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TIPS! For a Wedding Photographer! Guide no1

New to the Industry? About to shoot your first Wedding?

Even experienced Photographers may find this blog useful. Top tips and what I wish I knew when starting Wedding Photography.

We have all been there. Your first wedding is coming around the corner so fast you don't know what to do, how the day will run, what you need and what if its goes wrong!! This Guide will hopefully ease some of the stress you may be feeling before shooting the big day. You may also find some information helpful if you are an pro photographer with tips and tricks!!

Everyone has different experiences to every other photography. Here you will find information what works best for me what I take to a wedding, what I look out for when at a wedding and my preferred way of shooting a Wedding. Take what information you need and then make it your own, your style, your way......

Pre Wedding....Do your research!!

Get to know your couple!!

When at your consultation get to know your clients!! Ask them how they met, their favourite things to do and have a general long chit chat. Make a professional relationship with them and make them comfortable being around you!! This will show massively in the photos you take. The more information you know about them the better. During the photo sessions bring up what you know about them and use it to your advantage to get natural emotions and laughter.

Get to know the venue!!

If you have not been to the venue before then get off your computer or phone and go and see it. If your concerned about when, just email or phone the venue and ask when a time would be available to walk around. Explain who you are and why you want to do it. This also gets you talking to the venue staff and management building professional relationships with suppliers.


Most importantly you need to know what lighting you will have on the day. If you want to take your camera and have a look at your settings when indoors and have a little pre shoot with a friend or partner. This will give you a head start and a little courage when going to the venue. Second know your way around. During the day you will be running around everywhere! Bridal suite to ceremony room to reception back to the suit, then to the groom back to the suit and more!! know your way around saves time and will hopefully make your day run easier! Check out the beauty spots!! By beauty spots I mean where you want to take photos. Where the Groups shots will be. and where you will take the couple off for their portraits!

Here is an image of my wife Liz when I went to check out #Crewehall for the Orbell Wedding. Below is also the image I shot at their wedding

If you can't get to the venue then look at their website and google images of their venue. Even Instagram their venue using Tags. You may find some shots that other photographers have done. Its not copying its inspiration!!

What to take on the day?

Firstly I would advise if you can to take 2 of everything and if it takes batteries or cards then take double the amount of that.


  • Camera x2 - Preferred Dual SD Card Slots back up your images on both! You can never have enough cards to be on the safe side. Plus spare batteries! 4 in total minimum.

  • Lens x2 - Long Focal range and a Mid range minimum. I use a 18-35 1.8 sigma and Nikon 85mm.

If you have the cash I'd recommend a good 24-70 and 70-200 as basic lenses.

  • Flashes x2 - Again a minimum for both cameras. Include spare batteries for both rechargeable if you can I recommend the Panasonic eneloop. Preferred High speed sync flashes (HSS) Usually better quality and will allow to shoot at a higher shutter.

  • Water! - I should have put this at the top of the list. chances are the venue will give you free water or even soft drinks. Make sure you stay hydrated throughout the day. Nothing worse trying to shoot through your viewfinder with a banging headache.

  • Comfy shoes! - Again this should be near the top of the list! shooting a wedding is a long day. sometimes over 12 hours on your feet! I did my first 2 weddings with cheap shoes and it killed me!

As mentioned above I own a Sigma 18-35 1.8 Art lens. For those don't know what this is. It is a Lens for crop sensor cameras only. You may have been told that "Pro" Photographers only use Full Frame. I Love to argue this as I use a Crop Sensor on my D7200 with the Sigma lens and this is my main camera. Despite also having a D750 Full Frame with my 85mm. Both of these next two images are taken with a Crop Sensor camera!!

So what else do you take?

Cleaning equipment for your lenses and camera, Flash modifiers, I also take a box in my car with wooden hangers, Umbrellas, reflectors and other little bits.


Here is my favourite tool that isn't essential but I Would hate to go without it. I light my couples for evening portraits and all my detail shots with my light stick. This is the one is use. YN360ii

Here are some images lit with the light stick

Camera setting


Manual mode..... Whats that? Just kidding!! Again another statement that people make saying if you don't shoot manual then your not a photographer... Really?

For me people who still shoot 100% manual for a wedding are playing with fire. Lighting situations can change at a blink of an eye. To change all of your settings that fast to catch raw emotion as it happens is nearly impossible. Ill let you in on a little secret ...........

Use your User presets and Aperture priority!!

You may have to you tube how to do this with your camera but in a nutshell..

For good lighting situations;

  • Go into Aperture priority

  • Set Auto ISO

  • Set your minimum shutter speed

  • Set your maximum ISO

  • Set your Aperture to what ever you feel comfortable with I have it at 2.0.

Save it as a user preset on your camera!

For low light situations / on camera flash with speed light

  • Set manual mode

  • Set your Aperture to what ever you feel comfortable with I have it at 2.0.

  • Set shutter at appropriate speed for flash I use 1/125 depending on focal range of your lens.

  • Set ISO to what you are comfortable shooting with minimal grain. I have it set at 640ISO

  • Set your Flash to TTL (Auto)

Save it as second user preset!

Now you have a Flash and no Flash user setting saved you will never miss a shot. This is kind of auto mode but you have set what you want your camera to do and what it should prioritise depending on your style!

Some situations may call for you to go manual. If it does then go into manual there is harm in doing so. I shoot in user presets 90% of the time at a wedding.

Ensure your do this with both of your cameras.

One final tip with camera setting is under expose your images. My exposure compensation is set to -0.3 again if you are new to your camera you may need to you tube this. Under exposing will allow you to save your highlights. Although you should be shooting in RAW and have a lot of flexibility when editing. If you highlights are blown there is no going back. Always shoot slightly under exposed.

That was a lot of information.......Picture break !!

Its ME!!!

Shoot, Shoot and Shoot!

Really shoot as much as you can and as many as you can. There is nothing worse when in the moment you think you have nailed a shot. Get back home and you have missed focus, blurry or someone had their eye shut!!

Even with the Details I shoot each shot twice (minimum) when you have people in the shot the more your have the more you want to take. It only takes 1 person to blink or look in another direction to ruin a perfect image.

Running of the day!

Get there early!

I like to get there around 1 hour earlier than what I told the couple. It shows your are there and ready to get things rolling. You can walk round and have a chat with management about the running of the day and introduce yourself. Again this is building good relationships. Lastly but the most important you are not rushed and you don't appear rushed to your clients and their family.

I also like to walk in the room where they are getting ready without lugging my camera bag all over the place. Walk in nice and calm have a chat see how everyone is getting on. Build relationships up with the people in the room. After 15 minutes or so. Go get your stuff and ask your bride to get anything she wants pictures taking of. Eg Flowers, jewellery, Perfume, invites ect....

Lets get into a quick fire round!

  1. Before you start shooting ask the bride politely to move if it will give your shots a better background and lighting.

  2. Don't take pictures of people when they have half their makeup done. unless its a really good picture.

  3. Don't be afraid to ask and move items in the room to make a better image.

  4. Be alert at all times anything could happen. If you get to the point that there is nothing else to photograph and you are waiting for the father to arrive for example keep that camera glued to your face so you don't miss an unexpected moment.

  5. Use natural light if possible. If not accent the natural light in the room. By this I mean if your Natural light is coming from the left of the frame turn your On camera flash towards that light. Allowing it to bounce off a wall onto your subject.

For now that is all. To much information can get lost and important things are forgotten. keep an eye out for my next guide where I will be talking you through a normal wedding day. Timings and what to look out for when shooting.


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