Wedding photographers are a stressed-out lot, to begin with. Bad planning can aggravate a situation further. As a budding wedding photographer, the last thing you want is to arrive at a venue and find that you didn’t pick the essential tools. I will discuss the essential tools some other time. In this article, I shall focus on a few aspects of the planning process.
As a wedding photographer, planning is an essential aspect of your profession. Things like where the wedding will take place, availability of ambient light at the venue, whether you can use strobes and light stands, and other details, can influence your decisions.
Know what is expected of you
Not every wedding couple would have the same aspirations. Some might have seen the natural light engagement shots you did at another wedding and wanted you to replicate the same. Some couples might wish you to use your creative imagination. Others might only want a reliable and professional wedding photographer. But one thing everybody would have in common: they want their wedding photographer to make them look good.
In any case, you should know your priorities. These would include a list of the images that the couple has personally requested to be made. It would also include the customary photos that are part and parcel of any wedding, such as getting ready, the vows, the bride and the bridesmaids, the groom and the groomsmen, the walk up to the altar, the kiss, and the first dance.
Know what to pack and check before leaving
Most wedding photographers would have a bag ready all the time. That bag would contain the main camera body. A backup body. The primary lens, a backup lens, two or three other lenses, speedlights – several of them, at least two to three batteries for the main and the backup body and batteries for the speedlights, all freshly charged. It would also have many freshly formatted memory cards, CTO gels, white balance cards, lens hoods, PocketWizards, and other contraptions.
Over several years of using the bag, a “photog” would know the inside of it like the back of his hand. S/he knows what goes where. If s/he forgets to put something back, an empty slot will tell them what is missing. Before leaving for a wedding, you must confirm that the batteries are charged, the memory cards are formatted, and the camera bodies and lenses are right where they were supposed to be.
Try whacky ideas
As soon as you are done taking the obligatory shots, the ones from the list that you and the wedding couple agreed to beforehand, start looking for ideas. Don’t be afraid to try even the wackiest of ideas if that’s what will give you out-of-the-ordinary photos. Backlighting is one such technique that wedding photographers least use. Backlighting, when done tastefully, can produce stunning images that can blow over expectations. Almost invariably, you are shooting the couple as silhouettes. However, the photos can be incredibly great if the environment is right.
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