Wedding Photography Tips to Get You Started - Digital Photography School
Close
Close

Wedding Photography Tips to Get You Started

A Guest post by Mark Hauge from Ana Rita Photography.

When my wife and I decided to take up wedding photography a few years back I had a good idea of how much we would need to learn. I knew reading one book on wedding photography wouldn’t cut it but it was a place to start. I recall the book stating that for weddings you should be in aperture mode so off we went to shoot our first wedding for a friend. After shooting most of the ceremony in aperture mode I quickly realized there was a lot more to it when I saw the soft and blurry images from low shutter speeds due to the low lighting in the church. I knew we had a long ways to go.

As my wife and I have grown in experience over the past few years I have made mental and physical notes of what we have learned in hopes of sharing our insight in with others and to further our learning by going through the process. This is not meant to be a how to guide but instead an overview of tips and techniques that work well for us with our style of wedding photography which is photojournalistic with some minimal posing of subjects.

Camera Settings

Every time we purchase new cameras I set them up knowing they will be used solely for weddings. Here are our preferred settings (we use Canon so your camera may have slightly different names for these settings):

Date/Time: Since both my wife and I shoot during weddings I make sure our cameras have the exact date and times down to the second. Later when we upload the photos to begin editing this makes everything quicker as the photos are in chronological order. There is no easy way to reorder photos in most photo software applications so this is a huge timesaver if you plan on posting the photos online as it simply looks better if everything is in order. It also saves time when you arrange the final wedding album.

Auto Focus Area: Many cameras have sophisticated systems to choose the best focal point for the shot. Our Canon 7D’s have 19 points which can be auto selected by the camera. When shooting weddings, we often find ourselves shooting between close objects to get the shot we want which might cause the camera to choose that object as the focal point. Also in low light it can be difficult for cameras to choose the correct focal point. If the camera chooses the wrong focal point and you need to change it you may have just missed your shot. As such, we set our cameras for single point autofocus and set the focal point to the center point. We then focus using this center focal point by pressing the shutter button half way and then composing our shot. This provides a consistent method for taking shots quickly as you are not composing your shot around varying focal points in the viewfinder and you can easily focus exactly where needed.

AF Servo Mode: This mode selects if the camera will keep a constant focus once you depress the shutter button halfway or if it will refocus if it detects the object is moving. Since many times during the procession subjects may be moving toward or away from you this is a nice feature to leverage which is why we set this to AI Focus mode (Canon). In AI Focus mode the camera will focus on still subjects as normal and notify you that focus has been achieved yet if the subject begins to move it will change to AI Servo mode which will attempt to keep your moving subject in focus until you take the photo.

Drive modes: Most cameras have various shooting speed selections from single shot mode, which is one frame per shutter button depress, to high speed continuous mode, which typically will take anywhere from 4-8 fps depending on the camera’s fastest shooting speed. We set our cameras at low speed continuous for weddings. That way we can take several shots quickly without making too much noise and without taking an excessive amount of photographs which can quickly fill up a memory card and add to your post production time.

Metering Mode: Now that we have focus set to single point we also want to tell the camera to look at the center of the image when setting exposure and this is done by setting the metering mode to center weighted average. The camera then gives higher priority to what is in the middle of the image and less to what is at the edges when it sets exposure. We also set our flashes to meter in the center, since we use flashes mostly for portrait shots, which can typically be done right on the camera when the flash is attached or on the flash itself.

Rear curtain sync: This tells the flash to go off at the end of the exposure as opposed to the beginning. This will make low light shots, such as during dancing, look more realistic as any motion blur will be behind the subject instead of in front of it. This setting can also be made on the camera with the flash attached or on the flash itself.

Highlight Warning: Most cameras will have this setting which will flash areas of the image on the LCD that are blown out in the highlights. This is a must since the last thing you want to do is blow out the bride’s dress causing you to lose all of the detail so we have this set to enabled all of the time. If we take a shot and notice areas of the image are flashing on our LCD screen we know we need to lower our exposure or turn down the flash using the flash exposure compensation setting.

White Balance: We choose to leave this set at auto. As photojournalistic photographers we take lots of photos and are thus moving around too much to be setting white balance continually. White balance settings often change even during a ceremony as the bride and groom move around so we prefer to do our adjustments in post-production using the bride’s dress to set the white balance which gives a consistent and accurate white balance to the images.

Shooting the event

Getting Ready: Typically the day starts off with my wife taking photos of the bride while I do the same with the groom. We always attempt to use existing light sources but find using the flash is often a necessity, especially indoors. During this time we both use diffusers on our flash and angle the flash upright at approximately a 45 degree angle. This gives a nice diffused light source and cuts down on shadows which are easy to come by in small rooms where people are often getting ready. For shooting modes we will use shutter priority mode and set our shutter speed to 1/60 or faster to get nice sharp stills since the subjects tend to be moving around as they prepare for the day. Manual mode is also used if we find ourselves stationary for a period of time to give the photos a more consistent look. Aperture priority may be used for detail shots of the rings, shoes, and other accessories to provide nice bokeh or to increase depth of field as needed. If you are using flash also practice with lowering the camera exposure to darken the background to give your subject more presence.

50 mm, F1.4, 1/160 sec, ISO 400, flash on

The Procession: We always attempt to practice this shot ahead of time during the rehearsal if we are in a church we have not been to prior. It’s important to know where to stand which the church’s event planner should instruct you on ahead of time. We always shoot a full length portrait shot keeping in mind the camera should be at about the midway point of the subject. This is a great opportunity to use manual mode since you will take all the procession shots from the same spot. This will give your photos the consistent look you will want if they are going into an album. Again make sure to check that shutter speed is at least 1/60 sec. if not faster. We prefer 1/100 of a second or faster when we know people will be moving. A typical setting for this shot would be 1/100 sec., F4.0, and ISO 400. Keep in mind there may be a wall behind your subjects so this a shot where you will want to use a flash bracket to keep the flash over your camera so as to minimize shadows showing on the back wall of the church. Again we typically have a flash diffuser on our flash keeping in mind they are not effective much past 10 feet so if the shot is longer than that we will remove the diffuser.

The Ceremony: This is the time to be creative but aware of lighting conditions. Since we move around a lot we will typically put our cameras in shutter priority mode to prevent low shutter speeds which might cause blur. We typically set the camera to 1/60 or 1/80 of a second depending on available light but we will go lower if needed so as to not go above ISO 1600 keeping noise at a minimum. Often we find our aperture maxed out at F2.8 which is fine by us. The depth of field at F2.8 is typically more than enough to have both the bride and groom in focus with a minimal amount of bokeh which always looks great. ISO may go up to 1600 or 3200 in some situations for which later use software such as Imagenomic’s Noiseware to remove the noise during post processing. Having a zoom lens is important to get in close from the back of the church (see below).

200 mm, F2.8, 1/80 sec, ISO 1600, no flash


The Portraits

For the formal portraits after the ceremony we always use a tripod and set the camera to manual mode. The tripod helps maximizes sharpness of the photo and make it easier to move around to pose and direct. For indoor weddings we almost always use a flash. A typical setting for the portraits would be: 1/60 second shutter speed, F5.6 (or higher you need more light), and ISO 400. Keep in mind you are setting the exposure for the background so one thing we always think about is how much of the background do we really want to see? If it’s a beautiful background we may set the exposure to normal. If the background has nothing going for it we may set the exposure down to -2 stops to darken it a bit and make your subjects stand out more. This is done by raising the shutter speed. It’s certainly personal preference and we always take some test shots to verify the look we want. We use our flash in TTL mode and take it off camera using a sync cord or wireless. Our entire setup time is just a few minutes and we do not typically use a light meter. Remember, when using a flash, exposure becomes your friend, just like bokeh, to handle difficult backgrounds. In the shot below we used a -1 stop exposure to darken the background since the colors in it were a bit rich could be overpowering to the subject if not subdued.

38 mm, F2.8, 1/60 sec, ISO 400, flash on

The Reception

Here we will set our cameras back to shutter speed mode so we can take candid shots quickly without the need to change settings. If the reception is outdoors we may use aperture priority mode since available light is plentiful so we can choose the depth of field. Any outdoor portraits of the bride and groom would also be taken in aperture mode with the flash turned on for fill flash if needed. Flash exposure may need to be set to -1 or lower to make the flash blend nicely which we always verify on the LCD. Aperture settings would be F4.0 or lower for more depth of field if we wanted to show the background otherwise we might raise aperture to blur the background to draw more focus to our subjects.

32 mm, F4.0, 1/80 sec, ISO 100

Cake cutting and toasts is another time when a flash bracket is handy as often the couple will be standing near walls so keeping the flash over the camera for these portrait shots is essential. If you don’t have a flash bracket you are better off taking the shot in landscape and then making it a portrait image during post processing to help minimize shadows.

Finally for the dance we continue to take flash photos with our diffusers attached bouncing the light off the ceiling when possible. If we need more light we take off the flash diffusers. We also will lower our shutter speeds down to 1/10 sec. or lower to bring in more background light. This works fine since the flash freezes the motion of your subjects so blur is limited and it keeps the background from being overly dark with no detail.

Reception photos are a great time to experiment with different settings on your camera and trying out new ideas. We often will get on chairs to try a different perspective or you can also utilize live mode, if your camera has it, to take the shot leveraging the back LCD monitor which allows you to raise the camera above the action and still see your composition.

Final Thoughts

If someone asked me how to do a wedding and I had thirty seconds to respond I would advise them to use aperture priority mode outdoors, shutter priority mode indoors, and use manual mode for portraits leveraging a tripod and flash. While this is certainly no catch all advice it certainly has helped us to have a high level game plan in place which we then can build from as our experience grows. The worst feeling is getting into a situation where you aren’t ready to take the shot when it occurs so these basics are our failsafe. Over time I have come to enjoy using manual mode because in addition to giving the images a consistent look, it slows you down and makes you “think” more about your composition and your camera settings before you press the button.

I’m sure our techniques will continue to evolve over time. It’s that continual learning process which makes photography so rewarding for us. Each and every wedding we do prepares us for the next and this evolution will be your best learning tool and confidence builder as it has been for us.

Mark & Ana are an energetic husband and wife team specializing in wedding photography in Atlanta, GA.

If you enjoyed this article, you might also like...

Guest Contributor This post was written by a guest contributor to DPS. Please see their details in the post above.

Become a Contributor: Check out Write for DPS page for details about how YOU can share your photography tips with the DPS community.

  • Dee

    very informative. !! I’m in a situation with a wedding coming up where the ceilings are in a triangular shape and very high. They are also made of stained glass and surrounded by dark wood. I am unable to bounce my flash and I prefer not to shoot straight on with my flash . Do you have any suggestions? I am not guaranteed a lot of light coming in through the stained glass if it’s not a bright day. Any help/suggestions welcomed.

  • Alter Image

    Great blog many thanks for the great advice.

  • Dana

    What a FABULOUS article!! Thanks so much! I’m getting ready to help photograph my brother’s wedding this weekend in Boulder, CO. This will only be my second wedding. All of your information made so much sense to me and I’m excited to implement it! I usually shoot in manual mode but I think I will use your advice of using AV mode (the wedding/reception are going to be entirely outside). I think that will take some of the pressure off. I’ve never used “highlight warning” and just set that on my camera.

  • https://www.timberlysphotographer.com/ Timberly Briscoe

    This was very helpful. I read this the day of my second wedding to get last mintue tips and it was very useful.

  • http://www.wbfphoto.com Kathy McFarland Newsome

    I just changed all my camera settings to match this article for my first wedding later today! Im having a panic attack hoping I did it right! Im off to shoot some pics around the house to practice!

  • Michelle James

    It is so good to read articles written by people who speak from their
    experiences, just like reading from another wedding photography blog- http://www.keepsake-images.net. You know that they know what they are talking about. Weddings and engagements are not like any other events. They have those critical moments that photographers have to perfectly capture the very moment they happen, and that takes more than sheer talent, it takes experience. How odd would it be a photographer asks a couple to repeat their first kiss, or ask the minister to repeat a part of the ceremony because he failed to get a good shot the first time? It wouldn’t even be funny. It would be ridiculous and annoying.

  • http://www.haydenmurtagh.co.uk HM Photography

    Nice article. I am shooting a 2 part wedding this week so hence I shall be attempting the tips you have provided….can’t wait…a bit nervous, but wish me luck.

  • http://www.haydenmurtagh.co.uk HM Photography

    Yeah would be weird.

  • http://www.haydenmurtagh.co.uk HM Photography

    Hey. How did you get on? Any photos to show us?

  • http://www.haydenmurtagh.co.uk HM Photography

    How did it go?

Some older comments

  • Kevin

    June 21, 2013 06:01 am

    Fantastic advice. I'm shooting a wedding first for me in August. You have it all summed up here and I will read this over and over again.

  • Tyler Pham

    April 9, 2013 02:30 pm

    very helpful tutorial. Thanks very much :-)

  • Bill M

    October 18, 2012 05:59 pm

    This information is quite valuable to me and very much appreciated. Regarding center point AF, I would like to know if you use BBF ? If you do or do not, can you explain why please?

  • Gracie

    May 19, 2012 01:23 pm

    This is so helpful. I am working a wedding next weekend and this is good advice.

  • steven

    April 24, 2011 06:25 pm

    Excellent Article! This is one article that i came across where the authour try to share every bit of his hard earned learnings. Thanks a ton and keep us educated.

  • Matt VanGent

    January 7, 2011 05:53 pm

    Thanks for the article! I'm shooting my first wedding tomorrow (and happen to be doing so with my wife, like you guys!). I've been reading up on wedding photography for quite some time now in preparation, but this article was definitely a good overview/recap. I really appreciate your tip about when to use shutter or aperture priority. Thanks again!

  • Larry Boden

    December 22, 2010 10:46 am

    Fantastic article, I really appreciate the time taken by you to post this. This article is well structured, understandable and very helpful for people like me who are giving it a go for the first time. Thanks again.

  • Jason Collin Photography St Petersburg

    December 21, 2010 01:35 pm

    @Jeff......thanks!

    There is something about wedding photography that makes one think it is more difficult than it is. The first wedding I ever photographed was an old friend's (had not seen her in like 15 years since high school) and she already had another photographer who did not mind me shooting as well. One of the first things I thought while shooting the wedding was, "this is not so different than photographing a combo of events and portraits." Of course there was not an ounce of pressure on me then.

    Do I still get nervous before a big wedding? Yes, but the level of nervousness depends on how much time I had with the couple beforehand. The more time with them (engagement shoot, consults, etc) the less nervous I am.

    Also, I have heard from other wedding photographers that they fake key shots, like cutting the cake, tossing the bouquet, etc. I have not had to do that fortunately, though when photographing a birthday recently I did ask the mom to light the candle again for her daughter to blow out because I had other kids between me and the cake and could not get the shot.

    Here is another tip...it is often hard to get a good shot of the couple during the ceremony itself unless there is a lot of free space between them and the guests, and they do not have any pillars or tall candles next to them. So now I do not worry about that as those are not the most crucial shots anyway, and that is something better served by video.

    The formals? Just like doing any regular portraits (though perhaps might have worse light). So get confident doing portraits, then you'll be confident doing formals.

    Shooting the reception is where skills like dragging the shutter, using off camera flash, etc can really help get creative shots, and the kinds of reception shots you see in magazines. This is still an area I am always trying to improve myself.

  • Jeff Carter

    December 21, 2010 07:22 am

    @Mark, thank you very much for this phenomenal article! And @Jason Collin, thank you for your feedback, as well. I've come to trust you a lot over the past year. :-)

    I haven't shot a wedding yet, but am lined up to do one. I think I'm in the same camp as @Gary Davies, and I think the people that say you're not ready to shoot a wedding yet are the ones that aren't even comfortable with their own photography skills (hard for them) or overrate their skills (make it sound hard). Seems to me shooting a wedding shouldn't be much different in terms of properly exposure settings than doing indoor/outdoor family or engagement portraits. In fact, it's a precisely planned series of events so if you know what to expect how could you go wrong? I mean, of course the photos must turn out better than Uncle Harold's snapshots, but that's where one's thorough technical understanding of photography and creative license will separate themselves as a true photographer. Knowledge and creativity... gotta have both, or photos will be mediocre at best. I do plan to shoot a wedding under a veteran wedding photographer... not so I will learn how to take pictures, but so I will know what to expect.

    This article has indeed prepped me to know much of what to expect. Thanks again!

  • Kristen Sassella

    December 20, 2010 11:52 am

    Great Article! Thank you... it has helped clarify alot in Wedding Photography!!! I have printed and re-read a few times already!

  • dokki_kid

    December 19, 2010 12:21 pm

    great tips! thanks for putting the actual settings used. im having a wedding shoot this week and this will certainly guide and help me in this event!

  • Kurt

    December 18, 2010 01:07 am

    Wow, what a well written and very informative article. This is so much more than an introduction into wedding photography, this is pure gold!! - Thanks.

  • Hamilton

    December 17, 2010 11:35 pm

    Great tips my wife and I shot our first wedding this year and and it went really well. I plan to save this article as reference for our upcoming clients wedding.

  • ovidiu

    December 17, 2010 09:23 pm

    @halmooney: thx for explaining, makes more sense to me now :-)

  • halmooney

    December 17, 2010 01:14 pm

    ovidiu - If you have your flash mounted on a bracket, rather than on the camera's hot shoe, you want a bracket that centers the flash directly above the lens, rather than off to the side.
    If the flash is to the side, it will throw an ugly shadow behind your subject on the opposite side.
    If the flash is above the lens, the shadow goes directly down behind the subject where you will not see it in the picture.
    Make sense?
    You can see this effect by taking the shade off a lamp and shining it at a friend. As you move the lamp back and forth, you can see the shadow move.

  • Elizabeth

    December 17, 2010 08:09 am

    This is the best, most practical, most detailed advice on wedding photography I've ever come across - thanks so much for writing such a great article.

  • Joel

    December 17, 2010 07:34 am

    Thank you very much for this post! I am new to wedding photography and the information here has been very helpful!

  • lisa

    December 17, 2010 05:50 am

    Fantastically useful set of tips! The best I have read. Thank you :-)

  • JCP St. Petersburg Photographer

    December 17, 2010 04:59 am

    I like the detailed, step-by-step tutorial format of this post.

    I was surprised to see, however, the recommendation of using AF Servo Mode (basically letting camera choose single or continuous focus). Personally, I would never recommend that because I do not believe DSLRs do a good job of choosing, and definitely do not choose as well as I do. This is one reason why when I chose which brand to use, I chose Nikon because my D300 body specifically has a dedicated, easy to change, button for switching between continuous and single focus modes. I do not even have to look at the camera to change it.

    I always leave my camera in the fastest drive mode (for me 6FPS) as I have trained my trigger finger's sensitivity to obey how many shots I want, and I have learned not to photograph everything in site so I do not fill up memory cards with images that will be ultimately deleted. For a 6 to 8-hour wedding, I only use two 8GB CF cards shooting in RAW + JPG basic mode, and a second camera using a 8B SDHC card in the same mode, with plenty left over on the SDHC card.

    I would quickly learn to shoot only in manual mode. It is not as hard as one might think. True, wedding cover various settings, but they do not change instantly. You are in a room with the bride getting ready for awhile, then photographing the ceremony in the same location for awhile. Then the reception has its own lighting conditions. Unless you are walking from indoor to outdoor back and forth, there is no problem setting things to manual and knowing you are getting the exact same, correct exposure every time. Even if you are going back and forth indoor to outdoor, you should be skilled enough to change the settings of your camera in less than 10 seconds. Adjust shutter speed, adjust aperture, adjust ISO, boom, done.

    To me using off camera flash is a MUST for portraits/formals. In fact I use a two strobe off camera setup by myself with no assistants. I did not start out with such a setup, but with practice and experience, it can be done. I use off camera flash to photograph the dance floor at the reception as well.

    Another MUST is being the second shooter for several weddings before doing one on your own, unless you are some kind of natural photography master, just going into a wedding having never photographed one before, it is highly likely to be a disaster.

    Also, I would not recommend always using auto-white balance. For receptions, especially, I am putting a gell on my strobe and setting the white balance to what that gel calls for. Indoors, the lights in the room and the light from your strobe/flash have different temperatures. Well, you can only balance for one, thus putting a gel on your strobe to match the lights in the room as much as possible, then setting your white balance for that light source, it was a dramatic improvement in my shots when I first started gelling.

    No one can suggest what settings for you to use to photograph a wedding because each and every location is different. This is where being an experienced photographer is a must, so that upon arriving on the scene withing two or three shots you can have the correct settings dialed in and you can begin shooting away. Even though for big weddings I scout the venue first, that is not really for judging the light, it's more for judging logistics. For example, is there a 2nd floor balcony I can shoot from, if there is, I have to plan when to run up there to get shots, etc. One other key thing is to ask ahead of time if you can use flash in a particular venue.

    Though settings are always different, these are kind of my default starting points for indoor/outdoor:

    outdoor sun: f/11 ISO 200 (lowest on my camera) 1/250th WB sunny
    nighttime indoor event space: f/5.6 ISO 800 1/60th strobe in TTL mode on hotshoe

  • JCP St. Petersburg Photographer

    December 17, 2010 04:59 am

    I like the detailed, step-by-step tutorial format of this post.

    I was surprised to see, however, the recommendation of using AF Servo Mode (basically letting camera choose single or continuous focus). Personally, I would never recommend that because I do not believe DSLRs do a good job of choosing, and definitely do not choose as well as I do. This is one reason why when I chose which brand to use, I chose Nikon because my D300 body specifically has a dedicated, easy to change, button for switching between continuous and single focus modes. I do not even have to look at the camera to change it.

    I always leave my camera in the fastest drive mode (for me 6FPS) as I have trained my trigger finger's sensitivity to obey how many shots I want, and I have learned not to photograph everything in site so I do not fill up memory cards with images that will be ultimately deleted. For a 6 to 8-hour wedding, I only use two 8GB CF cards shooting in RAW + JPG basic mode, and a second camera using a 8B SDHC card in the same mode, with plenty left over on the SDHC card.

    I would quickly learn to shoot only in manual mode. It is not as hard as one might think. True, wedding cover various settings, but they do not change instantly. You are in a room with the bride getting ready for awhile, then photographing the ceremony in the same location for awhile. Then the reception has its own lighting conditions. Unless you are walking from indoor to outdoor back and forth, there is no problem setting things to manual and knowing you are getting the exact same, correct exposure every time. Even if you are going back and forth indoor to outdoor, you should be skilled enough to change the settings of your camera in less than 10 seconds. Adjust shutter speed, adjust aperture, adjust ISO, boom, done.

    To me using off camera flash is a MUST for portraits/formals. In fact I use a two strobe off camera setup by myself with no assistants. I did not start out with such a setup, but with practice and experience, it can be done. I use off camera flash to photograph the dance floor at the reception as well.

    Another MUST is being the second shooter for several weddings before doing one on your own, unless you are some kind of natural photography master, just going into a wedding having never photographed one before, it is highly likely to be a disaster.

    Also, I would not recommend always using auto-white balance. For receptions, especially, I am putting a gell on my strobe and setting the white balance to what that gel calls for. Indoors, the lights in the room and the light from your strobe/flash have different temperatures. Well, you can only balance for one, thus putting a gel on your strobe to match the lights in the room as much as possible, then setting your white balance for that light source, it was a dramatic improvement in my shots when I first started gelling.

    No one can suggest what settings for you to use to photograph a wedding because each and every location is different. This is where being an experienced photographer is a must, so that upon arriving on the scene withing two or three shots you can have the correct settings dialed in and you can begin shooting away. Even though for big weddings I scout the venue first, that is not really for judging the light, it's more for judging logistics. For example, is there a 2nd floor balcony I can shoot from, if there is, I have to plan when to run up there to get shots, etc. One other key thing is to ask ahead of time if you can use flash in a particular venue.

    Though settings are always different, these are kind of my default starting points for indoor/outdoor:

    outdoor sun: f/11 ISO 200 (lowest on my camera) 1/250th WB sunny
    nighttime indoor event space: f/5.6 ISO 800 1/60th strobe in TTL mode on hotshoe

  • Pat McComb

    December 17, 2010 04:17 am

    I love all your tutorials they are so helpful to me since I am just getting started.

  • glenn

    December 17, 2010 02:45 am

    Great article. Straightforward suggestions on what works and why with no proclamations of "I'm better than you and here's why." I'm shooting my nieces wedding, my first, soon. I'll make excellent use of this article. Thanks!

  • Twanna A.

    December 17, 2010 02:22 am

    Thanks you so much for explaining my camera to me! ;-). I git the 7D for Christmas last year (my first SLR). I have had lots of fun learning how to use it, but I've never had anyone explain it quite the way you did. Thanks for being willing to share what you've learned. I'll be helping a friend tonight shoot a concert and another friend this weekend shoot a wedding. They are so great toilet me shadow them. I hope to execute a few of your tips. I'll definitely have this reference bookmarked!

  • Lonnie

    December 17, 2010 02:19 am

    Thanks!!! Great information to remember and tips to get the right shots!!!!!

  • Neil

    December 17, 2010 02:00 am

    I think the shutter speeds are too slow at 1/60 or 1/80. I would use those if there was no movement whatsoever. And it depends on the focal length of the lens you're using. I would never shoot 1/60 with my 135mm. That would be crazy.

  • St Louis Photographer

    December 14, 2010 02:27 pm

    @Gary - I think the reason professional photographers recommend shooting under someone else to start off with is that wedding photography has a pretty steep learning curve. Depending on who's wedding you're photographing, you could end up making a bride pretty upset if you missed certain shots, and to be honest, it could mean the end of a previously good relationship. Plus, a bad reputation from a job you messed up is pretty tough to recover from.

    While I'd agree that I'd be giving the same advice for most of the tips in this post, one thing that I would STRONGLY encourage you to do is to shoot with an experienced wedding photographer before you bite off more than you can chew. For those of you who have shot weddings before, would you agree?

  • Gary Davies

    December 14, 2010 12:34 am

    At last, a realistic guide on how to approach a wedding - I'm tired of the usual 'DON'T GO NEAR IT UNTIL YOU'VE DONE AT LEAST A HUNDRED..' type posts!

    Many thanks!

    :-)

    GD

  • London Wedding Photographer David Sherjan

    December 12, 2010 09:12 pm

    Excellent info again guys.

    Enjoyed the read and another thumbs up :O)

    DSP

  • Photographer Detroit

    December 12, 2010 07:43 am

    Great post! You have shown that photography is a fine art that requires a unique and creative eye, and not just anyone with a camera can capture those special moments. Thank you for sharing.

    Photographer Detroit

  • Peter Camyre

    December 12, 2010 12:15 am

    In the above tip, titled, "The Portrait" I am confused about lowering my meter by one or two stops. When I'm in MANUAL, with 1/60 ISO 400 f/5.6 and flash on, the meter is already down two stops? Can someone possibly explain this step, or am I just confused? Thanks, Peter
    pcamyre@hotmail.com

  • Erika Wilson

    December 11, 2010 11:17 pm

    the most important and time consuming factor is post processing...

    I don't feel the need to waste time behind the computer when my events can be edited at such amazing quality and low prices...
    I`ve got this sorted with id-wedding.co

  • Shaun Rotman

    December 11, 2010 11:10 pm

    Possibly one of the most useful photo articles I've ever read. Thank you!

  • jamie

    December 11, 2010 06:40 pm

    Thank you...thank you THANK YOU! I just shot my First wedding on short notice for a friend in Oct. and could have used some of these. I too will Bookmark this for further assimilation for the future.

  • Ray

    December 11, 2010 04:14 pm

    Thank you for the tips

  • TSchulz

    December 11, 2010 03:04 pm

    OMG!!! After reading photography tutorials for years now, this is the absolute BEST tutorial I've ever read, hands down! I've never seen so much practical, detailed advice on this subject in one place at one time!

    This also came at exactly the the time I needed it when it appeared in my Google RSS feed. I'm shooting my first wedding next June and was about to start doing an extensive search on all this stuff and was not relishing the idea of trying to decipher, what I usually find to be, a lot of vague descriptions and references but no real specific answers. You've answered just about all the questions I was going to do research on all in one spot!!

    You have saved me so much time and frustration. I love you guys! You are awesome and icons in the world of photography! Write a book! I'll buy it!!

  • Rick Hanzlik

    December 11, 2010 08:17 am

    I have always shied away from wedding. Seems like there are way to many hormones flowing at weddings and I didn't need the stress but living in Utah, I maybe should rethink my goals. Thanks for the insight.

    Rick

  • PMLPhoto

    December 11, 2010 07:37 am

    How do you combine your focus and recompopse with being on continuous autofocus? Doesn't the camera refocus when you recompose?

  • Jim Martin

    December 11, 2010 06:44 am

    Good, technical advice. One bit I'd like to pass on: Get to know everyone in the wedding party's family. Who is the mother of the bride? Who is the groom's godfather? Which old woman flew here from Hawaii? Simply ask the bride or groom - or M.C. - to point out the "important" guests so that you get lots of shots of them. This is the one and only time so many friends and family members will be in one place, so make every shot count!

  • ovidiu

    December 11, 2010 04:45 am

    sorry forgot to subscribe to comments :-(

  • ovidiu

    December 11, 2010 04:44 am

    I read this expression: " keeping the flash over the camera" a couple of times in your article and am not quite sure what is meant by it, maybe someone can comment on that?

  • Chris

    December 11, 2010 04:12 am

    Just a great tutorial!

    I do have one question. Do you find that you use off-camera flash that often? If so, could you please describe that setup?

    Thanks in advance!
    Chris

  • Gertie

    December 11, 2010 04:12 am

    LOVE this article...i've been photographing weddings for about 4 years now, & it really is a continual learning process as i contuinue to experience new environments & get new equipment...i'm not sure i could have given such great & basic advise as this. :)
    thanks! can't wait to check out your website!

  • shahryar

    December 11, 2010 02:16 am

    Great tutorial I learnt a lot from it. But my sister's wedding is just done so too couldnt use these tips to make them even better. I do have one doubt though at one place you mentioned that "Aperture settings would be F4.0 or lower for more depth of field if we wanted to show the background otherwise we might raise aperture to blur the background to draw more focus to our subjects." According to what I know if we raise the aperture we get more depth of field and when we lower the aperture i.e. like F4 or less we get blurred effect. But the statement here under the heading of The Reception and as I have copy pasted the exact sentence, says exactly the opposite. Please clarify as I am a beginner and such statements confuse me. Thanks for the reply in advance and once great tutorial.

  • Felicia Broschart

    December 11, 2010 02:15 am

    Great article, I will definitely bookmark it. I am shooting a friends wedding in May and plan to "practice" a lot between now and then. These tips will help a lot and hopefully by May I'll be better prepared.

  • Lizabeta

    December 11, 2010 01:54 am

    Fanfreakingtastic advice! Its rare to come across so much basic practical advice in one spot! While I've read about the rear curtain sync feature before, no one has thought to mention WHY to use it (Blur in the back, not in the front) ... The only time I've used it is playing with the kids at night when we are taking glow stick pictures.

    Certainly going to re read this one a few times!

  • Julie

    December 11, 2010 01:41 am

    GREAT advice and extremely timely for me! I'm shooting my 2nd wedding tonight, in what I would say are very difficult conditions. Your tips will be most helpful tonight. THANK YOU!!

  • Kent West

    December 11, 2010 01:03 am

    Thanks for the insight. There is always something new to learn!

  • Nicole C.

    December 11, 2010 12:29 am

    Excellent, really excellent! Most of these thoughts apply to other types of portrait/event photography, so thank you! I think I'm going to have to save this so I can absorb more over time.

  • ElDavid

    December 11, 2010 12:16 am

    Great, great tutorial. It has a lot more detailed info. than what can usually be expected from "to get you started" guides.

    Thanks for sharing.

Receive a FREE SAMPLE of our Portrait Photography Ebook

  • Guaranteed for 2 full months
  • Pay by PayPal or CreditCard
  • Instant Digital Download

Receive a FREE SAMPLE of our Portrait Photography Ebook

  • Guaranteed for 2 full months
  • Pay by PayPal or CreditCard
  • Instant Digital Download

Receive a FREE SAMPLE of our Portrait Photography Ebook

  • Guaranteed for 2 full months
  • Pay by PayPal or CreditCard
  • Instant Digital Download

Sign up to the free DPS PHOTOGRAPHY COURSE

  • Guaranteed for 2 full months
  • Pay by PayPal or CreditCard
  • Instant Digital Download

GET DAILY free tips, news and reviews via our RSS Feed

Sign up to the free

DPS PHOTOGRAPHY COURSE

  • Guaranteed for 2 full months
  • Pay by PayPal or CreditCard
  • Instant Digital Download

GET DAILY free tips, news and reviews via our RSS Feed

Sign up to the free

DPS PHOTOGRAPHY COURSE

  • Guaranteed for 2 full months
  • Pay by PayPal or CreditCard
  • Instant Digital Download
DPS NEWSLETTER
DPS NEWSLETTER
DPS NEWSLETTER

DPS offers a free weekly newsletter with: 
1. new photography tutorials and tips
2. latest photography assignments
3. photo competitions and prizes

Enter your email below to subscribe.
Email:
 
 
Get DAILY free tips, news and reviews via our RSS feed