50+ Tips for Better Wedding Photography in Florida

By November 14, 2022November 16th, 2022No Comments
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Tip #1: Prepare thoroughly for the shooting

Wedding photography requires careful preparation. I always prepare for the shoot the day before the ceremony. My preparation ritual includes:

– Preparing a plan for the shoot.

– Charging all batteries.

– Installing fully charged batteries in cameras and flash units.

– Preparing memory cards and formatting them.

– Inspecting and cleaning lenses and cameras.

– Packing your equipment in the camera bag.

By getting ready to shoot in advance, you leave yourself plenty of time to make sure you haven’t forgotten anything and that all equipment is in working order.

Tip #2: Make a detailed plan of action

Once you have prepared for the wedding photography as described in the first tip, make a detailed plan of your activities for the day of the shoot.

For example, I include the route and locations of the shoot, names and phone numbers, deadlines, important reminders, etc.

I always print out a plan in triplicate (one for myself, one for my assistant or another photographer, and one for backup), and I pack one in my camera bag right away.

One more tip:

Don’t forget to send an electronic version of your plan to your e-mail – this allows you to always be able to print an extra copy if you happen to lose one of the pre-prepared ones.

In my experience, making a detailed plan for the day of the shoot is one of the easiest and most effective ways to organize your time.

Also, you can set a photo of your plan as a screensaver on your smartphone, so you will always have it handy.

Tip #3: Prepare the “gentleman’s kit” for wedding photography

If you already have experience in wedding photography, then you know that the photographer sometimes has to become a tailor, florist, designer, makeup artist, hairdresser, etc., to create an aesthetic image.

Therefore, it is not unreasonable to prepare a “gentleman’s kit” for a wedding photographer.

For example, my kit includes:

– Scissors.

– Thread of different colors and a few needles and pins.

– Gloss for the lips.

– Band-aids (regular and flesh-colored).

– Hairpins.

– Boutonnieres with pins.

– Tight paper towels. I use them to dry the base of bouquets – neither you nor your clients, I don’t think, want wedding outfits to be ruined for the pictures by water droplets.

– Manicure kit.

– Powder.

– Feminine hygiene products.

– Stain removers, cotton swabs, and sponges.

Tip #4: Choose comfortable clothes and shoes

Wedding photography makes serious demands on the clothes and shoes of the photographer.

There’s nothing worse for a photographer than being uncomfortable in uncomfortable clothes or shoes for 8-10 hours.

I have experienced this firsthand, so after suffering through a couple of weddings, I decided that from now on, I will only shoot in comfortable clothes.

Tip #5: Avoid injuries

Wedding photography may seem like the most non-injurious activity, but it’s not.

If you’ve shot a wedding at least once in your life, you know that taking pictures all day can very easily lead to neck pain, back pain, etc.

While neither I, nor any other photographer, have a 100% working recipe that can help avoid neck and back pain, I would like to share a few tips that help me reduce the chances of getting injured during a photo shoot

Avoiding Back Pain During A Photoshoot

Use a wheelie bag, or briefcase, as your photo bag, so you don’t have to lug your photo equipment around on your back all day.

If you are using a carrying bag, don’t carry it on you all day. Always leave the bag in a safe place whenever you can.

Use a waist belt or a special photographer’s unloader to carry your camera to reduce strain on your neck and shoulders.

Use a special pain-relieving gel (or take a couple of ibuprofen pills) if necessary after half the photo shoot time has passed.

Tip #6: Don’t forget about food and drink

No photographer, whether wedding photography or any other, wants to work on an empty stomach.

In addition, no photographer can take quality pictures while feeling thirsty.

So, don’t forget to prepare food and drinks so that hunger and thirst don’t distract you.

Tip #7: Don’t forget to specify a hot meal with the customer

If your contract does not include a clause that requires the customer to provide you with a hot meal, then immediately include it in the contract!

The key word here is “hot.”

When I first started shooting weddings, I didn’t have this clause in my contract. I thought a sandwich or snacks would be enough for me.

But very soon, I realized that this was the wrong approach and changed the text of my contract.

My contract clearly states that the client agrees to provide a full hot lunch (or dinner) for my assistant (or second photographer) and me.

Most Clients Understand The Need For Reasonable Accommodations

Most clients are sympathetic to this requirement, and for the few who find it odd, I remind them that working in wedding photography means that:

I shoot for 8-10 hours, walk several tens of thousands of steps with heavy camera equipment, and expend more energy than the average person would in one trip to the gym.

So, my body needs to replenish calories, and one sandwich is not enough.

Don’t forget to also discuss a time when you can eat.

This is very important – you should be able to eat without rushing and without compromising your wedding photography.

Technical tips for wedding photography

Here is a set of tips, tricks, and techniques for beginners in wedding photography.

Tip #8: Shoot at an open aperture

In wedding photography, shooting at the maximum open aperture that your lens allows (to achieve shallow depth of field) makes for “tasty” photos.

Sharpen the characters, then the backgrounds will get blurry.

Be careful to keep an eye on what (who) is in focus.

Tip #9: Try using slow sync mode

When using the flash, set the shutter speed as slow as possible, from 1/15th to 1/25th of a second.

This allows you to use ambient light as a fill-in.

Try to “walk” the characters in the photograph moving in any direction. The light from the flash will capture them, and the background will be blurred.

Tip #10: Pick a pose for the bride

Want to please the bride? Make sure she doesn’t bend her elbows at a right angle when holding the bouquet. A slight bend looks more interesting.

Ask the bride to stand in a slightly curved pose resembling the letter “S,” as models usually do in fashion photography.

Look through fashion magazines such as Vogue or Cosmopolitan for ideas for wedding photography, and pay attention to how professional models pose.

Tip #11: Look for lines

Choose monumental architectural lines, such as columns, as a backdrop for your wedding photos.

Remember, if you have a good backdrop, the foreground will “take its place,” forming a perfect composition together with the background.

Explore the location beforehand, and see which architectural elements will work best.

Tip #12: Get creative with your lighting choices

For wedding photography outside the wedding palace or church, there are many moments when the lighting becomes interesting: “just the way you want it.”

If you catch them, apply them, and give your shots expressiveness and drama.

Remember, however, that such moments are fleeting: the light is constantly changing throughout the day.

So, act quickly.

Tip #13: Use framing

When photographing the bride and groom next to their wedding car, approach the subject creatively: use the car windows to implement such a compositional technique as framing.

Also, if the newlyweds don’t mind, take pictures from inside the car.

Tip #14: Experiment with the camera angle

A slight tilt of the camera will make your pictures more dynamic. You don’t have to shoot strictly horizontally or vertically.

Experiment by turning horizontal and vertical lines into diagonal lines, thereby adding expression to your shots.

Observe the measure – one or two photos in this technique are enough.

Tip #15: Look for shadows

If the sun is shining brightly on the day of the party, try to find a shadow and ask the characters to move into it.

The exposure will be more even throughout the image, and the shots won’t contain sharp variations in light and shadow. Or use the flash in fill light mode to illuminate shadows.

Fill-in flash mode is turned on in the camera’s menu, under the section on flash modes.

Tip #16: Add a little blur

When you’re shooting the dancing couple, experiment with slow shutter speeds to bring out the dynamics.

Use mixed lighting: a flash to “freeze” the movement and constant external lighting to illuminate the background and emphasize the movement of the characters.

You may need to increase the sensor sensitivity (ISO). As a consequence, noise may appear in your pictures, especially if you shoot in a rather dark room.

Tip #17: Use an extra bracket to mount your external flash

Attach the flash to a bracket to move it away from the optical axis of the lens and bring out shadows in your subjects.

The best bracket is the one with a loop mechanism.

This allows you to quickly move the flash for both horizontal and vertical shots.

The secrets of touching wedding photos

Tip #18: Look for non-obvious subjects

Everything that happens at a wedding is not always centered in front of your eyes.

Wedding photography is a creative pursuit. Look around you.

Suddenly, as you turn around, you’ll find interesting plots.

If you set out to capture the events that your photographic characters see, look at what they’re looking at.

Tip #19: Pay attention to detail

Pay attention to the accessories as much as you pay attention to the picture as a whole.

Attendees of the gala often don’t notice all the details.

But lo and behold… they look at the picture, such as the groom’s cufflinks with his beloved’s name engraved on them, or a tear rolled down the bride’s father’s cheek, and memories flood back into them.

So, be aware of what’s going on around you, and don’t be afraid to take pictures of what’s happening.

Tip #20: “Ground yourself”

Try to take pictures from a lower point.

Try not to crouch down while holding your body with your thigh muscles.

Since this is not the most stable body position, there is a high probability of getting photos with “blur” – the directional blurring of the image due to camera shake.

If the floor is clear, it is better to sit or lie down. These body positions are more stable than “half-sitting”.

Tip #21: Hold your pauses

Allow the guests to photograph the newlyweds: they will relax, then it’s time to take their pictures.

Formal poses are appropriate for the story.

If you set out to convey emotion, and the atmosphere of the event, take note:

People turn out better in pictures when they are happy, relaxed, and calm about being photographed.

Tip #22: Give your photos a bit more grit

Graininess in photos can give them a mood. Plus, by turning off the flash, you won’t be focusing the attention of those around you.

There’s little use in distracting guests with frequent flashes and drawing attention to yourself.

Increasing sensor sensitivity (ISO sensitivity), which is common for low-light photography, may make digital noise show up slightly in photos.

On the other hand, it will give your photos a more figurative look.

Tip #23: Try taking pictures with a telephoto lens

With a long lens, you can get comfortable as a discreet observer.

Also, telephoto lenses make interesting images of space, which can add drama to your photos.

But with these lenses, the camera can shake.

So, keep a heavy tripod handy.

Tip #24: Make friends with the gala organizers

They’re aware of what’s really going on, not what’s planned.

The organizers can alert you to whose turn it is to congratulate the newlyweds and what events are coming up next.

It’s wise to keep in touch with them so you can be in the right place at the right time.

Tip #25: Don’t impose

The desire to be photographed is a personal right. There’s a subtle point about people avoiding camera lenses.

They will look tense in the pictures, and your actions may offend them.

With experience, you will learn to recognize the signals of people who don’t want to be photographed.

Tip #26: Catch funny moments

Weddings are sources of funny situations, so keep your nose in the wind.

Pictures where people are having fun, happy and relaxed are in high demand.

So, watch the dynamics of the wedding party with both your eyes and ears, and be ready to dive into the action.

Tip #27: Use the wind

If the weather is windy, turn to face the wind and get great shots.

The lines of your dress flow wonderfully in the gusts of wind.

However, when changing lenses, take cover from the wind to keep dirt from getting inside the camera.

Tactful wedding photography…how’s that?

Tip #28: Pre-meeting

Always meet in advance with the couple whose wedding you plan to photograph.

At the meeting, you’ll get to know each other, and you’ll have a chance to find out what the clients want. Take advantage of it.

It’s their day, not yours, so it would be wise of you to understand how they envision the upcoming event.

Tip #29: Smile more often

If you smile at people, they smile back. So, be bolder in making eye contact. Don’t hide behind your camera. Put yourself in their shoes!

Someone walking around with a gizmo permanently propped on their face… can embarrass anyone and, for you, result in the loss of cool footage.

Tip #30: Hold the pauses

Once the formal part is over, allow time and space for guests to congratulate the newlyweds.

This approach will help you organize group shots.

Guests won’t follow your request to gather for a general photo until they’ve satisfied their need to wish the bride and groom all the best.

Tip #31: Photograph the sentiments

While guests are wishing the newlyweds a happy married life from the bottom of their hearts, take a moment to take some sensual photos of what’s going on.

Guests and newlyweds will forget they are being photographed and look more relaxed in the pictures.

Unobtrusive, unobtrusive, the photographer can get some of the best shots of the wedding reception.

Tip #32: Take a thinner approach to framing

Sharpen and pre-frame your characters through the viewfinder, then draw their attention to yourself by talking to them or smiling. They won’t know they’ve been photographed.

When they realize you’ve already done it, they’ll laugh, and you’ll have a chance to take more natural emotional photos.

The more relaxed people are, the better they look and the better pictures they get.

Tip #33: Adapt to your surroundings

Stop fighting the wind, rain, people, and time.

As you gain confidence and experience, you will develop the ability to find many ways to deal with unforeseen circumstances.

Among other skills, develop problem-solving skills.

Tip #34: Prepare for rainy weather

Rain. Use umbrellas. It’s handy to keep one black and one white umbrella in the car to spare.

Give them to the newlyweds to hold together, walk under it, kiss, etc.

Besides being great props, these umbrellas will protect your expensive digital camera from getting wet, which it’s unlikely to benefit from.

Tip #35: Get the crowd involved

You’re shooting in a public place.

If you get a person in the background of the photo, that’s okay.

It’s okay to take pictures of strangers on occasion.

Tip #36: Manage your time

You should always have time to spare.

If you’re running late, it means you didn’t ask a couple of the right questions in the pre-meeting.

Find out the wedding schedule, what time and where the banquet will start, and think about your route and method of travel.

A disorganized photographer misses important points, don’t become one.

Tip #37: Enjoy the process

Taking wedding photography can be a lot of fun.

Really, not if you’re constantly worrying about camera settings and lighting.

Relax and allow yourself to have a pleasant time as if you were part of the celebration.

As a result, before you know it, your level of wedding photography will increase.

Reportage photography in wedding photography

Tip #38: Learn about the relationship between the guests

A shot of relatives meeting for the first time at a church after 20 years apart can get very emotional.

Find out about everyone involved in the celebration:

Who they are, how they relate to the newlyweds, and to each other. Then use that information to plan your actions.

Tip #39: Don’t take pictures of people during the meal

Don’t take pictures of people eating.

Usually, no one looks good at such an activity and will not thank you for the photos.

Put the camera away and take advantage of the break; you can get something to eat.

Wait until the guests start congratulating the newlyweds – a better time to get good shots.

Tip #40: Don’t stick to the viewing screen

Don’t examine every newly shot you take.

Viewing wastes battery power and distracts you from what’s going on.

It’s better to look through the material during breaks. Only delete photos that you definitely can’t use.

Tip #41: Reflect the light of the flash

When photographing indoors, point the flash head at the ceiling and take ambient light into account when calculating your exposure.

By reflecting the light from the flash, you make it more diffuse and thus avoid thick shadows with sharp edges.

These shadows are common in amateur pictures.

Tip #42: Tell a story

Take a photojournalistic approach, so your photos tell a story about what happened on the day of the party.

A classic technique: take three photos for each story.

There’s no need to take all three photos at the same time.

For example. 1) A macro shot of the wedding cake, 2) a sash portrait of the newlyweds cutting the cake, and 3) a close-up of the guests’ reactions to what was going on.

Tip #43: Stock up on your own confetti

Make sure you photograph the scene with colorful confetti showering the newlyweds.

Create the “rain” yourself. Frame and shoot over the couple, not at them.

Try shooting with a closed aperture (f\11) and slow shutter speed (1/15 second), use the flash in fill light source mode.

First, make sure that the wind is blowing in the opposite direction from you.

Otherwise, you’re only going to make your guests laugh!

Tip #44: Keep your finger over the delete key

When sorting material, do multiple sampling.

Remove any images that make the bride and groom look “so-so.” Retouch the cosmetic defects on their faces. Then do the sampling again.

Give your customers only the greatest photographs, not a ton of subpar ones.

Tip #45: Turn off your camera’s sharpening feature

Control the sharpness of your photos while you’re processing them on your computer and already after you’ve brought them to the right size and resolution.

If possible, always shoot in RAW format.

In this case, the information from the image sensor goes straight to the memory card without being compressed.

True, the size of “raw” images is large compared to photos in JPEG format.

You’ll have to get a big memory card or a portable storage device to copy pictures during the next break.

Tip #46: Reduce exposure to bright light

When photographing a bride in a white dress in direct sunlight, try underexposing the shot by 1 EV.

You can correct the underexposure in the shadows and mid-tones on the computer. The dynamic range of modern digital cameras is very wide.

You will be able to restore dark areas in images as opposed to overexposed areas, which are more likely to lose detail.

Again. Shoot in RAW format, not JPEG. It helps a lot here.

Secrets of modern wedding photography

Tip #47: Find a good position

At the wedding, stand slightly to the side in relation to the bride and groom, so you can see their eyes.

And make sure in the camera settings that you turn off the beeps, so you don’t disturb those around you.

Tip #48: Plan for key subjects

Think ahead about where you need to be and how you need to shoot to take fun and emotional photos.

For example, what angles you’ll choose during the wedding ceremony, registration, or the groom’s appearance on the bride’s doorstep?

Usually, these moments are the first of the day when the bride and groom interact with each other.

Their reactions will be the basis of adorable photos!

Tip #49: Soften the light from the flash

Don’t use direct light from the flash. Use a specialized bracket to move the flash away from the lens’ optical axis

A large-area diffuser attached to the head of the flash works well.

All kinds of diffusers (such as those made by the manufacturer “Sto-fen”) are available in specialty stores and are great for taking pictures with an external flash.

Diffusers soften the light, which makes the shadows of objects less dense and with more blurred edges, and photos less like amateur photos.

Tip #50: Turn off effects

Avoid using all sorts of effects features that camera manufacturers equip their products with.

If you want to give the final picture a sepia tone or apply a solarization effect, take the picture as usual, in color. Apply the desired effects during post-processing.

If you apply effects while you are shooting, you will not be able to return to the standard color picture if needed.

Tip #51: Have a wider view of the architecture!

Use wide-angle lenses to capture interesting graphic shapes.

Transformed lines in the interior of a church can look spectacular.

Just don’t shoot portraits at a wide angle: people’s faces are shown convex.

Tip #52: Shoot with mixed light indoors

Practice shooting with your flash in slow sync mode. Your indoor shots will transform!

The flash will illuminate the foreground subjects, and the shutter will let the ambient light shine through to the sensor while keeping it open.

By adjusting the shutter speed, you can get the right exposure for the background. Otherwise, you risk your pictures getting blurry.

Tip #53: Take your pictures from the top

Where possible, try to rise above the scene you’re shooting (or drop down, shooting from bottom to top).

Then you’ll have the opportunity to create photos that are different from those taken by guests.

Most people don’t bother taking pictures from head level.

So, use a coaster, stool, or window sill to take standout shots.

Tip #54: Presenter Speech

Watch the bride and groom’s reactions as the host speaks.

These moments can produce the funniest photos.

Watch the newlyweds’ faces as the host entertains them.

Once he starts cracking jokes, which is inevitable, photograph the couple’s reaction.

Tip #55: Use Exposure Locking

Learn to use the exposure lock feature, which is activated by pressing the AE-L key on the camera or half-pressing the shutter button.

Metering exposure by the faces of the characters, because viewers pay attention to the faces of the people in the picture first.

Over or underexposure of faces is undesirable.

Tip #56: Use a reflector

They’re cheap, you can see the effect right away, and it’s preferable to the effect of a flashlight.

A reflector helps reduce the harshness of shadows caused by parallel beams of light falling on your subjects – directional light.

Also, it’s a must to take “tasty” portraits.