Wedding Photography for Beginners - Part 1

July 28, 2009 | Mark Goldstein | Photography Techniques | 46 Comments |
Wedding Photography for Beginners - Part 1 Image

There is so much to consider when embarking on the world of wedding photography - from the images that you capture, right through to the way in which you are going to present these images to the client.

Never underestimate how much is involved in photographing a wedding from start to finish and the responsibility that you have to the bride and groom to get it right. You only get one chance to capture those precious moments, the moments that the happy couple and their family and friends will treasure for a lifetime, so it is crucial to be prepared and organised.

The key to achieving this is to gain experience, as much as you can and wherever possible and from those who you admire. Start buying bridal magazines, create a scrap book of inspiring images as this will form the backbone of how your own style as a photographer starts to develop.

An additional suggestion, one which can have a considerable impact on your creativity and give you a detailed feel for what is happening within the industry, is to attend the designer wedding show in London "It's amazing!".

Wedding Photography for Beginners - Part 1

Go to the designer wedding show this October, soak up the atmosphere, and study all that is there and how the consumers are reacting to what they see. Watch to see which stands are busy and why, what is this year's must have for brides?

Take a moment to people watch - study all that you are seeing and take notes as these will be a great reference for later.

Wedding Photography for Beginners - Part 1

Who is attending the show, who have they gone with and why? This information will help your approach when you really start to build the business. Visit all of the stands and introduce yourself - go early though as this is when those exhibiting will have more time to share their knowledge and expertise with you. Be open and let them know you are a photographer - honesty is the best approach and you will be more natural and relaxed. Let them know you are new to the industry and are there to gain knowledge and learn.

And my last tip while at the show, take time out to watch a catwalk show as you need to gain an insight into what your brides might be wearing, what styles are about to appear as this will really strengthen your conversation when talking to potential brides and grooms.

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photography, how to, getting started, weddings, wedding, top tips, beginners, groom, bride, marriage

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#1 Ian Pack

To create great wedding images you need more than just a good digital camera. In my experience the personality of the photographer and their relationship with the couple is paramount - that’s when you start creating those special images.

5:50 pm - Tuesday, July 28, 2009

#2 Sean

I’ve only recently opened myself up to the beast that is wedding photography and I found this article to be very helpful and a good reflection of my experience.

Although it’s important that you have proven ability as a photographer before undertaking weddings there are a lot of people out there saying you *need* to spend 2 years shadowing a wedding photographer before starting out yourself.  Perhaps if you’ve never picked up a camera but if you’re established in other areas then it’s much easier.

I would also add that I think a lot of photographers like to maintain the veil of secrecy around wedding photography that keeps prices up and effectively holds brides and grooms to ransom.  I ensure that I’m honest about my pricing and my attitude to it, which I share with my wedding couples.

Great article, very re-assuring.  I’m looking forward to parts two and three.

7:49 pm - Tuesday, July 28, 2009

#3 Ian Pack

Shadowing a wedding photographer will give you an insight to the beast that is wedding photography. The trouble is, you need to shadow someone, such as Annabel or someone of similar calibre to attain the experience that you need to create the best images for your clients - local to me there is a “photographer” running training courses where he asserts that he’ll have you “taking” professional images in a day. Doubtful! The talent is just not there.

Creating the best wedding images starts before the wedding day, from the client’s initial contact through the pre-wedding chat/interview - establishing the “photographer” as a true professional.

Wedding photographers need soul and an understanding of what their clients want and desire - not what the “photographer” is prepared to offer based upon (in most cases) limited experience and capabilities.

Just because the “photographer” has the latest or best digital camera, it doesn’t make the person behind the camera a professional! The camera is a tool, it’s what you create with it that counts and the client’s experience of their very special day that they will remember in the coming years.

Creating special memories for your clients isn’t just about great images.

9:39 pm - Tuesday, July 28, 2009

#4 Dan Weylie

Well said Ian….

2:39 am - Wednesday, July 29, 2009

#5 Curtis Copeland

Wow! What great information about becoming a wedding photographer. Thanks for sharing!

8:03 pm - Wednesday, July 29, 2009

#6 Randy

While this article is informative, I can not agree more that in order to get some experience, one must shadow someone with credentials.  I have been doing it for 15 years and I still don;t have it all figured out.

5:05 am - Monday, August 3, 2009

#7 Ian Pack

Finding a credible wedding photographer to shadow or assist is becoming more and more difficult for a variety of reasons.

Some of the guys I know have pulled out of the market because client expectation far exceeds what they are prepared pay; what clients are prepared to pay is being led by the high number of aspiring wedding photographers who are prepared to work for next to nothing.

Instead of under-cutting other photographers, aspiring wedding photographers need to think very seriously about charging rates that actually reflect the time and effort expended in creating some very special memories of the couples wedding day. Many years ago I conducted a cost/benefit analysis of my wedding photography business and was truely shocked when I realised how many hours are spent from the initial enquiry through to delivery of the final product. And that is before you look at marketing and trading on a sound legal and business footing.

I’ve been lucky enough during my career to have assisted two excellent wedding photographers and benefitted from numerous mentors who have been prepared to share their wealth of experience and knowledge.

I still get people contacting me wanting to assist at weddings with a view to setting up their own wedding photography business on my doorstep. Without exception, not one of these people knows anything about photography and more importantly, I haven’t met one who I consider to have the temperament and interpersonal skills to make a wedding photographer. These people see wedding photography as a way of supplementing their (sometimes very costly) hobby.

8:52 am - Monday, August 3, 2009

#8 Dustin

I think you’ve outdone yourself—amazing photos!

2:30 pm - Saturday, August 8, 2009

#9 Rik Pennington

It’s not a job for the faint hearted! Get as much on the job experience as a second shooter/assistant as you can before diving it!

2:50 pm - Monday, August 10, 2009

#10 Gabrielle

Good stuff and amazing photography. You done a great work.

1:21 pm - Friday, August 14, 2009

#11 Shawn

Articles like these are hard for me me find, so clearly written and well executed, thank you for your article.

4:06 am - Sunday, August 16, 2009

#12 Wedding Photographer

great tips, these will be very useful for me! thankyou

3:54 pm - Sunday, September 27, 2009

#13 Fotografo Matrimonio Milano

Wedding photography is a business so you need to have skills in photography but also in business.

9:38 am - Saturday, October 3, 2009

#14 Raychard Kho

very interesting photos… good job… photography is the best

3:03 pm - Sunday, November 1, 2009

#15 r4 card

Hi Guy’s,
Awesome Good stuff and amazing photography. You done a great work.i like it…

6:49 am - Saturday, November 7, 2009

#16 Toronto Wedding Photographer

Good article, great tips. Your studio appearance and relationship with the couple is very important.

6:44 pm - Wednesday, November 11, 2009

#17 Northwest Photography

I agree with the first comment. I have been a wedding photographer for 14 years and in my experience it is not the camera or lens but how well you can relate to people that makes the difference.

12:35 am - Saturday, November 14, 2009

#18 Lime Leaf Weddings Devon Photography

Wedding photography is very fast paced and as well as knowing your equipment and its limitations inside out, there is also the skill of anticipating what will be happening next. As well as this there is the whole business side, getting insurance and backup plans in place.

3:37 pm - Friday, December 18, 2009

#19 Tracy Miller - Memphis Photographer

Thanks for the great article!...In my experience, success is all about relationship building and the passion to work very very hard to be successful!

11:00 pm - Monday, December 21, 2009

#20 wedding photographer

Good stuff for fresh photographers. Me being a <a >wedding photographer</a> really found the info useful for beginners.

2:55 pm - Wednesday, September 22, 2010

#21 Santa Barbara Wedding Photography

I’ve been a photographer for some years,I was wondering, what is the best way to get into the wedding photography business? Also, does it make a difference that I use film, not digital?

11:50 am - Saturday, October 30, 2010

#22 London Wedding Photographer

Bit late to the party on this article but I must say thank you for a interesting and informative read. I totally agree with the comment that you should never underestimate what is involved!

3:12 pm - Wednesday, November 3, 2010

#23 rudikennard

yes, I agree with Ian Pack, having technical knowledge and good gear is almost secondary to creating rapport with the couple and putting the guests at ease. being a wedding photographer, and a good one, is paramount to having good social skills

5:23 pm - Friday, November 19, 2010

#24 Berkshire Wedding Photography

I have to agree with Ian.  Too many people these days think that just spending several grand on a DSLR, a couple of lenses and a flash gives them the right to call themselves a wedding photographer.

The only ones to suffer from this are their clients and the reputations of the rest of us.

7:21 pm - Monday, January 3, 2011

#25 Fotografo Matrimonio Moncalieri

For sure the human relationship you have with people it’s the most important thing to get spontaneous portraits.

9:05 am - Saturday, February 19, 2011

#26 Kent Wedding Photographer

A very interesting article. To be a successful wedding photographer I think there are three key skill sets required - photographic skills (both technical & artistic), people skills (dealing with clients before, during and after the wedding) and business skills (promotion, marketing, website etc). If one of these is missing it can make success elusive!

2:00 pm - Tuesday, March 8, 2011

#27 Lee Paul Serwatka

Just wanted to say this is a really good article. I remember the first wedding that I photographed; boy did I ever underestimate what is involved in shooting a wedding to a high professional standard.  I would say that it does get easier with time and experience, however never underestimate a wedding large or small. Always be in the correct frame of mind and ready for any challenge.

5:30 pm - Tuesday, March 15, 2011

#28 Luke Stanton

I am just starting out and have found this article incredibly helpful. thank you! and all the comments were also very useful.

11:03 am - Wednesday, May 4, 2011

#29 steven rooney

really useful, thanks

10:10 pm - Wednesday, May 25, 2011

#30 Double Picture Frames

This is really useful reference for someone who just starting to learn photography like me. Covering a wedding is so important and must be prepared, because the once in a lifetime memories of the couple is in your hands.

1:17 pm - Thursday, May 26, 2011

#31 Bryan Farrell

some very very useful references here, i’ll keep this book marked : )

8:22 pm - Friday, June 3, 2011

#32 Wedding Photographer Cambridge

There is so much to understand I think the quality of cameras these days means that everyone sees themselves as a photographer.  But it is still an artform and an eye for capturing the perfect moments is more precious than any piece of equipment

12:04 pm - Friday, June 17, 2011

#33 Neal

I’ve heard that taking candids during preparations can be a good way to get interesting pictures.

2:39 am - Sunday, June 19, 2011

#34 Plymouth Wedding Photography

I agree with the above, many people have a camera that looks like the one used by the pro and therefore they must be able to to the job….. same way that me owning my own kitchen knives makes me a chef! Having the right kit is only a part of the battle to capturing fantastic photographs for a couple on one of the most important days of their lives, the other is knowing how to use it and how to work with the couple and other gets to maximise the very limited time. Shooting in a studio is one thing but to shoot amazing photos under such time constraints makes everything much more interesting.

4:35 pm - Wednesday, August 10, 2011

#35 wedding photographers London

I agree with you. I had a camera that was used by my one of friend. He had taken wonderful pictures from that, but when that camera came to me, I wasn’t able to handle it. I never knew how my friend operated that camera!!

11:36 am - Friday, August 12, 2011

#36 Wedding Photographer Colchester

I recently became a wedding photographer, but before doing so I completed a two year photography degree course, I did additional wedding photography training courses and mentored with a respected wedding photographer. It takes a lot more than just having a good camera, you need to get all the training you can, practice and work hard.

Great article

9:42 pm - Thursday, August 25, 2011

#37 peterborough wedding photography

Great article, its nice to see people being asked to consider wedding photography and not just trying to scare people off.

Well done nice start and guide into getting into the wedding photographers way of thinking.

2:24 pm - Wednesday, December 28, 2011

#38 Bahamas Photogrpher

Experience, experience, experience. That’s my tip.

Work as a second shooter for a seasoned wedding photographer for a year. Watch everything you can. Learn everything you can.

Then, when you know you’re ready, go shoot!

4:54 am - Saturday, January 7, 2012

#39 James Gifford-Mead

Wedding photography is all about learning, keep on learning! You always have room for improvement! And having the right experience really helps.

1:18 pm - Monday, February 20, 2012

#40 Wedding Photography

Love the pictures!!! You guys are amazing to work with and so talented. You captured the special moments in our wedding and I couldn’t be happier. We will definitely be working again in the future.

9:53 am - Wednesday, April 11, 2012

#41 Steve Fuller

Thanks for sharing, really informative and totally agree on the above comments, its all about learning as you go and gaining experience wherever possible!

4:28 pm - Monday, October 15, 2012

#42 Wedding Photography London

Nice wedding photography..photography is the best

6:58 am - Tuesday, October 16, 2012

#43 KrisLens

Practice, practice, practice ... the benefits are ongoing.

9:12 pm - Monday, April 29, 2013

#44 Kent Wedding Photographer

Interesting article, I agree with some of the comments that other people have made such as Work as a second shooter for a seasoned wedding photographer for a year. Well done good article.

9:46 pm - Thursday, January 9, 2014

#45 Wedding Photographer Kent

There are many training videos available and some photographers are willing to help when you first start out although this might only be email or just phone contact, as they are not willing show you as possibly you make some of their business away from them. Great article thanks.

9:52 pm - Thursday, January 9, 2014

#46 athini photos

Excellent article, thank you very much Mario for sharing your knowledge.

8:35 am - Friday, January 24, 2014