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How to Shoot a Wedding – A Guide for Photographers

Wedding photographs never fail to convey intimate emotions. They pack every detail photographed during the wedding preparation, ceremony, and reception. These captured memories will also elicit a sense of nostalgia in the future. Wedding photographs are a recollection of everything the couple has put into their special day. But unlike pre-wedding photos or studio shoots, wedding day photographs are unstaged and completely authentic. It is mostly raw emotion that shows. You don’t have the chance to retake pictures if they don’t turn out as planned. Capturing such emotion is what makes a photograph great, and what makes you an excellent photographer. Wedding - A Guide for Photographers So, here are some tips that will help you excel as wedding photography. 

Visit the Area Ahead of Time

A professional photographer should do a visual check up of the location, especially if you are not familiar with it. This will help you determine the best spots for photos. It will also prevent you from making some wedding mishaps. Visiting the wedding location beforehand allows you to truly assess what you need and how you can prepare. Your familiarity with the site will also make planning for the perfect shots easier. On top of that, you gain your clients’ trust as they see how committed you are to capturing one of the most important events in their lives.

Dress Rehearsals are a Must

Girl trying on a wedding dress A bride walking down the aisle on her wedding dress is an image bursting with splendor. Brides mostly have the final say when it comes to their gown. But it also helps to consider getting the correct angle of the perfect wedding dress. That is one of the secrets to an exquisite wedding photo that you should not miss as a photographer. A wedding gown also deserves its solo shot. Wedding gowns fall into three main categories: ballgown, A-line, or sheath. These gowns also have different necklines and waistlines to flatter different bride’s body sizes. Thus, it is important that you know how to capture these various features in your camera lenses. Highlight the unique elements of the gown. Petite brides also risk looking out-balanced in photos with too much dress and too little bride. So, choose the angles correctly. And recommend having a dress rehearsal prior to the wedding. It can help you decide which angles to go for on the actual wedding day.

Ask the Couple to “Practice”

When the big day comes, everything should flow naturally. Candid poses are your friend. When it comes to traditional wedding poses, however, you may want to ask the couple to practice ahead of time to avoid getting awkward shots. If they are not very keen on posing naturally, a little practice leading up to the day might do the trick. Ask your subjects to pose for the camera before the big day, in order to determine the best angles. If they are too busy to come to you, they can practice at home in front of the mirror. Also, one major issue among brides, according to photographers, is flabby arms. For a more sleek appearance, their arms need to be positioned slightly to the side, away from their body.

Suggest an Engagement Photoshoot

Communication is important when it comes to capturing unforgettable shots. Every photographer has a different and unique style for delivering a story. There is the traditional, photojournalistic, and avant-garde approach to photography. Envision the wedding photos and make sure you’re on the same page with the couple. Your connection with them can help you visualize the intended outcome, and what their expectations are from you. You can improve this connection by having a pre-wedding or engagement photoshoot. Some couples may not consider this as a necessity, but it is a good way of getting to know each other. An engagement shoot is also the perfect opportunity for the couple to tell you their story.

As for the Groom

Generally, men hardly enjoy long exposure to cameras. Unless the groom is comfortable with poses and all, expect them to shy away from lenses after some time. That means rushing through group pictures and all the customary wedding poses.  For this reason, most of the photographers use a photojournalistic approach instead. This means more candid photos, which is also applicable to shy brides or couples. It is essential that you create a comfortable and relaxing atmosphere during the wedding. Do not force the couple to do certain poses that you think are great, especially if they don’t want to. The more they enjoy the moment, the more authentic the emotion. If the groom tends to get grumpy over poses, you can talk to him about it in advance (or ask his bride or the organizer to talk to him instead.) Choose wedding concepts and themes that are more comfortable for him. Be considerate and remember that this is his day too! So, you and the couple should be seeing eye to eye with the wedding concepts.

Tell them to Forget the Camera

Yes, forget the camera! Every wedding is unique and everything will not turn out exactly how you imagined. Tell the couple to live the moment and you will get authentic shots worthy of an heirloom for their wedding album. Advise them to smile naturally, connect with their significant other, and acknowledge their guests warmly. These factors make lasting and priceless moments. It’s worth it for them to walk down the aisle and be themselves as you capture the moment. 

Get Some Scenic Shots

Couple with mountain view If the wedding reception offers you a stunning view, make use of it. A short photoshoot between the ceremony and reception for some sure shots will not hurt. Just do not leave the guests for more than 45 minutes waiting at the reception. You can also take the photos during cocktail hour to not bore the guests from waiting. Some couples might take these shots before the wedding, or during a separate photoshoot. But if you want to squeeze it in during the day, it will be more convenient. Find some scenic spots. The perfect wedding deserves a stunning backdrop that the couple can adore.

Expect the Unexpected

The wedding photographer plays a huge role in how the photos turn out. Your skills, expertise, experiences, and equipment make up the photographs. Shooting for a wedding is a bit tricky. Problems might arise in terms of weather, venue, lighting, and other technical issues. Professional photographers mostly know how to maneuver their way around challenging settings. You should have an idea of these situations in mind, so that you can work around them.


Before departing for their honeymoon, a wedding photoshoot is an important part of the celebration that couples should not miss. It is something that holds great significance for the years to come. The above are just a few tips for a wedding photoshoot. The best emotions that are captured are still on how they enjoy the moment. Many couples choose a photographer that they can connect with. Artistry aside, you need to feel confident and at ease around your clients. That is why it is important to set meetings with your clients beforehand to assess and establish rapport. With a lot of consideration and planning and letting the couple be themselves as much as possible, you can nail the perfect shots. It is up to you to seize the amazing moments during the big day. Let the bride and groom simply go and savor the moment as comfortably as they can. It will make the timeless piece of this precious affair.
Ann Marie Bantigue headshot
Ann Marie Bantigue

Ann Marie Bantigue is currently based in Alberta, Canada. Her hobby is writing, which is what led her to write about several niches, including health and wellness, real estate, home improvement, travel, lifestyle and relationships, among others.