A wedding is a sacred moment for many people. A wedding photographer is hired to document that moment, as discretely as possible, without ruining the fun and moment for anybody. As easy as this may sound, this is a task which many professionals fail to accomplish the right way. Photographing a wedding means that you need to be everywhere, but not obstruct anything. In addition, keep in mind that your photographs will need to be top notch from the get-go because there is no “let’s try again” or “don’t worry, we will reschedule”.
Let’s go over this “small” list about what not to do at a wedding:
1. Be Cheerful
You are at an event which is the happiest moment in the life of the bride and the groom. If you are having “bad day at work” keep that to yourself and suck it up. Smile and behave because you are paid (I hope) to be there, so you are obliged to give 100% of yourself.
2. Don’t Get in the Way
Ever! Not in the way of the bride, nor the groom, nor the videographer (if there is one), nor anybody for that matter. Imagine that you are supposed to be a ghost, an observer. Do that, do your job and if you do it well, your clients will spread the word about you.
3. When There is Silence, Keep it That Way
It’s church time: the priest is talking and everybody is quiet. You can even hear your heartbeat, and then: bee-beep snap! And you lost your job. Silence is golden, so if you are in a church or any intimate moment for that matter, be as quiet as possible, muffle the sound of your camera (use silent mode of course), turn off the beep and leave any loud lenses at home.
4. Rest Only When the Work is Done
Don’t let yourself be seen taking a break or not working for any reason. You can take a break (you aren’t a machine after all) but make sure you aren’t seen doing so or it doesn’t look like you are doing so. This is all in the psychology of the bride and groom and their family. It is their special day and they want the maximum from everybody. You need to understand that.
5. Use Flash Only When You Really Have To
Flash can be annoying, especially in enclosed areas such as churches and small venues. Use flash only if there is no other option because people tend to get anxious when you flash at them or near them several times. Flash is also showing up on video footage, thus makes the videographer’s work even harder.
6. Don’t Forget the Parents
It is obvious that the wedding is all about the bride and the groom, but don’t forget their parents since the wedding is as important to them as to the newly married. That also applies for the closest family, brothers, sisters, first cousins, best friends and so on. You will have to remember who is who and pay attention.
7. Be Unique
Throw in something others don’t offer. Often, small things go long way. I know a photographer who brings a projector during the weddings (when possible) and projects the images he shots as a regular slide show. Such little details often don’t cost much and you could achieve more that way. Small things like few extra prints, one or two framed prints etc. might do the work.
8. Good is Not Always Good Enough
Shoot every wedding as if it were your own. Make the best images possible because that is the only way to keep your clients happy, while keeping your reputation high. That would be the key to your success. The math is simple: you push yourself to the limits so that you get better. When you get better, you are valued more. You being valued more means you can raise the price. Then repeat.
9. Don’t Forget Your Clients
Things as simple as congratulating an anniversary can lead to new frontiers in your business. Mark the dates on the calendar and all it takes is one or two emails which are used in the right time to get recommendations and earn some more. While you are at it, archive their photos because often couples misplace or lose their photos in various events, so it will always be a relief when they know that you are having them backed up and you can restore them in any time (doing that for free will make them even happier and content).
There are multitude of photographers being shamed on the internet. Don’t let yourself become one of them. Be a professional and give your best to make that special day for someone perfect.
Useful Resources for How to Photograph a Wedding
- Gear for Wedding Photography – Exactly what you will need to shoot weddings.
- How to Become a Wedding Photographer in a Year – An ambitious goal, but a great plan to help you.
- Tools to Run a Wedding Photography Business – A list of 49 things you will need when you're a pro.