a collage of three wedding photos
Are you about to shoot your first wedding? Or maybe you’re a seasoned pro but could use a few pointers to step up your game? Then you’ve come to the right place! In this wedding photography guide, we’ll share some essential tips on how to take wedding photos. We’ll also give you some tips on how to do wedding photography and take wedding photographs that will wow your clients. From how to prepare for the big day and which gear to carry to how to pose your couple and how to get the best shots during the ceremony – there’s a lot that goes into the art of wedding photography. So whether you need a quick recap on wedding photography basics or need some tips to prepare for your first wedding photography gig, keep reading! 

How To Photograph Weddings

a bride and a groom sharing an intimate moment in the
Image Credit: ShootDotEdit Customer @jperrymanphotography

Before understanding how to take great wedding photos, first, you need to understand how to take wedding photos. This means knowing how to pose the happy couple, how to capture candid moments, and how to get creative with your shots. 

One of the most important wedding photography tips for beginners: Try not to get overwhelmed by overthinking about how to photograph a wedding. Even though there’s so much pressure to capture everything and that, too, flawlessly, you can have a relatively stress-free workday by preparing in advance. If you’re also concerned about how to photograph a wedding alone, you might want to think about taking along an assistant or a second shooter. Here are some other tips to help you prepare and take great wedding photos: 

1. Get To Know Your Couple

Spend some time getting to know your couple and their story before the big day. This will help you better understand their vision and how to capture their personalities in photos. Ask lots of questions – do they want formal portraits? Candid shots? A mix of both? Once you know what they’re hoping for, you can plan accordingly.

Suggested Read: 10 Questions To Include In A Wedding Photography Questionnaire

2. Location Scouting

When a couple hires you as their wedding photographer, try to arrive early and scout the wedding and reception venues in advance or even before the big day. One of the most important steps of learning how to take wedding photos is to plan in advance, and location scouting is a part of that. Find the best places for taking pictures, as well as identify any potential problems that might arise. Arriving early at the venue will also give you the time to set up any special equipment you might need.

Suggested Read: The Importance Of Location Scouting In Wedding Photography

3. Capture Emotions And Details

a bride holding her wedding bouquet
Image Credit: ShootDotEdit Customer @dianenicolephoto

Avoid the common mistakes of forgetting to photograph the little details that make a wedding day unique. Weddings are emotional events. From the joy of seeing the happy couple exchange vows to the tears that are often shed during wedding speeches, you have the opportunity to capture a wide range of emotions. Look for guests reactions, moments of laughter, and tender moments shared between your couple and their parents or siblings. Lots of details go into making a wedding day, so don’t forget to capture intricate details of the bride’s dress, get a close-up of the wedding rings and the bridal bouquet, photograph the cake from different angles, and capture beautiful floral arrangements. 

4. Opt For Professional Photo Editing

Whether you are shooting a wedding for the first time or you’re a seasoned pro, consider outsourcing photo editing to experts. Why? First, it helps to ensure that the finished product is of the highest quality. Second, it allows you to make small adjustments that can make a big difference in the overall look of the photos. Finally, professional photo editing can help to bring out the best in the subjects, making them look their best on this special day.

Related Read: Professional Photo Editing: Why Outsource As A Beginner

How To Take Wedding Photos Like A Pro

a wedding ceremony infront of a grand building with a car in the front
Image Credit: ShootDotEdit Customer

The best wedding photographers know that every detail counts. From the dress and flowers to the cake and venue, every element of a wedding needs to be photographed. You need to capture the essence of the day while still meeting the specific desires of your bride and groom. But how do you take wedding photos like a pro? Here are some tips:

1. Plan Ahead

infographic stating minimize wedding day stress with the ultimate wedding photography checklist

Wedding photography isn’t just about taking photos on the wedding day. Learning a wedding photography skill that will not just impress your couple but also add more names to your clientele includes consulting with the bride and groom to understand their vision for the day, scheduling a walk-through of the venue, and planning for any special requests. In addition, you need to ensure having the right equipment and supplies, including extra batteries, memory cards, and light stands. You’ve got to choose the right lens for each shot, plan for different lighting scenarios, and make sure your equipment is in good working order.

This goes without saying but getting acquainted with your camera, and other photography equipment is an important part of learning how to take good wedding photos. Ensure that you have backup camera equipment in case of problems with the primary equipment. This might include spare batteries, memory cards, and light stands. Get ready with the ultimate photographer checklist for the wedding day to be extra-prepared for the big day.

2. Use A Variety Of Gear

Capturing a couple’s big day is no easy feat, which is why you’ve got to be well-equipped with a variety of different camera gear to do a top-notch job. Different gear serve different purposes and using an assortment of equipment will help you tell the complete story of the big day. Include a high-quality DSLR camera body as well as a selection of lenses. For example, a wide-angle lens is essential for capturing large group photos or an expansive shot of the venue, while a telephoto lens is perfect for getting close-up shots and portraits. Flash photography can be tricky in a church or wedding reception hall, so an on-camera flash is also a good idea. Bring along a flash unit and reflectors to add some extra light to the photos, as well as a tripod to keep the camera steady during long exposures. 

Suggested Read: The Minimalist’s Guide To Wedding Photography Gear

3. Experiment With Angles And Perspectives

an image of the bride and groom through a textured hole
Image Credit: ShootDotEdit Customer @photography_by_orlando

Each type of shot provides a different perspective on the day, and together they provide a comprehensive record of the event. This includes wide shots of the venue, close-up shots, groom and bridal portraits, candid shots of guests, and detail photos of the decor. As a wedding photographer, you are also expected to anticipate the action and be ready to press the shutter button at just the right moment. This takes practice, but once you get a feel for it, you’ll be capturing amazing candid shots in no time. Don’t forget to create your wedding photography shot list. From the bride and groom getting ready to the final exit – this shot list should include all the important moments of the day.

Suggested Read: The Ultimate Wedding Photography Shot List For You

4. Use Light Carefully

a bride and the groom in a smoky dimly lit barn
Image Credit: ShootDotEdit Customer @erinm_photography

Light is one of the most important elements in wedding photography. Pro wedding photographers know how to use light to create stunning, emotive images that capture the essence of the day. Natural light is often used to create a soft, romantic feel, while artificial light can be used to add drama and contrast. You need to understand wedding lighting to be able to use it best to highlight the details of the dress, the flowers, and the decorations, as well as the expressions on the faces of the bride and groom. 

Good lighting (and your wedding photography skills) can make or break a photo. Keep an eye out for well-lit areas – try to position yourself near windows or doors to create stellar backdrops. If you’re outdoors, select a shady spot to avoid harsh shadows. To get sharp and vibrant photos, use a flash. This will help to fill in any shadows and bring out the colors of the wedding party’s clothing and decorations. Learning how to carefully control the light, you can create images that are truly unique and unforgettable.

5. Think About Composition

infographic stating the composition of a shot is vital to your photograph's success

By arranging the elements in an eye-catching and visually appealing manner, you can create a stunning image that will capture the viewer’s attention. To do this, you could try understanding the rule of thirds and take photographs that drive a viewer’s attention directly to your subject. This rule of composition requires you to divide the frame into three sections horizontally and vertically, placing the subject off-center. 

As a professional wedding photographer, you need to take great care to compose each shot, ensuring that the bride and groom are placed in the best possible light. For example, pay close attention to and select the perfect background. Choose a location that complements the couple and provides an suitable backdrop for their big day. In group shots, vary the composition by shooting from different angles and distances and try getting close-ups of individual guests as well as wide shots of the entire wedding party.

Suggested Read: Photography Angles & Techniques: Understanding POV, Framing, & Composition

6. Be Prepared For Anything

infographic stating things rarely go according to plan on a wedding day, so it's important to be able to roll with the punches

Whether it’s dealing with a difficult bride or groom, capturing unexpected precious moments, or managing group photos, wedding photographers need to be prepared for anything. With so much happening at once, it’s important to be able to think on your feet and adapt to any situation. Stay calm and level-headed; it can be easy to get caught up in the excitement of the day, but it’s important to stay focused and keep your cool. This way, you’ll be able to make quick decisions and avoid any disasters.

If the ceremony runs late or the reception is running behind schedule, you need to stay flexible and be able to adjust your plans accordingly. You never know when something might go wrong, so it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Photographing weddings can be stressful, so if practical, hire a second photographer to help you capture different angles and perspectives of your wedding day. 

Best Wedding Photography Tips & Tricks

By using a combination of technical skill and artistic vision, you can capture the emotions of a wedding day and create memories that will last a lifetime. The following tips for photographing a wedding will help you not only get the best wedding photos for your clients but also scale your own wedding photography business:

1. How To Take Photos Your Couple

a bride and groom standing while the bride is holding the groom's hand
Image Credit: ShootDotEdit Customer @taylorkempphotography
  • Get up close and personal: As important as it is to give your couple the space to be themselves and enjoy their wedding day together, sometimes, you can also get close enough to capture all the details. This will help you capture all the details of their outfits, as well as their expressions and emotions.
  • Add details: Include details from wedding preparations in the foreground or background to add a more unique touch to the wedding photo. This could be the florals, the wedding dress, or the venue. A wide-angle lens will allow you to capture more of the group photo scene, which is especially important if you’re shooting in a crowded space.
  • Find a unique perspective: Shoot from different angles. Get low for an intimate shot or high for a bird’s-eye view. And don’t forget to experiment with different perspectives – side views can be just as striking as front views. Fill the frame rather than including too much empty space. Take advantage of symmetry and line up your couple so that they are facing each other, or position them differently for a unique perspective.
  • Capture movement: Whether it’s the bride and groom walking hand in hand or guests on the dance floor at the wedding reception, capturing movement will give your photo an extra dimension. Use a long exposure to photograph in motion and create a dreamy effect.

Suggested Read: Top 5 Tips: Keys To Posing For The Bride & Groom Pictures

2. Best Wedding Photography Tips For Wedding Party Photos

a bride and her bridesmaids posing with their bouquets
Image Credit: ShootDotEdit Customer @breonnawellsphotography

Taking pictures of large wedding party groups can seem challenging. Here are a few tips to help you convert those basic wedding photography shots to your best possible shots:

  • Gather everyone in the same place: This may seem obvious, but it can be surprisingly difficult to get everyone together when you’re trying to take a photo. Make sure you have a clear plan for where everyone should stand before you start taking pictures.
  • Pay attention to the background: A busy background can ruin an otherwise perfect photo. Look for a spot with a simple background that won’t distract from the people in the photo. Get creative with different groupings in family photos and make sure everyone feels included.
  • Capture candid moments: In addition to posed shots, make sure to take some casual snapshots of the bridal party interacting with each other. These candid moments will add personality and life to your photos. Posed shots can be great for formal portraits, while candid photos can capture the energy and excitement of the moment.
  • Snap away: Take multiple photos of the same pose from different angles, and don’t be afraid to experiment with different compositions. Since you will have many pictures that look the same, select only the best ones for editing and use them for the wedding album. Choose a selection of photos that capture the feeling of the day.
  • Have fun: While posing groups can get tedious and you might constantly be thinking about the time you have remaining for couples portraits, don’t forget to make wedding party photos fun for your couple, their guests, and yourself too! Guiding them from one pose to another is important to get flawless pictures, but you might just get the best candid shots when you let them be themselves and enjoy the moment together. 

Suggested Read: Posing The Wedding Party: 7 Photography Tips To Get It Right

3. Tips For Photographing The Wedding Ceremony

a wedding ceremony going on in a grand church
Image Credit: ShootDotEdit Customer @taylorkempphotography

In addition to dealing with the logistical challenges of working in a confined space and capturing all the action from multiple angles, wedding photographers also have to be aware of the emotional significance of the event. With so much at stake, it’s important to be prepared. Learn how to take wedding photos with these few tips and ideas and get the most out of your wedding ceremony photography:

  • Get there early: Arrive early and look around the location to identify the best spots for shooting the wedding ceremony. You want to be able to capture the entire event while still being discreet and unobtrusive.
  • Capture the emotions: Look for moments of joy, love, and tears. Be aware of what is happening around you and be ready to capture special moments like the bride walking with her parents or the flower girl walking down the aisle. This might include the couple exchanging vows, their first kiss as a married couple, or family members’ reactions during the ceremony. 
  • Get close: One of the best ways to capture the emotion of the moment is to get close to the action. If possible, position yourself near the altar or front row of guests. This will give you a more intimate view of the proceedings.

Suggested Read: 30 Must-have Wedding Ceremony Shots To Add To Your Shot List

4. How To Capture Beautiful Wedding Landscapes as a Wedding Photographer

an aerial shot of a wedding couple in a golf course
Image Credit: ShootDotEdit Customer @robbmccormickphotography

Capturing the perfect landscape shot on a couple’s big day can be the difference between a keepsake and a forgettable photo. Here are a few tips from the pros on how to take beautiful wedding landscapes:

  • Find the perfect location: Scout the wedding venue beforehand and identify the best spots for taking pictures. If you are near nature, then find natural elements like fields of wildflowers or head towards the ocean or find a cliff to add expansive landscape shots to your couple’s wedding photos. Look for leading lines like paths, fences, and other lines that can help lead the eye through the landscape and add interest to your shot.
  • Frame the shot: Use natural elements like trees or archways to frame the landscape. This will help focus the eye and add depth to the photo.
  • Pay attention to the light: The soft light of dawn or dusk can create magic in a landscape shot. Backlit scenes can also be stunning. If possible, wait for the golden hour right before sunset for some beautiful light for couples portraits. However, even in shaded areas, look for pockets of light that will highlight the scene.
  •   Use a wide-angle lens: Try to capture the grandeur of the landscape. When you capture a mix of    wide shots that show off the surroundings, don’t forget to add a few intimate close-ups. Get close to your subject matter to create a more intimate feel.

Further Read: 8 Wedding Photography Landscape Images To Inspire You

a wedding couple kissing by the water in a picturesque location
Image Credit: ShootDotEdit Customer @jorgesantiagophoto

There is a lot of thought that goes into wedding photography, from capturing the perfect shot to understanding how to work with different lighting conditions and manage difficult crowds. This wedding photography guide should help you get started on the right foot to be a successful wedding photographer in the growing wedding photography industry. Once you get familiar with the basics of how to take wedding photos, you can advance to learning the different wedding photography styles. With planning, practice, and a considerable amount of effort you’ll be able to develop this skill and capture beautiful, stunning wedding photographs in no time!

At ShootDotEdit, we are passionate about helping you hone your craft! And we help with that by taking editing off your plate with our professional photo editing services, giving you more time to learn new skills. To learn more about how we can help your wedding photography business, check out our pricing plans.

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