4 Tips for Amateur Wedding Photographers
A wedding is one of the most important events in a couple's life. As their wedding photographer, it's critical you can deliver the quality results they expect, and you want. If you're new to wedding photography or if you're not a process-oriented person, it's important to spend some time on detailed planning before the event. That preparation will help ensure things go well the day of the wedding event smoothly!
If this is the first wedding you are shooting, it's important to be realistic about how much wedding photography involves starting from your first conversation with the wedding couple. The process ends with the day they pick up their portraits. The process in between those two points is up to you. Get it right, and you will likely have happy clients. So, let's talk about the process for wedding photography.
1. Cultivate relationships
As we stated earlier, the process begins with your first conversation with the wedding couple. It's important for you as a wedding photographer to spend time getting to know the couple by asking a lot of pre-decided questions and taking copious notes of their answers. (Some photographers have prepared questionnaires they ask their clients to fill out.) So, why is it important for you to get to know your clients?
The better you know your clients, and they know you, the better their portraits are like to turn out. If your subjects feel comfortable with you, they will relax, and the pictures will come out looking far more natural, far more reflective of who they are and how they feel for each other. Capturing genuine emotion in fine art photography is key to great photography!
During that first conversation, you'll want to begin to discuss their vision for their portraits and what type of products interest them. You're asking not as a sales pitch, but to better understand what they want. This information helps you to meet their expectations. And, meeting a client's expectations is the ultimate goal of every professional photographer!
2. Make lists
Some of the best photographers live off of lists - even the most experienced ones!
- We suggest a list of all the equipment you need to bring with you. (Always charge batteries several days ahead and bring extras.)
- Based on your conversations with your clients, it's important to create a checklist of all the friends/family you need to photograph.
- A list of the shots you want to be sure to take such as centerpieces, wedding rings, venue, etc. Be specific. It's easiest to write this particular list as you do a walk-through of the event venues. See #3.
3. Tour the venues
Never go in blind! Make sure you take the time at least several days ahead of the wedding to visit any sites where you will be shooting. If you are able, you should scope out the wedding and reception locations well in advance. We recommend you tour the site even if you've taken pictures there. Sometimes venues renovate or move things around. Be sure to ask about any restrictions on photographers. For example, is there a good vantage point from a balcony? Ask if you can get access to it. While visiting each site, make notes on what type of equipment you will need such as lighting.
4. Preview Session
Post production is critical to great photography. Never rush through it and be sure to give your clients the best you have to offer as a photographer. The preview session for them is important. It's an exciting time for them. They'll be looking forward to the meeting and will probably be nervous. Be ready before they arrive and make sure they are comfortable in a well-designed space for clients. Be proud of your work and the products you offer them. Have examples of the products so they can see something tangible. Remember, these are precious memories for them, and they will enjoy them for many decades - long after they leave your studio. Make sure their session is part of a superb client experience.
With some detailed and thoughtful planning for the wedding, you can deliver memories to last a lifetime and beyond for the next generation. Remember our tips: Cultivate relationships with your clients. Make detailed lists to help you the day of the event (you can't remember everything otherwise). Visit the sites in advance. And, lastly, create a great preview session for your clients where you discuss the various products available to them. Wedding photography can be incredibly rewarding as a professional photographer.
You can also read our articles about Wedding Photography, check the best wedding photography trends, great wedding photographers, great books for wedding photographers, The beauty of wedding photography and Lightroom editing workflow for wedding photographers, that we prepared for you earlier.