Last week Gaz wrote a smashing article about wedding photography. This got me thinking about when I first started photographing weddings and the difficulties I had (and sometimes still have). It turns out that the things that make Gaz hesitant are the very same things that have made me into a decent wedding photographer.
At this point I probably aught to admit that the title of this post is a little misleading. I don’t really think you can remove the stress from wedding photography completely. For that matter I don’t think you can for any paid for photography. At the end of the day your fee and (more importantly) your reputation depend on the quality of the photos you produce. I do believe however that you can significantly reduce the stress involved and that any competent photographer can successfully photograph a wedding providing they are prepared and stay relaxed.
So without further ado here are my top 5 tips for almost stress-free wedding photography:
Tip 1: Remove the worry of kit failure before the wedding
This is every photographerâ??s worst nightmare. You go to take a shot and your kit fails. Even a dead battery can seem like the end of the world when youâ??re depending on it. A few days before the wedding check that all your kit is working properly. Make sure that you leave enough time to get to a photography shop just in case. The night before give it all one more check making sure you donâ??t have any weird creative settings active and that any batteries you need are fully charged. Pack spare batteries in your camera case and if youâ??re using memory cards make sure they are formatted and ready to go.
Tip 2: Make a list of the â??must haveâ? shots
Make sure you sit down with the bride and groom well before the wedding and make a list of the shots they want. If you can, write them down in the order you plan to take them. This will save you a lot of umming and ahhing on the day. Itâ??s easy to forget / not think about doing this if itâ??s your first time and youâ??re doing a friend a favour but trust me this preparation massively reduces the stress on the day. If you can commit the list to memory do but make sure you have a copy with you on the day.
Tip 3: Remember youâ??re in charge
At the end of the day you are there to do a job and it is down to you to make sure that each of the photos on your list gets taken. Youâ??ll be surprised how willing the guests are to follow your direction just so long as youâ??re firm and direct. If there is a lot of chatter donâ??t be afraid to raise your voice to be heard. As long as youâ??re polite youâ??ll find the guests will be very responsive.
Tip 4: Donâ??t take too many shots
The pressure can become a little overwhelming sometimes and it is very easy to fall into the old trap of clicking away to make sure you get the shot. Trust in your ability and, if youâ??re using digital, review as you go. As soon as you have the shot move on. The last thing you need when you get home is 10 slightly different versions of the every photo.
Tip 5: Take a deep breath
This sounds silly but you wouldnâ??t believe how helpful it is. I donâ??t think it matters how many weddings you photograph there is always that flutter inside when you step up to take the first few photos of the day. Take a deep breath, let it out slowly and youâ??ll be amazed at how much more steady youâ??ll feel.
A wedding is a happy occasion and the happy couple have put their trust in you to take their photos. They wouldnâ??t have if they didnâ??t believe you were up to the job so remember to believe in yourself. You are a good photographer and all youâ??re doing is taking pictures of people enjoying themselves. For that matter you should enjoy yourself too. Youâ??re doing something you love for people who are probably paying you to do it. Does it get any better than that? If you relax and have fun youâ??ll see it in the pictures afterwards. The best photos are usually the ones where the photographer is smiling.
If you have any tips and tricks that youâ??d like to share let us know.