Category Archives: Wedding Photography

Great Location Great Options

If you are shooting weddings, portraits, or stock – the venue you choose will have a significant impact on both the style and variety of images you can produce. Some venues only allow for one style of image, while others will allow for multiple different styles. For maximum variety and impact, I’m looking for the double – Great Location Great Options.

Winter portrait

Take time to research your venue. It will lead to more successful shoots.

For this shoot with Ayona we were shooting with a dual purpose – the images were going to be used on her fashion blog (Her Style Saga) and also in my stock portfolio.


Woman on stairs

Large stairways always provide options and the leaves add to the wintery feel

I had wanted to shoot at this venue for some time, as I love the old architecture and building facades. I visited the venue twice before the shoot to check which locations would be suitable, and to see how the light would fall in the late afternoon when we were shooting.

That research made me realize there were a wealth of different options within short walking distance.

There were areas which showcased archways and classic architecture, others with beautiful building facades, some with park backgrounds, and yet others with fallen leaves which highlighted the late autumn, early winter time of year.

This was a venue with lots and lots of options (I liked it so much, I’ve already done another shoot there!)

So, what should you look for in locations?

Point 1 – Backgrounds which will add impact. I look for buildings or landscapes or architecture which will give a real sense of presence to the image. I want to add to the impact. This set of images was about a young woman and her passion for fashion. It could be shot in the studio, but there was more impact shooting outdoor. And in an outdoor venue, I wanted to be able to create a set of different images in a short space of time. That leads us to point 2.

Woman walking

Arches, classic architecture, fashion, and an overcast day are a great combination

Point 2 – look for venues with variety. I don’t want all my images from a shoot to look the same. This is particularly the case for wedding photography and stock photography where I am expecting to shoot and use a large number of images. So I don’t want all the same backgrounds.

I want to be able to easily move (ideally walk) between different areas which will give me different looking images. In this case, all the venues we used were within 5 minutes walk of each other. For me, that is perfect! The entire shoot lasted for less than 90 minutes and we produced a wide variety of images.

Point 3 – the location needs to be free from over crowding. To be able to shoot in a public space, you need a venue which will not be overcrowded. I didn’t want people wandering through the background of my images, so we chose to shoot on a Sunday afternoon on a fairly cool early winters day.

It was cool, but the wintery conditions meant we didn’t often have to pause for people to walk through the background where we were shooting. All the people were inside keeping warm!

Boots

Fallen leaves and leather boots added to the wintery feel.

Point 4 – choose venues with good accessibility and parking. This venue is about 25 minutes drive from where I live, which I would call fairly close to home. It is in a built up area and parking can be difficult during the week. So we chose to shoot on the weekend when we both had availability, knowing that the location would not be too crowded and we wouldn’t have much trouble finding a car park.

If you haven’t been putting much time and research into choosing locations, perhaps you should take a lesson from the advertising industry. In planning for TV commercials, ad agency staff spend hours and hours researching the perfect venues to support the story they are looking to tell. If you are a photographer shooting weddings, portraits or stock, perhaps you should spend more time researching venues to help you produce really strong images?

Architecture

Architecture can add impact

As well as Great Location Great Options, you need a good model to work with. Thank you to Ayona who was a very easy person to work with, and the shoot was a lot of fun.

If you would like to check out the images Ayona selected for her blog, or if you just love fashion – visit her blog out at Her Style Saga.

Thanks for taking the time to read Great Location Great Options.

5 Tips For Managing Your Event Photography Client

Event photography is a common way for photographers to make the first step into paid work. It could be a birthday party, a christening, a promotional event, a corporate day, a wedding, or another event. Being able to produce the photographic results is one thing – and being able to deliver what the client wants is another. Here are 5 tips for managing your event photography client.

Wedding couple

Be clear with your client about the hours you will attend the event

Tip #1 – Know the hours you are expected to attend. You need to be clear on the hours you are expected to attend an event. Be direct and ask your client “what hours would you like me to cover?” This is a small part of making sure you are on the same wavelength as your client. It will also be a component of what you charge for a job. It’s likely that you will charge more for a 4 hour shoot than a 2 hour shoot. Once you know the hours you are expected to attend, make sure you are early and stay through until the finishing time. If the client is at the event, check in with them before you leave (this is also a great time to ask “would you like me to stay longer? My rate is $XX per hour and I am happy to stay another hour”)

Tip #2 – Be clear about the key moments of the event and be ready to shoot them. Make sure you ask your client “what are the key images you would like from this event?” If it is a birthday party the client might want images of the child blowing out the candles on the cake, an image including the child’s parents and grand parents, and one of the next door neighbor who has baby sat the child over the years. You really can’t deliver the images the client needs without a good understanding of the key moments. It’s about knowing what is important to your client. Once you know the key moments, be sure you shoot all of them and more.

Tip #3 – Understand your client’s key deliverables. Often your client will have a deadline to meet and it is important you understand this. Let’s use the example of a corporate event. The client may need the images to be used in a brochure which will go to print in 2 weeks time. This is critical information so that you can agree with the client when you will deliver the images. There is nothing more frustrating for a client to have organised a photographer to be at the event, and then not have the images delivered to meet their deadline. (If your client has a really short deadline, you may consider charging more to give that client’s job the highest priority in your workflow).

Business woman

Ask your clients how the images will be used and deliver the files in a size and format which is appropriate

Tip #4 – Understand how many images your client is expecting and how they will be used.  This tip is also to gain clarity about the client’s expectations and to some degree will influence your pricing. If you attend a full day corporate event, your post production time will vary greatly if the client is expecting 100 images compared to 500 images. Ask your client in advance so that you both have clear expectations.

It is also handy to know how the images will be used. If they are going to be used only on a website, you can deliver low resolution images ready to be immediately uploaded to the client’s website. If they are going to be printed, try to deliver the images in the appropriate resolution which will make things easy at the client’s end.

Tip #5 – Get payment in advance wherever possible. Event photography is rife with situations of the photographer not getting paid in a timely manner, or not getting paid at all. To minimize your risk, get payment in advance wherever possible.

If you are shooting a wedding you are making a big commitment of time and effort. For weddings it is standard to be paid in advance. Wedding venues asking for payment in advance which makes it easy for the photographer to request the same.

If you are shooting a corporate event, be sure to submit your invoice early. Corporations sometimes take time to pay their suppliers, so the sooner you have submitted your invoice, the sooner you will get paid.

Thanks for reading 5 tips for managing your event photography client. Good luck with your event photography.

5 Tips for a More Effective Workflow

An effective workflow is the difference between efficiently completing one job and moving on to the next, and being tied to your computer seemingly not able to complete the current job. As a Melbourne wedding photographer, I am proud of the efficient work flow that I have built. It is working for me and my business, and also for my clients. As we are in the middle of the summer wedding season here in Australia, I have challenged myself to further improve my workflow. Here are 5 tips for a more effective workflow.

workflow tips

An efficient workflow is particularly important in wedding photography

Tip #1 – Don’t overshoot – too many images can be a killer for your work flow. This does get easier with experience, but once you have the shots you need there is no value in generating 20 more of the same subject. Or 30 more, or 40 more. For example, when shooting a wedding I want a small number of good shots of the wedding rings. I want more than one image of the rings so that I have some options when I am putting together the clients album – but I don’t want lots and lots of them. When I have 4-5 good images, I stop. There is no point in having an additional 25 ring images to work my way through in post production. Get the shots you need and move on. Don’t overshoot. Too many images can be a hindrance to your workflow.

Tip #2 – Delete in camera – one very effective way to make sure the number of files you download to your computer is manageable is to delete images in camera as you go. At a wedding there are times when this is possible. They are normally the less hectic parts of the day like during the preparation. If I know I’ve ‘missed’ a shot I will delete it in camera rather than keep, download, review, and delete. I find this a very effective way to make sure only the best images make it to the post production phase of my workflow.

Tip #3 – Manage your clients expectations – one common ‘mistake’ I see from wedding photographers is not managing their clients expectations for the number of images which will be delivered to them. This is particularly the case if digital images are the only final product being delivered to the client. You don’t want to be in the situation of delivering 200 images when the bride was expecting 500. Have this discussion when you are finalizing the details of the shoot. If the client has unrealistic expectations talk to them about the “quality vs quantity” trade off.

Tip #4 – Be ruthless on the first cull – the big improvement I have made to my own workflow is being ruthless on the first cull. When I first sit down to review images, I now aim to halve the number of images on the first pass. Yes, I aim to delete one in every two images to quickly get to a manageable number of files. It’s possible. Be ruthless on the first cull.

Tip #5 – Keep to Task – The final tip is one which applies to me. It may not apply to you. When I am reviewing and deleting images I find it very easy to get distracted. I want to look at and edit the very best images from the shoot. This is counter productive and means the task of quickly moving to an appropriate number of files to edit gets delayed. Delays are not good for an efficient workflow. Keep to task.

Do you have some key tips to share from your own work flow? What are the improvements you’ve made? Or the pitfalls to avoid? Please add a comment on this post.

Thanks for reading 5 tips for a more effective workflow. I hope they have been useful to you. If you would like to receive regular emails from Beyond Here, add your email address in the sign up box on this page. Thank you.

 

8 Tips For Being A Great Second Shooter

Being a second shooter is a great way to start in wedding photography. There are many advantages to being a second shooter – primarily that the success of the assignment is not totally dependent on you. That makes it a lower stress entry point, and gives you the opportunity to learn your craft while assisting the primary photographer. Following posts on 6 Reasons To Work With A Second Shooter, and 7 Qualities To Look For In A Second Shooter, here are 8 Tips For Being A Great Second Shooter.

Tip 1 – Work Well With People. Creating a great client experience is not only about the images. The photographer also has a responsibility to treat the couple and guests with respect, and to make sure they enjoy the day. As a second shooter guests will ask how many weddings you shoot, what equipment you use, and a variety of other questions. It is important to treat them well so that their interaction with you is positive. It ensures everyone enjoys the day, and reflects well on you and the primary photographer.

Variety

Consciously creating different images will add variety for the client

Tip 2 – Think Ahead. A very good second shooter can anticipate shots and will prepare equipment in advance. Nothing is more impressive than to turn to call for a reflector, and seeing the second shooter there with one on hand ready to go. This takes time and practice, and requires a strong sense of teamwork with the primary photographer. If you want to be a great second shooter – think ahead.

Tip 3 – Clean Your Equipment. Images from the second shooter are important to the overall package delivered to the client. It is important that the equipment that both photographers are using is clean and will produce high quality images. Nothing will frustrate a primary photographer more than looking at the second shooters images and seeing every image effected by dust spots on the sensor. Take responsibility for making sure your equipment is clean and ready to produce the highest quality images possible.

Tip 4 – Be Predictable. Being predictable is about communicating with the primary photographer. Talk about where you will stand during the ceremony and what type of shots the primary photographer wants from you. Talk through the plan for the day and the role you will play. Talk to the primary photographer if you need to take a toilet break. At a recent wedding where I was a guest, the primary shooter turned to find the second shooter only to later discover he had gone to the car just at the moment he was needed. Don’t be that second shooter. Keep the primary photographer informed.

Tip 5 – Shoot Differently. The second shooter provides value to the primary photographer by providing different images to their own. Different angles, different styles, different images. Make the most of generating ‘different’ images by using different lenses. For example, if the primary shooter is using a 50mm lens, work with a 70-200mm. Consciously create different images by using different equipment than the primary photographer.

Tip 6 – Behave Professionally. As well as shooting images, the second shooter is representing the primary photographers’ business. You are there to get a job done – not to make friends or to join the party.

Tip 7 – Dress Appropriately. At a formal wedding it creates a very poor impression if the photographers are dressed casually. Imagine the bride and groom dressed beautifully, and the second shooter getting around in old jeans and worn shoes. This doesn’t create a good impression and doesn’t add to the clients enjoyment of the day. Make sure you understand the expectation of the bride and groom and dress appropriately.

Tip 8 – Be Reliable. To be a great second shooter you need to form a strong team with the primary photographer. If you want to quickly build trust, be reliable in everything you do. Arrive on time. Do what you say you are going to do. Know where all the equipment is. A second shooter who is reliable is a huge asset to a primary photographer.

Thanks for reading 8 Tips For Being A Great Second Shooter. If you can follow these tips you will have primary shooters regularly asking you to work with them.

7 Qualities To Look For In A Second Shooter

In a recent post on Beyond Here we looked at 6 Reasons To Work With A Second Shooter. A high quality second shooter is a major asset to a wedding photographer and so much more than just another camera. In this post we look at the 7 Qualities To Look For In A Second Shooter. I assume that your second shooter has photographic ability and can produce images which meet your expectations. In addition to that ability, here are 7 qualities to look for in a second shooter.

Quality 1 – Team Player. There will be times where a second shooter needs to do things that are not glamorous – like keeping guests occupied while wedding party formals are completed, or carrying bags to locations. These tasks are key to the smooth running of the wedding photography, and your second shooter needs to do what is required for the team to get a great result. Look for a team player.

Quality 2 – Strengths That Compliment The Primary Shooter.  Ideally your second shooter will have skills which compliment the primary shooter. One of my second shooters has a passion for shooting the macro details of a wedding. This is ideal. When we arrive I would rather speak with the bride and the bridal party and shoot preparation images. At that time my second shooter loves to shoot the details – jewellery, shoes, invitations, the dress etc. It is fantastic that my second shooter has strengths that compliment my own. Together we can deliver a great outcome for the client.

Wedding Rings

Ideally a second shooters strengths will compliment the primary shooter

Quality 3 – Thinking Ahead. A good second shooter will be able to think ahead and anticipate future shots. This can help the primary shooter, as the second shooter can have equipment ready or be in a position which makes the most of the opportunity. The ability to think ahead and anticipate shots is a key quality of a good second shooter.

Quality 4 – Quality Equipment. When the second shooter is using their own equipment it is important that the quality of images they produce are acceptable to the primary photographer. I use Canon full frame camera bodies and L series lenses, and prefer if my second shooter has similar equipment. Check that your second shooter has equipment which will produce quality images.

Quality 5 – Reliable. It almost goes without saying that being reliable is important. In the wedding photography industry it is easy to focus only on the creative and artistic outputs. Doing that overlooks personal qualities that make the job easier. A second shooter needs to be reliable.

Quality 6 – Good Communicator. Along with being reliable and a team player, an effective second shooter is also a good communicator. A strong primary / second shooter combination know what each other are doing and where each other are. It is not ok for the primary shooter to look for the second shooter and not be able to find them. Good communication skills are key.

Quality 7 – Gets on With People. The wedding day is filled with people and high emotions. A second shooter will interact with the wedding party and with guests. In those interactions they are representing the primary shooters business. Being able to get on with people is important to make sure the friends and family of the wedding couple have an enjoyable day. I look for second shooters that I know will represent my business well, and who will ensure that the guests enjoy the wedding day.

Thanks for reading ‘7 Qualities to Look for in a Second Shooter’. I hope it has been useful to you. You may be interested in Preparing for Wedding Photography Success and 7 Tips For Your First Wedding Photography Job.

6 Reasons To Work With A Second Shooter

When photographers start out shooting weddings, we tend to think it is all about our own creative vision. The client has hired us because they like our work, and hope we can produce lovely wedding images for them. Then, because its all about us, our images, and being ‘wedding photographers’, we choose to shoot our first wedding solo. Only after we have shot several weddings do we realize that it’s not about us – it is about meeting the needs of our client. We also realize that a second shooter can be so much more than just another camera capturing different angles. So if you are starting out – here are 6 reasons to work with a second shooter for your wedding photography.

Second Shooter

A second shooter can be much more than just an extra camera

Reason 1 – It Makes Looking After Your Client Easier. On wedding day there are invariably times when it is very handy to have someone to work with as a team. Commonly ‘Auntie’ goes walk-about at the time of the family formals. Your second shooter can find her while you carry on with the bridal party. Or while you are shooting one image, you can see another shot which will need a different lens. Your second shooter can put the lens on your second camera body, enabling you to quickly move on to the next shot. Having someone on hand to assist lets you focus on meeting you clients needs while they act as support.

Reason 2 – Different Photographers, Different Perspectives. A second shooter provides different angles on events of the day. If the primary shooter positions themselves at the front of the ceremony, the second shooter can add to the final images by being positioned at the back of the ceremony. This is just one example of the additional range of images which can be produced by having a second shooter.

Reason 3 – You Can’t Be Everywhere. As the primary photographer, you can’t be everywhere. As the bride walks up the aisle you can’t simultaneously be in front and behind her. Both shots can look great.  Partnering with a second shooter gives you more capability to capture key shots for your client than you can do alone.

Reason 4 – Wedding Photography is Hard Work. For any photographer, weddings are hard work. There is a lot happening and it is a long day. Sharing that workload with a second shooter helps to keep you fresh and ready to shoot another wedding tomorrow and another one next week. Going alone, leads to exhaustion. A second shooter is valuable to keep you fresh.

Reason 5 – Back Up is Important. It is hard to plan for days when we are sick or injured. In reality it doesn’t happen very often and it is easy to think that planning for this is so unlikely that it is not necessary. That sentence should be a warning sign for you. If your client is relying on you, it is important not to let them down. Your reputation depends on it. Not only will a second shooter give you a variety of different images – if you have chosen your second shooter well, they can step up and take the primary position if you are sick or injured.

Reason 6 – Some Shots Need Help. It is reality that some shots need assistance. My clients regularly ask for a shot of all of the guests to be taken after the ceremony. When there are natural points of elevation this is quite straightforward. I can gather the bridal party and guests and use a vantage point to shoot down on the whole group. But when there isn’t a natural point of elevation – like a set of stairs or a second floor window – I use a ladder. This is where a second shooter becomes ladder carrying assistant! My second shooter can walk to the car, grab the ladder, and have it in place for the group shot – all while I am still shooting bridal party formals. Then when we move to the group shot, it can be set up and shot with minimal disruption to the flow of the day.

Thanks for reading 6 reasons to work with a second shooter for your wedding photography. A second shooter can be a key business partner and so much more than just another camera. What is your experience? Did you start shooting solo? Do you work with a second shooter now? What lessons would you like to share?

 

Great Reads – Wedding Photography Posing

This post in ‘Great Reads’ looks at a book which features poses for wedding photography. Its full name is ‘Design Aglow Posing Guide for Wedding Photography’ by Lena Hyde. I recently ordered this book from Amazon and have enjoyed reading it. This brief review is to help you decide whether it might be useful to you. Thanks for reading Great Reads – Wedding Photography Posing.

What is it about? As the title suggests, this book is for wedding photographers and looks at the challenge of posing your subjects. It contains 100 different poses and is set out in an easy to read format. With such a broad range of poses and images, there will be new ideas for you in this book.

BooksWhat can you expect? Great images and interesting ideas! Each idea is set out across a double page with a strong image and text to explain. It is divided into sections so you can choose whether you want to look at ideas for brides, grooms, brides and grooms, or the wedding party. This makes it easy to use and a handy reference. I particularly like that the text explains the pose, but also offers 2 or 3 alternative images you could take with the same pose, or as the subject moves on from the position shown. They are very handy tips for turning one good shot into 3 or 4 good shots. This book sticks to its title and focuses on the art of posing. It is light on technical information, but does include the camera settings for each of the featured images.

Visual content? Lots! This book has an extensive range of images. With that range comes brides, grooms and wedding parties of all different styles. Such a large range of visual content makes this book useful for the photographer to review to get fresh ideas. It is easy to read and just as easy to flick through to find an inspiring image.

Outcomes? This book is very useful for looking at different wedding photographers images and to consider how they have posed their subject. I am going to use this book to help me with fresh ideas, and also to share with my clients. I am going to ask my clients to look through the images and to highlight the style of images which they prefer. This will help me to make sure I understand the style of image my client is looking for. This will be very handy, and will compliment sharing my own images with them.

Rating and Recommendation? This is a good book and sticks to the topic of poses for wedding photography. I recommend it for new wedding photographers, or more seasoned photographers who are looking for fresh ideas. It is well presented, contains some great images, and is easy to read. 8 out of 10.

If you are starting out in wedding photography you may like to read these earlier posts:

Thanks for reading Great Reads – Wedding Photography Posing.

7 More Tips for Your First Wedding Photography Job

Are you starting out in wedding photography and need some pointers? I have recently written two posts for people beginning in wedding photography. If you’d like to read those posts you can find them here.

Readers of those posts have asked me to add more tips for new wedding photographers – so here are 7 more tips for your first wedding photography job.

Tip #1 – Use Multiple Lenses. If you are shooting a wedding for the very first time, you possibly don’t have a wide range of camera bodies and lenses. If that’s the case, keep in mind that your images are going to have a level of ‘sameness’ about them if you only use one lens. You can’t expect a single lens to create a broad range of image types. So if you have limited gear, make sure you have at least 2-3 lenses on hand and that you have experience using them.

Tip #2 – Keep Cool and Calm, Manage Yourself. At a wedding, you will be judged on your behavior and the way you ‘carry yourself’. Only afterwards will you be judged on the images you produce. Every now and then you hear a wedding photographer horror story where guests say the photographer was rude or inconsiderate. Keep cool and calm. If you’ve just shot 6 horrible images in a row, nobody needs to know that. Remain calm and relaxed, position yourself and your subject and shoot the images again. Don’t panic, you are allowed to have plenty of ‘duds’ for your few ‘winners’. Make sure you present a calm, confident demeanor to guests. Keep cool. Keep calm. Manage yourself.

Wedding photography

Manage your clients expectations. Make sure the bride knows where you’ll be and when

Tip #3 – Manage Your Clients Expectations. As well as managing yourself, you will be wise to manage your bride and grooms expectations. Agree with them in advance where you will be and when. And then be in the right place at the right time. I put special emphasis on making sure the bride knows what will happen to her wedding photos after the big day. I tell her how long it will be until I am in touch with her, and what I will need her to do then. Make sure she knows what the process and timeframe is. Then stick to the process and timeframe. Manage your clients expectations.

Tip #4 – Change Cameras Not Lenses. In Tip #1 I suggested you are going to need multiple lenses to create a variety of images. You should definitely have more than one camera body. There are two reasons this is critical. Firstly, if you only have one camera body you run the risk that if you have any technical fault with the camera, you will be standing watching the ceremony unable to take any images. So the first reason to have an extra camera body – it is insurance against anything going wrong. Secondly, with 2 cameras, you won’t need to be constantly changing lenses. Simply pick up your other camera body and shoot a different style of image. If you can’t justify buying a second camera body at this stage, borrow one from a friend. It is worth it. Change cameras, not lenses.

Wedding photography

Kids can offer you great candid moments.

Tip #5 – Shoot Candids and Posed Images. When I speak to couples before the wedding, most of our discussions focus on the family formal pictures, the bridal party images, and the bride and groom images. We talk about style of image, location, and timings. We figure out the logistics of how to get between the locations. They are important discussions. When I present images to the bride and groom, more often than not, the ones that get the most emotional response are the candid images. Often it will be a moment, a hug, a facial expression. The couple normally can’t remember that exact moment until they see the image. Look for special moments and strong emotions. The mother of the bride crying, the bride embracing her grandmother, the grooms dad congratulating him with a bear hug. The raw emotion will be in the candid shots. Shoot both candid and posed images.

Tip #6 – Be Ready for Referral Opportunities. Weddings are a fantastic source of referrals for a photographer. At almost every wedding, I have people wanting to talk to me, either because they are photography enthusiasts or they have a photography need. Both can make for very interesting conversations. Take time to talk to people. Don’t brush them off because you are too busy or too stressed. Have your business cards in your shirt pocket, so if a wedding guest has a genuine photographic need, you can hand them a card and solve their problem. Be prepared. Weddings are a great source of referrals.

Wedding photography

Remember to congratulate the bride and groom

Tip #7 – Congratulate the Bride and Groom. What is the first thing you should do when you speak to the bride and groom after the ceremony? Is it to organize the family formals? Is it to ask where the best man is so he can assist you? Is it to ask what time the car will pick them up? No, it’s none of these! The first moment you get a chance, walk up to the bride and groom and say to them “Congratulations! That was a lovely ceremony.” It is a great thing to do and your clients will appreciate it. Human first, photographer second.

So there we are, 7 more tips for your first wedding photography job. Please let me know your comments by adding a comment to this post, or emailing me at craig@beyondhere.com.au And thanks to all the readers who emailed me after the first 7 tips.

If you’d like to automatically receive a weekly update from Beyond Here please sign up by adding your email address at the top of this page. Thank you for reading 7 more tips for your first wedding photography job.

7 Tips for Your First Wedding Photography Job

Number 7Last weekend I photographed a lovely wedding in the Yarra Valley in Victoria, Australia. I had a talented photographer assisting me – it was her first wedding photography job. Like all weddings, it was a challenging, exciting, and tiring day. We discussed many elements of shooting a wedding in the days prior, and on the day of the wedding. Today I condensed these into tips for your first wedding photography job. I listed all the tips and have come up with 28! But lets start with 7 tips for your first wedding photography job. Depending on reader feedback, I will add extra posts with additional tips.

Tip #1 – Expect a Long and Tiring Day. Wedding photography is often an all day event and you need to prepare for a long day. This weekend, we started at the bride’s house at 11am and left the reception just after 10.30pm. Expect a long day and pace yourself. Take something with you to eat. Drink plenty of water. Don’t expect the couple to provide everything for you. We took snacks and drinks in the car and had them as we travelled.

Tip #2 – Fit With the Couples Needs. I previously wrote a post called Preparing For Wedding Photography Success where I talked about the importance of knowing your client and what they want on their wedding day. You need to have prepared for this in advance. If the couple don’t like posed kissing shots – don’t ask them to pose and kiss. Fit in with what they want. If they want informal, documentary style wedding photography – that’s what you need to deliver. If formal family portraits are important to them – make sure you shoot formal family portraits. Deliver what the couple wants with your own unique approach.

Wedding

Surprise the bride and groom with a special image or print

Tip #3 – Know Where Your Gear Is. Weddings are busy. You will be carrying your gear and putting it down. Picking it up again, moving, putting it down again. It is critical to know where you gear is at all times. I carry a fairly small bag with all the equipment I expect to use in it. I have back up gear and additional equipment which I leave in the car. In my bag – each piece of equipment stays in one place. If I need additional batteries I know where they are. If I need a new memory card, I know where they are. If I need a different lens – it has its place and I know where to find it. Earlier this year I was at a wedding where the photographer was about to leave the bride’s house to go to the ceremony. He suddenly realized that he didn’t have his 70-200mm f2.8 lens with him. It wasn’t in his bag – he had left it in the bride’s house. The bride had locked the door when she left and the photographer couldn’t get back in. After several frantic phone calls, he got a key from a neighbor and was able to retrieve his lens. A happy ending to a very stressful few minutes. Once you have finished using a piece of equipment put it back in your bag – don’t leave it on the kitchen bench.

Tip #4 – Change Memory Cards and Batteries During Down Times. It looks really unprofessional to change your batteries or memory cards at a key moment in the wedding day – particularly during the ceremony. Change batteries and memory cards during the down times. For example, when you have shot all the ‘getting ready’ images and are driving to the ceremony – this is an ideal time to change batteries and memory cards. You don’t want to have a full memory card a moment before the couple are pronounced man and wife!

Tip #5 – Don’t Overshoot. It is an easy mistake for a beginner to make to overshoot – that is to take too many images. For example, when the bride is getting ready and doing her hair and make up, you need only a few key images. There is no point in having 50 shots of her hair being done if you are only going to use 1 in the album. Take the key shots you need. When you are confident you have an ‘A grade’ image, move on or take a quick break. Don’t overshoot.

Make Up

Don’t overshoot. Get your key shots and move on.

Plan sign

Plan your travel times and leave a buffer

Tip #6 – Plan Your Travel Times and Leave a Buffer. Travelling between locations can be very stressful if you don’t allow enough time. Last weekend, we started at the bride’s house, then traveled to where the groom was getting ready, went back to the bride’s house, and on to the venue for the ceremony and reception. They were all within fairly close proximity and so it was not too difficult. For a 30 minute drive I allow 40 minutes. Then a small delay in traffic or through road works are not enough to stress me out. Plan more time than you really need. Then you can check your shot list before you walk into the next venue.

Tip #7 – Surprise the Bride and Groom. I like to provide a positive surprise for the bride and groom to finish their wedding day. At the end of the day they will be feeling a sense of tiredness, relief, and excitement. I know some photographers who surprise them with a print. They take an image early in the day, and while the ceremony happens, they are having a print made. At the end of the reception the photographer presents it to them. I like to get home and pick a few key images. I quickly edit them and email them to the bride. She has a high quality image to show friends and family the next day. Often that image gets posted on social media the next day or carried on a smart phone and shown to friends and family during the honeymoon.

So there we are – 7 tips for your first wedding photography job. Please let me know your comments by adding a comment to this post, or emailing me at craig@beyondhere.com.au I have 21 more tips to follow!

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Preparing for Wedding Photography Success

Wedding photography can be challenging, exciting, stressful, exhilarating, and exhausting – all at once! I am shooting another wedding this weekend and have spent time making sure that I have everything in place to be able to perform at my best on the day. The more preparation I do before the wedding day, the less I have to worry about, and the better my images are. Rather than hoping for the best, I focus on preparing for wedding photography success. Here are some tips which might be useful to you.

Wedding Photography

Taking time to understand what your client is looking for is important

Sorry if you were hoping this would be a “what’s in the wedding photographer’s bag” type post. Instead, I’ve condensed my preparation into 7 checkpoints.

Checkpoint 1 – Do you really know your client?

Wedding Photography

Meeting your client face to face helps to establish a relationship and helps you understand what they are looking for

Where it is possible I like to meet face to face with my client at the time they are selecting a photographer. It gives me a chance to make a personal connection with the bride and groom, to understand the dynamic between the couple, and to focus on what is important to them in their wedding photography. The couple I am shooting for this coming weekend, I met over a year ago at their home. We spent time discussing the wedding day and what was important to them. They are ‘car people’ and even showed me around the vehicles in the garage (this was a good sign they were planning to book me!). In the last 2 months I have been in touch with them via email and phone to understand how the wedding planning was going. Last weekend I visited them to go through the timings for the day and to re-visit the notes I made a year ago. I now have a good understanding of what is important to them, and am looking forward to the wedding.

Checkpoint 2 – Is the paperwork in order?

If you are thinking ‘what paperwork?’ you may need to do more preparation before launching your wedding photography career. It is ok to shoot your friends wedding without a contract, but for all other clients you will need a contract. Included are the terms and conditions of payment. My clients for this weekend have had a copy of their contract for over a year. They signed it at the time of the booking and paid in full 4 weeks ago. During the wedding I won’t be wondering if I am going to get paid. Don’t over look this checkpoint – it is key to preparing for wedding photography success and will go a long way to ensuring financial success as well as photographic success.

Checkpoint 3 – Have you visited the venues?

Wedding photography

Visiting the venue lets you plan your key shots

It is very important to have visited the venue for the wedding in advance. It gives you time to look around and plan for where your key shots will take place. At the venue I will be shooting at next weekend, they display a range of sample albums. Looking through them also gave me some great ideas which other photographers have used. I now feel well prepared – particularly to make the most of the short time between the end of the ceremony and the start of the reception. I know which camera body and which lens I will be using at each location on the property. I know the style of shot which will suit my client. I know where my assistant will be and what she will be doing.

Checkpoint 4 – Are the logistics sorted out?

By logistics, I mean some of the practicalities of the day. For next weekends wedding there is a small chapel at the bottom of the property, and the reception venue is several hundred metres away. Thinking through the logistics, I will park the car near the chapel, as I will need to grab the step ladder for the ‘all guest’ shot. Rather than driving and re-parking I will walk up to the reception venue. No stress, I know where the car is. Car parking is just one element of the logistics. The more you can consider in advance, the less stress you will have on the day. Less stress generally means better images and happier clients.

Checkpoint 5 – Do you know the wedding party’s names?

The wedding party aren’t directly your clients, but they are normally family or the best friends of the bride and groom. Often they are lifelong friends. Taking the time to learn their names and using them, is one small way to show the bride and groom that you care about them and their day. It is not hard. I am looking forward to meeting Spiro – the best man – this weekend. If I strike up a good relationship with him early on the day, I might ask him to help with ‘crowd control’ after the ceremony. Often the best man loves to play a key role and it helps deal with his nerves if he is making a speech at the reception.

Checkpoint 6 – Which are the key shots?

It is easy to think on a wedding day that they are all key shots. What I mean here is, which are the shots you plan in advance which you anticipate the bride and groom will print and hang on their walls at home? Which shots capture the venue, the couple, and the day all in one? Based on what you know is important to the couple, which shots are going to mean the most to them? For my couple this weekend it will involve the grooms vehicle and driving into the future together. There will also be shots of the wedding party, candid moments, the ceremony, the guests, family formals, and kids being kids – but I anticipate the ‘winning shots’ to involve the bride and groom and the car. It will show their love for one another, a beautiful venue, and their passion for motor vehicles.

Checkpoint 7 – What is the weather forecast?

Wedding Photography

Checking the weather forecast gives you time to plan indoor and outdoor shots

If your wedding involves shooting outdoors during any part of the day, you will need to consider in advance what the weather forecast is. You can’t rely on beautiful soft light from a bright cloudy day for every wedding you shoot. What is the plan if there is bright sunlight? Or pouring rain? Or both within a few hours? Have you spoken to the venue to ask their advice on wet weather options? Late August can bring some very changeable and cold weather in Melbourne, Australia. Fortunately the forecast for this weekend is sunny, clear and cool. It should mean flexibility to shoot both indoor and outdoor images throughout the day. (I hope it is the same for the wedding I am shooting the following weekend!!)

I am a strong believer in preparing for wedding photography success. The more elements I have planned for in advance, the more I will be able to focus on photography on the big day. You don’t have to use my checklist, but I encourage you to plan in advance. Having a system in place gives you the best chance to shoot great wedding images and enjoy yourself at the same time. Invest the time in preparing for wedding photography success!