Before the wedding day, you spend months getting to know the bride and groom. The couple has seen what you have to offer through meeting you and observing your website and is anxious to see what type of images you will produce on the big day. Here are the top 5 tips for shooting wedding photos that will assist you in the necessary preparation you need to create a successful day for the bride and groom.

1. Scout the location

Visiting the location before the wedding will make a difference in the type of images you provide to your clients. You will become more familiar with the location, the lighting, and where you will need to stand to take the right shots. When scouting, arrive at the location around the same time of day that you will shoot the wedding. This will help you see what type of lighting there is at this time of day and what equipment you need to bring.

couple walking down the stairs black and white photo

Image by BOM Photography

Tip: If you are not able to scout the location ahead of time, look for images of the venue online to get an idea of where you will be working.

Related: Find out what the best images are to take throughout the wedding day shoot, plus how to get them published, with our Free Guide!

2. Finalize the Wedding Day Timeline

Work together with your couple to create the timeline and shot list for the wedding day. By having a timeline created, it ensures that you and the couple are on the same page about the timeframe for each event. This is also a great opportunity for you to educate your couple on how long you need for certain events to make sure that you are able to capture everything.


Within the timeline, include any specific images the bride and groom want you to capture. Work with your couple to create a detailed list of the family formals so this process can be seamless on the wedding day. Include the names of the bridal party, parents, grandparents, and anyone else who will be included in the pictures. Be sure to ask for the names and numbers of the maid of honor and the best man. This information helps you become familiar with the bridal party and allows you to use their names throughout the day.

3. Anticipate emotion

While you are preparing for the big day, remember that weddings are an emotional day for everyone involved. There will be several opportunities for you to capture candid moments of the bride and groom, along with their friends and families. As you get to know your couple, listen for hints about family members or friends that hold a significant meaning to the bride and groom. The photos that feature the emotional aspect of a wedding will create a strong connection between you and your couple for years to come. When they look back at their wedding album, they will remember that you took the time to get the shots that have the most meaning.

4. Hire a second shooter

Having a second shooter with you can ensure that you are in two places at once. A second shooter provides additional angles, different lenses, and unique viewpoints. With help, you are less likely to miss important shots. While you are shooting family formals, send the second shooter to the cocktail hour to capture the guests mingling. The most important part of bringing help to a wedding is that you will feel calmer and more focused knowing that you are not working alone.

Tip: Provide your second shooter with a gallery of images to view before the wedding. This will help them understand your shooting style and capture the types of images you are looking for on the wedding day.

Related: Learn a 10-step process to successfully onboard your second shooter!

5. Prepare your equipment

If you were able to scout the location ahead of time, you will have a good idea of what equipment you need to bring to get the right shots. Decide on the proper accessories to bring in your camera bag – the number of memory cards, lenses, flashes, spare batteries, tripod, and light stands. Be sure to bring a backup camera – it does not have to be as expensive as your main camera, but it will serve as a replacement in case something goes wrong.

If you do not have an extra camera body, look into renting one through LensProToGo for the event instead of purchasing your own. The more prepared you are with your equipment, the easier it will be to nail your shots and make your wedding photography editing as simple as possible! In addition to preparing your equipment, be sure to pack essentials to keep you going throughout the day. Bring a separate bag with emergency items such as small snacks, water, pain relievers, pins, tape, and stain remover.

Related: Discover 36 wedding day disaster stories from pro photographers, and the solutions to conquer them, with our free guide!

Bonus Tip: Have fun!

With all the preparation you have put into creating a perfect day for your couple, it can be easy to forget to have a good time while shooting. Remember, a wedding is a day of celebration for everyone involved. Your genuine excitement to be at the wedding will spread to those that you are photographing. While capturing the must-have images, remember to get creative and produce unique images as well!

With the top 5 tips to successful shooting, you can consistently create images that your clients will love. Do you know the best moments to document for clients, and the best images to take for publishers? Download our free Guide, 127 Essential Wedding Images You Must Capture to find out!


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