The Beauty & Challenge of Wedding Photography 


One of the most rewarding, beautiful, and challenging photography genres is wedding photography. It's been a longstanding debate whether an aspiring professional photographer should start their career with weddings. The ones that do start there don't often start as the lead photographer. Most will train under an experienced wedding photographer first - sometimes for years before venturing out on their own. So, we know why wedding photography is beautiful, but why is it so challenging and yet rewarding?

Challenge of Wedding Photography

The Role of Photography:

Let's start with the less obvious reasons of why wedding photography is so important. Photography of any kind can stand in place of memories today or tomorrow - not twenty years from now.

How many of us, even the photographers among us, remember every detail of our wedding? Probably not many. High emotions, nervous energy, and time itself can cause us not to remember details of an event or moment in our life. Photography can change that.

Campground wedding by Sara K Byrne on

We all recognize that photographs can help us to remember things, people, events, or moments from our history. But, research also shows that where memory is lost altogether, pictures can stand in the place of memory. Sometimes, pictures are our memories. They can connect us to our past. We might not remember every detail of our wedding or childhood, but the pictures we treasure fill in those blanks for us.

Lastly, wedding photography is important for us personally as photographers because it challenges us to be better at our craft. Each wedding we photograph is a new technical and personal challenge.

Lemonade Out of Lemons by Ryan Brenizer on

The Role of a Photographer:

Imagine ruining all the pictures of someone's wedding or a baby's baptism. It's unimaginable, isn't it? The role of any photographer is to create tangible evidence of what happens at any given moment. It is incredibly important when a client entrusts us with the precious experiences in their lives. Those experiences collectively form someone's history. We are being entrusted with recording a treasured moment in someone's life. That makes our role both rewarding and challenging. 

One light, many jobs by Ryan Brenizer on

The Challenges of Weddings:

Any amazing wedding photographer will tell you that mastering the technical challenges of a wedding event is one of the tricks to excellence. It's also the greatest challenge!

  • Most weddings will take place under various and challenging lighting conditions sometimes with just seconds or minutes to adjust. A good wedding photographer needs to be technically savvy and needs to know how to shoot in the bright light of the outdoors or the dim lighting of a chapel. You need to quickly manipulate conditions with your equipment to get the best shots. 

Mountain Bride by Carey Nash on

  • Weddings have become more documentary in style. This means a wedding photographer will need to adapt and adjust quickly. Be prepared at all times! If you're not nimble and anticipating shots, you risk losing a poignant moment such as an impromptu kiss between bride and groom or the bride and her father. It's those unexpected moments which define great wedding photography and are typical of documentary shots. 
  • It's important to be both technically savvy and people-oriented. Your clients need to feel comfortable with you to the point they almost forget you are there so you can get those candid, poignant moments which add depth to any portrait photography. If you're a technical expert but don't relate well to clients, you could find it difficult to be a wedding photographer. Be sure to take the time to establish a connection with your clients before the wedding - well in advance of the wedding. It is the relationships that you build with them that will help you record their wedding in a more intimate way for better pictures. Remember that wedding photography is a visual diary of the event. How can you capture truly personal and poignant photographs if there is no relationship to your subjects?

Flow by Michael Chan on

  • Never become complacent. Just because you are familiar with a venue is no reason to think you know the lighting conditions. Personalize each wedding and think of it as a new opportunity for you to rise to excellence. No two brides are the same and, thus, no two weddings are the same. Don't get lazy or complacent. 
  • Equipment matters so always do an inventory check a day or two before a wedding. Pack the night before and be ready for the unexpected including failing equipment. Have backup batteries and equipment. 

African Wedding by Carey Nash on

  • Beauty lies not just in the eyes of the beholder but in the details of an event. The close-ups provide the richness of any wedding photography. 

Beautiful and meaningful wedding photography is rewarding for a photographer because it challenges the best of us to rise to excellence in a tough genre. However, that makes it all the more rewarding. We aren't just recording memories for our clients; we are becoming better photographers with each shot we capture.

Dancing Veil by Daniel Tam on

You can also read our articles about Wedding Photography, check the best wedding photography trends, great wedding photographersgreat books for wedding photographers and lightroom editing workflow for wedding photographers, that we prepared for you earlier.

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