Photographing a wedding is certainly not easy but with today’s cameras a lot of the work is done for you.

the first priority is proper exposure.  This can be accomplished by flash or natural light.

  • Natural Light:  This is easiest but you may not be able to get the best images.  Indoor shots need good lighting and you need a camera with a large lens. 
  • Flash:  Built in flashes are not likely to be sufficient beyond 10 feet.  To close and their harsh to far and they fail to lighten image.  A 100.00 flash can usually be found that suffices like the Vivitar 289 .  These have a manual foot adjustment and can go 35 feet.  They are often used with   a diffuser or umbrella on closer work to give a more even exposure.   You still cannot take pictures in the dark so make sure their is good lighting. 

The next problem is what photos to take.  I followed a pro and this is the photo list.

  1. Back ground shots- Church, Signs, Cross, Guest book,  Also get guests being greeted, Singer, Organist.( Pose)
  2. The bride getting ready and with bridesmaids, With Moms/Parents. (Pose)
  3. Bride & Bridesmaid posed shots (pose)
  4. Groom with Groomsmen and Mom/Dad.( Pose)
  5. wedding (spontaneous/Pose)
  6. Wedding Group shots (pose)
  7. Limo exit (Pose)
  8. Reception Back ground shots, Decorations, Cake, MC.  (arrange)
  9. Entrance of bride and groom and bridal party (spontaneous)
  10. Toasts (spontaneous)
  11. Cake Cutting  (pose)
  12. Bridal Bouquet and Garter Toss (Spontaneous)
  13. Table groups get individuals if possible. (pose)
  14. Dancing (spontaneous)
  15. Bride and Groom leaving  (spontaneous)

You can see from the high degree of posed shots that it takes a lot of directing on your part.  So lets discuss each of the Posed shots.

  1.  First item the bride getting ready.   Take these in the getting ready room.  Have brides maids around bride fussing on hair – Shoes-Vail… all eyes towards bride, with dress widened at base.  Bride should be turned towards you rather then straight on.  Try a few variations.  You should get at least one group “were all helping” shot.  A mirror picture is also a favorite use a large Mirror getting both 1/4  image and 3/4 reflection with mom behind or group behind both working on her and a ” were so proud look”.
  2. When done you can get Bridesmaids group shot.  If its nice outside choose an area with lake or trees in background.  The  sunset glow is nice if you can catch it.  Good group shots have perspective so don’t do shots straight on but rather 30 degrees off with faces pivoted towards you it gives a better body shape and a  perspective that looks more natural.  This is why going up one side of alter and down the other look so good it gives perspective.  The Brides dress draping down steps is also perspective based.  Put people on walking bridges or near Beach or Trees.  Bride turn silowet  looking down with flowers in her hands into sunset is a beautiful pose. Don’t forget close ups. 
  3. Groomsmen shots are around groom in loose group.  Have some one tap him in the stomach to get some natural smiles.  or say do something funny to get these boys to loosen up.
  4.  Wedding shots. Be at end of seats by alter on right.  you can incorporate a pause place for people walking.  They  walk to here stop for 3 seconds continue it gives a sort of rhythm to interring if not agreed to then just catch as they get to a certain point don’t direct though they are shot while your at end of walkway kneeling stay there through entire procession be unabtusive.  Make sure you get dad giving away bride Stand up for lifting the veil shot .  as they go on stage take some shots make sure you get rings and kiss.  After the ” I now present Mr and Mrs …” shot each bridesmaid and groomsman meet at center turn to audience wait for flash continue down (this is prearranged but gives you and the audience a nice view of the bridal party sets).
  5. The group shots of wedding get the up down alter shot I mentioned and full group and any couple shots.  put one side of family in shot then a Mom and Dad and Pair and and then full group and then the other side of family.  About 30 minutes so shoot fast.
  6. Exit to Limo get a carrying bride shot perhaps a Jump into his arms shot if he is up to it.  Couple thru limo doorway or window say cheek to cheek.
  7. The next posed shots are the cake cutting.  You direct the cake cutting no one else.  t is announced please move towards the cake for the cake cutting then you take over.  You have each hold cutter get hands close up from side.  say hands on knife… prepare to cut… Cut cake…now wait for me to get in front…You then go in front and say OK  feed her…now feed him.  Or just “OK go” and let them feed each other.
  8. The table groups are an easy group shots get full table then as couples while their sitting.  Bend down and get at eye level for couple or individual shots. 

Post processing:  Hopefully you get a good mix of close ups (waist up with some space above heads)  and floor length shots (to get full dress + some blank area above and below) don’t get two wide an angle though because  even with cropping you will loose too much detail.  Now crop to get best image.  Edit to slightly above elbow for close ups.  Brighten or change exposure using presets but dont change original save as image name + an a or b to save original.  When finished I give the best shots to couple but hold back bad shots it presents me in a better light.  Special edits creating double image or black and white are fun if you have the time. 

Giving Images:  Mail a DVD with edited images and email a link to snapfish for everyone else.   Snapfish was the #1 rated low cost  printing service and they are an offshoot of hp.  So don’t worry they are a good choice.  They have the same slide show as flicker but I think its much more personal ( for best slide show have images in numerical order so it tells the story).  Individuals can order a few dollars of prints theyre own dvd or a more expensive beautiful album or photo book, so be sure to get everyone’s email who would like pictures and then email the snapfish link. 

This process needs some equiptment I recomend below.

  • Good digital SLR with larger lens for better exposures.
  • Flash with difuser.
  • Editing software .
  • Large memory card. To avoid accidental deletion don’t try to empty to computer until your home and have the time to do it right and then copy to two computers and leave on flash card untill done editing as a 3rd back up. 
  • Snapfish account.

Experience wise Practice and check exposures know how to take portraits and pose people.

In all honesty they chose you and as long as you don’t loose the memory card or delete by accident they will probably be happy  especially if you take enough photos  to seperate out just the best..  So don’t panic  just be careful.