How to Plan and Prepare to Take Wedding Photos

How to Plan and Prepare to Take Wedding Photos

Tips provided by Surrey wedding photographer Richard Galloway, Frimley Green, Surrey GU16 6NN.

Shouldering the responsibility of photographing a wedding isn’t easy. It can be challenging even for experienced professionals, and amateurs or beginners may not know what they’re in for.

That is why it is important to plan and prepare as much as possible – in advance. To do that there are a few areas you should cover in particular:

  • Come up with a schedule

It is important that you talk to the bridal couple (or their wedding planner) and get a copy of the schedule. After that you should add your personal timeline to it, including when you need to be there, what time you need to leave, how long you need to prepare, and so on. Make sure that your timeline is a bit flexible and allows for inevitable delays.

  • Create a shot list

A shot list is basically just a list of all the shots you want to take, and should be created in consultation with the bridal couple. Important shots (such as the ring exchange, arrival of the bride, and so on) should be included, as well as shots of any key guests the couple may want.

  • Ask for a family member to help direct the shoot

Unless you happen to know the couple personally (and even then) odds are you may not know all the guests they want photographed, or who should be in which group shots. Asking the couple to nominate a family member who knows people on both sides of the wedding (or one from each side), can be helpful and will make it much easier to capture the shots you need as well as coordinate group photos.

  • Try to scout the location beforehand

If you have the opportunity, try to make it a point to pay a visit to the locations that you’re going to shoot. It can help you to identify potential shots, understand the lighting conditions, and even snap a few test shots.

  • Decide whether you need a second photographer

Having a second photographer at weddings can make it a whole lot easier to capture all the shots that you need. Typically one photographer would be tasked with the formal shots, while another focuses on candid shots of the crowd. If the location is large, you may need a second photographer to cover it.

  • Prepare a second camera

As a rule you should always prepare a second camera. It can be set up with a different lens and filters, and will let you diversify your shots. More importantly it will mean that if your primary camera malfunctions, you won’t be left high and dry.

Above all else it is important that you make sure that you’re on the same page as the bridal couple regarding the shots that they want, the style of photography, schedule, and everything else. As you plan and prepare you should keep them in the loop, and make sure there are no misunderstandings along the way.