April 24, 2018

Learning Wedding Photography

Wedding photography, like any type of photography is an art form. It requires the expertise of technique, mechanics, instinct, creativity, and an eye for capturing the right moment. Learning wedding photography takes dedication and resolve.  Anyone can take pictures, but to be exceptional is a whole different level.

Learning wedding photography can be accomplished by researching books on the subject, taking courses, and online seminars.  Even if you already have some formal training in photography, there are many aspects to learning wedding photography that are unique.

Some of these aspects include:

  • Know your equipment inside and out. The type of cameras, lens, lighting and more that are appropriate for the venue, type of shot, and location.
  • Understand how to use lighting to your advantage to capture the right mood and tone that is appropriate.
  • Know all the traditional poses, although, in the modern context this is not prerequisite.
  • Know what to plan for:  how to anticipate shots, and various vantage points.
  • Basic Camera Techniques.
  • Depth of field.
  • ISO and exposure.
  • Shutter speeds and apertures.
  • Exposure compensation.
  • Light direction.
  • Light metering.
  • In camera exposure metering.
  • Partial and spot metering.
  • Using flashguns.
  • How flash works.
  • Types of weddings and their traditions:
    • Christian weddings.
    • Jewish weddings.
    • Muslim weddings.
    • Buddhist weddings.
  • Rituals:
  • Ceremony.
  • Procession.
  • Altar.
  • Arrival of the bride.
  • Signing the register.
  • Cutting of the cake.
  • Special shots:
    • Family Photos.
    • Group Photos and how to arrange groups.
    • The Wedding entourage.
    • Informal.
    • Posed.
    • The Bride.
    • The Groom.
    • The Bride and Groom.
    • Wedding cake, rings, toasts, and reception.

One way to experiment and test the waters is to go to a wedding as the designated “second photographer”. The official photographer agrees to this in order to have back up and it does not interfere with their compensation and agreement with the wedding party. Learning wedding photography in this way gives you the chance to experience the work without fear of embarrassment and be close to a professional to observe their technique.

Do several weddings as the “second photographer” to ensure that you know what you are doing. Work with different photographers if possible to learn about different styles and techniques.
Know your strengths and weaknesses. Be confident in your abilities, but be practical and know your limitations. Be up front and honest with prospective clients and let them know what you feel comfortable doing and can deliver what you promise.  Experiment and learn as much as you can on your own time: not on a job. If you make clients pay for your mistakes, you will never build up a good reputation and will leave yourself open for legal problems.

Learning wedding photography simply is a matter of commitment. Passion, instinct, love of the art all comes with a commitment.  Without that dedication, you have no chance of learning wedding photography on a professional level.