7 Tips For Better Wedding Photos
Professional wedding photography requires some serious training. Here are some free tips so you can take better wedding photos.
In this article we don't intend to turn you into a professional McKinney wedding photographer. Rather, we assume you may be a guest at some wedding soon, you want to bring your camera along, and you hope to capture a few great photos of the Bride and Groom and your friends and family.
Wedding Photography Tip One:
Stay out of the way of the professional photographer.
For example, if the photographer is taking posed portraits of the bride, the groom, or their family members, don't try to also take a photo of each pose the photographer sets up. He or she is doing a job. You and your camera will certainly be in the way, even if you try to be unobtrusive. What's more, the pro wants to sell a print of each pose to the couple. Chances are, with the equipment that he or she is using, the results will be great, and the couple will still buy a photo from the pro even though you take the same shot. But, if you offer the same shot free to the couple – based on the pose and lighting the pro set up – the wedding photographer may lose a sale. This isn't fair. It's his pose. It's his lighting. It should be his print!
In addition, if you're taking pictures off to one side of the pro, you'll distract some members of the wedding party and slow down the whole process.
So don't interfere with the wedding photographer's posed pictures. Don't worry, you'll have lots and lots of other opportunities!
Wedding Photography Tip Two:
If you want to take pictures in the church, sit in an aisle seat. Chances are you won't take many pictures before the ceremony – after all, you're a guest (or perhaps a member of the wedding party). So you'll be plenty busy before the ceremony socializing, and then taking your seat and waiting for the ceremony to get underway. Let's assume, however, that you have your camera with you and you want to take some pictures during the ceremony.
But don't start firing away until you know what's permitted and what's not permitted in that particular house of worship. Understand, some ministers, priests, and rabbis don't care a hoot about cameras and flashes. They expect the pro and the guests to blaze away during the ceremony. However, others permit pictures, but not flash.
How to know? Our advice is to watch the professional wedding photographer. We will know the Rules of the Wedding Facility. If we are moving freely about the church and using a flash on camera, then chances are you can take some flash-pictures too. If he takes pictures, but doesn't use flash, you can probably do the same. If other guests start to take pictures as the bride goes down the aisle, and the minister doesn't say something at the start of the ceremony, then you may as well join in.
Assuming it's OK to take pictures, then, our tip is that you seat yourself along the center aisle.
Wedding Photography Tip Three:
But you definitely want to capture them coming up the aisle after the ceremony. You'll get their happy expressions. You'll have the altar as your background. And the Happy Couple will undoubtedly look less nervous and more radiant.
Wedding Photography Tip Four:
Many of the best pictures taken at weddings are portraits. In today's fast-paced society, there are only a few events that cause families to gather together – mainly, weddings. Our weddings are joyous occasions, and offer you lots of opportunities to take pictures of family and friends.
People make the wedding and the party that follows. And when it comes to "people pictures" you've got great opportunities. We said earlier that you'll be able to take great photos at the event that the pro won't. Among these opportunities are portraits of friends and family. After all, you know them, you know who's near-and-dear to you – and the pro doesn't. So here's your chance to shine. They're all dressed up and having a good time, and you have nearly unlimited photo opportunities.
Most of these opportunities occur at the reception after the wedding. When you want to shoot a person or a small group, give them a moment to get composed.
If you're photographing a group at a table (more on this in a moment), wait till they finish chewing, take the glasses and cutlery out of their hands, watch out for clutter in the foreground, and use your flash.
Whenever you photograph two or more people together, try to show a relationship between them. Get them close together. If you're taking a picture of a parent and child, have one put an arm around the other. Have family members show affection for each other.
Whenever you take a portrait of a person or group, get up close and fill the frame with your subjects.
Wedding Photography Tip Five:
Set up "table shots" the way the pros do. Professional "table shots" – the shots of each table of guests seated at the reception meal – are rarely purchased by the Happy Couple.
Here's another opportunity for you and your camera. Chances are you know some or all of the people with whom you're seated. So why not take a picture of them? Here's how to handle it like a pro: Ask about half of the guests seated at the table to leave their seats and stand behind the other half of the guests. In other words, clear one side of the table and have the people from that side stand behind the people on other side, who remain seated. If you've got some elderly guests at the table, let them stay seated and move the younger ones in behind them.
By moving half the people out of their seats, you'll be able to fill your horizontal frame with two rows of people. But be careful here. Avoid showing the entire table in the foreground – it's probably a mess! Instead, concentrate on filling the frame of your photo with people, and eliminate the clutter on the table by not showing the tablecloth, dirty dishes, smudged napkins, etc.
Wedding Photography Tip Six.
It has become common place to put a cardboard disposable camera, usually the type that includes a built-in flash unit, on each table at the reception with the idea that the guests at that table will use it at their table, and the bride and groom will develop the film and have the spontaneous photos that are created to enjoy and possibly augment their wedding album.
The problem is that at many weddings no one gets the ball rolling. Or the guest who does take up the camera doesn't know how to take good pictures with it. Since you know what to do, we suggest you take command. Show the other people at your table who express any interest how to charge the flash, how to advance the film, take a few pictures yourself, and then pass the camera to someone else.
Encourage the other users to get close and fill the frame with the subject. Warn them, however, that the cardboard cameras probably can't focus closer than four feet and that the flash is only good out to about twelve feet. So alert them to stay in that range when they use the camera. You'll be doing the bride and groom a real service and they'll be grateful, even if they never know the effort you made.
Wedding Photography Tip Seven:
While you may want to capture those "scripted" moments like the wedding toasts, the cake cutting, and the bouquet-tossing, you may be better off turning away from the action and capturing "reaction" shots of the faces of guests.
A wedding reception is a party. There's lots of food and music and dancing. But most of the action is hard to photograph, so we have suggested you concentrate on portraits. What about those "scripted" moments like the Best Man's toast, or the cake cutting, or the bride's bouquet toss?
At these moments, you have two choices: You can, if you like, try to capture them with your camera. But your pictures are likely to be duplicates of what the pro captures. A better idea might be to concentrate on the faces of family members and friends during these important moments. Aim to capture "reaction shots," that is, candid portrait photos of people feeling strong emotion as they watch their loved ones at this important moment. Here's a perfect opportunity for you to capture some great shots!
If you follow these seven Tips, you'll get great results at the weddings you attend. If you're planning on using a digital camera, don't miss our article on Using a Digital Camera at a Wedding. So bring along your camera...and enjoy.
Contact us at 972-822-3587 to schedule your McKinney wedding photography.