1. Enjoy & Have Fun
Please do not go into Wedding Photography if you don’t enjoy weddings. You’ll need to handle pressure and always remember that you only get one chance at weddings. You cannot afford to mess it up. Working to tight schedule and having good social skills is very important as well.
2. Check Your Gear
Before you leave your home or studio to go to the wedding, check & re-check you camera gear, make sure all the camera batteries are fully charged and the flash gun batteries as well if you are using re-chargeable. I personally prefer re-chargeable batteries for my Nikon SB900 flashguns.
3. Have back-ups
Never go to photograph a wedding with just a single camera body and a lens. You should have at least 2 bodies. Try and shoot with the same bodies. Don’t have a pro body worth $3000 and a back-up as a $400 body. You need to have a like-for-like back up body. I photograph with 2 bodies and have a 3rd one as a back-up. Have a variety of lenses from wide angles, zooms and fast prime lenses. The ones I’d recommend for shooting a wedding with are:
– 24-70mm f/2.8
– 14-24mm f/2.8
– 85mm f/1.4
– 70-200mm f/2.8
– 105 VR Macro
– 50mm f/1.4
– 35mm f/2
4. Insure Yourself & Your Business
It is absolutely critical that you insure yourself. Just like you would insure your car & your home. You need to have sufficient insurance should the worst happen whether the kit is stolen, a CF card fails and gets corrupted or a hard drive failure, someone gets hurt or injured due to your negligence while you’re at a wedding. To cover yourself, you need to have:
– Public Liability Insurance
– Professional Indemnity Insurance
( if you are outside of the UK, then please check with your insurance company or seek legal advice)
5. Don’t Shoot in Continuous Mode
You need to pick the moments and shoot. Shoot like a sniper, wait, aim and fire. Don’t machine gun everything & anything that moves in the hope of getting one good image. Remember, you’ll need to edit & post process the images after the wedding. What would you rather have, 500 really good images or 3,000 average ones images? A story of a typical wedding can easily be told in 500 images or less.
6. Shoot in RAW
There is no need to shoot JPEGs anymore. Shooting in RAW means you can ‘future-proof’ your files and when using software like Aperture 3, Lightroom 3 or Capture NX2, you can edit them completely in a non-destructive manner. If your camera has dual-slots for CF cards (Nikon D3 / D3x / D3s), then set both the slots to RAW+RAW. This way you have instant back-up of images in camera. Gives you more peace of mind and I don’t have any hesitation in using larger cards like the 8Gb ones. If you have only one CF slot in your camera, I would advise not to use cards larger then 2Gb. So you don’t put all your eggs in one basket if things go wrong.
7. Don’t Delete Images In-Camera
You may miss great shots if you are constantly ‘chimping’ and deleting images off your CF Card. You also use up more battery power of your camera and also risk the CF card going corrupt.
8. Use Flash Creatively
When using flash, use it creatively by taking the flash away from the hot shoe of the camera. Lastolite produce a variety of products which are ideal for the small flash guns.
9. Always Be One Step Ahead Of The Game
I always keep the following information with me at all times:
– Schedule of the day: Whats happening when
– Names of the bridal party i.e parents, best man, ushers, bridesmaids, etc
– Emergency Telephone Numbers
– Family group shot list
– The address of the venues i.e where the bride is getting ready, church, reception venue
10. The Couple Should Spend More Time…with their loved ones and not with the photographer. Don’t keep them away from everyone for a long time. About 15-20 minutes to do the couple shots is more than enough and perhaps another 15 minutes or so late in the evening.