Calling the Shots at Weddings – Tips for Amateur Photographers

This article is contributed by Sarah Scrafford, who regularly writes on the topic of Photojournalism programs. She invites your questions, comments and freelancing job inquiries at her email address: [email protected]

Endless love
photo credit: millzero.com

Getting married is one of the most significant events in our lives, and we’re all looking to cement memories of that special day for posterity through videos and photographs. This makes wedding pictures exceptional, as the occasion does not repeat itself for most of us. While professional photographers are likely to do a great job of capturing the event, there are times when the bride and groom prefer a close friend or relative to step up to the occasion. If you’ve been designated as the photographer for the day because you own a pretty good camera and are known for your amateur photography skills, here’s how you can make sure you do a pretty decent job that earns you more than a pat on the back:

The Modern Bride
photo credit: Extra Medium
  • Make sure your equipment’s up to scratch
    You cannot afford to be caught unaware with a camera that refuses to bow to your wishes while the ceremony’s taking place. Make sure your gear is in working condition and that you have an equally good backup camera. Besides this, you’ll need memory cards, batteries and chargers (I’m assuming you’re going digital) to back you up in your efforts. You’ll need between 8 and 10 megapixels in strength on a digital SLR camera in order to get the best pictures. If possible, find yourself an assistant who can help with your equipment and also take a few candid shots while you handle the more formal ones.
  • Case out the location before the actual day
    You need to be familiar with the location well before the actual event so that you can decide on the vantage positions from where you can get the best shots. Besides this, if you’re supposed to get pictures of the bride and groom and their parties on the way to the venue of the wedding and the reception, you need to know where you can position yourself along the way so that you can get some good shots.
  • Talk to the bride and groom to discuss the kind of pictures they want
    Some couples prefer a minimum amount of pictures while others want to go the whole hog and get everything that’s happening on camera. Discuss the needs of the bride and groom and make plans accordingly.
  • Italian Family Wedding 1927 NYC
    photo credit: Whiskeygonebad

    Make sure you get all the formal shots needed
    You don’t want to be the one responsible for the displeasure of disgruntled relatives who find they’ve been left out of the photo album. So make sure you get everyone who counts on camera. To ensure that you don’t mess up, get someone from the groom’s side and someone from the bride’s side to help you out with the arrangement and preparation for the shots.

  • Be ready and prepared
    There are no chances for action replays or reshoots at weddings, so make sure you’re prepared with a fast camera and faster fingers. Also, don’t delete any pictures from your digital cache until you’re sure you don’t want to print them as part of the final album.

Make sure your efforts make the day even more memorable, no matter how many years go by.

Kelley & Elkins TTD - Explored!!!  Yippie!
photo credit: kel niemann

This article is contributed by Sarah Scrafford, who regularly writes on the topic of Photojournalism programs. She invites your questions, comments and freelancing job inquiries at her email address: sarah.scrafford[email protected]