What are the keys to being a successful wedding photographer? This is a question you see a lot on blogs and on social media. The answer my friends is no big secret, it’s fundamentals 101. When I shoot a wedding, nothing is left to chance. Recently I had a casual theme wedding in Leesburg, located in Lake County Florida and I wanted to share some of my methods that made it a very successful shoot.
#1 – Pre Consultation: As part of my pre event consultation with my clients, we discuss their needs and wants. You need to determine what success look like to them.
#2 – The Shot List: The one element that is a must have, no if, ands or buts is the shot list. We review examples of what shots they want and we all agree on the shot list. This gives you a road map to success. It also helps you to plan your day and know where you need to be and when.
#3 – Wedding Rehearsal: Now it is a great idea as the photographer to attend the wedding rehearsal or pre walk through. Unfortunately not every wedding has a rehearsal, for example many of the casual weddings or people who are getting married and it’s not their first time. In these cases you don’t have a chance to visualize your shots in real conditions. This is where you have to be thinking 3 shots ahead during the ceremony.
#4 – Know your equipment: The one area I see new photographers make their biggest mistake is in their equipment knowledge. When you are under pressure and thinking on your feet, where one second means either capturing the moment or blowing the whole wedding, your actions and adjustments with your equipment should be reflexive. If you have to think about the adjustment, you just missed the moment.
#5 – Experience: There is no better school for photography than experience. You learn from doing and being put in situations that test your skill and critical thinking ability. I will also save you the suspense, you are not perfect, you will make mistakes and that is ok, learn from them. Also, there is no harm in being a second or third shooter for a wedding. That, after all is where most wedding shooters get their start.
Finally, remember that shooting a wedding is unlike most of the projects you ever do. You only get one chance to get it right. You can’t just call time out and ask for a do over. This is the most special day of your clients life, treat it and them with the respect and urgency they deserve. If you do that, you should be ok.
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