You’re nervous. You are doubting your decision to accept the job. You know deep down inside that you are ready for this but still you wonder if you can do it justice. These are typical responses a wedding photographer who has just started out feels when they book their first job. Even the second and third job can have an inexperienced wedding photographer afraid of messing up. So how can you be assured of doing a good job? Provided you have the necessary equipment and know how to use it effectively, then learning from those who have been where you are right now is the next step. The following are the common mistakes beginner wedding photographers should avoid making.
1. Lack of Preparation – Unless it is last minute there is usually a period of time between being booked to shoot the photographs of a wedding and the actual day, so failing to prepare is not a valid reason for doing a less than stellar job. If this is your very first wedding shoot you should read as many blogs written by experienced wedding photographers as you can so you can be as knowledgeable as possible about what is expected of you. At the very least you should do the following:
- Meet with your client(s) to discuss their expectations and make suggestions
- Scout out the location of the pre-wedding preparations, the ceremony and the reception to assess lighting and backdrops. Visit these locations around the same time of day as you will be there on the wedding day so you can know beforehand where the sun will be.
- Make sure you have not only all the equipment you could need but also make sure it is all in good working order and even more importantly, make sure you have a backup camera in case your first one fails!
- Hire an assistant to help you with carrying of gear, holding the diffuser and other helpful duties. Make sure they know what is expected of them. Unless your kid sister has prior experience, hire someone who does!
- Create a schedule so that you know down to the minute how much time you have at each location. You need to be confident that you can get all the shots required within the time allowed.
2. Trying to Do it Alone – Weddings are usually run on a tight schedule with time allocated to the taking of photographs. At your first few wedding shoots you may feel like you are constantly on the go with no time to take a breather. Trying to do everything yourself is something you should avoid. At the very least you need someone to carry your extra gear and hand items to you as required. Better still, hire someone who has experience as a photographer’s assistant and knows what is expected of them.
3. Losing Your Cool – It can be very easy to feel under intense pressure to get as many shots as you can within the allocated time frame, and when guests are not co-operating you may feel ready to scream at them. You must remain calm and professional at all times while firm enough with guests to get them to move into the positions you want them in for group photos. If you have little to no experience with children be aware that they are likely to be the most difficult of all but that it isn’t out of a desire to be naughty but more out of boredom. You are in control and you need to convey confidence at all times even if you aren’t feeling it.
4. Sloppy Group Photos – Yes, it can be trying to get people to co-operate with you when attempting to get a group shot, but if you don’t get them in the right positions the photo could be a total washout. Typical group wedding photos have the bride and groom in the center with everyone else on either side. Taller people should be placed at the back of the couple and children and shorter people in the front. At your first few engagements you may find yourself needing to ask guests to move to new positions until you have the balance right, and this can add to their annoyance so try to get the grouping the way you want it the first time.
5. Bad Exposure – The bride is the center of attention at any wedding, with the dress being the highlight. What non-photographers don’t realize is that it can be extremely difficult to get good photographs of a white wedding dress, and that often comes down to bad exposure. It can either appear to be just a blob of white with no detail or it can come out looking gray and dirty. Neither option will be acceptable to the bride so practice taking photographs of white dresses, but be aware that not all fabrics will photograph the same.
Watch the video below and find out a few more mistakes.