Wedding photography newbie guide

Dear readers,

A lot of photographers whether new to photography or a seasoned one, will venture into wedding photography at some point in life. It may be a friend asking you to help take photos for their wedding, or you plan to start a career in this. The first thought that comes to your mind is, “Oh no! Should I accept or reject? What if I do a bad job? I haven’t done it before. What do I need to prepare?” Fear not. When someone asks you after seeing your portfolio, it means they like your work. Be confident and say yes to their request! Therefore, this article will prepare you the basics to get started and during the event, what to look out for.

1. Things to bring

Here are the essential items:

  1. A big bag and a small portable bag.
  2. DSLRs/Mirrorless
  3. Lens
  4. DSLR flash
  5. Extra DSLR batteries
  6. Extra A4 alkaline batteries
  7. Cleaning kit
  8. Water bottle
  9. Snacks

Firstly, you might be wondering why do you need a small portable bag when you already have a big bag to store your gears. Having a small portable bag allows you to put an extra camera and batteries when you move around the venue. You won’t want to carry your big bag around when taking photos right? Most likely that big bag will be store in some corner which will be hard for you to access during the event. That’s when the small portable bag becomes useful.

Next, DSLRs/Mirrorless and lens, I guess I do not have to explain right?

Next, DSLR flash will be important as some places might be too dark especially if you do not have a full-frame camera to bump up very high ISO or the backlight might be harsher based on the position you are taking the photo. Do note that if there are any videographers, do ask them if you can use your flash as it will affect the videos.

Next, extra batteries is a must. You might never know one of them is flat if you forget to charge them or the event has a very long duration. A4 alkaline batteries will be needed for your camera’s flash. The higher the power use for the flash, the brighter it is, and therefore consumes more battery power. Each wedding I took made me used 12 batteries. So be prepared.

A cleaning kit is a must as you might never know if you accidentally smudge your lens or someone walked past accidentally spill something. You can also use it to clean your lens right before the event at the venue.

Lastly, bring snacks is a must as you might not have a chance to eat. Bring some energy bar will help you to have a quick bite before continuing to take photos.

2. What to expect

2.1 Most of your photos should be photos of the couple

I can’t stress this enough but 85% of your photos should be photos of the couple. The couple pays you to take photos of their wedding, not the guest or relatives. When the couples refer back to the photos during their anniversary, they would want to see their happy moments, not photos of their friends or relatives. You may have photos of guests, relatives, and family, but those should be only important moments or something interesting. For example, a speech was given by friends or interesting moments such as the dance.

2.2 Ask the couple for who else they want the photos to focus on

Sometimes the couples may want to see more photos of their parents or grandparents. Therefore, it is important to ask and not disappoint them once they see the photos.

2.3 Ask the couple for the wedding schedule

During the wedding, many things may happen. There could be a performance or games session. It is important for you to get the schedule from the couple so that you will know what to expect, where should you position yourself right before each event else you will get caught off guard. Knowing the schedule will know you to take photos of the couples dressing up if you know their schedule.

2.4 Take photos of the decoration

Couples will be rushing and thinking of the next things they have to do. Rarely will they have time to enjoy their surrounding. Therefore, take photos of the decorations, the reception desk’s designs, the wide-angle view of the venue.

2.5 Ask the couple where is the walk-in entrance

I know it sounds like a dumb question but sometimes it is really helpful when there are like no carpets laid on the floor and the layout looks strange. I have shot at weddings where there are two entrances where the couple will do walk-in from each entrance. One for the start of the wedding and another for the 2nd walk-in.

2.6 Be there early

Always be early for the wedding. Usually, I would like to reach one hour before the dressing up period so that I can tour around the area to familiarize myself and take photos of the decoration (see section 2.4).

3. Final tip

Lastly, have confidence in yourself. The couple chose you because they like your work and believe in you. Go with your usual editing style because that is what they like. If you have different kind of editing style and those style suits the environment of the wedding venue, ask the couple which style they prefer.

I hope today’s article has been helpful to you. Feel free to leave any comments below. You may also send me some tips if you like my work and want to see more of such content. Funds will mostly be used for my boba milk tea addiction. The link is here. 🙂


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