Photography Tips

Wedding Photography Tips for Beginners

9th July 2019

Gorgeous dresses, beautiful locations, stunning floral displays and reuniting with old friends and family…we all love a good wedding and there are few occasions that deserve to be photographed as much as a wedding does. It’s so important that the couple’s big day is captured on camera so the wonderful memories can be enjoyed for years to come. Whether you’re simply going as a guest or you’re an aspiring professional, our wedding photography tips will help you achieve some amazing photographs.

In addition to providing you with hints, tips and inspiration for photography of the bride and groom, we’ve also collated some information about the best camera and lens for wedding photography too.

wedding photo in front of Eiffel Tower

The Best Camera for Wedding Photography

First, it’s important to note that there isn’t a one-camera-suits-all option when it comes to wedding photography, but some will naturally have features that will benefit you in different ways. According to Shotkit, a Sony a7 III is their best pick for wedding photography due to its “incredible high ISO performance, 5-axis in-body image stabilization, long-lasting battery, 4K2 video and touch/tilting LCD screen.” If you’re looking for other options, Shotkit also recommends the Nikon D850 and the Nikon D750 as good cameras for wedding photography too.

The Best Lens for Wedding Photography

We could create a whole new post that discusses the lenses that are needed for wedding photography, but instead, we’ll give you an overview.

SLR Lounge recommends the Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS III USM Lens as it ‘allows you to get in close to the action without disrupting the moment.” For something to use as the light starts to escape you, they also recommend the Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.8G Lens – the 50mm focal length is great for portraits too.

A 16-35mm lens is the top pick for huge venues and scenery, so if your venue is on the larger scale, try the Sony FE 16-35mm f/2.8 GM Lens.

Remember to choose the lens that suits your needs and don’t be afraid to switch during the big day. After all, there isn’t one perfect lens for wedding photography!

candid photo of bride taken from the side

Wedding Photography Tips for Brides

When you’re photographing a wedding, there’s so much more of a story to tell than when the couple says, “I do”. You should try to capture the story of the whole day on camera and, for the bride, that story begins early in the morning as the bridal party gets ready together.

Take Detail Shots to Set the Tone

Staffordshire-based professional wedding photographer Andrew Billington says that bridal photography begins with setting the scene by capturing shots of the dress, accessories, mementoes or any other small items that add to the story you’re telling. Andrew advises you to “…get texture shots that are expected but also make a nice start to the story. Shoot the dress, the shoes, jewelry, flowers, personal good luck cards/tokens, anything special or personal to the day that is around.” This type of shot is fantastic for adding flair and breaking up the “action” shots of the bride or other members of the bridal party getting ready. They also serve as a great introduction to your Wedding Photo Book and begins to tell the story of the day ahead.

detail photograph of the bridal parties' legs and shoes

The Bride and Her Dress

Arguably, finding the perfect dress is one of the biggest stresses for a bride when planning a wedding. The chances are that they will want a beautiful photo of them getting into it on the big day by someone who is important to them – be it their mother, sister or best friend.

up close photo of the bride having her dress fastened by a bridesmaid

Top tip – before the bride puts on her dress, remember to take a photograph of it hanging up (and make sure its on a pretty hanger too!)

Another top tip when shooting the bride and her dress is to consider your angles. If their dress has a long train, portrait photos will showcase the whole dress. However, if it has a lot of detail in the neckline, sleeves or waistline, landscape angles allow you to hone into the details that a portrait angle may miss. Playing around with different angles also provides the wedding party with different options for their own composition, whether that’s in their CEWE PHOTOBOOK or creating canvases of their favourite photos to place on the wall.

detail shot of bride holding her bejeweled shoes, taken from above

Wedding Photography Tips for The Groom

“The most important thing at a wedding is to photograph the bride. The second most important thing is not to forget the groom.” – Alix Reuters

detail shot of the groom's lapel

Although the brides’ dress and bridesmaids naturally create lots of photo opportunities, the groom can’t be forgotten either! As he prepares to walk down the aisle, create his own flat-lay image by lining up the groom’s important items such as his tie, watch, cufflinks and wedding ring. A personal photograph like this will remind him of the excitement he felt whilst getting ready too.

Just like the bridesmaids – get the groomsmen involved. SLR Lounge says that group portraits can create “some of the most fun and interesting images from the day. These portraits give the groom and his groomsmen an opportunity to play a variety of roles, from GQ editorial models to comedic goofballs.” Throughout all the fun and games, remember to “make the groom the star of the show, whether through lighting, posing, framing, or other means. All too often, grooms get lost in the mix within large group portraits.

groomsmen toasting with beer bottles, shot from below

If the groomsmen are struggling to warm up to the camera (or are starting to feel the nerves!) distract the group by opening some bubbly or playing some music. You can also try to position them into a good shot but bear in mind that candid photos usually have the best results. Try to appear hidden and they’ll come out of their shell as the anticipation builds.

Wedding Ceremony Photography Tips

Now everyone is in their place and ready to start the proceedings, its time for you to capture the real-time action. After all, this is the point of the whole day and is probably the part that will go the quickest. The key to a successful wedding ceremony shoot is to be natural, personal and spontaneous. Although you’ll need to capture all the ‘must have’ shots such as the ring placement, vows, first kiss and walking down the aisle, you’ll have time to be creative and get those one of a kind photographs.

Chris & Allie also suggest getting to know the key players before the ceremony starts such as parents, siblings and best friends and that you should “make a good attempt to capture each of these people during the ceremony. These folks are the most likely to show emotion and get you those golden-ticket shots.” These are the photos that your bride and groom will treasure for years to come and keeping it that personal is probably one of the best wedding photography tips we could give you!

close up of the brides arms, wearing corsage and applauding

Wedding Photography Tips and Beyond

Wedding photography is a whole skill set that ventures way further than this blog can cover and may take years to perfect. However, we hope that our wedding photography tips for brides and grooms will give you the confidence to pick up your camera and give it your best shot (literally!)

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