May and June are typically the months when wedding photographers start to get busy as the season starts. I truly believe, wedding photography is one of the hardest specialities. The reason : You need to be a photojournalist, stock photographer, architectural photographer, portrait photographer, food photographer, a commercial photographer and the list goes on. You need to have knowledge in all these areas to be truly great at your craft. Aside from the technicalities of wedding photography, there are a few things you should keep in mind when photographing the couple on the way to the altar.
I can’t say this one enough. Preparation is key. Have a questionnaire for your couple. In the questionnaire,you should ask the basics : start time, venue location etc. Also ask, about relations and the names of family and wedding party. It’s hard to remember everyone’s name in the wedding party, but learning the names of the parents, grandparents and siblings will take you far. Also, ask if there are any family situations to be made aware of, such as divorces or deaths. It’s important to set expectations with your couple ahead of time instead of having a surprise or problem on the day of the wedding. Remember there is no such thing as too much information when it comes to wedding photography. As far as preparing equipment, check and charge everything the night before if not earlier.
2. Scout your Location
I have always scouted my locations a week before the event. The reason being, I needed to know where the sun set in the sky during the time I would be taking wedding pictures. I may have been at this venue before, but generally the time of day and seasons may have been different. Also, I check to see if there are any races or street fairs I should know about on the wedding date as this might affect traffic to and from the ceremony or the reception. You also want a back up plan. If it rains on the wedding day, you should be prepared with a plan “b”. A plan to execute in case it rains, you don’t want to be left high and dry without a back up plan.
3. The Power of Light
Know your light. Everything from natural to flash to strobe. When working with natural light, do you want a sihlouette or do you want to work with the sun? This will make a difference in your settings. For flash, there are a number of ways to diffuse your flash to make it softer on your subjects. If you don’t know how to use your flash manually, try using a diffuser . You can also bounce it off walls, ceilings, even off reflectors. If you are using strobe, make sure you have tested your triggers or you have plenty of extension chord if it’s a plug in. The key is to have the most flattering light possible on your subjects.
Your couple has spent a lot of time picking out the right shoes, the right tie, the right rings, the right dress , the right suit. Spend some time getting images of these various articles as well as all the little details at the reception. You would be amazed how these detail shots help in setting up a wedding album. They often make the perfect filler or background.
5. Social Media Savvy
I can’t think of a better event to be social savvy at than a wedding. Your opportunities to market are endless. From your questionnaire on step 1, ask for the bride and groom’s soial media handles on facebook ,twitter, instagram and such. Go over your plans with the couple on how you will present their images on your website, facebook and other channels. Some people are still very private, so it’s important to know this ahead of time. Make it fun and get everyone involved. Sometimes coming up with a fun hashtag on Instagram can get the wedding party and guests involved. For example, #MikeandSallyTieTheKnot. Or when loading photos to Facebook, have your couple invite their friends to “tag” themselves in the photo. At the reception, print out little cards with the website and password to the images for the wedding. Marketing is a different world now days with the internet and it’s important to not only discuss this with your couple but to also stay one step ahead of the technology curve.
There are so many more tips and tricks to wedding photography, but these are definite starting points. I have been a wedding photographer for 13 years and I can honestly say, it is one of the most difficult and demanding photography specialties. I admire those who have been in the business for years and I admire those just starting out and pushing the boundaries. Documenting a couple on one of their most cherished days is an honor and more importantly, giving them beautiful images documenting their wedding day is the best marketing you can do for yourself as they show them to their friends and family.
Everyone says it’s good luck when it rains on your wedding day. However, if you’re the wedding photographer, you might be sweating bullets to make sure your couple gets as many fantastic images as if it were a sunny day. What your couple wants is to have spectacular shots and more specifically fantastic shots outside. So as the photographer, how do you accomplish what you may think is the unattainable. It’s not as hard as you may think — here are some tips from our wedding photographer friends in the rainy upper North and NorthWest.
1. Be Prepared
That means, don’t place 100-percent confidence in the weather forecast. If you see rain is in the forecast, even for the day before or day after, do your research. Find locations where you can take your bride and groom where they will be undercover. Think about opportunities like doorways, under bridges, under big trees. These locations will provide for a beautiful backdrop and keeps your couple dry.
2. Use Umbrellas
You don’t have to hide the fact that it’s raining on your couple’s wedding day. Talk to your couple about the possibility about getting some matching umbrellas. Play with the umbrellas. Change your perspective with umbrella shots. Photograph down at the umbrellas or have them take up a small portion of the frame.
3. Protect your Gear
Most camera gear is water resistant, this does not mean it is waterproof. There is a huge difference. There are a lot of gadgets and products out there to help you protect your body and lenses. Here are some other ideas, when photographing your couple or have your assistant or even someone from the wedding party hold an umbrella over your head. You can’t handle an umbrella as well as a camera. If you are in a pinch, use a ziplock bag to protect your gear. I typically tear a small hole in it and I am able to fit my camera through it. It’s not ideal but it’s saved me a few times.
4. Close Ups
Now is the time to focus on close ups. Make sure your couple gets in tight for shots. You can usually squeeze under a awning if it’s raining. It may be tight on space, but you can go in tight – play with the veil or focus on the bride’s eyes. It’s always fun to get in for tight shots.
This is the perfect time to take advantage of puddles! Yes, puddles. The reflection you get is something that is artistic and different than you would get on a rainy day. Instead of fighting the rain, embrace it.
We hope these tips help you get inspired when the rain falls on your couple’s wedding day.
She lives in one of the most scenic areas in the world and photographs weddings in adverse weather conditions – most notably, the snow. Anastasia Chomlack is from Whistler, British Columbia and she believes whole heartedly in capturing weddings and love with the natural environment that is Whistler. This includes beautiful green pine trees in the summer and breathtaking, snow capped mountains in the winter. Anastasia gives us a few tips on photographing in the snow and cold.
1. STAY WARM.
This goes for the photographer and the client.
I used to apologize to the bride when I was dressed in boots, and layered in jackets and sweaters and she was in a dress… but honestly the warmer I am- the more patient I can be, the more time and care I can take to get the right photo. When photographing a wedding outside my best friends are my fingerless gloves and I have stopped apologizing for that!
Even though the dress may be strapless or lightweight I always encourage my brides who want snow photos to bring warm accessories that make sense in the snow; warm yet cute boots- a shawl, wrap or small jacket- even mittens… I want to take photos that are authentic and real- not just set up and styled. A bride freezing and underdressed in the snow just does not make sense:)
2. Know your snow, and communicate it to your couple.
Small flakes will fall for longer and often that means its colder… large flakes will soon turn to rain and will not last for long. Communicate all of this to your client. The bride in this photo wanted to have the large snowflakes- they started to fall literally minutes before the ceremony- I immediately went to the couple and told them this was the window for large snowflakes and also told them that if we took the photos now they would be wet for the ceremony- They went for it- we spent five minutes outside, the guests loved the opportunity to watch the couple run outside in the snow and these photos were the brides favorites even if her hair was wet for the vows.
I make sure to share all of the different weather possibilities with my couples- and never promise a clean or dry dress after photos. There are so many unknowns when photographing in the winter- it is best to be prepared for anything!
The white dress on the white background can be tricky with the light reflecting off the snow creating highly reflective surfaces. When photographing in the snow I am watching my histogram more then the image itself- knowing that to to get white snow your graph should be roughly in the middle, and to the right.
Especially in the snow you need to remember that you are smarter than your camera- your camera will want to expose to the bright snow and end up creating underexposed photos.
Another tip is to be aware of the time of day- I do everything I can to not shoot in harsh sunlight during these sessions- always location scouting to make sure I can find open shade.
4. PROTECTING YOUR EQUIPMENT.
Moving inside and outside for ceremony, reception and outdoor photos can create condensation and fogging which could limit your readiness to capture an important moment. Knowing my schedule is important- and I try to keep a second camera for indoors ready to go- so that my outdoor camera can warm up gradually to avoid condensation.
Another trick is to invest in some silica bags to put in your camera bag to quicken the drying up.
The cold will also make your batteries drain more quickly so pack extra batteries on cold days!
5. Go with it.5.
It’s January and for a lot of photographers they are in the midst of wedding bookings and wedding shows. We recently caught up with AdoramaPix Ambassador Erin Gilmore of Erin Gilmore Photography who consistently wins awards for her wedding booth designs. This year the theme was “The Things we Love” which included photo books and images from AdoramaPix. Erin’s booth showcased black chalk walls with her artwork displayed.