If you’ve got a decent camera and friends know you enjoy taking photos, you have probably been called to photograph a wedding at least once. LSP’s director of training Debbie Castro runs a wedding photography business and has photographed wedding parties in Ireland, the UK, France, Italy and as far as Singapore and Cambodia. For Debbie, the photographer must “have the confidence and ability to take wonderful, unique and personable images of a special day”.
Wedding Photography can be a very profitable business, but is also one that takes a lot of responsibility too. Being called to document such an important occasion requires a lot of planning. There will be no other opportunity to “redo” the pictures, so there are some steps that need to be followed to guarantee all goes according to plan.
Professional wedding photographers usually work as a team. Photographers who work alone normally take at least two cameras with them for many reasons. They set one camera with a wide angle lens and another with a standard or telephoto. This is because there is not much time to swap lenses, so wide shots and close-ups can be produced at the same time.
Another good reason to take two cameras is that if one of them breaks, you will have always have a back up one. Same goes for memory cards, batteries and flashes. Extra care must also be taken with the files afterwards. Make sure you do a safe backup of the images immediately after upload. There are no excuses for a mistakenly formatted memory card and drive.
Whenever you can, visit the location beforehand to check the lighting. Plan according to daylight, night, indoors and outdoors. Not only exposure settings will change as you move from one ambiance to another, but other settings like for instance the White Balance need to be changed too. If you are familiar, shoot in RAW, as this will enable you to change settings like colour temperature afterwards.
One of the greatest joys of being a photographer in a place like London is that weddings of many different cultures take place here. From the traditional English best man speeches to the explosion of colours of an Indian party, the main things you are trying to capture are happiness and obviously, love.
Keep a special eye on the bride all the time as she is the star of the show. Don’t miss the bouquet toss, and when you are free between the important shots, look for details in the decoration, and make sure you get some general, wide angle shots, that give a sense of place.
Be ready to capture candid and unposed moments in a reportage style, not forgetting the classic shots with family, bridesmaids and guests. Research in advance for particular details about the ceremony and any surprises you must be ready for. Knowing beforehand that the best man organised a flash mob dance or a Brazilian samba dancer is going to come out of the cake will help you to be prepared for it all.
Technical tips: Keep an ISO of 400 or above to be able to use fast shutter speeds. Indoors, don’t be afraid to use a flash and when possible, a remote wired multiple flash system. Wide apertures (small f/number) are great for details and portrait shots when you want shallow depth of field, but when shooting large groups of people, close the aperture to ensure everyone is in focus. Check your images often to see if settings are working fine and, if you are also a guest, make sure you enjoy the party and celebrate as well.
Upload your WEDDING images to the Flickr Gallery: ASSIGNMENT #29 for a chance to win an Evening Workshop Voucher at LSP*. Deadline: 31 August 2014.