The following article is meant for wedding photographers. I thought it would be helpful to include here so that you know about wedding photography from the photographer’s perspective!
Once the wedding is over, the only evidence that the couple will have on what happened during that day will be the photos taken by you, their official photographer. You can find countless sources online with exhaustive lists on what shots you should take during the wedding.
However, it is important to note that each couple is different and it would be unwise to use the exact list for all weddings. The couple may want shots that are not on those lists.
What you need to do instead, is talk to the couple weeks before the event and understand what photos are essential for them. Here are a few categories of essential photos that you can discuss with your clients.
Most experienced photographers will attempt to capture as many aspects of the client’s wedding as possible. This includes: the most important parts of the ceremony, the space, people, details and so on.
Even when it comes to just the details, there is a lot to cover. If you’re paid to work for a specific number of hours, you need to know which details take priority. Is it the bridal gown, the invitations or how the venue was decorated? Ask the couple which details they would like you to focus on.
This does not mean you won’t be taking shots of the other elements in the wedding. Instead, you will be able to devote more time and effort on the aspects that matter most to your clients
Much like details, you are expected to take photos of all the key moments during the wedding:
- Bride preparing for the wedding
- The walk down the aisle
- First kiss
- First dance (among others).
However, there are couples who may want you to include specific moments that are not included in the basic shot list. For instance, the groom may want you to take photos of a surprise dance he and his college buddies planned specifically for his bride. Although it may be a surprise for the bride, being informed about the performance prior to the wedding will help you know where you can position yourself and your equipment to get the best photos.
One key photo that is on every photographer’s shot list is the first kiss. Even with the fastest equipment and targeting the camera on the couple throughout the entire ceremony, it is still possible to miss that shot. Some couples may feel awkward about kissing in public, even if it is their wedding. What you may end up with is capturing a shot of a peck on the lips.
During your meetings with the couple, ask them to make the first kiss last for a few seconds. It doesn’t have to be a steamy kiss but just enough to let you capture that passionate moment.
Part of the basic shot list includes photos of the couple with their parents, relatives, friends and entourage. You may need additional time to get all the expected shots if you are dealing with a large guest list.
Talk this through with the couple. Tell them your concerns, especially if the couple has only opted for a few hours of your service. Perhaps there are group or individual shots that they don’t mind not having.
On the other hand, your clients may tell you about shots that are critical for them. For instance, they might prefer that you take photos of Uncle Andrew before he starts drinking or photos of the couple with the friend that put them on a blind date.
There is more to taking wedding photos than going through the basic shot list. Each wedding is unique. During your preliminary meetings with the couple, ask them what they want documented or covered. This is to ensure that you are capturing aspects of their wedding that matter the most to them. If you do follow a shot list, you can show them that to get the discussion going. It may help them open up on the aspects of their event they want to show.
Linda Pasfield is best known for her skill to capture emotion on film and expression in an art form. Linda has had 20 years of experience photographing weddings, portraiture and documentary. She is an award winning photographer and Linda’s career has taken her worldwide, photographing for Olim Aid International, Worship Centre and Cross Rds, and numerous other organisations. Photography is Linda’s passion and “capturing the true feelings on the day, blending creativity and lighting in the right way is a joy.”