Digital Wedding Secrets

Wedding Photography Tips

Wedding Photography Tips

As a wedding photographer, you spend a lot of your time focusing on the business side of it. You want to provide your clients with the most beautiful pictures and you want to turn a profit for yourself. Beyond that, though, you should think about some other things. For example, as a photographer, you should know why someone should hire you over having his or her Uncle Vinny take charge of the photographs themselves.

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Wedding Photography Secrets

Heres The Most Comprehensive Wedding Photography Course Ever! Why stress free wedding photography is critical to your financial future and how a quick insight into the mindset of your clients will help get ahead any other photographer very fast! How to use wedding photography to capture emotions instead of just plain moments and how to combine the science and art for spectacular results. Questions to your biggest seven questions about wedding photography and busting myths about what makes a good photo session in the eyes of your customer. How to use Pre-visualization to take breath-taking pictures! The one most common mistake all photographers do when it comes to filling the frame (and they ruin almost all photos with this) and one quick technique to keep proportions right in any situation.

Wedding Photography Secrets Summary


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Author: Nick Smith
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Wedding Photography

Wedding photography has seen a dramatic shift in styles, techniques, and creative challenges in recent years, resulting in a large number of photographers who are lured to the field by the workflow benefits that a digital camera can provide. The wedding day itself presents you with a huge array of lighting conditions, locations, and subjects and can also be a good test for your equipment and personal temperament. Today's brides and grooms are also savvier clients because they're hip to popular trends and looks, having grown up with more music, video, and media influences than their parents could have ever dreamed. As such, they're better-educated clients who require a photographer who can produce the images they desire on their special day. A person with a creative eye and superior people skills couldn't find a more satisfying career than that of a wedding photographer.

Overview and Trends

Once considered one of the lowliest forms of photographic genres, wedding photography took a turn in the early 1990s when several photographers from both coasts started offering shooting styles and packages that sought to record the day as it unfolded in a photojournalistic way rather than create a collection of stiff, posed photographs that contained few of the emotions and details of the day. Along with this, black-and-white images enjoyed yet another popularity spike with a modern audience, especially because of the powerful way these images depict composition, form, drama, and emotion. A photojournalistic approach is now the style du jour for many of today's modern brides and grooms and their friends. Wedding clients spend more time looking for just the right person to capture the special moments of their day, and they expect a photographer who's knowledgeable about all the latest trends and styles and who's competent to produce images that creatively render both your clients and...

All Your Eggs in One Basket

There are only two really good reasons to justify limiting yourself to smaller memory cards when larger ones can be purchased at the same cost per-gigabyte. One of them is when every single picture is precious to you and the loss of any of them would be a disaster. If you're a wedding photographer, for example, and unlikely to be able to restage the nuptials if a memory card goes bad, you'll probably want to shoot no more pictures than you can afford to lose on a single card, and have an assistant ready to copy each card removed from the camera onto a backup hard drive or DVD onsite.

Printed and bound albums

Your range of service doesn't need to end with posting images online. In addition to the traditional wedding album options, bound printed albums and spiral-bound proof books appeal to many photographers as well as to brides and grooms. Virtually all the major online photo labs offer printed books, and many labs utilize the ROES (Remote Order Entry System) application to easily upload your images for processing. Some popular options available to wedding photographers include Pictage ( As a complete online home for the wedding photographer, Pictage offers Web site and gallery hosting, prints, wedding album creation, and many new products to showcase your work. A free photographer success DVD is available online.

Perspective And Depth Of Field

FIXED OR PRIME No, it's not about your mortgage This is an important consideration you'll want to make about whether to use a fixed-focal length (prime) or a zoom (variable focal length) lens. This has been an ongoing debate among photographers for years. Many relish the versatility zoom lenses offer, as it is like having several lenses rolled into one. I know wedding photographers that shoot entire weddings using one or two zoom lenses with great results. They like the ability to concentrate on the event without changing lenses and risking losing a great shot in the process. I also know purists who only shoot with prime lenses, as they insist the quality is better.

One Shot Ai Focus Ai Servo

450d White Balance Calibration

Wedding photographers, sports photographers, and photojournalists love this feature, because they can focus, and change focus, using a thumb. When an index finger is only used to make the exposure, it means that focus can be achieved, held, or changed without waiting for the shutter button to find it. If focus is made in this manner, the actual exposure will be made faster than if the shutter button AF mechanism had to be activated before making the exposure. Also, when AI Servo is engaged, focus is continuous, as is the ability of the shutter button to shoot, which means you could change the plane of focus during a burst or suspend AI Servo while waiting for your subject to clear a visual obstacle, reac-quiring focus when you can and starting a new sequence. It may take a little practice, but once your thumb and forefinger learn to work together you'll appreciate the fractions of seconds this technique adds to your timing skills.

Flash exposure compensation FEC

As noted in the section on fill flash, a common application for flash is lightening shadows and toning down the high-contrast nature of full sunlight. Adding a subtle catchlight in someone's eyes is another. For cases like this you might want to dial in an additional minus stop or two of flash compensation over the camera's built-in flash program since you don't want to blast out a ton of fill flash that will wash out the subject's face or cast flash shadows. Or perhaps you want to take a harshly lit flash photo, like old paparazzi photos from the days of non-electronic bulb flash. You could then dial in additional flash compensation. Yet another common situation is overriding the default flash controls in situations that are hard for the flash system to meter. Wedding photos of a man in a black tuxedo in a large room or a woman in a white dress next to a white cake are typical examples.

5d Mark Ii Quick Mode

For stock and editorial photography, 210 for wedding photography, 220 working distances, 116 Macro Ring Lite MR-14EX Speedlite, 125, Manual mode (M) described, 38 examples, 43, 44 for low-light and night photos, 184 overview, 42 setting, 38 Manual Reset file-numbering, 35 manually cleaning the sensor, 237-239 marketing for wedding photography, 216-217 McNally, Joe (blog creator), 190 memory cards. See CF cards Menu button, 4, 6 menus 158-159, 166 stock and editorial photography, 207-208 wedding photography, 220-222, 230 panning, 250 191, 207, 221-222 portrait photography. See also stock and editorial photography wedding photography ambient and mixed light for, 198-199 areas of, 188 basic one-light setup, 199 of children, 201, 202 commercial, 189 C1, C2, and C3 modes for, 196 ensuring color accuracy, 72 indoor portraits, 196-200 lenses for, 190-191 lifestyle approach to, 188-189 light meters for, 195 outdoor portraits, 193-196 overview and trends, 188-190 packing for, 190-192 posing...

Handlemount grip flash

The 480EG is a high-output flash unit meant for press or wedding photographers, but hasn't been updated in some time and is a TTL-only flash (no A-TTL or E-TTL support). Nowadays people usually just buy flash brackets and put a regular 550EX flash unit on them for this sort of application. This setup also lets you mount the flash unit vertically above the lens rather than to the side only, like the 480EG. But if you want the sheer light output you can't beat the 480EG or similar flash units from manufacturers such as Metz.

Professional Advice for Shooting Weddings

One of the beautiful aspects of modern digital photography is that so many photographers willingly share advice with each other. And this is no less true of wedding photographers. Some suggestions and ideas for the next wedding that you shoot include Get to know the couple before the wedding. Every minute you spend getting to know the couple in advance of the wedding pays off in wedding images that reflect their unique personalities and their hopes and dreams for the life they're beginning together. By the wedding day, the couple should know you well enough to think of you as a new or old friend.

The Incredible Canon D Mark III

Speaking of wedding photographs, the Mark III addressed the problem of blown out highlights in high contrast situations by extending the dynamic range, the number of tones that can be correctly produced, through a Custom Function, C.FnII 3, Highlight Tone Priority IG 3.32).

External battery packs

Most of Canon's high-end flash units have sockets on the side which can accommodate external high-voltage (270 volts) battery packs. These packs have two basic functions - they speed up the flash's recycle time between shots to a second or two (critical for news or wedding photography) and extend the time you can go between changing batteries. They're also useful in cold weather (battery performance always drops precipitately at freezing temperatures) since you can stuff the pack inside your jacket to keep the cells warm if necessary.

Additional Canon System Components

For lighting on the go, Canon offers the 580EX II, 430EX, and 220EX Speedlites. The ST-E2 transmitter allows control of slave flashes for up to 33 feet outdoors and almost 50 feet indoors. Macro photographers can benefit from the Macro Twin Lite MT-24EX or the Macro Ring Lite MR-14EX. In addition, you can add a variety of battery packs and magazines, hot-shoe adapters, TTL (through-the-lens) distributors, and off-camera shoe cords. A body, lens, and flash made a complete system for this wedding photographer, with great results (see 1-3).

Packing Your Gear Bag

When wedding photographers get together, stories are told about cameras that stop working for no apparent reason, mirrors that freeze up, autofocus that won't work, lenses being dropped, tripod legs that stick fast, and flashes that just won't fire. The only way around this dilemma is to have backups of everything. Although this may be impossible when you're just starting out, the option to rent has vast appeal.

Inspiration and Creative Resources

Nothing helps keep your wedding photography fresh and exciting more than staying up to date on current wedding fashions, trends, and the photo styles of other wedding photographers whose work you admire. Plan to spend some time each week visiting other photographers' Web sites outside your area and get a feel for new camera angles and the types of images and postproduction techniques they use to stay ahead of the market. Attend photographer marketing and lighting seminars conducted by nationally established pros to kick-start your enthusiasm and sales.

Wedding and Event Photography

Wedding photography assignments are usually a combination of reportage unposed images that witness the scene and tell the story and posed portraiture, where photographer and subjects meet and create an image together. Each area emphasizes a different set of skills. In reportage the focus is on how to work quickly, both in terms of decision making as well as operating the equipment how to find the shot quickly, how to operate the camera and change lenses quickly if needed, and how to use the available light most beautifully as well as add any additional light quickly. The posed portraiture component also needs to be quick, however often will entail more intricate lighting setups as well as directing skills to both arrange a group properly and then get the pose and energy you're looking for out of your subjects.


Like any job, wedding photography can be done sublimely with great artistry, or handled coarsely and uncaringly. The challenge for working photographers is not only to gather the skills and experience to be good at this work, but also to differentiate themselves with clients from all the less trained or less dedicated photographers out there who will always do it for less money. My approach is to have a bottom line that I won't go below in terms of budget, and whatever job I take on, to do it with all the skills and passion I have. Whether an advertisement, wedding, corporate event, or educational setting, my goal is to capture the best images available within the situation. Once you accept an assignment, it's your obligation to give it your best or not take the job. In addition to wedding photography, there are many types of event assignments, but the principal ones are

Paul Gero

During his parent's 50th anniversary party, Gero had the chance to compare their commissioned wedding album against a second album that had been shot by a friend of his mother's, who'd shot with a Leica in available light. The shot's from the hired photographer were a lot like mine technically excellent, no life. That's when it struck me that we don't shoot photos for now, we shoot them for the grandkids, for years from now. Wedding photography is the beginning of a family's visual history. FIG 2.8 In this recessional photograph, I used available light at 400 ISO with a 70-200 2.8 IS lens at 130 mm, 1 400th at f2.8 in manual exposure mode. I stay on the couple for as long as I can as they proceed down the aisle, and then switch to a second camera with a 24-70 mm lens when they get closer to me. Working with two cameras such as I do is very typical of newspaper photographers and I bring that style of working to my wedding photography In addition to being an extremely busy wedding...

Canon DSLR

This series is answering readers' calls to create books that offer clear, no-nonsense advice, with lots of explanatory images, but don't stint on explaining why a certain approach is suggested. The authors in this series - all professional photographers and image makers - look at the context in which you are working - whether you are a wedding photographer shooting 1000s of jpegs a week or a fine artist working on a single Raw file.

BuiltIn Flash

Working with the built-in on-camera flash is terrific for snapshots, although, in my opinion, it should not be used for paying jobs because its tube is small and produces a hard, specular source that accents skin shine and shows hard shadows. Pictures made with built-in flash will also look like everyone else's shots, so if you're a wedding photographer trying to establish a visual identity, using this feature might not be the best idea. The flash is placed close to the lens, and pops up vertically just above the lens axis. While this guarantees even light over its effective working area, the look of the images will actually be quite flat. Further, if you turn the camera to its vertical position, the resulting shadows will fall straight across that axis and look quite unattractive.

Flash brackets

As noted above, the large metal brackets from companies such as Stroboframe and Newton (warning - the latter has a hideously ghastly Web page), and designed for mounting external flash units to a camera, are commonly used by wedding photographers and the press for reducing the risk of the redeye effect. However they also serve other purposes as well.


Wedding photographers should decide up front how they present their work to clients. Some produce small proof books or 4 x 6 prints, whereas others post images to online galleries for clients to choose their favorites. But in these situations, clients are picking out only pictures, not any real products. As an analogy, you might approach this as a cafeteria versus fine-dining restaurant comparison. In a cafeteria, all the items are laid out to see, and although seldom appetizing, it's fast, economical, and serves a specific need. With fine dining, you're expected to pay more, but you're given descriptions and suggestions that have the potential to make your food and beverage experience that much more rewarding.

The Obvious

From photojournalists covering world events to wedding photographers charged with catching the big day, most professional image makers are familiar with the question can you also do video . The EOS 5D Mark II provides the answer. Available from Live View mode, a new Movie function allows photographers to capture full 1920 x 1080 High Definition video at 30 frames per second. Photographers can even capture full resolution stills during video capture.


The 40D is a camera that will appeal to a vast range of photographers from advanced amateurs to working photojournalists and wedding photographers. All will appreciate its exceptional image quality, ease of operation, speed, modest weight and size, compatibility with the vast Canon system and very reasonable price. This paper will examine the EOS 40D in detail and show exactly why it is such an important and appealing product.

Raw Image Adjustment

Canon Picture Style

I'm sure you can see the importance of a control like this. Many wedding photographers shoot everything in RAW format, preferring to take the time to fine-tune each image before processing and printing. Many of those images are made with on-camera flash and sometimes look a little flat. Adding a little extra warmth by changing the color temperature from 5600 K to 7500 K might be beneficial to the final product and can be accomplished easily. Beauty and glamour photographers frequently want an even greater level of warmth in their images, perhaps all the way up to 10000 K. Like all controls in any Canon camera, I merely ask you to play with them and make your own decisions as to how your vision is to be represented. If you like the concept of changing an image's color temperature and want to apply it to existing, non-RAW, images, I've outlined a simple yet versatile Photoshop formula in my book Photoshop Effects for Portrait Photographers, also from Focal Press.


Being successful in wedding photography requires not just proficiency in artistic vision and execution but also a considerable flair for people skills and marketing. I liken it to the old vaudeville acts of keeping three plates spinning at the same time on long sticks or juggling three razor-sharp knives while telling jokes one must pay attention to all three swirling forces at once to stay ahead of the burgeoning ranks of photographers currently entering the field. If you lack a genuine love for people or abhor spending the time required on marketing, you won't last long in this area of photography, no matter how technically proficient you are.

Using a Lensbaby

On the opposite end of the sharp focus spectrum is the Lensbaby, a bendable, Holga-like lens where the photographer decides the exact point of focus by twisting the front element to throw everything else creatively out of focus, often producing a zooming-in effect. These lenses have found a popular niche with wedding photographers and others who seek to expand their creative vision.

Ltsec fixed

C.Fn 5 Highlight Tone Priority This is trickle-down technology from the Mark III and addresses the problem of blown out highlights in high-contrast situations. This function extends the dynamic range, the number of tones that can be correctly produced. When you use it, the lowest available ISO will be 200. The ISO designation on the display will change to read 2oo (or 4oo, 8oo, etc.) indicating that Highlight Tone Priority is in use. Wedding photographers, who do not always have the luxury of testing exposure before shooting the money shot, have had problems balancing the bleached and blued whites of a wedding dress against the light-absorbing

Slave flashes

Canon E-TTL flash metering poses a problem for this sort of setup, since standard analogue optical slaves are likely to be triggered by the preflash rather than the actual flash. Standard optical slaves are also a problem outside the controlled environment of the studio. They're a real nuisance in wedding photography when, for instance, Uncle Charlie's point and shoot camera flash triggers your optical slaves. Situations like that call for expensive radio-controlled wireless systems or, if battery-powered slaves have enough power output for your needs, Canon's E-TTL wireless system. An alternative is the new generation of optical slaves, such as the Wein Digital Smart Slave products, which are capable of distinguishing between a preflash and a genuine scene-illuminating flash and only respond to the latter.

Russ Pullen

London wedding photographer Russ Pullen was sheltered under a bridge with the bride and groom, waiting out a small rain shower. When the sun broke through, lighting the Tower Bridge, Pullen grabbed the couple and brought them out for a shot. Their location was in open shade, so he used flash fill to put a little pop in the light. ID Mark II, 24-70 mm f2.8 zoom at 40 mm, 550 EX flash, ISO 400, 1 1000 at f7.1 (www.russpullen. com) (FIG 10.15).