68 ESSENTIAL Wedding Photography Tips

In Portrait by Jim Harmer189 Comments

Groom looking at camera for a wedding photo

It's wedding time!

This is the largest collection of wedding photography tips to ever be assembled on one page of the Internet.  My hands hurt from typing it, but you can help to ease my pain by sharing this on Facebook and Pinterest after you're done gorging yourself on these wedding photography tips.

Thanks to the awesome group of photographers on the Improve Photography Facebook Page who pitched in with tips to help me get to 68.   I've credited each of them in the article.

Wedding Photography Tip #1: Wear comfy shoes
You're going to walk like you wouldn't believe as a wedding photographer on a wedding day.  Sure, the Stilettos might look good at the wedding reception, but you'll be the grumpiest wedding photographer on the planet.

Wedding Photography Tip #2: Take out Uncle Bob early with a sharp elbow to the stomach!
It's funny, but I have seen “Uncle Bob” ruin more wedding photos than you could possibly believe.  What I mean by this is that there will (almost) always be someone in the wedding party who likes to get in the way.  They either tell people how to pose while you're trying to get everyone in the right spot, or they step in front of you to take pictures, etc.  The wedding photographer must be CONFIDENT and take charge.  Simply saying something like “Thanks for your help.  I'm trying to do something a little different here.  Is it all right with you if I go ahead and get the posing set up here?”  It might seem forward, but your couple will be glad to see you moving quickly and getting the photos done correctly.  (Thanks Julie Gallagher)

Wedding Photography Tip #3: Have a frank talk about seeing the bride
Some couples are very serious about the tradition of the groom not seeing the bride before the wedding day.  I like to sit couples down and explain that I really NEED at least an hour just with the couple (nobody else in the wedding party) in order to get a decent album together.  Once they realize that they need to commit to this much time and see they can't fit it in the wedding day plans, they are usually open to doing a shoot the day before the wedding all dressed up.  It gives the bride a chance to try her hair and makeup out, and you'll have unlimited time with the couple to nail the wedding photos.

Two little girls kissing a bride on her wedding day

Don't miss the bride with her siblings–including the little ones!

Wedding Photography Tip #4: Avoid the number one complaint of brides about the photographer
More than any other complaint I hear from brides is that the photographer missed getting a certain photo (such as the bride with her high school roommate, her little sister in the pink dress, etc).  The best way to avoid this is to simply meet with the bride before the wedding and have her create a shoot list.  You can even bring some sample photos (perhaps on an iPad?) to the meeting and have her select a few poses she really wants.  Write down the bride's shot list and mark each one off on wedding day.  I usually end up with about 15 “must have” shots.

By doing it this way, the bride takes ownership over what “must have” shots are taken, so no vital shots are missed.  (Thanks Rozane Fulton)

Wedding Photography Tip #5: Change lenses for changed expressions
If you notice that you aren't getting the bride and groom to relax and interact with each other while you're taking photos, the best thing you can do is to switch to a longer lens (like 200mm) and scoot way back.  The couple will naturally begin to interact with each other and you'll be able to get the shot since you're out of their way.  This is my favorite way to START a wedding shoot of the couple.  By starting far away, they feel like it's just them and they can get used to the camera from a distance.

Wedding Photography Tip #6: Get the names!
When you meet with your bride to get your shoot list, ask for the name and cell phone number of the maid of honor and the best man.  They are usually part of the planning and are important people to be able to call by their first name during the event.

Wedding Photography Tip #7: Guess What!  Wedding dresses are white.
Yep, it's true… and it has been true for over 150 years.  If you want the dress to stay white instead of a dull gray, then you'll probably need to dial in some positive exposure compensation.  The light meter in your camera will see the white dress and think it's bright, but it isn't bright–it's just white!  The camera tends to compensate for this large “bright” spot in the photo and makes the exposure of the dress too dark.  Positive exposure compensation fixes this problem in a jiffy (Thanks Jess Joey)

AWESOME location, isn't it?

Wedding Photography Tip #8:  Rent a second body for wedding insurance
I have personally experienced the horror of a critical equipment failure while shooting a high-dollar event.  It is a sickening feeling to see “ERR:99” on the LCD.  Fortunately, you can rent a second camera body from Borrowlenses.com for next to nothing.  The small price of renting a camera for the wedding is a huge benefit.

Wedding Photography Tip #9: Rent a second body or lens for speed!
Not only is it handy to have two camera bodies for a wedding as insurance against gear failure, but it also enables you to have a different lens on each body.  This way you can very quickly switch from telephoto to standard zoom as the wedding party moves around.  Once you've tried it, you'll never go back to shooting just one body.  Fortunately, you can rent the lens and camera body for cheap.  (Thanks Kati Lewis)

Getting two photographers for a wedding makes a big difference in how the day works out!

Wedding Photography Tip #10: Get a second shooter
Most new wedding photographers skip hiring a “second shooter” to back them up on wedding days.  If you can possibly make it happen financially, it is definitely worth the money to hire another photographer to work with on the wedding day.  The photos will be better, you'll have a second set of gear in case of disaster, and you're extremely unlikely to miss the shot.  (Thanks Gabrielle Walker-Jones)

Wedding Photography Tip #11:  There is an easy (and cheap!) way to hire a second shooter
Email a few local photographers who may be starting out and ask them if they would like to trade services for each other.  You shoot second for them, and they can shoot second for you.

Wedding Photography Tip #12:  Don't run out of juice
Your batteries–not punch.  One battery is unlikely to make it through the day.  Head over to Amazon.com and spend $20 to get another battery for your camera.  If nothing else, it's peace of mind!   (Thanks Gaelene Gangel)

Wedding Photography Tip #13: Don't run out of memory
When shooting a wedding, I like to use a camera with dual card slots (like the Nikon D7000, or many high-end cameras) because it allows me to double up on each photo.   Every photo is recorded to both cards.  This is good insurance, but it also uses a lot of memory cards during a wedding.  I'd never shoot a wedding with fewer than 30 gigs of memory cards in my bag.  I almost never shoot that many shots, but I never want to face the situation where I'm panicking about running out.  (Thanks Robert LeBlanc, who is a regular on the Facebook page)

Wedding Photography Tip #14: Don't miss the bride and her siblings, and the groom and his siblings
This is often one of the most treasured photos from any wedding, so don't miss it! (Thanks Barb Siddiqui)

Wedding Photography Tip#15: Don't try too hard
Just be yourself and be personable.  Most people will like you just fine if you're yourself.  (Thanks Butter Salleh)

Be sure to communicate well with the bride!

Wedding Photography Tip #16: Get out of the way
Wedding couples want a photographer who is personable and cheerful, but the day is about THEM and not you.  Make the photography a fun part of the wedding, but be invisible wherever possible.  This is especially true during the ceremony and during the toast.  Give them some space and throw on a longer lens for these moments.  (Thanks Lisa Parker)

Wedding Photography Tip #17: Don't miss the details!
Take a photo of the bride's ring sitting on the preacher's Bible, a picture of the buttons on the bride's dress, a picture of the cake topper, etc.  The bride has spent months preparing every tiny little detail, and she will appreciate photos of each of those things.  I usually like to take photos of the details while the reception hall is being set up because the lights are turned on and it's easier to get the shot.  (Thanks Kimberly Perry)

Don't miss individual shots of the groom, either!

Wedding Photography Tip #18: Be clear about what is included
You don't want to be in the position as the wedding photographer of needing to fight the client after the fact (or during!) with what they have and have not paid for.  Before the event, clearly communicate to them what services you are prepared to offer for the price they pay.  Do you include digital files?  How many hours of work will you shoot?  Are you going to shoot the reception too?  Is there a travel charge?  What prints are included?  Will you do an album?  Provide answers or face the wrath of bridezilla. (Thanks Gaelene Gangel)

Wedding Photography Tip #19: SLOW DOWN!
I often here new wedding photographers brag about shooting over 2,000 photos during a wedding.  Every shooter has a different style, but I personally don't see good results when I do this.  I usually do my best work when I walk away with fewer shots because it means that I worked methodically and slowly.

Wedding Photography Tip #20: Shoot landscape at the venue before the event
The wedding couple has chosen the venue because they like it.  Show up early to the event and take some nice shots of the venue to include in the wedding album.  Little things can make a big difference.  Also, you can chose to share your photos with the venue owner and you might get some referrals! (Thanks Tom Pickering, who is a regular on the site and frequently comments)

Wedding Photography Tip #21:  If you are taking the photos of the bride and groom on the wedding day, plan on half the time allotted.
Weddings always run late.  Always.  It's as sure as the fact that Uncle Bob will annoy the photographer.  If the bride says they'll have an hour to do a shoot with you, immediately translate that sentence into half an hour.  Your time to work alone with the bride and groom is precious, so you need to be confident that you can get the shot in only 30 minutes with many weddings. (Thanks Meagan Thompson)

Wedding Photography Tip #22: Plan which family will arrive first
Nothing is worse than one photographer trying to conduct two large families for photos.  I like to plan a time for the bride's family to be there, and shoot their photos, then I'll have the groom's family come to shoot everyone together, then I ask the bride's family to leave while I shoot the groom's family.  Works like a charm.  The last thing you want is for people to be standing around waiting on you. (Thanks Michaelle Parsons Mulhollan)

Wedding Photography Tip #23: Have the bride appoint a go-to helper
Have the couple appoint you someone that knows all the ‘key players'  as your go-to person for questions. Especially helpful during the formal family shots since the bride and groom are in all the shots. They can help point out that uncle or go get grandma from the reception (cause she always manages to leave first to get over there LoL). They are also helpful during the reception to ask questions when you don't want to bother the new couple. (Thanks Melinda Lutz Ledsome)

Wedding Photography Tip #24: Sticky tape saves the day
Take sticky tape to turn up the groom's long pants if they are too long and in a puddle round his feet. Turn them up (underneath) and stick down for a better, tailored look.  The tailors at rental tux places always do such a crummy job that the stitching frequently comes out during the day. (Thanks Eleanor Muller)

Wedding Photography Tip #25: Watch for the little, unexpected moments
Always capture the the moments that are unexpected. beyond what is expected. brides love it when you photographed her sharing a special moment with her parents or a special moment with her new husband. (Thanks Ash Gongora)

Two kids dancing at a wedding

Kids dancing at a wedding

Wedding Photography Tip #26: Let the kids be kids and you'll be glad you did
Let the kids be kids! Some of the best shots of weddings I've seen are when kids are doing adorable things rather than being posed. (Thanks Charlotte Walker)

Wedding Photography Tip #27: Think of it as YOUR wedding
Think of it as your own wedding–what would YOU want captured…capture that and more. (Thanks Alexandria Wilcox)

Wedding Photography Tip #28: Bring a white sheet
Photographers often want the bride and groom to stand in flower beds, near water, and in other unexpected places.  Brides don't like to do it because they are worried about their dress getting dirty on the wedding day.  A simple fix is for the photographer to bring a white sheet that the bride can step on to protect the dress.  The sheet is then tucked under the dress and nobody knows!  (Thanks Stacey Knight)

Wedding Photography Tip #29: Stay calm if you want the bride to be calm
Very few things could occur on a wedding day than for the bride to see that the photographer is frazzled and appears not to know what he or she is doing.  It doesn't show much confidence, and you're likely to make everyone feel uncomfortable and unhappy if you don't take charge and get things done.  (Thanks Derek Hill)

Wedding Photography Tip #30: Use the environment around the nuptials to the fullest!
I'm a huge fan of “framing” in weddings. Shooting through a crowd and having the only thing in focus be the bride and groom makes the viewers feel like they are a part of the action every time they look at it. Shooting through glass, using architecture to frame, people, nature, etc etc. It gives you a super dreamy and romantic look. (Thanks Mandy Drake)

Wedding Photography Tip #31: Get up close during the ceremony
During the ceremony stand or squat up by the bride and groom to ensure you get the best picture you can of kiss, rings, etc. (I said sqaut so others can still see.) And do the “new couple” photo between the ceremony and the reception.  (Thanks Elizabeth Smock)

PERFECT action shot for a wedding

Wedding Photography Tip #32: Talk with the pastor first!
Different churches have different policies about shooting in the church.  Some churches don't allow flash photography.  Some churches have restrictions on where the photographer can be during the ceremony, etc.  Ask so you don't ruffle feathers.  (Thanks Ed Cord, who is a regular on the Facebook page)

Wedding Photography Tip #33: Learn to work with natural light
Remember to pay attention to shadows on faces when using natural light. (Thanks David Vela)

Wedding Photography Tip #34: Have a contract
So many things can go wrong in a wedding and with wedding photography.  Have a contract to protect you from lawsuits and to clearly set out expectations the couple should have for you.  (Thanks Ed Cord)

Wedding Photography Tip #35: Get a timeline for the reception
It can be easy for the photographer to miss the cake cutting, bouquet throwing, etc.  While photographers are usually good about setting out a schedule with brides for the big things like when the bride/groom photos will be taken, they often forget to work with the bride about when these things will be so they aren't missed.  This is especially true if you're shooting solo.  (Thanks Ed Cord, who is a regular on the Facebook page)

Wedding Photography Tip #36: Grand view, or tight crop?
When talking to the potential client, find out right off the bat if they like grand scope views or detailed views best. It really helps make the right choice in a pinch when shooting the event. (Thanks Elizabeth Crocker)

Wedding Photography Tip #37: Bring an emergency wedding kit
Bring an emergency kit with the standard items (pins, tape, stain remover, etc. and also a classy, wooden hanger for the dress shot.  (Thanks Chris McCooey)

Wedding Photography Tip #38: The OTHER three little words
Ask the bride and groom for just three words to describe their vision of the day, then keep those words in mind as you capture it! If they say “fun”, take every opportunity to “document” a fun moment. If they say “romantic”, keep lighting in mind and snap every sweet moment the newlyweds share that day/night. Yes, you are the photographer, but it is THEIR day. Make your art reflect that! (Thanks Matthew Michaels)

Wedding Photography Tip #39: Don't let religious differences impact your work

The type of wedding ceremony that you are used to may be completely different in other faiths.  Sometimes photographers get thrown by this and it can affect the photos.  For example, photographers who shoot an LDS wedding shouldn't be surprised that you can't photograph the actual ceremony at all!  Photographers who shoot inside a cathedral shouldn't be surprised if you can't use flash.  Photographers at a Jewish wedding need to know not to miss the bride breaking the glass.  All religions do things differently and you should be familiar with how the wedding goes, and respect the religious differences (Thanks Rebecca Birrell)

Wedding Photography Tip #40: Pay attention to which kids are whose!
Sheryl Turner wrote in “if the children in the wedding aren't the children of the couple getting married there are no need for a million pics of them doing silly things. I have tons of pictures of our ring bearers who are our cousins. The pictures are cute but I would rather if she took more pics of the ceremony. Which I barely have any.”

Bridals are SOO much fun to shoot!

Wedding Photography Tip #41: Skip the bridals and perish!
It is amazing to me how many photographers get so caught up in the details of shooting a wedding that they don't take any bridals!  Many photographers like to shoot the bride on a day other than the wedding so they have enough time with her.  (Thanks Sheryl Turner)

Wedding Photography Tip #42: Visit the venue before the day
If possible scope the place out before the wedding that way you know what angles you can get and where you need to be to get the best view. (Kimberly Swaim-Vaughn)

Wedding Photography Tip #43: Tell the bridesmaids to SMILE while the walk down the aisle
Before the ceremony make sure to tell the bridesmaids to SMILE when they are walking down the aisle. You have no idea how many weddings I have shot where the bridesmaids are looking down at the ground and are looking sad. Sometimes they just forget and don't realize they are being photographed. Remind them! (Thanks Meagan Kunert)

Wedding Photography Tip #44: Attend the rehearsal.
Enough said.  Do it.  (Thanks Laura Anderson)

Wedding Photography Tip #45:  Move it!
The reason wedding photography is the very hardest type of paid photography is because you have no time to mess with the camera.  It takes experience and skill to know that you have all the technical stuff done right so you can hurry through the event and not miss the shot while you're doing it.

Wedding Photography Tip #46: Bring a few props
Depending on what style you shoot and the couple prefers, bringing a few props like ring boxes, a large empty picture frame, and  nice hanger for the dress, can make a big difference.  Not only will it help you to get great shots, but it will show the couple that you put some forethought into the event.

Kiss slowly!

Wedding Photography Tip #47: Kiss SLOOOooowly
No need to encourage a mid-wedding make out, but generally kisses are too short for the photographer to get a few pictures of kissing poses.  Instruct them to kiss slooowly.  They won't mind 🙂  (Thanks Jason Craven)

Wedding Photography Tip #48: Get the fathers shot
Vickie Hanson said, “One of my favorite wedding pictures is of my father and new father in law, standing outside of the church after the ceremony, tuxedo coats off, smoking a cigarette. It was such a natural thing for them and they were so relieved to relax that the picture is perfect!” (Thanks Vickie Hanson)

Wedding Photography Tip #49: Ask the bride
Ask the bride what part of her dress she likes the most.  Maybe its the train, maybe its the veil.  Ask her so you can be sure to get the shots of what attracted her to the dress. (Thanks Lyndsey DeSantis, who is a regular on the Facebook page)

Wedding Photography Tip #50: Know your lighting situation
If you visit the location at the same time of day when you'll be shooting, you'll be able to see what the light is like so you'll know what lighting gear you need at each stage of the wedding.  Preparation is key.

Wedding Photography Tip #51: Quiet shutter!
Some cameras are equipped with a quiet shutter setting.  You don't want to fire off 10 frames per second like a machine gun during the “I do” part.  Selecting quiet shutter can make the difference.

Wedding Photography Tip #52: Bring a tripod
Portrait photographers usually don't work from a tripod when shooting on-location, but it can be especially useful for shooting inside a dimly lit church.  Bring a tripod for these situations so you can get a sharp shot even with a slower shutter speed.  Even if you can get away with shooting handheld inside, you might want the tripod so you can use a lower ISO and get cleaner shots. (Thanks Johnny Quattlebaum)

Wedding Photography Tip #53: Shoot the wedding party in black and white
There is something about black and white that gives wedding photos a very classy look and feel.  I find that most shots of the reception look better in black and white.  You'll obviously want to talk with the couple about what photos they like in color, but don't skip out on the opportunity to use black and white.

Wedding Photography Tip #54: Don't miss the train!
Julieanna Crynn-Goblyn said, “My wedding photographer didn't get a picture of the train on my dress. 16 years later I'm still annoyed.”

Don't miss the train!

Wedding Photography Tip #55: Be spontaneous as the photographer
While you need to be organized and prepared to shoot a wedding, you also can get a lot of great shots by being spontaneous and seizing shot opportunities as the ideas come to your mind.  (Thanks Tracy Collyer)

Wedding Photography Tip #56: Invest in a flash bracket
Invest in a off camera flash bracket (stroboframe) they are expensive but will make your photos 10 times better (controlling shadow). (Thanks Eric Breault, who is a regular on the Facebook page)

Wedding Photography Tip #57: Seize the perfect moment to relax
Allow yourself a moment to relax when everyone is eating (no one wants photos of that anyway. lol). Maybe look through some of the photos on your camera and delete some really bad ones to make room on your memory card. (Thanks Hannah Vollette-Weymouth, who is a regular on the Facebook page)

Creative posing for wedding photography

Wedding Photography Tip #58: Look around for not-so-obvious angles
MOVE if you can. Walk around and take shots from various angles.   Walk upstairs and shoot down on the wedding party.  During the 1st dance, I walked a circle around the couple. Far away, at first, then moving a little closer on the second circle. It was an incredible effect. But, it is also good for other shots. (Thanks Melody Landrum)

Wedding Photography Tip #59: Take fun photos too!
Take fun photos. It doesn't have to be all serious. Laughter is a wonderful memory. The last one I did was pretty casual. I had the groomsmen and the groom climb a tree and took a wonderful shot. We also did the infamous Charlie's Angel shot of the bride and her bridesmaids. (Thanks Melody Landrum)

Wedding Photography Tip #60: The one question that is worth more than $5,000 worth of advertising
When you deliver the photos to the bride and she's thrilled with your work, ask “Who else do you know who might need a photographer?”

Wedding Photography Tip #61: Bring a ladder or step stool
Bringing a step stool with 3 steps or a short ladder can make a big difference in how the group photos turn out, and you'll also be able to use it for creative shots of the couple throughout the day.  (Thanks James Mathis II)

Wedding Photography Tip #62: Dress appropriately
Know ahead of time how formal the wedding will be, and how you fit into the event.  Some wedding photographers, like David Ziser, like to wear a suit to every wedding.  Other photographers think it is perfectly appropriate to wear slacks and a shirt.  Some female photographers wear a dress, and others wear jeans and a nice polo.  I wouldn't say that there is one right answer here, but it is worth thinking about beforehand.

Wedding Photography Tip #63: Know the PERFECT recipe for natural light success
Since few of your sessions are during the “golden hours” try a solo shot of the bride backlit by the sun. The veil and dress will glow. You'll need some fill light to bring the detail back into her face. (Thanks Craig Larson)

Wedding Photography Tip #64: Don't forget to include elderly family members
A young B&G may not be thinking of the eldest of their family elders in their youthful exuberance, but may appreciate a photo that includes them as time goes on. (Thanks Carole Krezman)

Wedding Photography Tip #65: Manage the family snap shooters
By taking a pause now and then to say “I'm going to break for 2 minutes for family members who want to take snap shots with your cameras,” people clue in that there is a time for them to shoot, and a time when you need them out of the way.  It doesn't add much time, and the cooperation of the snappers is worth it. (Thanks Paul Beggs)

Wedding Photography Tip #66: Tell the bride to hold the flowers lower than what feels comfortable.  It will look better in the photo.
Tell the bride and bridesmaids to hold the flowers at belly button level. Otherwise they tend to hold them too high!! (Thanks Michelle Bartholic)

Wedding Photography Tip #67: Give a quick turn-around
I am a total hypocrite of this one, but getting the photos back to the couple soon after the honeymoon shows you're on the ball and care about their photos.

Wedding Photography Tip #68: Help another photographer by sharing this post on Pinterest, on Facebook, and on your photo blogs.  I appreciate your support!

Before you run off, I want to share with you some of my very best Youtube videos.  These are all on-location videos where you can see how I'm using the color in sunsets, choosing my compositions, etc.  Enjoy, and don't forget to hit subscribe so you can see my future Youtube vids!

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About the Author

Jim Harmer

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Jim Harmer is the founder of Improve Photography, and host of the popular Improve Photography Podcast. More than a million photographers follow him on social media, and he has been listed at #35 in rankings of the most popular photographers in the world. Jim travels the world to shoot with readers of Improve Photography in his series of free photography workshops. See his portfolio here.


  1. There are more and more “Uncle Bob”s these days…give them time to set up their shots. You shoot last; after everyone else with a “camera”…you don’t want it to turn into a photo contest after you engineered the proper setup…Uncle Bob shooting over your shoulder…sheeesh!

  2. Brilliant blog post very very insightful, I have shot only three weddings and some of these tips will help next time in improving the pics and the way I work dramatically

  3. The shots in this article are absolutely awesome! The tips are good reminders for photographers and great tips for beginners!

    1. I had to read it twice myself, as at first it sounded like the wedding photographer is to let family members take shots with his camera (not likely since the photographers equipment would be super expensive). I think he meant to say “so family members can take photos on their camera” meaning family members would have the official photographer out of their way so they can get in their and take shots of their own.

      By giving them this chance hopefully they would leave the photographer alone when he gets back to do his job without the family members being in his way.

  4. For the flowers, and to get a smile from the bridal party (depending on the “feel” of the group), we like to say “flowers over the flower” 😉

  5. Thank you and your fellow contributors for these tips. I am getting married in May and my neighbor & another friend will be my photographers. Since we are all 3 photographers we will be able to help each other in using these tips. Perfect timing!

  6. re: tip #39
    If the bride is breaking the glass, you may be at the wrong wedding. I think it is the groom that smashes the glass as a symbol of what he will do to anyone who comes between him and his new bride. (Or as a symbol of a “break” with the past as he begins a new life)

  7. Love the practicality of the tips here. Great job pulling this together. I usually don’t do weddings but I have an informal wedding to shoot next weekend so this was timely. I’m preparing my “Uncle Bob” line now!!!! Do you think this would work? “Phew that was fun getting you all organised, I think I need a little rest. Anyone else want to take the photos for 5 minutes? (and put on the stop watch).”

  8. Another flower based tip, make sure the bride holds them at belly button level when walking down the aisle, not just in formal photos after. They tend to get embarrassed and excited and lift them up and/or cover their face! Walking down the aisle is a shot she will want to be perfect so she wont mind 🙂

    1. My favorite coming down the isle shot is : have bride and dad stop at pew 7. Bride looks back at camera dad looks at bride. Best of show Iowa PPA 1979

  9. Disagree totally with tip 2..there is no room for rudeness at any wedding you are being paid to do a job and blend in not conduct the entire event….and Uncle Bob probably contributed towards your fee……good prep work is the key to making the event as stressful as possible…………

  10. How about. If the wedding requires a full reception photographer don’t forget food or writing in the contract requiring bride and groom to feed you. After 8 hours, you will need the energy!

  11. one last thing i fully expected to see at the top:

  12. I remember seeing select quite shutter mode, and I may have missed it, but for weddings the photographer should turn off the focus beep and any other sounds the camera generates as feedback to you.

  13. Re: Tip #56 – Nothing flattering about buying a flash bracket to move a strobe an inch above the camera body. Best be off saving that money and bouncing the light off the nearest wall or ceiling. Or if you must point flash directly at someone, just do so without the bracket. Really, they’re just silly.

    Also #4 – Though this is just opinion, for your own benefit, don’t ask the bride for a list. I say this for a couple of reasons – for one, you are the photographer, and as such the expert on what moments to capture. My brides trust me to capture their day, and I am confident enough to know what to capture and when. Also, you cannot force moments to happen, if something that the bride included on her “shot list” for one reason or another does not happen and you don’t capture it, you’re just setting everybody up for disappointment, possibly even a lawsuit. Also, photographing a wedding is stressful as it is, it would be even more so if you had some who-knows-how-long shot list hanging over your head.

    As someone who has covered over 50 weddings both as an assistant and main photographer, trust me on these two!

    Pretty good list otherwise, though I would have liked to see some suggestions to second-shoot for a pro. Not only will it give you a chance to familiarize yourself with the common happenings of a wedding day, it’s also the perfect opportunity to practice shooting and to experiment.

  14. Fabulous list for newbies and seasoned veterans. Thank you for taking the time to put this list together, and thank you to those who contributed. And, as requested, I’ve pinned this blog.

  15. One thing that I am learning. Do Quinces, the elaborate 15th birthday celebrations, big weddings. It is the perfect way to hone your skills for a wedding. The Quinces are like a mini wedding. It also builds your confidence tremendously, taking away your nervousness.

    Thanks for this list. Having done some events, this list is very practical and the most comprehensive I have ever seen. Very thoughtful of you.


  16. I would also add to include in the contract that the photographer(s) will be fed at the reception. It’s difficult to eat when you’re working 5-8+ hours and it’s awkward to ask at the event. If it’s sorted beforehand, then everyone knows it’s okay for you to have a plate and you get to eat and have energy for the remainder of the reception.

  17. #39. It’s the groom who breaks the glass. If you’re staring at the bride waiting for her to do it, you’re going to miss your shot. Pretty ironic mistake, given the sentiment of the tip…

  18. I always struggled with what to wear to weddings, nothing ever fits or my huge back tattoo would be showing, etc and it’s not something I have time to worry about while triple checking that I have everything {equipment wise}. So for this year, I had grey polo shirts made with my logo, which I will wear with black dress pants. Now I have something to wear and all of the couples’ engaged friends will see my name 🙂

  19. Wow this was awesome read thanks so much for the useful tips I am doing weddings this year for the first time and this was wonderful to read.

  20. I also suggest preparing a ‘photo schedule’,,,,which usually become the brides schedule for the day. I hand it out at the rehearsal, and discuss with wedding party and family together to ensure everyone knows when, and where they have to be,,,,always planning ahead,,,,

  21. Great tips. I would like to point out, though, that tip 57, seizing a quiet moment to delete bad shots during the reception is a very bad idea. Deleting individual shots from your camera increases the risk of a corrupted card or “mistakes” made in the heat of the moment. A better idea is to use that time to back up your cards to an external drive. My assistant/husband does this for me. If space is a concern, buy more cards. I also suggest “locking” your card via the menu, to avoid accidentally deleting anything. Finally, I suggest multiple cards in smaller sizes. Sure, it’s awesome to shoot 48 gigs at one time, but if you face a corrupted card, you face having all your eggs in one basket. I also suggest that just before you shoot an “event” such as the ceremony, the cake cutting, first dance, etc. you put a new card/s in for obvious reasons. Also, create an organizational system for your cards. Mine are numbered, my husband’s are lettered.

  22. Great suggestions and tips. They repeat all the good ones in the wedding photography books without having to buy the books.

  23. It is interesting how many tips from these I would disagree. I believe it is mainly due to cultural differences. Weddings here in Czech republic are I guess of the same importance to bride and groom as in US, but it is always one day event. Never any shooting in advance. You always include digital photos and rarely hard copies, etc. Nice post though.

  24. Thank you! And it’s funny how you say “Uncle Bob’ and we all know who you are talking about! Most irritating thing.

  25. Jim, I absolutely loved this post and I have did my share of sharing it on Facebook 🙂 Hope it gets more shares! 🙂

  26. Thank you, these are wonderful tips. I know most of them but it is a good thing to be reminded before each wedding.

  27. Get insurance! You can be sued by clients, lose or have your equipment stolen, have an accident or someone you employ could have an accident. It is the number one thing to do before you shoot a wedding. Can’t believe it is not in any of the tips. There are agencies that will insure you for all of the above, in a package, for a reasonable price. Have your gear insured for replacement value, not depreciated value.
    As far as shooting, I always change batteries right before the ceremony. And I now velcro my diffuser to my flash. It kept falling off! I would second bringing extras like a pretty padded hanger for the wedding dress. I use a fanny pack for batteries and cards or a bag with a long strap that can go across my body so I can put my hand into it and it does not flop around. And always have business cards.

  28. Where wedding photography is concerned, it also becomes necessary for the photographers to create a Shot List of all important points. In this post a list of all such important points has been made.

  29. The Uncle Bobs are always there! Another thing I find is take some water, so often I end up with a thumping head and a thirst probably because I just haven’t drank enough in the day. I have to force myself to do certain things like drink, eat and go to the loo as the Adrenalin takes over and you put everything on hold, which is not good!

  30. Thank you so very much. Words can’t describe how much what you’ve shared here as broaden my perspective. Once again, thank you.

  31. Thanks Uncle Bob. I bookmarked this page. Any issues about two signed photographers(contractor) in one event? Who will give in?


  33. That’s really amazing, you have included 68 wedding photography tips in a blog, and your every tip is noticeable. According to me, wedding photography is a big arena where a photographer can improve his knowledge and experience and can prove himself a best photographer.

  34. Wonderful wedding photography tips!! Greatly shared the live experience. When the photographers follows these points, they can produce a amazing results. Thanks for the share!!!

  35. Absolutely amazing photographs! And thank you so much for all of these tips. I’m going to review my whole process this weekend and implement a bunch of these!

  36. Thanks for sharing, your amazing insight has given me just the reassurance I needed and I love your work. Thanks again!!

  37. Wedding Photography Tip #53: Got to say this is a matter of taste surely. Checking with the Bride and Groom if they want B+W would probably be the best thing to do wouldn’t it?

  38. You mention in one of the tips to take the time to delete files of the bad photos on your memory card… Never do that. Never. Every files on the card is encoded with a specific address and when one is missing, you multiply the chances of a glitch. My explanation is not very scientific, but give your memory card a chance, don’t delete any files! Better have more memory card (or even better, shoot less pictures) than to have a problem later.

  39. Has anyone tried talking to the bride about Uncle Bob before the wedding day? Guests with cameras (and iPads and video cameras!) are multiplying these days, and can seriously interrupt the professional photographer’s work, for which she/he is paying paid and which he/she had beter get right! I’d love to read more discussion on this topic.

  40. Suggestion for #53: If you aren’t sure if they want black and white, have copies of pictures in color, black and white, or other creative effects you like and present them to the bride and groom before the final “print” so that they can make decisions, this is all easy to do with digital photography.

  41. I bought a stroboframe once a few years back. Never used it, It felt flimsy and awkward. I always felt the rotation was in the wrong direction.After much pondering I took a risk and invested in a Really Right Stuff wedding bracket and an L-plate. And it was an investment I do not regret. Solid and dependable. Love it! The L-Plate works great on a tripod as well.

  42. I have yet to do wedding photography, and my first two are in August with a family friend, and my cousin. These were helpful to know, I’m 10,000x more confident I can give these newly weds photos they’ll love.

  43. Wow! what a great list of tips, and I don’t even plan to ever do a wedding! But still, great info. I’m even going to save this page to my Photography Information folder. Hek, I might even think about doing a wedding sometime. Shoot, maybe I’ll even try to do a few for money. Dang, I think I’m going to become a professional wedding photographer! (Wait…what?)

    Thanks again.

  44. Fantastic checklist for wedding photographers! This is super helpful for any photographer considering wedding photography as there is much more to wedding photography than most realize. Orchestrating the flow of wedding photography takes skill and practice and your checklist is a real eye opener of what is involved to get it right!

    Have already shared this on Pinterest and Twitter. Thanks for putting together such great content as I am sure many will find this helpful- happy to pass it along 🙂

    [link removed as violation of comment policy]

  45. Definitely glad I found this article. Its interesting and helpful and your info is extremely useful to. i am a wedding photographer but I found it very relevant to both pro and amateur photographers. Good read. Thank you 🙂

  46. For some beginners I’m sure this just looks like an insanely long blog post on wedding photography tips. But for real photographers, this post was an awesome article. Tons of new tips for me to apply in my wedding business. thanks.

  47. Thanks to Pinterest for the wonderful tips. Am actually shooting a wedding today, and am looking forward to the Black and White shots at the reception. I believe its going to be superb.

  48. Thanks for providing valuable tips. I’m a photographer based in San Diego. Can you please tell me which is your favourite camera and lenses that you mostly used to capure pics.

  49. Thank you so much to share this beautiful post. But there was so less pictures in this post. But the descriptions are so good. Keep sharing your post likewise.

  50. Your “WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY TIPS” is really “ESSENTIAL”. I read this full article more than 3 times. It’s really helpful. Thanks for the post.

  51. Hi! I’m a french photographer and I like your Essential Tips !!

    For #53 “Shoot the wedding party in black and white” : when the lights are not powerful enough on the dancefloor, the black & white passage is also a technical solution to avoid obtrusive digital noise (then approaches a film grain in B&W) …

    #29 is my favorite… “Stay calm if you want the bride to be calm” 🙂

  52. Great article! It really is so comprehensive! It really helped me to think about things that I hadn’t thought of in the past. I will make sure to try these ideas out.

  53. Really well explained and put point to point. its all true as seen by experience. Thanks for the posting

  54. Excellent article – well worth the read. It really helps to have all these great points in one place – like the perfect recipe!
    Good stuff.

  55. Some wonderful tips. This is also a good article for newly engaged couples to read. It will help them understand some of the issues we as photographers need to overcome.

  56. Thank you! I’ll bet your hands are sore after typing all this out. This article is great!

  57. Incredible tips you have shared. These tips are big enough as teaching the wedding photography. And photos you have displayed also very beautiful.

  58. Wow. learned a lot with your article. Some wedding tips are familiar already but most of them added a ton of info and I feel like I have gained a new skill-set after reading this. Thanks for sharing.

  59. My first wedding two days from now, will try to use as many of these that I can remember !

  60. I often double up as second shooter for a colleague and day-of coordinator for the bride & groom. I ask the bride if she plans to have anything special hidden in her bouquet (I’ve seen a Celtic cross and silver charms representing pets) so we get a close-up of it. For older couples who may have already lost grandparents or parents, or who have elders too frail to travel, we set up an “absent guests” table with framed photos — usually near the guest book. A shot with bride and groom pointing out a photo (ring fingers visible) is a nice tribute.

  61. Thank you so much for this article! It really helped me prepare for my first wedding! I’m going to bookmark it, so I can refer to it in the future, too.

  62. Doing my first wedding shoot in a couple of weeks. I think I’m more nervous than the wedding couple.

    A little second guessing yourself & self doubt makes you strive to do better though!

    Lots of good tips in this article. I’ve made notes from this article & will have them with me on the big day. Thank you for the good advice!

  63. Thank you for this Tips. Was basically smiling reading stuffs that I was guilty of. I think once a Wedding Photographer is Equipped with these Tips am sure of a great shoot.

  64. Thanks for the post and sharing the blog. Valuable and excellent post, as share good stuff with good ideas and concepts.
    lots of great information and inspiration. I just would like to say thanks for your great efforts.
    I appreciate your excellent post.

  65. This is awesome and helpful. Just fallen in love with photography of late..and fully getting into the photography business soon. Don’t own a camera but saving up for one and these tips I believe are going to give me a head start..Thanks to everyone who contributed..May the lord bless you..

  66. Great article . Very helpful specially for wedding photographer. Thanks for taking your time to write such an amazing article.

  67. Great advice! 😀
    But I also suggest a professional Pro Digital Media Philippines which is professional in photography to any events!

  68. Fantastic tips. I am about to start shooting as a Second shooter for a friend of mine.

    Question I have is, where can I find a guide or a list of MUST take Photos. I will be a shooting a wedding on my own very soon and just want to make sure i can practice the shots before hand in various lighting scenarios.

  69. G’Day Jim, great compilation of the tips. It’s also been fun going through some of the comments where contributors have suggested numerous useful tips. Thanks for the article mate.

  70. First of all let me tell you, you have got a great blog. I am interested in looking for more of such topics and would like to have further information. Hope to see the next blog soon.

  71. Great tips. Looking forward to shoot my first wedding in May and these tips are rally helpful. I think being relaxed, natural & creative at the same time is the best way to take some good photographs. I will see… 🙂

  72. This article is great. These are nice and handy tips for those who have little knowledge about wedding’s photography. Now it will be easier for them to capture those moments properly. This article is very relevant.

  73. There is some excellent advice there for the aspiring wedding photographer. I am sure that many will read it and gain a very good insight into what is involved.

  74. Best Tip I got as a second shooter – While the primary photographer is taking the setup shots, have the 2nd shooter take pictures of the mother of the bride and/or grandparents to capture their reaction to “their baby” all grown up… You can get some good candid reaction pictures that way

  75. This blog has really helped me out to improvise on my photography skills. Tip 3 and 4 is something which every professional wedding photographer should follow. I applied these two tips while capturing pictures for a wedding. A huge thank you to the author.

  76. Very helpful and professional photography tips here . I am very happy to read such interesting and useful post and learn lots from this. Thank you.

  77. I also stress to take photos of the young flower girls etc. 1st. I find if you do not take photos of the young ones in the wedding party they become cranky or their outfits get soiled etc. I always take as many photos of them early on in the wedding they are almost my number 1’s on my list of to do’s next to the bride and groom memorable moments you obviously can’t miss if anything they are prob. always FIRST!! Nothing worse then making them wait while doing all those other shots and then by the time you get to them their hair is messed, dresses have stains from candy Great Grandma has given them for doing a good job walking down the aisle, or they just don’t want to smile pretty for the camera because they are hot and tired. Best advice ever! 🙂

  78. Great article! Having shot over 150 weddings, it’s a,ways nice to see how others approach this profession. My only nitpick is the 2nd photographer tip. When I began shooting weddings, in 2004, I was always on my own. As my business grew I had other photographers soliciting me, looking to be my 2nd shooter. One year I hired a number of them and I have to say, the additional cost (to my clients) simply isn’t worth it. The ratio of keepers (from my 2nd shooters) just wasn’t enough to warrant the extra cost, time and logistics of keeping track of another person’s images.
    Other than that, I thought the tips were spot on!

  79. I have read your blog post. Thank you very much for sharing this awesome post. I will visit again to read more post.

  80. Wow… so many people need to read this. Lots of information here, and thank you for the effort. I’ve had my share of Uncle Bobs in my 30 years as a Wedding Photographer, and well… at this point, I try not to let it bother me. Nervous? I have a saying I say to my brides who might be a little nervous. I feel it’s our duty to instill confidence, to be there for support as well as capture beautiful memories, so I look them right in the eye and say while gesturing to my face, “When I look nervous, you can get nervous.”. I then smile and sometimes wink and almost always get a laugh from them. It’s about relationships, you have to build one with your client.

  81. Use two cameras. Beg, borrow or rent an extra camera for the day – using a different target. Let’s try taking pictures with a wide angle lens (great for candid shots and in tight spaces (especially before the ceremony in the preparation stage of the day) and a longer lens (which may be useful to have something as big as 200 mm if you can get one).

  82. Some great tips but many of these are not possible if you photograph the wedding a single shooter. Also, I am not a big fun of holding up the wedding in order to benefit my portfolio. I like to keep my distance, and capture moments as they happen but when required, I will organise, and take charge of the critical shots. I do love creative photography but I will always put this at the bottom of my list, and only use it if and when time allows. So, not sure about bringing my own white sheets, I can use white walls for this and overexpose, I don’t need step ladders, I can use chairs, I don’t need a flash bracket, I can use the wall to bounce light or even find a guest with a white shirt to bounce off (its much more fun then using white sheets or flash brackets).. If I really need to move the flash from the camera then I will user the wireless triggers.. Plenty of options when you need to work quickly, carry little gear as otherwise your back will quickly give in! I don’t like to spend time setting up gear but would rather spend every minute waiting for the that all important photo moment! Natural, creative and fun is my game! I am a Manchester, based wedding photographer.

  83. Photojournalism is definitely a serious career. Without the proper effort it is not actually possible to obtain your goal in this area. It is directly linked with third eye, that’s why it is simply not an effortless task.

  84. Very useful! I do the kiss slowly and keep kissing! They wouldn’t mind a bit 🙂 But I encountered some couple whose feel awkward kissing in front of camera and me.. so kiss slowly if way too much for them.

    Great trips for wedding photographer here.

  85. A good list. Some tips were obvious to me and some quite surprising. I am with almost all of them, perhaps except the “day before” tipps. I almost never visit locations prior to the wedding – I think, as a wedding photographer one has to be spontaneous enough and develop ideas quickly. If on the next day the location would have a different weather, there will be different light, when it will be full of people it will look different then empty etc. And it would never come through my mind to shoot wedding portraits a day BEFORE. Always on a wedding day. And optionally AFTER the wedding. But I guess local traditions are different. I am from Germany and have been photographing weddings for 10 years.

  86. I have always been fond of wedding photography and the art related to it. Being a learner, I really found this blog site pretty much useful in honing my photography skills.

  87. How would you suggest shooting Afro-Caribbean wedding parties? Highlight faces not dresses, or Dresses not faces?

    Great tips for, not only weddings, but event photography in general.

  88. Very useful things here thank you. – Shooting my first wedding this weekend and feeling confident after absorbing this list of tips and tricks!

  89. I have read your 68 tips properly. I think you have a huge experience on wedding photography because you written some important and advance tips for take a photograph perfectly. Everyone who visits your website, he will be a good photographer if he reads your tips properly.

  90. Wedding album is the only memory which will remind you of the moments throughout your life. So, it needs to be really unique. Looking into the tips was really helpful. I can say this contributed in having a wedding album praised by one and all.

  91. Nice Tips When you leave the building do not forget to reduce the ISO (if the ISO is set manually) and switch to the “Aperture Priority” mode or “Shutter Priority”. On the street in open hole (when set to a small f-number: from 1.2 to 4) in the “Aperture Priority” mode on a bright day not include flash – delay is set not shorter than 1/250 and obtained a clear and specific overexposure that does not pull even in RAW !!!
    If you are using the aperture value of more than 4 – you can focus on the central point, and crop the picture after half-pressing the shutter button, boosting after to take pictures.
    If you have a fast lens and the diaphragm can be increased to 1.4 (for example), use the focus point, as close as possible to your subject to minimum movement of the camera after focusing for framing. Such an aperture depth of field is very small and if you move the camera an object can get out of the field area.

    And smile more often – gloomy wedding photographer does not have the fun and sincere emotions on wedding photographs get much more complicated.
    Talk to tomadoy to warn you about competitions and important events in the program.
    In this case, do not relax when seated to eat, and I advise you not to abuse alcohol, so that in the morning they grieve result!

  92. Thanks for tip. I can’t wait to get DSLR and start to shoot second wedding. I have done first my best’s friend’s sister wedding with film. 13 films! That was about 15 years ago.

  93. Changing lenses is something that should be done on the recommendation of the ophthalmologist or optometrist. And then you ask how often do you have to go with the specialist? This is a little easier to answer, but it all depends on how they arise things in every person, regardless of age, occupation, or any other factor.
    A routine eye examination should be performed periodically throughout our lives. Since a baby is born verified that your entire body, including your view, evolves correctly. At first no monthly checks carried out by the pediatrician, who find some irregularity will guide parents to come to the right specialist.

  94. I also like to bring a DSLR slider with me, for the video part of the wedding. It really makes everything looks more professional, which is very important in order to have satisfied fiancés. StudioFX Pro Ball Bearing is my “go-to”. It costs 100$ but it is worth every single one. Here are some good sliders http://best10anything.com/best-dslr-sliders/ in case you want to find out more about them.

  95. Try to slow sync flash
    when using the flash, try to use the minimum shutter speed as possible – 1/15 to 1/25 of a second, which would make it more spectacular surroundings. Try shooting a moving object with the wiring and at the right time freeze its motion flash.

  96. I have read your 68 tips properly. I think you have a huge experience on wedding photography because you written some important and advance tips for take a photograph perfectly. Everyone who visits your website, he will be a good photographer if he reads your tips properly.Wedding album is the only memory which will remind you of the moments throughout your life. So, it needs to be really unique. Looking into the tips was really helpful. I can say this contributed in having a wedding album praised by one and all.Changing lenses is something that should be done on the recommendation of the ophthalmologist or optometrist. And then you ask how often do you have to go with the specialist? This is a little easier to answer, but it all depends on how they arise things in every person, regardless of age, occupation, or any other factor.
    A routine eye examination should be performed periodically throughout our lives. Since a baby is born verified that your entire body, including your view, evolves correctly. At first no monthly checks carried out by the pediatrician, who find some irregularity will guide parents to come to the right specialist.

    Try to slow sync flash
    when using the flash, try to use the minimum shutter speed as possible – 1/15 to 1/25 of a second, which would make it more spectacular surroundings. Try shooting a moving object with the wiring and at the right time freeze its motion flash.

  97. Thanks for tip. I can’t wait to get DSLR and start to shoot second wedding. I have done first my best’s friend’s sister wedding with film. 13 films! That was about 15 years ago.
    A routine eye examination should be performed periodically throughout our lives. Since a baby is born verified that your entire body, including your view, evolves correctly. At first no monthly checks carried out by the pediatrician, who find some irregularity will guide parents to come to the right specialist.

  98. when using the flash, try to use the minimum shutter speed as possible – 1/15 to 1/25 of a second, which would make it more spectacular surroundings. Try shooting a moving object with the wiring and at the right time freeze its motion flash.

    Excellent photography tutorial. Thanks for sharing these tips.

  99. when using the flash, try to use the minimum shutter speed as possible – 1/15 to 1/25 of a second, which would make it more spectacular surroundings. Try shooting a moving object with the wiring and at the right time freeze its motion flash.Wedding Video & Photography is all about the beauty of a moment. The most beautiful moment could be at a flicker of a second, and a good Video & Photograph is always about keeping the moment from running away.

  100. You really have a great insight about wedding photography because tips are really helpful tutorial for us which can be followed without much hurdle. The tips are sure to get applause of one and all as they are beautifully explained. I think you are the correct person to contact with when some one is looking for their wedding album to be an unparalleled memorable thing in their lifetime.

  101. Great list of tips.

    Always be willing to learn from others and you’ll find out something that will hopefully make shooting weddings easier.

  102. Great tips! I have also a tip. On the wedding day propose to the couple that they split the photo session in three each of 10-15 minutes. So you will have photos in different types of light and they won’t be so long gone from the party!

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