How to be a Wedding Photographer


Wedding photography is a tricky endeavor.  Get it right and you can have a profitable business, get it wrong and you could be sued by the bride.  Consequently wedding photographers need to take several precautions to make sure the mission is accomplished. 

Note: I will post  images of Rob and Steph’s wedding next weekend

Here is my step by step guide: 

1. You can only promise 80% without an assistant.  That’s right you are not perfect nor a miracle worker and inevitably something may not turn out.  From my experience, photographic assistants are not just used to assist the main photographer; they are used as insurance and to fill in the blanks of any missed shots.  Weddings carry with them high expectations and only happen once.  Allow yourself a small margin for human error and photograph like crazy to make up for anything that may not turn out. 

2. Photograph the bride and groom before the wedding: this step is vital.  You need to know how these people photograph and what is the best angles/lighting/equipment to use.  Be sure to have a meeting with them and walk through the church and discuss what is wanted for the wedding photos and official portraits.  DO NOT PHOTOGRAPH THE MAIN WEDDING PHOTOS WOTHOUT HAVING A PRIOR AND PRACTICED DISSCUSSION FIRST.  Or else you may improvise disaster.  Moreover, the bride and groom will be much happier in the long run when there is a plan.  

3.  Take photos non-stop.  Yes, it is a wedding and everyone wants to remember every detail.  Take lots of memory, at least 3.5 Gs and photograph everything, the key guests, the family, the atmospheres, the details, the church, the bride’s dress, earrings, shoes, the old ladies dancing, the young kids sitting on the floor, the drunk speeches, the agony, the love.  Yes, they are paying you and they want it all.  Additionally, by photographing everything you are giving your clients what they want: wonderful memories of their wedding.  So get some rest and come wearing a good pair of shoes, you could be going strong for 12 hours or more.     

4. Use your digital SLR, your film SLR, and a tripod.  Yes, I know most weddings are now only shot with Digital SLRs but come on film still has that magic quality.  I always use Kodak Portra film for the family photos, service, and bride.  The organic quality of film is sublime and my clients always appreciate portraits shot on film. 

5.  Always take 30 minutes to have a portrait session with the bride in her dress before she is married.  These are often the most beautiful and sensual shots of the day and are often the ones she will most appreciate.  Use two roles of black and white film to make the most of this precious moment.   

6. Dress like a guest.  As the wedding photographer you are the hired help but are also expected to blend in with the party.  Wear something formal, be classy, and don’t be afraid to mingle with the other guests.   

7. Give it 100% and go that extra mile.  Big or small weddings mean a lot to people and this in not an occasion to slack off.  Try your best, experiment, go with what works, and do what ever you can to create something beautiful during the day and afterwards with Photoshop.  Often, a photographer’s real work happens with digital editing and taking that extra care creates production values that will cement your reputation. 



8 Responses to “How to be a Wedding Photographer”

  1. November 30, 2006 at 5:28 am

    hey there, i am so happy and glad that as I was browsing wordpress I found your site and so happy that someone out there who is passionate about photography,I am really beginner but always wanted to take really good pics and get a good cam…anyway do vist me on my blog and leave some comments..can i add you as well.,..do let me know yeah..take care and god bless.

  2. 3 steven
    November 30, 2006 at 5:29 pm

    really happy to see a good quality photographer share her craft as well as you are doing. Thanks. Love photography and it seems to like me once in a while but isnt that the je n’ sai quoi of photography. Best regards and thanks for giving helpful information

  3. December 1, 2006 at 4:07 am

    Hi Andres,

    Your wedding photos and the fabulous slide show you sent me are fantastic. Thank you very much. Your wife looks beautiful and you are a very lucky man.

    Your weeding photographer is very talented and I liked his portraits. Especially the studio photos that have a very high fashion vibe and the images outside by the highway and under the trees.

    Take care and all the best,


  4. December 1, 2006 at 4:17 am

    Hi prakashdaniel

    Your photos have a modern documentary feel. Keep it up. At its heart my work is a visual diary like yours. To me photography is a shared experience between the subject and photographer. Be it a wedding, conference, birthday, or snapshot the moment was experienced, witnessed, and expressed.

  5. December 2, 2006 at 5:26 am

    Great tips, and great photos, too. I especially agree about the having a plan and an assistant, particularily if the assistant is a reasonbly decent photographer. The extra shots they grab are well-worth the price of a day’s work.

  6. December 5, 2009 at 4:16 pm

    I am always searching online for articles that can help me. Thank you

  7. March 18, 2010 at 3:34 am


    Je trouve vos articles intéressants, je souhaite me perfectionner pour réaliser des reportages de mariages.

    A bientôt. Cordialement vôtre

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