoes
  • Detail photos of the dress/suit alone and on the bride/groom
  • Invitation set
  • Portrait of your client alone
  • Portrait of the client with their bridal party or others who are in the room with them
  • Anything else that is considered special or important
  • Key people in the background or with your client

Tips to Achieve Memorable Getting Ready Photos at Any Wedding

How to get the most out of getting ready photos

The getting ready photos are somewhat of a photojournalistic approach to the day. Besides the detail shots that you style, most everything else is photographed as it unfolds during this time.


To get the most out of the getting ready photos, try and get different focal length shots of the events like the makeup and hair. Get a wide shot of the room but also get close-up photos of the makeup as it’s applied. Capture real emotions from the people in the room with your client.

Tips to Achieve Memorable Getting Ready Photos at Any Wedding

When your client is ready to get dressed, ask them to clear out the portion of the room that you’d like to use. For height, consider getting on the bed if your client is using a hotel room.

Tips to Achieve Memorable Getting Ready Photos at Any Wedding

If you can, choose a location with nice lighting and a calm vibe. It will help set the tone of the getting ready portion of the photos.

Remember, during this time, clients are usually feeling a mixture of emotions. They also have to attend to tasks, questions, and anything that might come up that is related to the planning of the wedding.


So a calm setting can really set the tone for the rest of the day while you photograph your client as they get dressed.

Also, don’t worry about moving furniture if you need to, or other items to get the best photo possible. Try different areas of the getting ready room to choose the best photos of the details, dress, and your client.

Tips to Achieve Memorable Getting Ready Photos at Any Wedding

Photograph a portrait of your client after they are dressed alone

As mentioned above, setting the tone for the rest of the day can make all the difference for your client. This is why, after your client has gotten dressed, that you take them to a calm location and photograph a portrait of them alone.


During this time, don’t ask anything of them. Don’t mention the wedding, planning, or anything that is related. Just help them to feel calm by using a soft tone, directing them to get the best angle, and show them a photo or two so that they get excited by how great they look!

Tips to Achieve Memorable Getting Ready Photos at Any Wedding

This will also build a nice rapport with how you handle the stress of the day. It will also help your client to feel less saturated or anxious about their wedding day.

How to photograph getting ready photos after the fact

Sometimes you don’t have time to take getting ready photos of both of your clients due to logistics, being the only photographer, or otherwise. Other times, time slips away and cuts time for getting ready photos altogether. Or, your client might have opted to set the hours of coverage to cover more of the reception than the getting ready portion.


You can take portraits like this later in the day to re-create the getting ready photos.

If this is the case, don’t worry, you can recreate the getting ready photos after the fact! For example, before the ceremony, while your client waits to come out and down the aisle, you can get a few getting ready photos of them in the suite or empty hallway/walkway. Simply ask them to fluff their dress, have their key person adjust their veil, or pretend to tie their dress or suit.

Tips to Achieve Memorable Getting Ready Photos at Any Wedding

You can get action shots like having your clients look into the mirror and pretend to put on their jewelry or suit jacket or shoes. While you might not have been there during the actual getting ready, you can always pretend like you were by styling and directing your clients in between other wedding day events.


Why are getting ready photos important?

Getting ready photos are important to a wedding day because, as the photographer, you’ll have time to get the important details of the day photographed. The rings, vow books, bouquets, and most importantly, the dress or suit that your clients wear.


Each of these items was thought about, and chosen with the utmost care and attention to the details. Anything that your clients poured their hearts into is worthy of photographing. It also makes for a nice retelling of the wedding day in an album or publication after the wedding day has ended.

Tips to Achieve Memorable Getting Ready Photos at Any Wedding

Most importantly, photographing getting ready photos allows you to set the tone for the day and reassure your client that you are there for all of it. That you are there for the best moments of the day and to help them feel confident, beautiful, and excited about the rest of the wedding events. It’s like you’re there as their personal cheerleader on what is usually a stressful day.

Tips to Achieve Memorable Getting Ready Photos at Any Wedding

Having this time with your client also helps you to get to know them a bit more. You can try different angles during the individual portraits, and also get to know who the key people are that need photographing during family formals and bridal party photos.

In conclusion

Tips to Achieve Memorable Getting Ready Photos at Any Wedding

Telling the story of a couple during their wedding day is truly an honor for any photographer. The getting ready portion of the day sets the tone and begins the story of how the day unfolded. These tips will help you successfully capture your clients during the start of their most important day as a couple.

Do you have any additional tips for capturing the getting ready photos of any wedding day? We’d love you to share them with us in the comments!

The post Tips to Achieve Memorable Getting Ready Photos at Any Wedding appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Jackie Lamas.

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5 Essential Tools for Wedding Photography That Aren’t Gear-Related

06 Sep

The post 5 Essential Tools for Wedding Photography That Aren’t Gear-Related appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Jackie Lamas.

Weddings are fast-paced with long hours. So to get you through the wedding day, we’re listing five essential tools for wedding photography that are going to make any wedding day go much smoother for you. These aren’t gear-related. They’re the things that you may have never thought of but will make all the difference during those long wedding days.

wedding pond garden

1. Bring comfortable, durable shoes

Bringing comfortable and durable shoes is almost as important as bringing your favorite lens. Shoes can keep you from falling or tripping, and they can stop your feet from hurting after several hours on the job.

Shoes that have thick soles are what you’re looking for; they must be able to withstand hours upon hours of wear. It’s also important that they’re comfortable on the inside.

uncomfortable shoes-essential-tools-for-wedding-photography

Unfortunately, flats and dress shoes don’t really fit into this category, since neither are very durable or can withstand long hours of use without giving you major discomfort. Shoes that aren’t made for long hours can fall apart or rip.

Most importantly, flats and dress shoes provide no actual support for you as you photograph the main events of the wedding. Durable and comfortable shoes that are high quality and can be worn for long hours will keep your feet safe, comfortable, and will give you the back support you need.

beach bride groom wedding-essential-tools-for-wedding-photography

If the wedding you’re photographing is mostly on pavement, you’ll be glad you looked for comfortable shoes, because those hot pavement and cement sidewalks are terrible on thin-soled shoes.

You can also get shoe inserts that help support and cushion the inside of the shoe to better withstand long hours. While this is a fast and convenient fix, it’s best if you find a shoe that provides this from the get-go, and then you can add the insert for extra support.

2. Hire an assistant

If you have the budget (maybe factor this into your wedding package) hire an assistant. This is not to be confused with a second shooter who helps you to photograph a wedding. No, an assistant is there to help you carry your things and be an extra pair of hands.

hands near a wedding dress

Assistants can be responsible for equipment, lens changes, battery changes, helping fluff out the bride’s dress, keeping you on track with the timeline, and lining up the family during group portraits. Assistants are great because they help you with things that don’t need your full attention.

They can also be quicker at getting a forgotten bouquet or holding your flash at a certain angle. Plus, the extra pair of hands will keep your gear close, so that you can focus on making the shots and not worrying about whether you forgot your tripod at the ceremony.

bride and groom under a tree

Have assistants be a part of your team. It’s good to highlight this before you cover the wedding. Outline the responsibilities, show them your equipment and what you’ll need, along with any details specific to the event you’re photographing.

3. Bring snacks

Snacks are crucial for long wedding days or even short ones. Weddings take a lot of energy out of you both mentally and physically with the posing, styling, photographing, directing, customer service, and being in charge of your team, so it’s really great to have easy and light snacks on hand.

wedding food-essential-tools-for-wedding-photography

Best snacks for wedding days include small packets of trail mix with nuts and chocolate to get your energy up, energy bars or protein bars, small reusable water bottles, fruits like an apple, and granola bars.

Keep snacks small. That way, they won’t add weight to your bags, are easy to carry, and won’t make a mess. You can also keep a small lunch bag with you and have your assistant carry it during, particularly long wedding days.

dessert on a wedding day

Having your own snacks will keep your energy up and keep you feeling great all throughout the event. No one likes a grumpy, hungry photographer!

4. Bring a small hand towel

Due to the fact that weddings are long, they tend to have a lot of sun. This means that, while your clients might be in the shade, you may find yourself in harsh sunlight.

kissing couple on the grass

A small hand towel can keep sweat off your face and your camera during those really hot summer days. This will keep you looking fresh and stop you from having to ask the guests or venue for something to wipe off your sweat with.

The hand towel can also be useful for other things: You can use it to shine wedding rings or to wipe a table you want to use in the background.

bride and groom kiss on dance floor

5. Bring command hooks and other styling items

Command hooks are super versatile, and getting a couple can really help you when it comes to styling certain wedding details. For example, because the strip can be taken off walls without doing damage, you can use a command hook to hang the wedding dress anywhere you want.

command hooks - essential-tools-for-wedding-photography

Examples of really elegant command hooks that are removable.

These hooks come in different styles and finishes, and it’s good to stock up on a few so that you won’t be without one come the wedding day. Make sure to get hooks with an adhesive that can be taken off without harming walls.


bride and groom with car

Not all wedding day prep is about gear. These tools will help keep you at 100 percent while photographing one-of-a-kind moments for your clients.

Do you have any essential tools for wedding photography to make the day run smoothly? Share them in the comments!



The post 5 Essential Tools for Wedding Photography That Aren’t Gear-Related appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Jackie Lamas.

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How to Photograph Wedding Receptions with Great Success

06 Aug

The post How to Photograph Wedding Receptions with Great Success appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Jackie Lamas.

Wedding receptions are often referred to as the most boring part of the day since the most exciting part are the bride and groom portraits. However, it would be wrong to treat receptions as such since receptions hold many of the meaningful details of an actual wedding celebration. So here are some tips on how to photograph wedding receptions with great success.


1. Schedule the reception with a time buffer

Weddings are high paced and often begin on time, but as the day progresses, it can be easy to fall behind schedule. When you’re creating the wedding day itinerary for your clients, add in an extra 15-minute buffer to any travel or transition time before the reception.


The reason for this is because you’ll want to grab a snack and hydrate before getting into the last leg of the wedding day. You’ll also want to test out your gear, change batteries, or memory cards. Some photographers take this time to do the same-day slideshow.

This extra buffer means no rushing to the reception but instead preparing your gear and yourself for the last few hours of the day so that you’re not running on empty.

How to Photograph Wedding Receptions with Great Success

It also will allow you to get to the reception early, which is my next point.

2. Photograph the reception alone

Getting to the reception area those extra few minutes early also allows you to photograph all the details without any guests in the background. This makes for really nice wide shots and closeup shots of the entire set up.

You can then create real depth to your photos and zone in on particular details like the seating chart, place cards, centerpieces, and the sweetheart table. You can capture them without drinks, purses, or other guest items.

How to Photograph Wedding Receptions with Great Success

If at all possible, have the bride and groom enter the reception area and photograph them alone in the middle of the set up as part of their wedding portraits. It can add a little more emotion and tie the narrative of the event together.

3. Make a list of all the must-have photos

How to Photograph Wedding Receptions with Great Success

Most wedding receptions are much the same in terms of what you should photograph for the bride and groom. While they can vary in time of day, location, or style, these are the main details that you should be sure to photograph:

How to Photograph Wedding Receptions with Great Success

  • Entrance details: Do they have a sign? Are there photos from their engagement session? Is there a sign-in guest book, meaningful mementos like wood blocks to sign and write notes on? All of these are important to photograph as a whole and each detail individually or a group of details.
  • Wide photo of the space as a whole. Photographing the entire space gives the reception and final wedding photos a nice transition in the narrative or album. Take a few photos from different perspectives so that you can choose the best one for the final gallery of images.
  • Centerpieces: If there is only one style, photograph it both horizontally and vertically as well as taking a close up detail photo of it. If there are different styles on each table, take photos of each style. If, for example, they have placed a different photograph on each table, you don’t have to photograph each table. Instead, find one or two that you like and photograph two or three different tables.
  • Table seating/ seating cards: Table seating and table cards are how guests know where to sit during receptions. These may present in various and creative ways. You should photograph a wide shot of the setup and then a detailed photo of the seating. Choose a name that sounds familiar to you (perhaps a family member or member of the bridal party) to focus on for the detail photo.
  • Dinnerware set up: If you notice that the dinnerware and stemware have been chosen with a little more intention, photograph the setup. Get different perspectives and angles.
  • Florals: This is most likely to be found as part of the centerpiece; however, some weddings have beautiful florals decorating different parts of the space.
  • Desert table/candy bar
  • Cake
  • Lounge or seating area
  • Any other detail that you feel the couple put lots of effort, time, or money into.

How to Photograph Wedding Receptions with Great Success


3. Staging

A big mistake that many new wedding photographers make is failing to stage photos. Staging the photos will help you get the perfect photo of the detail while still keeping the main aesthetic that the bride and groom have chosen.

Image: Staging and moving things around can help the final photo.

Staging and moving things around can help the final photo.

This means, moving salt and pepper shakers out of the way, lighting the votive candles if necessary, turning a table number to face the camera, or even moving a chair so you can get the whole table in one photo.

After getting your shots, make sure to place everything back to where it belongs. That way, when the guests arrive, they see the complete look and aren’t missing their water glass or chairs.

4. Lighting

If you are photographing a reception in a salon or closed venue, the lighting may not be ideal for photos. If the ceiling is white, you can use it to bounce light from your flash back down onto the table and reception details. This will give you more even lighting and a pretty straightforward light in your photos.

Image: At left the flash is pointed to the side. At right, the flash is bouncing from the ceiling. Y...

At left the flash is pointed to the side. At right, the flash is bouncing from the ceiling. You can see the difference in both.

In addition, using an external flash attached to your camera, point the flash to the side so that you can get more side lit photos. These add more depth to your detail photos and adds shadow. For example, this type of lighting makes for great depth to cake photos and also centerpieces.

You can also use an external LED video light or small light to help you light the reception details. This also gives you a lot more flexibility in getting different lighting that is immediately obvious. As for flash, you have to take test shots first to see how the light looks.


Having an external flash can help you get really nicely lit photos. Use the flash in manual mode to control the output.

If you don’t have any external lighting then you can use the ambient light for the details. Just make sure that your camera is stable enough to photograph by using a tripod. Having a fast lens can also help you capture ambient light.


Be aware of the color temperature of the ambient light as well. This can change the color of florals, table linens, seating cards, etc. if you’re photographing with ambient light.


As a good resource, you can also use your cell phone flashlight to help light or fill in light on the details that you’re photographing.

5. Events of the reception

How to Photograph Wedding Receptions with Great Success

During the reception there will most likely be some, if not all, of the following events:

  • Grand entrance
  • First dance
  • Mother/Son and Father/ Daughter dance
  • Toasts
  • Cake cutting
  • Bouquet toss/Garter toss
  • Money or Honeymoon dance
  • DJ-led games or trivia
  • Dancing

How to Photograph Wedding Receptions with Great Success

All of these usually get coordinated by the wedding planner, bride, or DJ himself. Look to them to know what is next after dinner has begun. Never leave your camera and always be ready to photograph anything and everything that you feel is important or fun.

Dancing is always fun. If you can make sure to photograph the key players, like the mother of the bride, bridal party, children dancing, or the best man, these all make for meaningful and fun photos later.

How to Photograph Wedding Receptions with Great Success

It’s really important to photograph the bride and groom dancing with their guests as well.

Don’t be afraid to get creative when you feel like you have photographed all of the most important events. Slow your shutter to get interesting lighting effects. Use multiple flashes to light the dance floor evenly. Even get a different perspective of the party.

How to Photograph Wedding Receptions with Great Success

The main thing is to enjoy yourself while taking photos!

6. Before you leave the wedding

Before you leave the wedding reception, make sure to thank your clients and ask this one important question: Is there anything you’d like for me to capture before I leave?

How to Photograph Wedding Receptions with Great Success

This allows them to get last-minute photos that they may have forgotten to ask for earlier in the day. They may want a quick one with their grandmother or a photograph of them with their best friends from college.

Do this about 10 minutes before you are set to leave. That way, you can have time to photograph all of those last-minute requests before you pack it up and head out.


It’s also a great way to say goodbye to the couple for the night.

In Conclusion

How to Photograph Wedding Receptions with Great Success

Photographing wedding receptions can be really fun even though they usually happen at the end of a really long day.

Give yourself some time to get into the mindset and get creative during the reception.

Do you have any great tips on how to photograph wedding receptions? Feel free to share with us in the comments below.



The post How to Photograph Wedding Receptions with Great Success appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Jackie Lamas.

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Wedding Photography Gear You Need When Starting Out

12 Nov

What’s in your bag?


Weddings are vibrant and full of emotions, making it all too easy to have a purely romantic view of the day. For the couple and guests, that is very true. However, if you are a supplier on the day, it can be a very different experience. All the more if you are the wedding photographer! The pressure is on, and you have a huge responsibility to capture the day.

When you first begin photographing weddings, it is important to have a love for weddings and a connection to the occasion. If you hate weddings – which some people do – I suggest you steer clear of wedding photography. It is also beneficial to have a creative eye. If you lack both, it will be apparent on the images you capture.

When starting as a wedding photographer, it is quite understandable that you may not have the full arsenal of cameras, lenses, flashes, etc. Often we start with only the basic equipment in our bag and plenty of creativity (and for some, a healthy dose of confidence).

If you are considering being a wedding photographer and exploring what you can achieve with a basic kit, then this article is for you. These are also just my suggestions. I do not assume that you could not become a competent wedding photographer otherwise.


1. Camera

A full-frame professional camera is ideal, but if you only have a crop-sensor camera, there’s no reason you can’t shoot a wedding. The main impact of this would be the lenses. Unless it is a dedicated crop-sensor lens, a crop-sensor only uses a section of the lens, causing some loss in light and sensor use.

Newer cameras are equipped with better technology to handle noise, especially in low-light conditions. This technology is crucial because regardless of season, weddings will always involve low-light. Often very little natural light. The pixel size of images from newer cameras is also generally larger allowing more room for adjustments like cropping. It also allows better enlargements of your photographs in print. 24MP is now average for a newer camera whereas it was around 12MP 10-years ago.

2. Lenses

I feel lenses are a must. If you want to shoot weddings, at least have the 50mm or 35mm prime lens. They open to larger apertures than the kit lenses (the ones that come with the camera body). A maximum aperture of f/1.8 will do, but even better is f/1.4 and f/1.2. However, these lenses can be pricey though. If you tend not to use a flash unit, the advantage of these lenses is made clear.

A zoom lens is a massive help when capturing unfolding events during a wedding day. You don’t have to zoom with your feet as you do with a prime lens. In my opinion, you can get away with using a zoom kit lens for candid captures and don’t have to shell out for a pricey f/2.8 zoom when starting out. I must also add that these f/2.8 zooms are amazing pieces of glass and are worth the investment if you can afford it.

Top tip: Use a hood or a UV filter on your lens to protect it from knocks and breakage. Some people say filters affect the sharpness. That may be so, but I’d rather have an intact lens and a 99% sharp photo than a broken lens and a 100% sharp photo. The difference is pixel-peeping minuscule.

3. Flash Gun

Many people call themselves a natural light photographer. There is nothing wrong with that. However, if you want to shoot weddings, I encourage you to be open-minded and explore the possibility of learning to use flash. Weddings, especially evening receptions can be notoriously dark and having a flash gun will serve you well.

Top tip: Use a diffuser or bounce card.


4. Memory Cards, Spare Batteries, Remote Triggers or Transceivers (If You Use Off-Camera Flash)

These are self-explanatory. Have spares and spares of spares!

5. Backup Equipment

If you have to borrow extra equipment for back-up, do so. You never know when something will unexpectedly pack-up! When I shot my first wedding, I owned one camera body (a crop-sensor), and I borrowed my sister-in-law’s camera, just in case. I didn’t use it but having it with me gave me peace of mind.


6. Other Helpful Equipment But Non-Essentials

The following can come in handy but in my opinion, you can do without them:

Grey card – You shoot at a fast pace in various lighting scenarios during a wedding – indoors, outdoors, tungsten, LED, natural lights, etc. It would be crazy to use a grey card every time you moved! You can shoot in Kelvin or use Auto White Balance. The important thing is that you shoot in Raw so you can adjust the white balance in post.

Reflector – I used to carry a reflector when I first started, but now I take my flash guns instead. And I never go without at least two of them! But a reflector is handy. Because I don’t carry one with me most of the time now, when I shoot small details, I use a small piece of white card or anything white that may be handy.

Tripod – I never carry a tripod as I find it too cumbersome and heavy! But you’d never see me cover a wedding without a monopod. They are easier to lug around!

7. Non-Essentials That Add Value to Your Service

Brides are often grateful when you magically produce things that they did not expect you to have. For instance, bobby pins, hair grips, scissors, or tissues. Likewise, if you help in other ways when you can, for example, putting the buttonholes on, helping with jewelry, etc. As they say, it’s in the little things.


Lastly, invest in a good, well-padded camera bag. Your equipment will love being in it!

You can read more about lenses for wedding photography in an more exhaustive article I have written here.

I hope you found this article helpful and I wish you the best in your journey as a wedding photographer! Do share your thoughts or any equipment you may want to add in the comments below!

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How to Create a Wedding Day Photography Timeline Quickly and Effortlessly

05 Nov

A wedding day photography timeline can help streamline the order in which you photograph a wedding.

From when the couple is getting ready all the way until the dance party, the timeline helps to keep everyone, especially you, on top of how the day unfolds.

It doesn’t matter if the couple has a coordinator or if the venue has a planner. A wedding day photography timeline will make sure that you are ready for the next big event.

How to Create a Wedding Day Photography Timeline 1

Portraits of the bride and groom at two different times during the day.

Why You Should Create Your Own Timeline

As the photographer, you need time during the wedding day to be able to capture all of the essential details, moments, and events that unfold throughout the day.

If you want to have even a little bit of control with the photography, you need to have a timeline made.

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Creating the timeline gives you control over how much time you have during any part of the day. Like the getting ready, where you can have the time to photograph the details.

Having a specific timeline for photography is priceless not only for you but the couple as well. It can help the bride to schedule her makeup and hair team.

The timeline also allows the bridal party to know where to be at what time. It also helps with family members who need to know when the extended family portraits are.

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A wedding timeline can help you choose or prepare for each of the important portraits during the day.

Not only does the timeline help you anticipate what is next during the wedding day, but also makes you look more professional because you know what is coming next. You aren’t scrambling asking the couple what is next.

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The wedding timeline can serve as a guideline for you during the wedding day. A directive ensures you get all the necessary photos of the day without questioning when or if you’ll have time to get them.

That way, you won’t miss the ring or shoe shot, or the photo of the bride with her favorite uncle.

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The timeline lays it all out for you – the couple, the guests and the bridal party. It even outlines the other vendors who will be working alongside you, such as the videographer or planner.

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Take advantage of any downtime during the day. This gives you the opportunity to create something unique and different.

It’s best to have the timeline made as soon as you know all of the major details of the wedding day.

Send it to your clients with at least a month in advance. Doing so gives them the time to make any last minute changes if necessary.

Confirm the wedding timeline at least a week before to make sure the day unfolds as planned.

Answer These Questions First

The following questions are important as they determine how you are going to schedule each portrait event of a wedding day.

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Some of the questions will have to be answered by the couple and other questions are for you to answer.

All of them equally important to the timeline!

  • Will the couple be having a ‘first look’?
  • If not, will there be enough light after the ceremony to take the bride and groom portraits?
  • If the couple is doing a ‘first look’, will they want bridal and family portraits following the portraits?
  • If the couple is not doing a ‘first look’, then the family portraits will have to be done separately. Also, bridal party portraits may have to be done separately as well. Is the couple okay with having these portraits separate?
  • Will the couple want sunset photos?
  • Are the locations for the portraits far from the ceremony or reception venue?

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What it comes down to is whether the couple is deciding to have a traditional wedding or a ‘first look’ (when the couple sees each other before the ceremony).

Photography timelines are vastly different for each, which I will explain in more detail below.

It Doesn’t Have to be Fancy

The wedding photography timeline doesn’t have to be made in Adobe Illustrator (although you could do that). A simple Word document, or equivalent, would work just fine.

Having this schedule gives the couple a chance to look over the timeline and if need be, make changes of their own.

The following questions are important as they determine how you are going to schedule each portrait event of the wedding day.

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Also, you’ll want to create a template of some sort since you’ll be creating more timelines as you continue to grow your business. Once you get more experience creating these timelines, it will get easier and easier to fill in the details.

Traditional Wedding Day Photography Timeline

A traditional wedding means that a couple will not see one another before the ceremony and portraits get taken after the service. It usually isn’t a problem.

However, it is important to note if there will be enough light after the ceremony or if you will have to photograph the couple using artificial lighting.

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This couple opted to keep their wedding day traditional. Portraits were scheduled right after the ceremony.

The easiest way to create the wedding photography timeline for a traditional wedding is, begin with the times of the two most important parts of the wedding day: the ceremony and the reception.

From there, you will be able to work your way back and schedule the times for the rest of the days’ essential details.

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The same couple also decided to have sunset photos after dinner and toasts.

Say, for example, the ceremony begins at four o’clock in the afternoon, and the reception starts at seven o’clock. Begin with writing the ceremony time down first, and work your way backward until you reach the ‘getting ready’ part of the day.

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‘Getting ready’ photos can lead into the bridal portraits seamlessly.

Example Timeline for a Before the Traditional Ceremony

Working backward in time from the ceremony, a sample wedding day timeline may look like this:

  • 03:00 pm – Travel time to ceremony location and allow the bride to have touch-ups and get ready for the ceremony. Photos of the ceremony location and details. Candid photos of guests arriving
  • 02:45 pm – Portraits of the groom with his family
  • 02:00 pm – Portraits of the groom with groomsmen
  • 01:00 pm – Portraits of the bride with her family
  • 12:00 pm – Portraits of the bride alone and with bridesmaids
  • 11:00 am – Photography coverage starts
  • 10:00 am – Getting ready

Even if you may not be photographing the ‘getting ready’, due to collection choice or otherwise, it’s good to have a general layout of the day.

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This couple kept their wedding traditional. There was no more light after the ceremony and we prepared for that because we had a timeline.

Example Timeline for After the Traditional Ceremony

Once you have the bulk of the day laid out, it’s time to schedule all of the events after the ceremony.

It can look something like this:

  • 05:00 pm – Portraits of the family with the couple after the ceremony. This can be either at the altar, ceremony location or somewhere close by.
  • 05:45 pm – Portraits of the bridal party altogether with the couple.
  • 06:00 pm – Bride and groom portraits
  • 06:45 pm – Arrive at the reception location. Take detail photos of the reception set up.
  • 07:00 pm – Reception time
  • 10:00 pm – Photography coverage ends
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Knowing when family portraits will be done can help keep everyone on schedule.

At the Reception

During the reception, it’s good to consult the coordinator or planner to ask what their scheduled timeline is. When there is no planner or coordinator, go to the DJ booth and consult with them.

The reception is much more relaxed than the rest of the wedding day. Here, you can follow the timeline that the other vendors provide so that you can focus on getting great photos of the dancing without the pressure.

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Work with your clients to outline which portraits are the most important for them. That way, you carve out enough time for those. The remainder can be filled in throughout the day.

For example, if the couple isn’t interested in having family portraits after the ceremony, fill the time with more bridal party photos or extend the couples’ portrait time.

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Ask your clients if they want sunset photos or if they will be having something special during the day. This way you can include it into the timeline.

Each wedding timeline can differ. Beginning with the ceremony and working in reverse will give you the quickest way to lay it all out.

‘First Look’ Wedding Day Photography Timeline

Again, even though the couple will be seeing each other before the wedding, it is quick and easy, to start with the ceremony time.

We’ll keep the same times for this example so that you can compare the two. Refer back here when you are creating your clients’ wedding timeline.

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‘First look’ before the ceremony.

‘First Look’ Example Timeline for Before the Ceremony

The ceremony begins at four o’clock and the reception begins at seven o’clock.

  • 04:00 pm – BRIDE AND GROOM ARE MARRIED (Ceremony)
  • 02:45 pm – Bridal Party Portraits with the couple
  • 02:00 pm – Bride family portraits and groom family portraits
  • 12:30 pm – Bride and groom ‘First Look’ and portraits
  • 10:00 am – Getting ready photos

A timeline can change somewhat depending on ‘light’ situations. The afternoon sun is very harsh, especially for outdoor photography. You’ll want to avoid setting this time for the bride and groom portraits unless necessary.

In my experience, this is more often the case.

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The above is a typical wedding timeline and even with the harsh light, you can opt for a covered or indoor location.

‘First Look’ Example Timeline for Before the Ceremony with Formals After

When your couple chooses to only do the ‘first look’ before the ceremony, and then do the formals later in the day, the wedding day could look something like this:

  • 04:00 pm – BRIDE AND GROOM ARE MARRIED (Ceremony)
  • 02:00 pm – Couple portraits alone
  • 01:30 pm – Bridal party portraits with the couple
  • 01:00 pm – Bride family portraits and groom family portraits
  • 12:30 pm – Bride and groom ‘First look’ only
  • 10:00 am – Getting ready photos
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This couple had their ‘first look’ and formals before the ceremony. They also had formals after the ceremony during sunset.

‘First Look’ Example Timeline for After the Ceremony

From here, the post-ceremony timeline would look something like this:

  • 05:00 pm – Portraits of the family with the couple after the ceremony. This can be either at the altar, ceremony location or somewhere close by.
  • 05:45 pm – Cocktail hour at the reception venue
  • 06:00 pm – Photograph reception details and other candids during this time
  • 07:00 pm – Reception time

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There are many different timelines because every wedding event is unique. Depending on your style, you might schedule the portraits earlier or later in the day.

Perhaps you’re photographing on a beach and want beautiful sunset photos. You may choose to take pictures of the couple earlier, and again during sunset.

Stick to the Timeline But Also be Flexible

Keep in mind that setbacks happen more often than not during wedding days. Fortunately, you have a handy wedding timeline. Due to the way it is set up, you have the option of rearranging and moving things around if necessary.

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An example of this would be if a groomsman is running late to the bridal party portraits, you can begin with the bridesmaids. Or if the bride is late for the portraits or ‘first look,’ you can switch to the pictures of the groom with his family instead.

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We didn’t have time before the ceremony to take the full bridal portraits so we opted to do them at a later time.

Having the timeline in mind during the wedding day will make these setbacks easier to overcome. You can reassure your clients that you will still get all of the photos that are of utmost importance to them.

Template for Quick and Easy Wedding Day Photography Timeline

Creating timelines doesn’t have to be a grueling task. Use the below template to help you effortlessly create quick and easy wedding photography timelines. It works for both traditional or non-traditional weddings, and begins with the ceremony and working backward.

Once you’ve created your timeline, make sure to confirm all of the details with your couple. Sure, things can change on the day, but it is still essential for the couple to sign off on it.

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Be sure to send a copy to the wedding planner or coordinator as well. That way, everyone is on the same page in regards to the timeline of how the day will unfold.


As the photographer, it’s important that you, your clients, and team, are all on the same page as the day unfolds.

Taking the time to create a timeline of each significant photographic moment during the day will save time and keep you in control of the photography.

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Work with the coordinator or DJ for the reception events. Add these to the timeline, even if they might be changed on the day.

With time and experience, you’ll be creating wedding timelines quickly and effortlessly!

Do you have trouble with wedding day photography timelines? Are their extra things you would consider? Share with us in the comments below.

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