5 Tips for Photographing Your First Wedding

5 Tips for Photographing Your First Wedding

As a wedding photographer, I am often asked for advice. “This is my first, can you help me? Give me some tips? I’m scared of not being up to the mark “: this message, I have received it dozens of times. When you cover your first marriage, it’s the pressure and it’s normal. It’s a unique moment that will not be repeated. We are not allowed to make mistakes.

Here are 5 simple tips for those who will go through their baptism of fire. Not 50 tricks, just 5.

With these recommendations, you will be able to escape unscathed from your marriage, without forgetting anything of what is important. Follow the guide:

1 – Prepare Your Equipment

I have a checklist on which is written all that I need to bring:

  • Case
  • Battery (at least 2)
  • Memory Cards
  • Lenses
  • Flash
  • Tripod
  • Fabric to wipe its optics.

That’s really the union minimum. The day before, I charge all the batteries thoroughly. I check that my cards are formatted, ready to register a new wedding.

If possible, provide backup equipment. The wedding photography is quite trying for the equipment and we are not safe from a breakdown. For my part, I have two boxes, memory cards more than necessary and two batteries per camera.

For focal lengths, I think the best is to cover from 24mm to 200mm. For “small format” devices ( APS-C ), this means from 18mm to 150mm. This helps to cope with any need.

2 – Equip Yourself with a Cobra Flash

If you have not already done so, you must equip yourself with a cobra-type flash (with an adjustable head … very important detail). To be a wedding photographer means to deal with limited light situations, such as at the town hall or at the church for example. My style does not agree so much with the flash, I prefer to use natural light … but sometimes we have no choice. For those unfamiliar with using a flash, first set it to TTL (auto) mode and play with the + or – button to adjust the flash output if necessary. (I’ll do a video about the basics of flash someday… promised)

What I advise is to direct the flash to the ceiling or to a wall of neutral color and if possible (depending on the model) take out the small white tab. Here’s how I use the flash:

PS: Plan a set of spare batteries.

3 – Train Yourself!!!

In addition to the previous tip, if you miss practice, practice. This is not a joke. Enjoy an evening with friends to make your hand with the flash for example. This type of material requires practice to fully understand everything. And the worst thing to do is to use your flash for the first time…. during your first marriage.

Another example of exercise: couple photos. If you’ve never done it, how do you get out of it? My advice is to train on a couple of friends, who will be delighted to have beautiful pictures. Try different poses, chat with them to put them at ease, test different angles, etc.

Wedding photography is a demanding discipline. So, to succeed, you have to practice. Would you have the idea to present yourself at an athletics competition without practicing… obviously no.

4 – Make a “Short List”

This is the advice if you want to be sure you do not miss anything important. On each wedding, I have on me (or rather in my photo bag), a sheet on which I noted the day before, all the important things for the bride and groom. And how do I know all that … it’s very simple, I ask them. Which brings me to the next tip?

5 – Talk to the Bride and Groom

It is absolutely essential to know the couple you are going to photograph … at least a minimum. Discuss with them their expectations. There is nothing worse for married (and therefore for you) than to end up with pictures that do not look like them.

If this is your first marriage, this exchange can be a good opportunity to explain that this is your first marriage. They will be more lenient about the final result.

Some will think, “But never in life! It is absolutely necessary to hide the fact that one starts “. To those, I ask them a simple question: “How could you hide it! When they are going to ask you to show them the pictures of your previous marriages… they will see that it is the first one”.

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