In this post Christina N Dickson from ChristinaNichole Photography shares some tips on how to improve your wedding photography.
According to comprehensive wedding planning site, theknot.com, December and January are fifth and sixth most likely months to schedule a wedding date (at least in North America). No winter breaks for wedding photographers here! If weddings are to be found year round, anyone wanting to improve their wedding photography skills should dedicate some time to expand their skills during the off-times of their shooting.
One of the most helpful ways I have found to expanding the diversity and creativity of my wedding photography requires nothing more than a trip to the library, my laptop, and a few sheets of paper.
1. Check out the recent wedding magazines.
Take cues from the successful and world-renowned trend setting wedding photographers featured in wedding magazines. Here you will find out if the industry is going retro in editing style, minimalist in portraiture, or creative in detail shots. Decide if these trends will work in your own style, or be inspired by the styles of these successful photographers. [Extra Tip: Wedding magazines are also brilliant for checking out flattering portrait poses for brides].
2. Set up a blog-feed for your favorite photographers work.
Everyone needs a bit of inspiration now and again. So why not schedule yours? Use a program like newsfire to subscribe to different photographer’s blogs. Not only will you stay inspired, you can keep track of what styles seem to work with what couples, get fresh ideas and perspectives, and even get a boost of self-esteem when you see images similar to yours.
3. Take the inspiration and apply it.
Create a comprehensive shot list. Evaluate what you need to improve in your shots, what shots you need to add to the ones you normally get. Write down different techniques or styles you want to experiment with.
a. Create an “essentials” shot list: These shots should not simply be “bride with sister”, but the type of shot you want to create with those two people. This would include ideas like, “bridal party jumping into the air” or “father twirling his bride daughter” etc. This will get your creative juices flowing for those shots you would already capture.
b. Think of a “creative” shots list. These types of shots are ones that you don’t capture, but set up. Such as “couple extending engagement picture into foreground” or “bride’s shoes with lace and ribbons”, etc. These shots certainly won’t make or break the wedding album [you will face less consequences than missing the bride and groom coming back down the aisle]. However, if you want to set yourself apart from other photographers, this is certainly a list you want to develop.
c. Remember the “dream shots”. This shot list would look like your “perfect” wedding. Say, if the bride was willing to do anything in her dress, what is the one shot you would want to capture? What shots would you create if you set up the location, time of day etc, without a variety of variables? While it may be thought of as impractical, this list will truly open up your mind so that if and when that magical opportunity comes along, you know how to maximize it!
BTW, this step is for practice only. I would not suggest you use it on the field unless in abbreviated form.
Remember, with exercises like these, you can increase your wedding photography skills even when you aren’t actively shooting all the time. Keep your mind and imagination sharp, and your skills will follow!
Get more wedding photography tips on our Wedding Photography Tips page.